Saturday, February 11, 2012

This week at the library; or, what happened to my peaceful February?

This always happens. Every time I think "oh, I can do all those projects in my off time" my to-do list magically expands and fills the time. I was thinking February would be slow. Blizzards! Freezing weather! No big programs (other than running two booths at the Family Resource Fair, Open Storyhour and Sewing Workshop on the no school day, and a couple school visits)! But things keep HAPPENING!!

Monday - crazy busy morning, as always. Staff meeting. Secondary staff meeting with fewer people to talk about summer reading. Third (thirdly?) staff meeting with one person to divvy up prize sources. In our town, this basically means deciding who gets what bank. Realized after I got home that if other staff members didn't immediately "get" the new summer reading program that it needed a LOT more tweaking, or parents and kids really won't "get" it. Thought about it most of the evening. Dreamed about it (better than my dreams of shelving, not as fun as my dream libraries).

Tuesday - Still thinking about summer reading. Sent a lengthy email at 7am of summer reading thoughts. When I got to work (on time despite lengthy emailing) I prepped for tomorrow's storytime and went full steam ahead on the new signage for the massive series project and changes in the children's area. Must remember to do before and after pictures...left early at 3pm for an appointment. Inspired by Kelly, I spent most of the evening finally using my Pintrest account and filling up boards with all the ideas that were clogging up my email (I also made a quick trip downtown for toffee. I earned it!)

Had a BRILLIANT idea about how to organize my storytime extras - songs, rhymes, etc., around midnight. Of course, all my ideas are brilliant, but this one is extra sparkly. More on that later!

Wednesday - 7:00am Just couldn't resist playing with my brilliant idea - my new blog for rhymes, songs, movement, and more Storytime Extras! Just a few things so far but I will add more soon...

So, Wednesday, always the highlight of the week! HUGE group for Preschool Interactive, 47!! Makes me wonder if my other groups were actually this big, I haven't been able to count but I made sure I did it today and it felt as big as my other ones that I've been estimating at 35.

Next group - the primary class from Lakeland School, the special education school. They're coming every month and we're having fun! It's a small group, 6-8 kids and two teachers. Today we...
  • read Brownie Groundhog and the February Fox by Susan Blackaby
  • read How do you hug a porcupine by Laurie Isop
  • read Cupcake: a journey to special by Cherise Mericle Harper
  • sang Sunny Day by Elizabeth Mitchell
  • made valentine cards with paper, stickers, markers and crayons
it was a little shorter visit because they had a basketball game to go to!

Final program - Lego Club! I did a whole new room set up, you can check out the pictures in the library photos slideshow to the left. We had a big group today. I always tell people that Lego Club is easy, a quick and stress-free program. But...I've been thinking about that and it's not true. Of course, it depends on how you do your club, how many people come, who comes, etc. Today was a typical Lego Club and this is how it went:
  • 2:30pm start breaking down last week's creations, recycling paper labels the kids wrote and sorting out the minifigures into their tub (suspiciously, there seem to be fewer every week...)
  • lug the giant tub, stacks of books, and misc. stuff including newsletters, sign-up sheets for upcoming programs, donation jar, etc. over to the Community Room. This involves several trips across the library.
  • Chris, one of my 7th graders, shows up. I invite him in to help and he agrees. We move tables. We move more tables. My new set up is cool but it involves moving four heavy tables to the other end of the room and taking out and setting up another four heavy tables from the storage closet.
  • 3:00pm my aide, Melissa, arrives. She sets up chairs, all of which are at the wrong end of the room. Chris goes back to my office to collect the rest of the Legos. I set up Legos and arrange the display tables. I suddenly remember I forgot the large whiteboard arrow sign and set it up.
  • 3:25pm Everything set up! I take pictures so we can remember how the set-up goes next time and Chris does a little building before taking off for the computers and Melissa goes off to shelve.
  • 3:35pm Kids arrive...and arrive...and arrive. A steady stream of parents and kids come between 3:30 and 4:30. This week was slightly unusual in that we had an unusually large number of new families - 5 I think? Overall, we had about 45 people. Oldest kids (not counting Chris) were 5th graders, younger kids were a couple preschoolers (not counting babies and toddlers hauled along by older siblings).
  • I talk to parents about upcoming programs, their favorite books, concerns about children, and what's going on at school. In between (and sometimes at the same time) as these conversations I help kids find Legos, tell new people how the program works and about our other programs, remind as many people as possible that next week is Messy Art Club, and keep an eye on several kids whose parents leave them at Lego Club while retrieving and redistributing other children (this is done with my permission and the parents - and kids - are really good about it, the kids know the rules and how to behave and are comfortable with the other families in the room. I'm glad to do this for the parents, who are all very nice about the arrangement and always want me to tell them if for some reason it doesn't work anymore. But it is another consideration - I need to keep an eye on these kids while I'm doing everything else) I also smooth down various disagreements and make sure the transition to our new arrangement goes smoothly.
  • 4:30pm kids start finishing up their creations. I escort kids over to display their creations (in the children's area at the other end of the library) for various reasons - they've made something so big they can't carry it, this is their first time and they don't know where it goes, and I always go with younger kids if their parent is busy with another sibling so they're not walking over by themselves. Once I've started doing this, the Lego Club group starts shifting over to the children's area. In between ferrying Legos and kids back and forth I do a lot of reader's advisory and help with questions about library services in the children's area. I also collect any families I see in the children's area who often don't realize there's a program going on at the other end of the library (yes, there's a whiteboard in their face when they walk in. People don't read signs.) This time I netted a couple teens who were babysitting and two more families.
  • 4:55 Everyone has finished and today everybody did a really good job cleaning up the room - sometimes there are a LOT more Legos to pick up. I clean up the last few bits of Legos, help the last couple families with coats, say goodbye, collect all the Lego tubs, display books, donation jar, etc. etc. This is usually 2-3 trips. Put everything away, reshelve books, and make a new Lego Club sign to let people know when the next meeting will be.
  • 5:15pm Done! I finished early b/c everybody did so good a job cleaning up. I didn't put the tables back and we'll see if there's repercussions about that, but there's no way I can lift them by myself and there's no one left to help by that time.
So, it's not "just" a program - it's networking, reader's advisory, reference, etc. etc.

Home and working on my new blog...does anybody know how to record a song? I want to put the tune of a storytime song I use and can't find it anywhere - I don't think I made the tune up, it goes to something else but I can't think what! Anyways, I am ready to sacrifice myself and sing it for posterity, but how do I record this?

Thursday - Was planning to do a whole slew of things and got roped into running errands for everybody instead. Oh well. Decided no time like the present and cleaned out the Storyroom storage closet, which is also the puppet theater. Kids were falling over stuff last time we did Elephant and Piggie. So, today's Elephant and Piggie Kids' 3:35 a girl showed up. A few minutes later a boy showed up. Two more kids at 3:45. We ended up with only about 15 people total. Alas! I am afraid that not doing it every week is going to severely limit the attendance, but I simply cannot handle a third weekly program. Twice a month is all I can do. Anyways, I kinda mixed it up because of the people drifting in. So, we:
  • read Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
  • read Pigs make me sneeze by Mo Willems (with the help of my stuffed Gerald and Piggie and the kids who put in the sneezes)
  • read Beetle McGrady eats bugs by Megan McDonald
  • Sang Anansi by Raffi
  • read Anansi and the Magic Stick by Eric Kimmel (the kids all got a tongue depressor to be their "magic stick" and chanted the magic words)
  • read One cool friend by Toni Buzzeo
  • made spider puppets - the basic idea came from The Best of Dr. Jean and then I tweaked it. We stapled together paper plates with a hole at each end, crunkled and stapled on strips of paper for legs, drew on eyes with markers, and then decorated them with bleeding art tissue paper.
  • played with the puppet theater.
Then I did my evening on the desk and it was Daisy night! Which means tons of questions, lots of excitement, and lots of kids!

Friday Got to work around 8:30 and until 5:30 pm, in between putting together an Amazon order, endless questions on and off the desk, and other miscellaneous distractions, almost completed my big shift/reorganization. Pictures will soon be posted to the slideshow on the left. I took down the nonfiction display, shifted the shelves, and moved all the juvenile Spanish (noting that the call numbers are awful and should someday be changed). I took down the new picture books and easy readers and put them on display above their shelves, then shifted all three ranges turning it into the new nonfiction display. I put together new shelving and replaced all the old Spanish shelves, cannibalized more shelves from other spots, and then shifted the juvenile graphic novels onto those shelves. My aide came in around this point and went to work scraping off the old labels. Sadly, we discovered that some came off and some...didn't. She'll work more on this on Monday. I moved all the new juvenile series and beginning chapter books to a separate display area and added a place on it for suggestions. I cut the juvenile chapter book display down to one range of shelves and shifted the shelves. My aide started shifting the juvenile fiction back into the extra spaces. I put the extra shelves left over from Spanish into the places missing shelves (two different types of shelves, which is why all the moving around). I reorganized the displays on top of the picture book, juvenile series, and easy reader shelves, including moving a bunch of the Lego creations. I put up new signage everywhere. We still have to get the rest of the sticky residue off the series shelves, shift the series and easy readers, and finish shifting the juvenile fiction. My feet hurt.

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