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.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Quick tips: Daily Vroom Early Literacy App

Yesterday was the first day of the second run of Child Development, Library Space and Behavior. Every week of the course, I include one "quick tip" video that can be used right away to help with behavior.

This is also the beginning of an otherwise busy season for me, but I want to keep writing as it has done me good and will do me good; and I say, god bless it! (...any other Christmas Carol nerds out there in cyberland? Any RENT nerds chuckle at my use of the word "cyberland"?) So I figured where I can I'll share a "quick tip" that's been useful to me lately at work.

Today I want to share a wonderful app that you and your family patrons can access for free: Daily Vroom.

Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Building Relationships from the Ground Up: An Interview with a Natural

In my last post, I came to the conclusion that one foundation of self-care is creating and maintaining healthy boundaries in working relationships.

Having moved across the country in the past year, I’m in the process of creating and maintaining an all-new set of relationships. And if my social media newsfeeds are to be believed, making IRL friends as an adult is something that a lot of people struggle with.

To help me start with this reflection, I looked to the person in my life that is probably the best relationship-builder I know: my husband, Caleb*. Nearly all the people I now call friends are people I’ve met through Caleb. He has been asked to stand at weddings several times and he’s a godfather to two. His best friends are those he’s been friends with since FOREVER. And their friendships are not just of convenience, since we’ve moved so far from his hometown in Florida and they still keep in touch frequently. He tells basically every FB friend “happy birthday” and while I don’t understand it he sees is as an important Facebook Friend Role.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Healthy Boundaries in Work Relationships: Self Care times a Million

“I’ll be what you want until I can’t be that anymore.”

I long ago figured out that this was like my motto in romantic-type relationships before I met my husband. In December 2005, I had recently recovered from an 8 month relationship (that we ridiculously drug out to over a year) followed closely by a three week relationship. The timetables were different, but the arc of the relationship was painfully the same: Figure out what you want me to be, be that, get exhausted being that, force a breakup.

Then I met Caleb. I was tentative at first, not trusting myself. And while that sounds terrible as a romantic comedy plot, it actually helped me create the boundaries I didn’t know I needed for us to get to know each other at a slower pace, and form a more lasting relationship.

I’ve held a few different positions in my 11 professional years, and some working relationships have looked similar to my old romantic habits. The feeling that comes up when I examine any dissatisfying or failed relationships is the feeling of being consumed. And when I have attempted to set boundaries once that feeling starts to happen, there are hurt feelings and broken trust.

And I’ve been doing lots of examining lately, because I’m in the first year of a new job again. And as the old demotivational poster goes:

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Valentines for Homebound Outreach

I share an office with 8 other people spanning two departments. Funnily enough (or “understandably enough”, still undecided) three people who are technically in the same library department as me make up Homebound Services. Together, seven of us are Outreach and Youth Services (or “Outreach”, for short).

If you were to visit our office on any given day, you might catch one of our Homebound staff members reading aloud a list of available romance novels, describing each cover. Or they might read summary after summary of movies a patron might want (I like to play the game of “guess the title” to myself). Their reader’s advisory phone calls are peppered with conversations about their patron’s daily lives.

And sometimes, you might overhear them say something that sparks this particularly popular, caps-locked tweet.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bryce Does 'Play'! A Babies Need Words Every Day Blog Tour post

I’m so happy to post my contribution to The Babies Need Words Every Day Blog Tour! Babies Need Words Every Day is an initiative by the Association for Library Service to Children through The Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee. There are posters and book lists in English and Spanish, as well as a media kit to help your form and strengthen early literacy partnerships in your community. The beautiful artwork was illustrated by Il Sung Na, author of A Book of Babies (2014) and others. Check out the rest of the roundup here!

Today, I get to talk about PLAY! But first I want to talk a little more about how BNWED is used in our libraries.

Monday, January 04, 2016

I Resolve to Rock in 2016: Choice. Empowerment. Strengths. Skills.

Well everyone, I've had quite a year! As I was thinking about a reflections post, my thoughts ended up at a resolutions post; and while I'm really not one to make resolutions, I figured some considerations and commitments for the New Year might be in order. So here's one for Storytime Undergroud's Resolve to Rock campaign.

Possibly the most challenging, most nerve-wracking, but overall most rewarding thing I added to the library conversation in 2015 was "It's Always Been that Way: An Unsolicited Rant" (Sept). Since then, I've been thinking a lot more about trauma-informed workplaces, and even asked my team members to join for a day-long training with Trauma Informed Oregon. I was so delighted with the feedback on our attendance, and it's spurred so many conversations.

This week I was again reminded of my dedication to a trauma-informed workplace when reading "Private Lives" at Hi Miss Julie,  which is not only a triumphant return to blogging for Julie, whose articles have continued to inspire far passed their posting dates; it also has clearly struck a chord in the library world for different reasons.

One thing that makes this post so powerful, I think, is her approach: She talks about a problem; she talks about what works for her, AND she talks about a time when she was personally involved in the type of ethical issue she ponders.

What I have seen happen so often with conversations like this is that they can spiral into a conversation made up of "don't" posts. And I truly hope that doesn't happen. Because I have a real sense that many individual librarians whose frustration translates to acting in questionably ethical ways come from backgrounds in trauma. Because when your lid is flipped, you're unable to think logically. What people in this position may respond to is not more shame, To be honest, not many people do, in general. I know I don't. And it's not that I think we need to treat people with kid gloves, but I DO think that we need to act in trauma-informed ways (and I really do think Julie's post is framed very well through this lens Seriously, go back and read it!). Because here's the thing: