Friday, June 10, 2016

Attention Parent Friends:The Case for Summer Reading

Google image search: "Summer". Checks out.
A lot of times, my main audience is library staff, specifically in Youth Services. Sometimes, though, I like to talk to the public in general. This post is inspired by my non-librarian friends all over the country who love to tell me when they’ve connected to their local libraries—and right now I'm getting at least weekly messages that people are signing up for Summer Reading!

PARENTS: Sign yourself and your (possibly still in utero) children up for your local library’s Summer Reading Program!

What is Summer Reading?
Summer Reading is an ongoing drop-in program happening throughout the summer across the United States (and across the northern hemisphere currently, if you want to get technical). Public libraries everywhere encourage children and families to read and engage in enriching literacy- and learning-based activities throughout the summer.  Many programs involve a reading log or game card with which your child or family can track their reading and other activities throughout the summer. At intervals throughout the summer (minutes or books read, or sheets turned in), small prizes may be awarded, sometimes with the possibility of raffles for larger prizes. Many libraries choose to giveaway a book as a final prize or even as a sign up incentive.

Throughout the summer there also fun events to attend. Think parties, carnivals, concerts, programming series with a weekly “summer camp” feel… all at your public library!

Many libraries offer Summer Reading for ages 0-adult; meaning that it starts at age zero (obviously a read-to-me program). Adults can read for prizes and/or glory too!

As with the vast majority of public library programming, funding for Summer Reading comes from general programming funds or fundraising from the Friends of the Library group, so you pay nothing to join!

Why should my family join Summer Reading?

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Summer Reading Hype Videos

Okay everyone, this is one of the most ridiculous ideas I've ever had.

I've been knocking around in my head about what to do for the awesome library staff at our member libraries for Summer Reading this year. This being my first SRP kickoff here at WCCLS, I wanted to provide them with some comfort when the going gets tough. I needed something cheap or free that could reach/impact anyone who needed it.

I started thinking about what has really helped me through tough weeks (and okay, I thought about the week of ALA specifically).

I started thinking about what really helped, and Ingrid's Summer Reading posts (try "I Got 99 Problems and They're All Related to Summer Reading") immediately came to mind: commiserative, humorous... they just felt like a big hug. My hope is to keep morale high throughout the summer. And I think that being reminded each week that youth services librarians aren't alone, and there's whole world out there of librarians also dealing with SRP, and that some of them actually took a few minutes to talk about it, it might just help a little. I was trying to think of what's gotten me through SLP and it really comes back to bookmarked posts written by other librarians about how they, too, are feeling the drag of summer reading.
And it came to me:

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Shoutout to My Negative Voice

On May 16th I presented the pre-conference “It’s Always Been Done that Way: The Conundrum of Us versus Them (and what we can do about it, maybe)” at the New Jersey Library Association Conference in Atlantic City, NJ. People ask, ‘how did it go?” I definitely do mention that I had a lot of fun, but mostly I just say “it sure did happen!”

I don’t say this to humblebrag or intentionally sell myself short. I say this because to me the best outcome was “it happened.”

Because it almost didn’t happen. Twice.

Twice I found myself with a fully written email to my wonderful NJLA contact, Sophie: the person who reached out so many months ago about crafting a proposal, the person who negotiated with me and the Conference Committee from a single session to a pre-conference + panel, the person I sent my entire presentation to in a nervous burst a few days before the conference, the person who absolutely believed in me throughout this entire process. Twice I found myself hovering over the “send” button on an email that was basically forfeiture: I cannot do this. I am sorry.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Crafting a Parent Presentation

Today you can find me at the ALSC blog talking about potential partnership opportunities with schools.Since it's written, I figured I'd share here an alternative post on something I do a lot in my job: talking to parents about the library.

Your local PTO or parent group meeting is a great place to reach local families who may not be regular library patrons.  It’s important that we librarians are able to break down the jargon and make the library an accessible community asset, as parent meetings are a great place to make connections with residents who may never have set foot in a library—or had a bad experience, and have since been scared to return.

Here are my four main components to every parent meeting presentation:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Holidays and Libraries: Rethinking Our Programming

This week I was honored to present at the New Jersey Library Association Conference in Atlantic City. I have a few posts mulling around in my head about it, including at least one more really heavy one. For ease of posting something soon, however, I'd like to share my contribution to the panel "Rethinking Holidays & Cultural Celebrations in Libraries" that I presented with the lovely Dr. LaShauna Dean, Assistant Professor of Mental Health and Addiction Counseling at William Paterson University. 

This will probably read harsher than many of my other posts, but understand I am very passionate about the topic of inclusion.

I do not celebrate holidays in the library and do not suggest running holiday programming.

I know how I sound to some of you: I’m no fun, and I don’t like whimsy, and I Scrooge around shushing carolers.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Awesome New-to-Me Blogs

I'm celebrating 5 years of this blog, albeit a little late (even though I sincerely thought that my blog's birthday was tomorrow. I swear).

I really can't tell you how much your following my blog means to me. I've lately been revisiting some of my older posts, and how much has changed around here has quite frankly been ridiculous. Thanks, reader, for hanging around! And thanks to everyone who creates their own corners of the web to share what works for them. Putting yourself out there isn't the easiest thing to do, and I appreciate the hell outta you for it.

Last year, when I actually remembered my blog's birthday, I shared my favorite new-to-me blogs. I thought I would do the same this year. Last year's post focused mainly on programming blogs, and this year I've widened my librarianing scope a bit. Here's a snapshot of my new favorites:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

What is a Librarian: An Unsolicited Rant

Yesterday I checked my phone in the morning to find that Book Riot posted an article on non-degreed librarians, and how they have value as humans.

As I read it, that’s what this article was about.

I was disappointed, but not surprised, at the number of negative comments that this article received.

I could write here the many arguments I’ve had when this topic comes up and the comment section explodes: about the process to become a brewmaster and how there are people who run breweries or make beer who are NOT brewmasters, technically (they are usually called head brewers). Or I could talk about the one time a child ran me down in a grocery store calling for her “library teacher” and how I said hi to her rather than explaining that my teacher certification lapsed years ago (and even then, I was never certified to teach in THAT state). Or even how people who are nurses for their entire careers have to take an updated test every few years to prove that they can still Be a Nurse Good; so please stop with “librarians are the doctors/para-professionals are the nurses” because last time I checked it was not a universal requirement for even librarians to keep up with certifications (I mean, it may be that April will arrive and I will have spent 5 years in libraries and I will be summoned to engage in a Hunger Games-style competition using only the Dublin Core, so stay tuned). But instead I want to hit a bit closer to home here, parking this officially in Unsolicited Rant territory.

This was not the only thing I saw shared on social media yesterday. Another widely shared link was to a Libraries Transform post. The supporting text, when shared by ALA, that accompanies this post is “Librarians are early literacy experts!” This was shared on Facebook, at the time of this writing, 496 times. That many shares tells me that a lot of librarians agree with it. And before I recognized the funny juxtaposition that inspired this post, I was kinda pissed.