Saturday, September 13, 2014

This week at the library; or, Programs begin in earnest

Finally finished making this and deliver it!
What's happening in my head and at the library:
  • After our little fall festival last Saturday, this is our first week back to programs. We had a slow but steady attendance and I ran a lot of errands.
  • I restarted Middle School Madness as just a drop-in in the Storyroom. A small group of middle schoolers (6) dropped in, had a snack and left. Then, later, I had a group of high schoolers (5). I'm kind of frustrated with them as they grabbed most of the candy off my desk when I was distracted (after I'd told them they could only have one piece - I purchase the candy myself), then went into the room for middle school madness even though the sign clearly said middle schoolers only, ate everything left and complained there wasn't more food, then one of them WENT INTO MY DESK DRAWERS to get more candy. I was busy and didn't have time to deal with them, but the more I think about it, the more annoyed I am - the next time they do this, they're out, whether I'm busy or not. This is the younger of our two problems groups - the older one seems to have wandered away, but these guys are ready and willing to fill their spot. It's easy to fall into a "I don't want them to feel unwelcome in the library/they should be able to use the library" mindset, but forget that, because these yahoos are here, other teens aren't.
  • The struggle to redefine the teen/children's/adult spaces continues. We are really pushing the teens to not go upstairs, unless they're going to study alone, since that's now officially a quiet area. So we tell them to go downstairs to the teen area, they arrive there, and all the computers are in use by adults, and adults are sitting all over the teen seating. The teens don't really like the new area anyways, because it's too open, so they are now congregating in the actual children's area on the tables where the elementary kids usually do their homework. I put up a sign saying "welcome to the teen/children's area. Adults, please note there are more computers and quiet study areas upstairs" but it has had absolutely no effect that I can see. Most adults just walk past it without looking at it - the few who stop and read it just ignore it. I have had better success loudly welcoming adults to the children's area and asking how I can help them in the children's area. I am going to work on getting more stuff in the teen area for them to do - put up something on the wall, add a pet to the table, and possibly word the sign more strongly. I'm also hoping that eventually people will start realizing that the upstairs computers are closer to the printer. At this point, I'd consider getting rid of the computer lab (since all the kids have chromebooks through school) and having tables and seating, but I don't know where we'd put the public computers and I know that idea won't get approved.
What the kids are reading:
  • Know-it-all series - didn't own, a patron offered to donate it
  • Boxcar children
  • Eyewitness/Eyewonder books
  • Request for more book+cd bags
  • Loved Ellie McDoodle that I recommended at their last visit - took the rest of the series
  • Magic trick books
  • S.W.I.T.C.H. series (which for some reason I totally blanked out on until she showed me the one she just read!)


Miss Michelle said...

I think we all need to take a collective deep breath and realize that almost no one EVER reads library signage. >_< That being said, is there a way to staff the teen area right before school is out? One could kick the adults out to make way for the teens. You said in the post the teens don't really like their new space. Could you ask them what would make it better for their use? To me, it sounds like you have a mixed bag of teens who want to use the library. It's SO HARD to include the kids who steal your candy (are you sure they don't come to my library too?), but at the end of the day, those kids are probably the ones who need the safe place the library provides. Keep up the good fight! :)

Jennifer said...

Ha, so true! I'm going to work on getting the teen area more defined and adding stuff for them to do. Hopefully the adults will eventually get the point and move, but I don't think I'd be allowed to MAKE them move. I just have to be more patient. The teens don't like the smaller space, or that it's open, or that the adults are crammed on the computers right there. But it's their fault - they had a nice big room upstairs and abused the privilege, so they lost it. I hope to move the computer lab someday so it's not crammed right into the area some day though.

Ruth McNally Barshaw said...

Jennifer, thanks so much for sharing the Ellie McDoodle books with your students. :) I appreciate it. Book 6 comes out next week!

Jennifer said...

Yay! I think our copy is in the back being cataloged...This girl first said she "hates reading" and then when she came back "where's the rest of the series?" which is always a thing I love to hear!