Tag Archives: Children’s librarianship

Quiero ser…

I want to be…a librarian!

For my MLS technology course, I was assigned to compose a paragraph briefly explaining my professional goals, for my ePortfolio.  Did I hit all the points, folks?

I’m eager to begin my career as a librarian and I am building a full repertoire of skills and experience that will enrich my professional practice.  I expect to earn my MLS by 2012, with a School Media Specialist certification, but I’m open to working in a public or school library setting.  My undergraduate specialization was in education and I have many teaching experiences, so I already know how much I enjoy helping children and teens to make the most of the resources available to them and to appreciate the importance of the written word.  As I predict my professional life as a librarian, I see myself working on the front lines of a reference desk or information literacy classroom every day and interacting with different people.  I will learn from my patrons as much as they learn from me, and I will be thankful every day for the blessing of getting to help people in a vocation I love.

PS – Sorry I’ve been MIA for so long.  I get way too caught up with school, work, and life, and I’ve strayed too far from my home[page].  I’ll be posting more often, and hopefully include some reviews of recent reads.

How to Give a Cat a Bath, and other dangerous advice

After decompressing from a semester of MLS studies, I’m finally getting back to Mr. Blog.  I’ve been reading a bit here and there, and have even been putting my VCR to good use.

Bad Kitty series by Nick Bruel

Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I discovered this delightful little series of picture books and illustrated children’s chapter books that center around the life of a very, very bad, bad kitty.

In the original picture book, Bad Kitty, the kitty is loathe to find out that he’s been temporarily restricted to a vegetable diet.  Fortunately, his hazardous protests throughout the house won him back his omnivorous cat food.  The book, and its sequel, Poor Puppy (in which the kitty is introduced to an over-friendly new housemate), incorporate the alphabet and counting, and are devilishly funny and random in their choice of vocabulary.

Additionally, Bruel wrote illustrated chapter books about specific aspects of the kitty’s life, including Bad Kitty Gets a Bath. In this hilarious volume, the kitty’s owner explains the dangers involved in attempting to clean a cat, including injury, death, and pants-wetting.  The book even gives a detailed illustration and explanation of the escalating levels of cat anger as expressed through different hisses.  Any cat-lover (or cat-hater, even) will recognize the high-strung attitude of kitty, something common to many of our feline friends.  I highly recommend these books, to adults and childen.  The picture books are a longer read than most, so keep that in mind when reading with those with shorter attention spans (adults and children included).

Here’s a link to Nick Bruel’s Bad Kitty series: click here.

Knuffle Bunny Free – My First Storytime

In honor of the recent publication of the third (and final) installment of the Knuffle Bunny series by Mo Willems, I decided to do a Knuffle-centric storytime for my October program at the library.  The program was advertised for 4 to 7 year olds, but some toddler siblings tagged along with their moms.

Here’s a rundown of the activities:

  • Knuffle Bunny – A Cautionary Tale – DVD narrated by the author & his daughter
  • Teddy bear toss with music & dance (kids brought their teddies)
  • Knuffle Bunny Too – A Tale of Mistaken Identity – read aloud
  • A look at the map – where does Knuffle Bunny travel to?
  • Knuffle Bunny Free – An Unexpected Diversion – read aloud
  • Craft – Make a Mo Willems-style picture of your family

It was my first storytime at the library, and I was nervous.  The storytime was a bit hectic, as the toddlers-in-tow made a lot of noise, but the moms kept tabs on them, luckily.  The children enjoyed the stories, it seemed.  The craft took about 5 minutes longer than I expected, and the glue was much more messy than it was when I made a sample craft (my glue stick skills are more fine-tuned I guess).  Another children’s librarian stayed in the room to observe me, and she said that the program went well and that I did a good job, especially considering the whiny toddlers.

I had a good, but nervous time, and I hope the kids enjoyed themselves.  After all, it’s all about the kids’ enjoyment and developing love of reading.

My next program will be an “Honor Our Veterans” storytime, followed by children creating thank-you cards for local hospitalized veterans.  Wish me good luck!

Webkinz Fun – My First Program!

Sorry for the delay! My itsy-bitsy netbook is still under the knife in intensive care.  Right now, it sits, gutted, on my other desk.  Because I password-protected my files originally, I am unable to access them now from the severed hard drive.  Alas, it will be more time before my digital mobility is functional again.
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This Monday was my first real library Children’s program: “Webkinz Fun.”  My supervisor gave me the great idea, as she had success with the concept in the past.  For those of you who may be unfamiliar, Webkinz are the newest incarnation of the Beanie Babies phenomenon.  However, Webkinz have the distinction of having an online component in which children and their parents can participate in virtual communities based on the stuffed pets that they have paid for adopted.

The program went relatively smoothly, despite the one child in the room who was determined to test out just how long his lungs would allow him to wail.  Fortunately his mother and my supervisor were both in the room, so I wasn’t faulted for his tantrum.  It was a very laid-back activity and consisted of:

  • children introducing themselves and their pets to each other
  • a game of Webkinz bingo (this was a big hit)
  • a craft where children designed a plastic name tag for their pet
  • children showing off their name tags to each other (this wasn’t quite smooth since the children were getting antsy)

All-in-all, this program felt like a success, and got a “great” rating from my supervisor, which made me very happy.  My favorite pet names were Chihuahua for a Chihuahua, Ssssss for a snake, and Flower for a dog.  How cute!

For my October program, I’ll be hosting a Knuffle Bunny fest centered around the recently-premiered Knuffle Bunny Free that hit the shelves this week.  I’ll give more updates on the program as I plan the details.

A Quiet Night at the Library

Right now, our library seems to be in the very middle of a multi-week lull in the action in the Children’s Room. The Make a Splash summer reading club ended nearly two weeks ago, but there is still a week left before procrastination-happy parents come in for last-minute summer reading books requested by the schools.

I normally work only 1pm-5pm on Fridays, but I volunteered for extra hours (and extra $), so I worked until 9pm.  From 5-9 I was on duty in the Young Adult/teen room.  It was the slowest day I’ve experienced, and the lack of teens was probably compounded by the fact that the weather outside was lovely.  During my four hours in the teen room, I probably helped only 5 teens and one elderly gentleman – much fewer than usual.

Luckily, I’d been given some projects to work on by my superiors and the other librarians.  Tonight was perfect for doing computer-heavy, involved tasks.  Here’s a sample of the few projects I’ve been doing:

1. Princess Book List.  In the Children’s Room, we’ll often get parents of preschool girls asking for princess books.  Inevitably, this happens while all of the librarians are busy with other patrons, so the princess patrons simply get referred to the Disney section.  Well, my superiors (and I) agree that it would be ideal to encourage non-Disney books, and make them easily available for the little girls that like everything to be a combination of pink, purple, and sparkly.  I finished the list today, and it should appear on the SHPL webpage next week.

2. Summer Book Weeding. This is my first assignment of this sort.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with library lingo, “weeding” is the process of assessing the frequency of use of materials in order to give/throw away anything that doesn’t earn its place on the shelf.   Today, I started the first round of weeding of the Summer Story books, just going through ones that have been on the front display shelf.  So far, it seems that less than 1/5 of the books are going into the tentative “weed” pile.

3. Journal Hunting. One of the full-time librarians got handed down an assignment from the boss, and she handed it down to me.  I started going through the School Library Journal, checking to make sure that our library has copies of all the most highly featured materials in the journal.  So far, I’ve found that we already have all but a few of the books that appear in the featured lists (this one happened to be about picture books that reinforce mathematical concepts).

Although these three projects are business-as-usual for seasoned librarians, they are all new tasks for me.  I’m excited to learn new procedures and develop familiarity with all aspects of the profession.  Additionally, I may also soon begin re-cataloging all of the audio CD collection in the Children’s Room.  We shall see….and don’t forget to enjoy the extra “quiet time” at the library in the August slow season.

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“Sync YA Literature Into Your Earphones”

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Thanks to my friend and fellow library professional, Christy Hartigan, I happened upon this great site supporting young adult (YA) literature.  Sync seeks to encourage young adults (ages 13+) to listen to audiobook versions of both contemporary and classic titles in YA lit.

According to the Sync homepage:

What is SYNC?

• SYNC is an online community that seeks to build the audience for audiobooks among readers 13 and up.

• Each week, SYNC will give away 2 FREE downloads–a popular Young Adult title paired with a Classic title that appears on Summer Reading lists–starting July 1 through September 1, 2010.

• SYNC is hosted by Audiobook Community, a new social networking site for the discovery of audiobooks.

• Listeners can choose to join a conversation about these titles with authors, narrators, publishers, librarians, and other listeners. (Listeners are not required to join Audiobook Community to follow the conversation on SYNC nor to download FREE titles from SYNC.)

In addition to the free weekly downloads, they offer great freebie downloads for librarians & educators: bookmarks, posters, newsletters, and more.  So download this week’s free audiobook and enjoy the YA audiobook community.  Tell me what you think of this recommendation in the comments section – anyone try out Sync?

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My First Day as a Librarian Trainee

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As I discussed with one of my coworkers (one of the summer pages) during my break today, a career in libraries must really be the right path for me: for the last few months, my professional growth has progressed more smoothly than I could have ever hoped. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve recently been very blessed with two successive library jobs, along with acceptance to an MLS program. Thanks for letting me revel in the moment!

So, today was my first day working as a Librarian Trainee (“trainee” because I’m still working on my MLS degree.) I was nervous about not having many reference skills, but my fears were put to rest by my supportive coworkers. These lovely librarians guided me gently through my first day sitting at “the big desk.”

Here’s a sampling of all the interesting interactions I had with patrons today:

-registering kids for programs (ie, “baby boogie time,” such cute titles)
-signing kids up for computer stations
-finding Captain Underpants, Cam Jansen, and army-themed books on the shelves with kids
-helping parents schedule time to borrow museum passes (we have a very lucky library!)

I enjoyed the ebb and [very busy!] flow of my short shift.  Even though some parts of the day were more busy than I could handle alone, I felt so satisfied helping so many people today – and I was lucky enough that most of the patrons were very friendly and patient with my emerging know-how.  I’m really looking forward to my next shift on Friday, and to the next few months of learning on-the-job.  Cheers to a great first day as a children’s Librarian Trainee!

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