Tuesday, December 29, 2015

SRP 2016: All Abilities Invited

Maysoon Zayid explains my whole life in one sentence.
This past October, I attended my very first Oregon Library Association Children’s Services Division Workshop. It was a wonderful day full of meeting new people (I don’t think there’s been a single day since July I haven’t met someone new!), sharing great ideas, and problem-solving.

The day ended with a share-out of all the ideas brainstormed for the 2016 CSLP theme, “On Your Mark, Get Set, Read!” I was the last volunteer to read off a list. I had not yet met everyone in the room, and I had spent most of the day, as I call it, “passing.” The unsaid words that are implied after passing, here, are, “as something other than a disability killjoy.”

Never minding the ableist voice in my head that still talks about things like “blowing my cover”, and how no one really wants to hear about inclusiveness YET AGAIN, I shared the following:
“I just wanted to add, as a physically disabled librarian who was once a physically disabled child, to please make sure that your fitness-oriented offerings are marketed and presented as ‘All abilities invited.’”  
My candor was well-received that day, and I wanted to make sure I shared more about this idea and what it means here, while you may still be working out your SRP plans.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

This Week in Professional Development: Dec 15, 2015

There have been so many great free opportunities for professional development popping up lately! Some can be viewed now; some are to sign up for now and engage with later.

As I've said before, I am so fortunate that I'm in a position where connecting library professionals to resources that can help with their everyday workflow is a valued part of my job. Like the variety of libraries you readers are from, our member libraries vary widely in size, staffing, structure, culture, and community. Free webinars and other resources that can be viewed at one's own pace can benefit everyone at  some angle or another. Isn't the Internet great?!

Here are a few of the things I've been sharing and signing up for lately. Entertaining, thought-provoking, and/or overall awesome, these will keep your mind chugging into the New Year and looking forward to what we can make with youth services in 2016:

Monday, December 07, 2015

The True Meaning of that Christmas-Related Reference Question

Alternate title: In Search of the Perfect Reference Interview: In which Bryce asks more questions than she has answers for.

Note; All gifs in this post are from the movie "Emmet Otter's Jugband Christmas", which is unequivocally the best otter-based holiday film to date. They are not at all related to the text.

The Storytime Underground Facebook Group is a great place to share successes and get all-around support from the global Youth Services community. Occasionally, there will be a question whose answers are so varied and possibly polarizing that I get sucked in and can't stop thinking about it. Last week there was a question like that:

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

So You're Subbing a Preschool Storytime

Yesterday I subbed for a preschool storytime at one of our member libraries. Having come from a library that had librarians in each age group, this was the first program I’d done for the preschool set in… awhile.  I thought I might share my plan and some tips, since this time of year is prime time for vacations and illnesses,  and you may find yourself (an adult services librarian, director, library assistant, shelving aide, on-call reference librarian, archivist) asked to be a last-minute substitute for a beloved storytime. Because let’s face it, it may not happen all the time, but it will one day. Sooner rather than later, depending on the size of your library and staffing. And I hope you find this post useful.

Having come from education and libraries, I can tell you that being a substitute is one of the toughest jobs there is. That’s because children, as chaotic as they may seem, thrive on routine and familiarity. And sorry, substitute, but that already puts you in the negative zone, because you’re different.
But here’s the thing: You’re not supposed to be as “good” as the regular storytime provider. Families may ask about their regular storytime routines. Please take these as what they are: expressed appreciation for the storytimes they know and love. They are not a criticism against you. I promise that if you were their regular storytime provider, they would love you just as much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

YA Reading Bingo: A Passive Program Guest Post by Amy Gregory

In my first few months at my current job, I visited every member library to get a feel about how they serve their particular community. I found that every library is doing great things to respond to their community needs. With winter reading on my mind, I was enamored by this teen passive program I had never seen before at Forest Grove Library! Amy Gregory is an Adult Services Librarian in Forest Grove who also focuses on teen services. I asked if she would share her process of creating this awesome teen passive program at her library so others might as well. She even added her own GIFs!
Take it away, Amy: 
I became the teen librarian less than a year ago at the Forest Grove City Library. We have a dedicated physical space for our teens, but they are rarely in the library and we have very little teen participation. Over the year I have been here, I have been trying to find ways to attract teens into the library and encourage participation.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Center for the Future of Libraries: A YS Opportunity

You may or may not have heard the announcement yesterday that there will be a Center for the Future of Libraries Advisory Group.

Oh yeah, and I'm on it.



You may be wondering how in the world I, of all people, was asked to be a part of this in the first place, and why in the world I would actually accept. Didn't I just write two months ago about how much of a "library futurist"-averse pearl clutcher I was? What is even happening right now? So I thought I'd shed a little light on that for you.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Thrive Thursday Roundup: November 2015

Happy Thrive Thursday everyone! This is a Very Special Episode of Thrive Thursday, because it's Thrive Thursday's 2nd birthday! Yay!

Thrive Thursday is a monthly roundup of some great school-age ideas for the library. The roundup has a blog-hop format, hosted by a different blog every month.

Want to know more about Thrive Thursday created by Lisa Shaia? Check out past round ups at Thrive After Three. Make sure you don't miss a thing by following the Pinterest Board and Facebook group!

Now, let's get started with the roundup!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Early Literacy Advocacy for Elected Officials (with Links to Research)

Last month I was tasked with creating two Powerpoints on early literacy to present to key stakeholders in our community. One was presented to a local governing board, and was given by the Director of the cooperative, the Outreach and Training Manager, and myself.

I was pretty excited about this challenge after my first year on the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Public Library Collaboration with Chair Jenna Nemec-Loise of Everyday Advocacy fame.  I approached this with “sound bites they can use” in mind. I also thought about what was “in it for them” as far as early literacy was concerned. An additional opportunity was that, while many of the attendees had been presented with a “libraries and early literacy” talk before, it had been nine years. They needed a refresher, and we had a lot of updates for them—in service and research!

When thinking about “what’s in it for them”, here are a few implied benefits I threaded through the presentation:
1.       You, the governing body, are an educated group.
2.       Early literacy creates educated people who will vote fellow educated people into office.
3.       Early literacy in libraries will keep you or people like you in office.
4.       Profit. (Did you know the return on investment for a community with an early literacy focus is upwards of 16%??? okay maybe you did but your local elected officials probably need that info ASAP).
With that in mind, here are a few sound bites you can use in a future presentation to your governing body:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Iron Fist:the Class II

Didn't get a chance to take my continuing education course "Child Development, Library Space, and Behavior" last Spring? 

Have you been regretting it forever as your drown in a sea of disruptive children and your own tears?

Have stumbled on my Iron Fist posts since and would like to learn more about behavior management?

Or are you just looking to take a class about stuff in libraries that you literally won't find anywhere else?

WELL YOU'RE IN LUCK because I'm so excited to announce that Iron Fist: the Class is happening AGAIN March 21-April 29, 2016. Click here to get more information and to register.  Register by March 6 and get 10% off!

Need to convince yourself or the Powers That Be that this class is worth your funds/time? Here's a ridiculously stellar endorsement of this course by Rebecca McCorkindale, who I've dubbed The Librarian Who Saved SRP 2015. 

Here are a few more details if you're on the fence:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This Week in Professional Development

There have been a few different fantastic ways I've dug my teeth into youth services this week, and I wanted to make sure to share them all! I place quality professional development in high regard; you can find people talking about all kinds of things everywhere-- but people who know their stuff so intimately that they can be entertaining AND amazingly informative? That's rare. AND, all these professional development opportunities are available free to you.

I was going back and forth as to whether create a curated post like this, but then I was extra-inspired by "Lifting One Another Up" by Jessica at Letters to a Young Librarian. I am so fortunate to be in a position where support for other library professionals, connecting them with resources and PD opportunities, is a valued part of my job. I want to make sure to share the love for those of you who aren't lucky enough to have a Me emailing you every week :)

I find that online professional development is a great way to inspire conversations: share these opportunities, watch them when you have time, and start an email thread about them!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"It's Always Been That Way": An Unsolicited Rant

I have a confession to make: I’m a pearl clutcher.

Okay, so maybe not exactly, but I have caught myself in the title of this post a few times.

While this fact isn’t the most inspiring thing in the world, it’s true. I’ve done some debatably-innovative-depending-on-who-you-ask-but-whatever-I’m-proud things. AND, I’ve uttered the phrase “It’s always been done this way.” Sometimes with a judgy air for the practice; sometimes in earnest and with a tinge of defensiveness.

I thought that maybe talking a little about it might shed some light for the “pearl clutchers” and the “change agents” alike, because the perception seems to be that we can’t find common ground; that we’re either one or the other. And I don’t think it has to be that way. In fact, I think that working together, and playing to each other’s strengths, can help us create a culture of librarianship that is overtly kind. And not just because you’re working tirelessly on the Next Big Thing OR because you love every piece of the collection so much that you can’t bring yourself to weed. I see you all. And you have value. And we all should feel valued, because that’s the only way we can do our best work. Together.

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:

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Tic-Tac-Toe/Simon Says Mashup Game

HEY EVERYONE. I need to share with you this thing that is super fun and so easy and you'll want to do it all the time.

So a few weeks ago I visited an afterschool club at one of our elementary schools. One week, I saw the K-1 kids; and the next week, I saw the second graders. Fresh from the Wisconsin Afterschool Association Conference, I felt ready to put some of the things I learned into practice while I geeked out about the library. So I used my The Book with No Pictures activity, read a few funny and interactive books, and made sure to include some silly songs and a game of Simon Says to promote self-regulation.

I noticed when I visited the K-1 kids that this particular afterschool group seemed mildly obsessed with Tic-Tac-Toe. They played each other, they played their teachers, they played in groups with rules I didn't exactly understand. So when I was planning the 2nd grade visit, I figured I might want to incorporate Tic-Tac-Toe in some way. I Googled around for a new version of it, or a new game they could play in that style, but nothing really stuck with me. A light bulb went off and I started Googling about kids using their full bodies to play tic-tac-toe. What if it was our self-regulation game? Then I found this.

I knew exercise would get their blood flowing but we had a small space inside a classroom to work with. SO, I went about creating a Tic-Tac-Toe/Simon Says Mashup! It was so much fun that I made it an addition to our Star Wars Party in May, using the moves described for Don't Drop Yoda at Lemon Squeezy.

Here's what you need:

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Ask Away #2: Field Trips are an Advocacy Tool

So I'm sure I'll talk about it more sometime (yeah, right, just like I'll catch up on my programming posts sometime, right? I'm The Worst), but for now I'll just say I couldn't ask for a better group of colleagues to come together, reflect on current practice, and tackle scenario-based questions for my inaugural go at Iron Fist: The Class. Nothing brings a group of people together like talking about when we've felt most vulnerable and/or empowered for six weeks in a row, I guess. I'm ecstatic to hear from them, because why don't we just all hang out forever now?

So I was happy to hear that Brittany Gitzlaff, youth services director at Waunakee Public Library in WI, agreed to my featuring a recent email conversation of ours! Here's her question:
"After the success of my first few 4K field trips, due in large part to yours and your coworker Brooke's blogs, I was wondering if you had any advice or tricks on writing field trips and tours... Basically, I just don't want them to come in and think that I or the library are completely boring. :)"

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Awesome New-to-Me Blogs

It's my 4 year blog-iversary! I've come a long way since my very first post in which I read Flat Stanley. Not many librarians were here for my first premise, which was to read and blog my way through our entire collection of early chapter books with snark and moxie. A valiant goal, to be sure, but at least it got me writing. Now I write about programming, research, and philosophy with a little less snark and a comparable amount of moxie. Maybe a little less. I was in my 20s when I started this blog, after all.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone who reads my little corner of the web, shares what works for them, and/or writes blogs of their own.

Since I know my blog wouldn't be as successful as it is without some linking from blogs who had already been blogging for awhile, like Marge and Anne (I still remember when Anne linked to my first Iron First post and I had 400 views in a day, on a weekend, when the day before I'd had like 30. Not that page counts actually matter or prove engagement, which is why you'll never find me talking about them. Except, like, right now, of course. Like you expect me to NOT contradict myself in two sentences. What are you, new here?), I figured there's no better way to celebrate my 4 year anniversary of my blog than with a few new/new-to-me/new-to-the-world blogs I've added to my RSS feed. Follow them all! Give them love! Three word phrases!

Anyway, here we go, in absolutely no order, except the one that has come about from linear organization of thought:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


This is not my first nor will it be my last Denver
picture on this blog.
Okay, I obviously love to put the word "-ology" in the title of all my programs because the kids just keep coming to everything with "ology" in it.

I also unabashedly love dinosaurs.

So when I put together a program that invited kids to geek out about dinosaurs, I was not at all playing.

And once I got to talking with the kids who attended, I knew I made the right decision.

This school year I've held more programming on after school and early-release days, and so I've kind of taken my programming in a new direction: fewer stations, more OMFG-this-is-so-crazy-let's-talk-about-this-information-together. And since the programming has happened on days when the kids HAVEN'T been sitting in one spot for six hours, and I can build in some regulation activities, I can give the kids what they want without worrying they'll fall asleep on me. And they want info, because brains are wired to seek it out.

So here's how Dinosaurology went!

Thursday, April 16, 2015


So for awhile we've been talking in my department about running a grossology program, but I've been shying away from it. Mostly because my gross-out factor is really, really, really high. I mean, I guess it depends. For instance, I can talk bodily functions and other stuff people might think is gross for days. I've explained too many Cards Against Humanity jokes in a clinical fashion to in-laws to count; and for that I'm happy that my husband's threshold for mortification is incredibly high. But, play an episode of a show that has a vomit gag, even a cartoon one, and I'm Audi 5000, my friend.

At any rate, I set out to put together a grossology program that was not at all gross to me and yet possibly gross to other people; and after I planned it, I ran it by Kelsey to make sure it was gross enough. Her face as I was describing it said it all-- it was!

So yeah, here's how the "grossest" grossology program I could get myself to do went:

Monday, April 13, 2015

After School Book Exploration: A STEM Shared Experience

This weekend I was lucky to attend The Wisconsin After School Association Conference. If you've never been, the WAA Annual Conference is a great place to connect with other community members statewide who work with youth. I learned about epigenetics, which is completely fascinating. Seriously everyone, watch that video. I'm sure I'll be writing more about it as I wrap my brain around what this could mean for library service. It's fairly inexpensive professional development, at $50 for 4 sessions and a half-day pre-conference. Another great thing I learned about was Spark PE, a research-based physical education program. You can download free plans here that you can adapt to library programming, surely.

I also got to present at one of the session times! I wanted to connect a few high--quality (read: my personal favorite) books to fun things kids can do after school, and talk a little about why that's important.

Here's some highlights:

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Libraries and the ACE Study: an Iron Fist Joint Post with Anna Donaldson, MSW

Anna Donaldson is a Departmental Analyst with the State of Michigan Division of Continuous Quality Improvement (DCQI) which monitors child welfare compliance and quality across the state. In the near future, she will be joining the clinical research team as Research Coordinator at the Momentous Institute in Dallas, TX as she as recently relocated with her husband to the Dallas/Fort Worth area. This new opportunity at the Momentous Institute will allow Anna to work with the team to gather and analyze data surrounding children's social/emotional growth and how the role of education can positively impact a child's ability to self-regulate, self-aware, and increase educational outcomes for at-risk children. Anna's main areas of interest are child welfare, specifically the impact of trauma on children and families, and improving quality of services provide to this population.

Bryce is Bryce. She's Anna's sister. She obviously did not write Anna's bio.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ask Away #1: Working with Children and Being an Adult

There came a point last year when I was really considering my intended audience for this blog. I got a picture in my head of readers in small libraries downloading my ready-to-go Story Action Pod prompts; maybe some newly-professional librarians wading their way through librarianship; other afterschool program providers and teachers looking for fun activities. When I get emails about my blog, these are mostly who they're from. But you were all still pictures in my head, who I envisioned with every post, moving me to continue to blog as I had been.

And then, at the Isthmus Beer and Cheese Fest, I met one of you in person. Cate from Chicago. I was so ecstatically relieved that you all really existed that I asked her for a hug. And a selfie.

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!