Monday, August 03, 2015

5 Simple Questions to Inspire Your Service

I'm in my fourth week on the new job, and am really starting to feel like 1) I'm part of something great, and more importantly 2) I CAN DO THIS. Oh and also 3) holy-crap-I-live-in-Oregon-how-did-that-even-happen. That last feeling is mostly on my drives through the county when I actually take in the incomparable beauty of my new home. It will probably last for awhile.

One of the things I had planned to do from the beginning was try to meet every one of the youth librarians I'll work alongside and tour their space. In the middle of summer reading. I know: I'm already The Worst; it can only go up from here! But truthfully, I have been so fortunate to be welcomed warmly and have scheduled sit-down chats with nearly all of the member youth librarians, with a last few ironing out a time.

I wanted to share the questions I'm asking to see which member librarians I haven't met yet read my blog and will be prepared when I see them. Just kidding. Clearly. I actually wanted to share them because I've found them to produce such a wealth of information and have inspired so many ideas that I think everyone should do this with their own colleagues immediately, whether you've known each other for decades or if you're just starting out; if you're a student or unemployed, you can ask these of your mentors or squirrel them away for when you're a new hire.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Literacy Skills Tracking and Support

One of the first things I started learning about and working on at my new job was the Ready to Read grant project WCCLS is running as a partnership with The Community Action Organization. Non-registered child care providers were trained in ECRR, and have just begun receiving bins of 50 children's books to share with the kids in their care. They receive a delivery each month for six months; then, a new cohort of child care providers is invited to the program. Don't worry, we're working on ways to sustain early literacy experiences after their 6 months is up!

After the first delivery and after talking with our partner organization, it seemed as though there might be a need for a little more support to the caregivers in order achieve Community's Action's grant goal of "storytimes or other structured shared adult/child literacy experiences" at each house. I also saw a need to meet my general grant goal of "if we're relying on someone else to do something new/change a behavior, we have to make as convenient as humanly possible."

To reach both goals, I developed an early literacy skills tracking sheet. There are four delivered with each delivery, labeled by week. I wrote it in English, and our Bilingual Outreach Librarian translated it into Spanish, while replacing different examples with more culturally relevant ones. For instance, Week 2 the "sing!" suggestion was "Five Little Monkeys"; he changed it to the fun song "La Marcha de la Vocales".

The inspiration was those pill boxes that have the days on them.On the back are a few questions to help improve the program; if providers don't fill them out they're discussed at pick-up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Make a Graphic Novel for Kids

I'm excited to announce here that I've made a big move! You'll now find me at Washington County Cooperative Library Services in Washington County, OR. My new position, Youth Services Librarian II, will see me supporting youth services in 15 libraries and continuing an already pretty great conversation of partnerships, grants, and outreach library service in the county. Two cities in the county, Beaverton and Hillsboro, are both twice the size of La Crosse, so it's quite a bit to wrap my head around! But my coworkers are awesome so that helps my transition a ton. I'm unsure the direction my blog will take in the future, but I promise it won't be "these are my pet peeves so don't do this" or "this is what I see that should change, but I'll write about it here rather than talking about it directly." My role in libraries has changed and I want to make sure to continue to honor the tagline of this blog, as well as value the people I will be working closely with every day. Maybe there will be more unsolicited rants. Maybe more research posts. Maybe guest posts from our member librarians? Who knows. Stay tuned, there will be GIFs.

One of my last programs at LPL was a "Make a Graphic Novel!" program, and darnit if it wasn't one of my favorite programs in recent memory. Here's how it went (sorry it's a little choppy; this is based on brainstormed notes about it I typed up for myself):

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Post for You, if You Need It

Shoutout to the #alaleftbehind. Long days on the reference desk, programs, and the library just seems a little more chaotic than it even was before you read your first "what to do in San Francisco" blogpost (which you still read, right? Or is that just me?) All this on the backdrop of widely shared articles asking you to kindly not tell people you're busy (edit: originally shared the wrong post, sorry) and social media updates from your Internet friends who are all hanging out together/talking about how refreshing it is to get away during the summer/eating beignets (oh wait that was 2011), and you begin to feel some real feelings. Some of them may not be the best feelings. And that's okay.

This isn't for those who are lucky enough to be at ALA right now. Please, continue your conversation. You deserve to be there. This is for the rest of us. And I need to write it now, because I might have the opportunity to got to Annual in the future, and writing a post like this from Annual would be disingenuous. 

Basically, I've been thinking a lot about this time last summer, and this is the blogpost I wish someone would have written then. So I'm writing it for you.

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's Happening! Guerrilla-Style School/Public Library Q&A at ALA Annual!

Last week I told you about the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Library Cooperation (SPLC)'s idea to hold a Guerilla-Style session alternative (based on Guerrilla Story time) at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. AND GUESS WHAT:

Join SPLC (we pronounce it "Splice") in the Uncommons at Annual for a conversation hosted by no other than the intrepid chair of our committee, Jenna Nemec-Loise!

Save the Date!
Guerrilla SPLC ("SPLC It Up"? Is that too cheesy?) 
Saturday, Jun 27, 2015
Networking Uncommons
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM

Bring your questions and tell your friends! We'd love to see a great mix from the many divisions we represent.

See you there! Well, not really. I won't be there. But attend and talk about it on Twitter so I can feel like I am!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Kid Lab: Superhero Writing Prompts

Last year we had a Stories in Action table; this year, kids can make their own pictures to hang up based on the Write/Draw component of the Summer Game Cards in our new elementary school literacy area called the Kid Lab. I was inspired to create this after years of talking about it because of Holly's Exploration Station.

While it'd be nice to have something fancier, for now all it entails is a table, some signage made in Canva, and an extra rolling cart we happened to have. Right now there are writing prompts that change weekly, but as a Lab there could be other activities going on in the future.

This year, the Write/Draw questions each week revolve around the kids considering themselves as heroes. The point was that by the end of them summer they'll have a fleshed out super hero persona!

Here are the questions, so you can put together a writing prompt station of your own:

Monday, June 08, 2015

School Library/Public Library Q&A at ALA

As a member of the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Library Cooperation (SPLC), I've been thinking a lot about the partnerships we can foster between school and public librarians. There's been some great posts in the past year or so that have made me more deeply consider the ins and outs of community partnerships. Dana at Jbrary discussed the importance of being a community-led librarian, and Amy at Show Me Librarian shared her presentation on rethinking partnerships. Two points from these related posts are aspects of partnering that I have found particularly helpful: Dana's idea of "slowing your role" (ie, coming to the table with no immediate expectations for what your partnership would look like) and Amy's suggestion of asking questions.

In that spirit, it is my hope on behalf of SPLC to get the ball-rolling on an ALA Annual Networking Uncommons Q&A session in the style of Guerilla Storytime and YA Smackdown. As a committee we've talked about "What the School/Public Librarian Wishes the Other Would Know", but we'd love to see school and public librarians ask specific questions about the other's work and service. While this opportunity would take place live at Annual, you definitely don't have to be present to participate. Shoot, I'm working to plan this and I won't even be at the conference at all!

You game? Awesome! Here's how you can help the SPLC Committee pull this off: