This is what a Librarian looks like. Don't agree? Fight me. >:DRead More
Wow! I’ve been a librarian for three years. It is crazy how much experience and perspective you receive from just three years into your professional career. I usually have two broad types of goals that I keep----sometimes as a librarian the lines blur between your personal and professional development. I do separate my work life goals from my home goals, but I do have friends who mix the two.
My 2016 Professional Goals:
- Build Leadership Skills
- Overcome Apathy
- Release Data: Finish Writing White Paper
- Renewed Advocacy
Building Leadership Skills
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having lofty goals. Maybe I won’t make a good supervisor, but who knows? I’m all about keeping my eyes open and continuing developing my managerial toolkit. If any windows of leadership opportunity open, I want to make sure they do not close.
I want to keep having strong feelings and doing positive deeds toward battling oppression.
Releasing Data: finish writing white paper
One of my last three year professional goals is to write a academic paper and publish it. I have outlines and data (I still need another year's worth of data), but after that I want to start putting this paper together and release it into the world.
It's very common for librarians to hear that “books are a dying industry.” I usually turn it around to ask the question, “is information really dying?” Just because you can afford access to gadgets and books does not mean that everyone in America can. The fact that people still have terrible prevalent views and stereotypes about libraries still means libraries and librarians have a long way to go. I always renew my passion of advocating the power of libraries every year.
This is just my fancy way of saying know thyself. It is easy for me to want to do everything that I can and it is so hard to say, "no." Wikipedia describes sustainability as the capacity to endure. I want to keep going looking happily forward to the awesome future that is in store for libraries. My own mental roadblocks (i.e. when I get frustrated and upset at bureaucratic conventions) can limit sustaining a positive viewpoint, which makes it hard to want to continue in the field. I think it is perfectly fine to acknowledge that while I be experiencing some world-weariness today, to not let that take away my joy and my mission for helping people enjoy unlimited access to information. I think sometimes we get caught up in the sustainability of our own library programs that we do not sustain ourselves. We become burnt out or discouraged due to politics, policies, and people. I want to keep going into 2016 believing that a work ethic and a good attitude can make a difference.
My library is popular for school visits because its a repository collection. I think a fun thing about working at my library is the fact that we have a great research collection available for the community especially since a lot of our surrounding schools do not have libraries (no matter the type of school: public, private, or charter). Needless to say, we are regularly booked with school tours during the year. We have also had an increase in different types of library instruction classes. Teachers are wanting students to be able to navigate beyond research instruction and learn how to navigate our digital streaming, e-audio, and e-book collections, too. Teachers are wanting to students to be familiarized with knowing how to download digital items on either school provided hardware (or their own mobile devices) through our library catalog. This particular school visit was to train students on our Library Catalog and Overdrive.
Library Catalog Instruction
This is pretty standard for most library visits. We set up our computer lab because library instruction is a hands-on experience. Students will partner (or can go solo) as they experience how to search our catalog. I highlight generalized search features: finding the catalog, basic keyword catalog searching, tips on learning how to find items (reading the catalog record). I utilize the teaching strategy: I do. We do. You do. I have them follow along with me in finding the library website and getting to the catalog page. I might ask them a particular book to type in and do a keyword search on a that particular title.
Depending on time, I'll ask students to give me another search term we can all find together. I might ask a favorite book, or a recent movie someone saw and then we are off to find it at the library. When the results load I'll go through an explanation of the library record, and we might do another one together. I would then have students talk among their partner about the books availability and the location of finding the book. If the book isn't available it leads into asking lead questions about other ways to access the book from the library.
From there, I'll turn it over to the students (usually have them switch out if they are sharing) and give them another item to search on their own. Learning how to search for items at the library is a life-long process. Library school teaches you why classification is so confusing no matter what system you use. For younger students, it is about their exposure to the library catalog and building their persistence in finding materials. Navigating the library just takes practice. It's not a difficult feat, but it can seem intimidating. It's giving them baby steps to learn the process of how to be an independent library user. I am visited by a lot of frustrated college students who come straight to the desk and tell me in an angry tone about how a book, "IS JUST NOT THERE!"
I would say 90% of the time I can find the book on the shelf (I'm including if it's not shelved correctly). I'm a relentless searcher. Of course, there will be 10% of times that books that will not be there. Whether they are missing (lost/stolen) or sometimes the kids are working on the same report (and picked the same book moments before) or someone is currently reading it. Yet, I get a lot of college students who just absolutely HATE navigating the library and searching.
Let me clarify further: I don't mind searching for patrons AT ALL---if you are in school to be a future educator or future early childhood worker: you NEED to know how to navigate the library. If a family is at the library and caretaker looks overwhelmed, honey, give me that list---and let me help you and your family out. I want your trip to the library to be a pleasant one, but I also want you to be confident in your ability to use the library. WHY? BECAUSE IT'S EASY. That being said my goal is to help my younger kids not be afraid to ask me questions or have me help them with their navigation on our catalog computers. That is the foundation for getting use to navigating the library and build confidence as you get older in learning how your library is organized.
While I may not *personally* support education practices my duty as a librarian is being a support for educators. That means if teachers are teaching Lexile than I need to make sure kids can find books in their Lexile range. This particular school group wanted Lexile books highlighted for their class. Our catalog has this cool integrated feature that teachers love:
It makes it easier for kids to find books in their range and links to them in our catalog. It's a pretty nifty feature. Kids can get an idea of narrowing down books (I always tell them to find 3-5 choices JUST in case their top choices are not available) they might be interested in reading.
The teachers I work with are great about partnering with me in instruction to tailor specific needs to their classes. From there kids are highly engaged in finding books because we usually have a short time frame.
I usually give kids our awesome designed pamphlets as a note taking/reminder if they need help in accessing ebooks. I go through and have them circle and star important items. It helps hold their attention and I get to make sure they understand the basic steps to accessing materials. I usually highlight how to find books, how to tell if they are available, placing them on hold, downloading, and getting an Adobe ID. I might also mention our other digital services (like Hoopla!) if there is time. We talk about how the book automatically returns and the lack of fines and I usually give them time to explore the platform.
Library Instruction Objectives
My main objective for school tours: Inspire Lifelong Learning. The simplest way is to show that the library is a warm and welcoming place. I will see MANY different schools over the course of a year, but I may not regularly see the same students or classes. While I wish I could build a library instruction program where I see the same kids often, it is not the reality. I try to keep that in mind to make sure that I do not overwhelm kids with information and I provide the building blocks for making them WANT to pursue information when they get older.
I had 64 students from 4 classes visit today. The kids were amazing listeners. They were attentive and engaged in being active participants. I got good feedback from the kids about their favorite books to search for and students familiar with checking out items at the library. We explored Overdrive and the teachers loved the Lexile range options. I received great feedback from teachers in resources their students have been using and what library resources they were excited to go back and practice after this training. The teachers talked about the big push in their respective schools for improved reading scores and my supervisor and I talked about new ways we can further support students and educators in that push for higher reading scores.
I will continue doing Monday night storytimes. I'm in the early stages of planning as I'm gathering songs and stories for these toddler times. I'm excited to revisit some old rhymes and add some new songs to my repertoire. I'll be getting new books, letters, and crafts to use in my storytime. I'm excited because the winter times selected line up closely with upcoming holiday themes from January-March.
I ran into a storytime attendee from fall. She told me that she could not believe in eight weeks how transformed her child was. She said her daughter was pretty quiet and would not talk much, but after attending those classes her daughter talks SO much more, sings, and is actively wanting to play.
To this upcoming storytime season, I say:
Starting Monday, I will be doing pajama storytime for eight weeks with toddlers. We are part of a grant study to see how storytime influences parents reading behavior with their child. Each parent has to attend seven of eight sessions (at a variety of libraries within the county) and they will receive a $100 giftcard. They will fill out surveys every week dealing simple questions about time spent doing the five early literacy principles.
This will be my first fall toddler time where I'm not subbing for anyone. AHHHH! I'm super nervous! I'll be adding all my lesson plan and direct observations in subsequent posts!
Every year, United Way has a Day of Caring, which allows people one full day of community service. United Way partners with local businesses and non-profits in offering a wide variety of helpful services. This year, 120 third graders will be visiting the library for a storytime and craft with their Day of Caring mentor.
I'll be doing the storytime and I'm so excited!!!!!