The Monarchs Are Missing by Rebecca E. Hirsch


The Monarchs Are Missing
by Rebecca E. Hirsch

The monarch butterfly was a backyard staple in Ohio and much of the United States, but in recent years the population has been dwindling. Where have the monarchs gone and what can citizen scientists do to help?

This title has an attractive cover that will entice readers and covers more than similar titles I have seen. Children learn about the life cycle of the monarch butterfly, migration patterns, and the discovery of the winter breeding grounds in Mexico. The book is full of excellent charts and graphics, including closeups of the monarch butterflies (male and female) as well as maps showing the migration patterns of the butterflies.

Children also learn about  citizen scientists and the contributions tagging and tracking butterflies have made to  our comprehension of the monarch migration as well the effects of climate change and pesticide use. It encourages us to eliminate pesticide use, and plant butterfly friendly gardens, emphasizing native species.

Overall this is an excellent title that is sure to complement any home or public library, especially those concerned with STEM studies or nature science.

Volcanoes are a Blast

I don’t remember ever doing baking soda and vinegar volcanoes in school but I thought it would be fun to do them at the library. 

I made the salt dough and colored it different colors with tempra paint. I also provided a sheet of extinct animals and toothpicks, plates, and pebbles to decorate the volcanoes. The volcano chamber was made out of a small water bottle with baking soda, dish soap, and food coloring inside. 

I started the evening with a short video from natgeo kids and then we moved in to sculpting volcanoes. 

I gave the kids 20-25 minutes to sculpt and decorate their volcanoes and then we exploded then one by one. I had each kid say their name and the name of their volcano before we counted down and I poured vinegar into the volcano. 

Attendance: 24

Activity: Natgeo kids volcano videos

Activity: sculpt and “explode” volcanoes 

Ugh, a Bug!

Occasionally I will schedule a program because I thought of a cute name that will pair with a popular topic. I thought Ugh, a Bug was just too cute and would probably end up being mostly about butterflies because they are such fascinating creatures. 

I started the program with a tissue paper art butterfly. I printed a coloring page of a big butterfly on cardstock and then you just apply water and tissue paper to the paper and when it dries the tissue falls off and leaves the coloring from the tissue paper behind. I used this same technique in winter for snowflake art but for some reason it didn’t work as well this time. It also took way longer than I anticipated. 

As the kids were finishing up their art I started a short little bug presentation. It went over the difference between an insect and bug and had a few slides of big beetles, spiders, and moths. I also had some macro photography so the kids could see compound eyes and such. I also passed around some bugs in lucite for the kids to look at. 

The next activity was probably my favorite. I had made some Ohio bug markers on rocks with acrylic paint. These were hidden in the reading garden and the kids got a checklist. Because the art is on rocks they couldn’t blow away. 

Our last activity was a plastic bug hunt. I found some plastic tubes at the dollar store that were made specifically for collecting bugs and passed one out to each kid. We hid 100+ plastic bugs throughout the library and the kid who found the most bugs would get a prize. 


Of course after the kids left we found a real mantis and a cicada shell, because isn’t that always the way?

Attendance: 13 (of 15 available seats)

Activity: butterfly tissue paper art 

Activity: bug presentation 

Activity: Ohio bug walk

Activity: bug hunt

Summer Lit Lunch 

This summer was our first year serving hot lunches to combat food insecurity. When I heard about the planned summer program I may have gotten really excited and sent an email to my director asking if she was inspired by Crenshaw. 

For several weeks over the summer we served lunch from 12-1 on Mondays and Thursdays and paired it with stories. It happened to pan out that Mondays were hotdog/hamburger days and Thursdays were pizza days so we usually had higher attendance in Thursdays. 

We read a variety of picture books and quick read chapter books including the first dragon master books, some magic treehouse books, a Humphrey the hamster book, etc. 

Bob Shea Unicorn

I happen to be a big unicorn fan and after hurricane Harvey Bob Shea did a promotion on his website where he would send you a piece of unicorn art if you donated. He is done drawing but you can still donate there if you want. Bob Shea website

I did a similar donation with an artist friend after the tsunami hit Japan a few years ago so I sent my donation in knowing I was close to the deadline. 

Luckily for me the unicorn arrived in the mail yesterday. I can’t wait to show it off at work!

Hotwheels Night

Hotwheels night was one of the easiest and most successful programs I have had in a while. I brought in about 100 hotwheels and a few tracks I had at the house as well as one of those little rugs with the city printed on them. 

I also had a coloring page, colored pencils, and I had requested the wii to play Mario cart. Sadly the hdmi cable was loose and wouldn’t connect but it was okay because the kids spent the whole hour just playing cars. I even had adults getting down on the floor to play cars with the kids. 

Minus the tech hassle from the wii not working this was an awesome program that I would love to do again.  I even had kids walking in to see what all the commotion was about and stopping to play. 

Attendance: ~34

Disney Trivia

I am a big fan of the older animated Disney movies. I had really been wanting to do a trivia night with kids and families and I thought that Disney should be a topic that I would be able to find enough material for family friendly questions.


I started the night with a timeline of Disney movies where participants had to try and match the movie they were given to the years posted on the wall. My idea was that this would be sort of an “answer bank” showing which movies answers were from, but it ended up being really hard and a bit chaotic so I would probably just do this as a paper handout or word search next time.

Then I had a jeopardy style set of Disney questions with 5 categories with values 100-500. Teams took turns choosing their category and amount and were allowed to ask the audience for help if they got stuck. If you want to see the board it is here. (You should check it out for fun!)


Then I passed out a 25ish question packet with questions and spaces for the answers. Everyone had 10 minutes to answer as many as possible and when they were done they could turn in the paper and get their snacks and juice at the “snack bar” (bar trivia, get it?) This staggered everyone going up for snacks and gave me time to tally up points.

Finally we had a song round. Each team got one question where I played the Disney song and projected the lyrics until it got to the song title and they had to sing/say the next words (the title) and the movie the sing was from.  So one question looked like this:

Don’t let them in,
don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel,
don’t let them know
Well now they know

Do you know the song and movie?

Registrations: 35
Attendance: 20
Activity: Disney timeline
Activity: Disney Jeopardy
Activity: Disney Snack Bar Lightning Round
Activity: Disney Singalong Round

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers

Summer is off and running and I am doing my best to stay on top of things. One coworker is leaving for another jobs sometime soon. I am battling a lingering cough.

What Happened This Week?


  • Carnival Night! I wish the weather had been just 2 degrees warmer and sunnier.
  • I had to be to work before 9 for food service training. It was a long day.
  • Some of the things I ordered did not come in time for the carnival.
  • A coworker is very angry I took a table to display summer prizes and activities.


  • I am talking up summer reading logs and programs as much as humanly
  • I found out my STEM materials requests haven’t been processed yet.
  • Prep questions for Disney Trivia
  • I got to leave early today


  • Disney Trivia was quite fun
  • Catching up on emails
  • Entered all September – December programs and descriptions


  • Put in paperwork to go to a STEM conference later this year.
  • Reference desk seemed to be hopping.
  • A patron had me looking for a video of an interview with the Dalai Lama which I could not find. When I finally admitted defeat I found out they were actually looking for Deepak Chopra…

What did patrons want?

Captain Underpants books, Dav Pilkey books, quite a few title requests from 2014ish that no one seemed to have.