|They're coming. And they smell your fear.|
And with the worriers, you may encounter two of the most worrisome hindrances to tours on the library’s end—Time and Bodies.
For teachers to buy into the Library Stars
tour FIELD TRIP ADVENTURE, we needed
to offer a tour FIELD TRIP ADVENTURE that was worth giving up part of the school day—both in quality
and in length (think about it: 5 minutes to get the kids ready to go, 15
minutes to get them loaded on the bus; the same when they get back. So a 30
minute tour is not going to cut it).
tour FIELD TRIP ADVENTURE is 1hr 15 min long. That’s 10 minute intro;
three 15 minute “stations” (department,
book talks, behind the scenes); 5 minutes conclusion; 10 minutes for kids to
“browse” (no checkout); and 5 minutes
allotted for those transition times.*
*This is a teacher phrase that means, “The time it takes to herd children from one place to another.” There is no planning or functions that can possibly prepare you for the amount of time any group of kids will need, so it’s best just to tack on 5-10 minutes of Unclaimed Dead Air time and hope for the best.
If your staffing allows, what’s worked for us is a “station trade-off” kind of
tour FIELD TRIP ADVENTURE, with different people doing each section (three in
total). The reasoning behind this is two-fold:
1) It breaks up the kids for you. An entire school’s second graders may number in the 60+ area, and they may not want to (or have no time to) come at two separate times. No matter how many parent chaperones accompany the kids, 25 is the absolute MAX you’ll want to lead around at one time.
Now, when I say “staffing” I mean people capable of giving
tours. They don’t need to be youth
services librarians or even librarians at all. Anyone that can answer basic
questions about the library—an aide, staff from another department, and
intern—can serve as a guide on one of the parts of the tour.
Q. How will they know what to say, to talk about and highlight things about the library that kids will find cool?
|C/O Hyperbole and a Half (click on the picture to go there; it's hilarious)|
A. You write them scripts.
I am a huge proponent of scripts. In fact, I spent three years writing scripts for Florida teachers. The interventions I wrote were designed so that they could be successfully completed by anyone, right down to the length of time you allow the kids to possess pencils. That way, classrooms which were mandated to do specific interventions could use paraprofessionals or other staff to help meet their goal. At the very least, teachers didn’t need to spend extra off-time planning their own SBRR (Scientifically-Based Reading Researched) interventions.
There may be people concerned that writing scripts for other people to use is admitting that “anyone can do your job.” It’s quite the opposite, actually. You’re writing a script because everyone has their own professional and personal responsibilities, even you, and you respect that. Unseen circumstances can affect
tours that have been scheduled weeks in
advance, and the show must go on.
Believe in yourself as a professional—you’re more than just one tour,
one script. If you couldn’t be at the library for a tour, which do you think
your stakeholders(boss, grant providers, or teachers) would rather happen?
1) Cancel the
tour at the last minute? Or
2) Have someone give the tour in your stead, after printing off and reading exactly what you would’ve planned on saying?
At the moment, we have six different people who have given different portions of the
tour FIELD TRIP ADVENTURE, with more on the backburner if need be. And surely, even though the behind-the-scenes is her favorite part, our Library Director still will print out the script
beforehand, as a refresher. Not because she needs to read it, but just to
prepare her as she’s switching gears over from the numerous hats she wears.
I know this isn't all you're doing. Hell, I haven't written a blog post since before my recent vacation, since there's been a lot to catch up on.
But guess what? I had a Library Stars visit the day I came back, and forgot about it until 30 minutes before it started (I was at home and not dressed at that time. Thank God for my ten minute commute). I raced to work, did a sweep of the script, and was back in the game.
I'm sure there's someone out there who could do that without a script, but I sure was grateful to my own foresight at the time.