Saturday, July 21, 2012

This week at the library; or, Busy, Busy, Busy

I dived right back in to work Monday - rescheduling the kindergarteners tomorrow (too hot to walk), figuring out how to have the Wii pizza party on Friday evening after all, making calls for fall planning, planning the rest of storytime, cleaning off my desk, etc. etc.

Very sad to hear of the deaths of Donald Sobol and Else Holmelund Minarik. Encyclopedia Brown has recently had an upsurge at my library and Minarik's easy readers are classics of course.

Tuesday morning I did storytime for the kindergarteners at summer school. Eh, could have been hotter. I just grabbed a selection of Preschool Interactive books and a stack of butterfly masks. Things were a bit frantic when I came back, and while I was on the phone talking to a possible homeschool speaker for a program in the fall, someone threw up in the children's area. All over the trains. But I was on the phone and then I had to set up for the performer, so someone else ended up doing the cleaning. Mr. Billy was great fun and we had about 80 people, which is really good for a new performer nobody knows. Then I left early to work on the Messy Art Club for August at home.

I'm wondering how many libraries have repeat summer performers. We usually have different people every year for Storywagon and I'm getting a "you can't have the same people back, that would be boring" kind of vibe, but it seems to me that patrons really like traditions - if they really like a performer, they're happy to see them year after year. Exception being magicians, b/c once you've seen the tricks you lose that element of surprise, but lots of people ask me "when are they coming back? will they be here next year?" and it would sure make planning easier too...

36 people showed up for Preschool Interactive on Wednesday, which means about 24 kids. It was pretty crowded. The rest of the day was a blur of crazy. I did lend out my Wednesday volunteer and other random kids to help set up the booksale and got a bunch of programs booked for the fall. Now I just have to plan them.

Thursday, more crazy. Due to some mess-ups in the schedule, I have gotten scheduled to open for several Thursdays, i.e. come in before 9, but I also stay until 5:30 on Thursdays b/c of my after school programs. Eh, whatever. It was insanely busy and I spent all the spare time and thought I could manage on our increasingly convoluted fall schedule. Not only do I have to schedule my programs, I have to book our large community room through parks and recreation (yes, it's in the library. no, we don't control it. yes, this is a sensitive subject) coordinate programs with Miss Pattie, who does programming at the library, the community room and parks and rec, then call performers to make sure they can come on the days we have the community room, find out they can't, call parks and rec, find out Pattie has the room, call Pattie, call the get the idea. We had Messy Art Club and the book sale started. It was crazy.

I came straight onto the desk at 12 on Friday, then ran some errands, tried to clear some of the detritus off my desk, and then it was time for the Wii Tournament and Pizza Party. This was supposed to be the sort of companion teen program to Girls' Night Out. It was certainly equally well-attended - 17 kids, 15 of them boys, came. We had two wii consoles set up and the kids started playing at 5:30. It wasn't really a tournament, b/c we only finally got our equipment this week and didn't really have time to organize it. The kids were all being really good about taking turns of the Wii consoles died at about 6:30 and most of the kids decided they were bored with Wii anyways.

We tried to get a movie going, but that equipment wouldn't work either and nobody could agree on a movie. We ended up spending about an hour playing variations of hide and seek with me shouting myself hoarse, praying nobody got injured, and a couple kids having fun with the Wii.

I think the boys mostly had fun, although the older ones groused a little (although I did point out to them that if we had restricted it to 13 and up, there would have been no program, since there were only 2 thirteen year olds and one 15 year old and he came with his younger brother)

This format - have various projects and just let the kids hang out - worked well with the girls b/c there was a wide variety of ages and most of them didn't know each other. All but 3 of these kids were 11-12, and most of the boys were friends, so there wasn't any intial awkwardness to keep things a little calmer.

I think what we'll do differently next year is:

  • Shorter program. 5:30-7:00 would be plenty of time
  • Divide the boys into groups - Wii gaming, hide and seek, and Guiness World Record type projects (have some of these in my storage closet)
  • Each group spends 30 minutes at their station, then they switch. We could have pizza in between or something.

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