Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Superhero PK-2 Party

I contend this is blurry due to superhero-ness.
The second Monday of every month is Monday Funday at one of our branches, where we provide a special evening program for elementary-age kids. Since this was the same type of program as the PJ Puzzles Storytime, I ended up planning for ages 3-8; but, of course, I could have differentiated if the group turned out (SURPRISE) a little older. I'll share those with you below, as well, with the caution that these are based on quick changes that have worked in the past and not tested day-of (actually, now that I started writing, I did do some day-of; details below).

As pictured, left, I dressed up as Captain America for the occasion, a plus of a household that has a few of those cosplay hoodies used as everyday clothing lying around.It was actually pretty cool: some kids brought costumes but were unsure if they should wear them to the party, but the second they saw me they were racing out to the car to change (or having their parents do that, because it was the first super-cold night of the season) (I KNOW. Pretend I'm writing this in November when this program took place).

Here's how it went down:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Questions to Ask Your New Best Friend at ALA Midwinter

Me and my instant best friend, 2001
August, 2000. My freshman year orientation overnight trip to Michigan State. Armed with newly dyed purple hair, my coolest urban decay make-up. and my favorite Squirrel Nut Zippers shirt, I was ready to to take on ADULTING and TURNING EIGHTEEN SOON and while we're at it, THE WORLD! AND maybe hope that someone would talk to me so I didn't have to approach anyone myself.

Turns out, I ended up approaching someone because she was kind of staring at me and I needed that to stop. We started talking about our majors and found out we were living in the same dorm and--gasp-- were accepted into the same residential college that no one else had ever heard of (which has since turned into something amazing; good on you, MSU!). We talked about high school marching band and AOL Instant Messenger. These were the only things I needed in a new best friend under the crushing oncoming anonymity of college. When we moved into our dorm, my room was right across from hers, so it was basically a done deal at that point.

As we get older, it's harder and harder to make friends. Luckily, conferences afford us with the chance to meet strangers with similar interests; see librarians you met online in real life; and shake hands with librarians whose blogs you follow or whose work you love, but have never connected with. Amy at the Show Me Librarian provides some tips on how to put yourself out there at conferences and join the conversation.

Conversely, you can always approach people who look as awkward as you feel and start a conversation with them. The thing about conferences, though, is that everyone wears name tags with their name and place of work on it. There goes your "what's your name? where are you from? what's your major?" small talk equivalents.

Monday, January 05, 2015

I Resolve to Rock in 2015: Mottos to Librarian By

This post is in conjunction with Storytime Underground's Resolve to Rock campaign.

I've written and rewritten this post like 500 times now. I'm torn, because: 1) In 2014, The Profession (what I've come to call the angle of librarianship which is akin to the phrase "The Business" in professional wrestling-- the aspects that help turn entertainment into sport) challenged a lot of people, apparently, including me. Resolutions sound exhausting. 2) I'm not one to normally make resolutions. 3)Actually, I think "resolutions sound exhausting" pretty much sums it up.

And then Brytani wrote a post that gave me feels. And so I thought: okay I'll write a resolution post. And then Arielle wrote a post about not being able to ever actually plan for your life. And seriously, everyone, if anyone knows what she's talking about when it comes to Your Life as a Ride, it's Arielle. So I decided to kind of let both these posts shape mine. Rather than resolutions, I'm going to take lessons I learned in 2014 and turn them into Mottos to Librarian By in 2015. Feel free to use them yourself, and add yours in the comments!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Kindergarten/1st grade Librarian Class Visit

In November, a K-1 split teacher at a local parochial school wanted a tour of the North community branch library, which is about a half-mile away and therefore walking distance for the small class.

Except, you know, when the high is 17 degrees.

After the class rescheduled twice and cancelled at basically the last minute once, we probably could have just said, "hey, we'll see you in the Spring." But truthfully, this wasn't one of our "regular field trip patron" classes and I really wanted to seize the momentum, not letting them forget about us. So, with the promise that they would in fact schedule a tour in the Spring, I went about concocting an engaging visit that would get a bunch of kindergarten and first graders sufficiently pumped about the library without them actually getting to go to the library, where many of them had never been before. They didn't even have a library at school!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

No One Cares How Prepared You Are: A Guest Post By Kelsey

The Aftermath: a Still Life
Today's guest post comes from my lovely new coworker, Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, about the time when she had just started but I dragged her to help me with something I had never done before: Boy Scout Camp! It was... interesting. I still can't believe we pulled it off. Here's Kelsey with the details, and, of course, me with the GIFs:

Back in August, when I was just three weeks in at my new job with the library, Sara and I were tasked with leading an all day program at a nearby Boy Scout camp. It was a tall order – seven groups of twenty-five boys, forty minutes per group, and a bunch of science experiments using candy – but we were ready for the challenge. Or so we thought.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Shy Librarian's Guide to Presenting

My readership varies. There's friends, family, librarian colleagues that I know and that I don't know. If you'll indulge me this one, I'm gonna speak directly to one particular group this time: those of you who have thought about presenting, but thinking about actually doing it is just one big NOPE.

And everyone, I have a confession: I used to be really pretty shy. No, really.

Throughout my twenties I had a major learning curve. As an educator, I attended a lot of professional development. You would think, since educators, like, know how brains work and everything, professional development about engaging instruction would be, you know, engaging instruction.

It wasn't. Quite a few were more like this than I care to admit. If it makes you uncomfortable to watch that, imagine sitting through 2.5 hours of it.

I got sick of complaining. I wanted to do something. Be the change, and all that. But I just couldn't talk in front of groups of adults. I got super nervous and seized up. PROBABLY because I had been such an insufferably critical audience member; I understand that now. But also, because I was mostly just kinda shy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Hows and Whys of our Successful Field Trip Adventures

Alternate title: That One Time the LPL YS Department Went to a State Conference with a Slide Deck of Chuck Norris Memes.

Last week I went on a turn-and-burn tour of the Wisconsin Dells to present at the 2014 Wisconsin Library Association Conference, and I would most definitely do it all again because Brooke, Linda, and I had the best time ever. We finally got to talk about our field trip adventures in a systematic way, which I never would have been able to do without this collaborative opportunity.

Additionally, every slide had a Chuck Norris meme related to what we were talking about at the time. Because normal powerpoints are not my forte. I basically approach every presentation I do like the opposite of battledecks. 

And so, for your reading pleasure, here are some highlights from that presentation. And a link-dump so you can download basically everything we have on library field trips. Because this is your luckiest day.