Thursday, March 30, 2023

Sometimes It's Just A Hokey-Pokey Day, Redux


Trouble keeping kids engaged in storytime

* I originally wrote this article a little over five years ago, when I was doing an average of 10 preschool storytimes a week and training others in early literacy programming as an early literacy outreach specialist. I have found myself referring back to it after I began rebuilding in-person programming in a post-pandemic reality where none of the kids and few of their caregivers are accustomed to structured group activities, and attention spans have gotten even shorter, so I thought it would be a good time to re-post it.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Has It Really Been Ten Years?


As of today, I have been working in public libraries for an entire decade! 

For the first seven years I held various part-time support and paraprofessional positions, but the last three years were as a full-time professional librarian. I started out as a page in the children's department, which is where I fell in love with working in public library youth services. Then I moved into an early literacy outreach specialist, which is where I really honed my storytime skills. After that I moved to a paraprofessional position in a very busy suburban branch. It was there I got to do other types of programming, collection work, and really developed my reader's advisory skills.

Then, just a few days shy of my 7th anniversary in that library system, and just weeks from finishing my MLIS degree, the pandemic hit and the library system let go ALL of its part-time staff, over 100 people. That jump-started my search for a full-time professional position, leading me to become the branch librarian/assistant manager of a small neighborhood library. It was here I learned how to adapt programming to rapidly changing conditions, doing virtual programming, take-home kits, and outdoor in-person programming. It was also here that I got a great deal of experience with more challenging customer service situations and found I was pretty good at de-escalation. Finally, I ended up in my current position as a youth services manager.

I can't believe it's already been 10 years! I have done hundreds of storytimes, dozens of other programs, made countless recommendations and suggestions, shelved thousands of books, and in my current position I have transformed a cold, sterile, unwelcoming children's department into a vibrant, welcoming environment and improved a very neglected collection. Along the way I have worked with a number of great children's librarians, and learned something from each of them. I have watched the field grow and change, seen trends come and go, and come back again, but I have seen the greatest and most rapid change in the last three years, and sadly, not for the better, which makes this anniversary very bittersweet.

Friday, March 17, 2023

St. Patrick's Day STEAM - Leprechaun Traps!


Leprechaun Traps, St. Patrick's Day activities for kids, St. Patrick's Day STEM STEAM

So this program has been a long time coming! I had originally planned it for my monthly K-5 STEM program in 2020, but then we were shut down just days before when officials realized the Covid virus was already here and spreading fast. I was so disappointed as I had really been looking forward to it, and knew it would be a while before I had another chance.

So finally, three years and two libraries later, I was back to doing in-person programming and had no conflicts (our state conference fell on St. Patrick's Day last year). The public schools happened to be out that day, so instead of an after school program, I made it an early afternoon family program.