Tag Archives: public libraries

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!

There’s No Such Thing as a Stupid Question – Or Is There? (via Swiss Army Librarian)

On today’s Swiss Army Librarian post, public library reference librarian Brian Herzog pokes fun at some nonsensical or unsympathetic questions posed by patrons.  Below are some of the responses he would have liked to have offered, but did not, because he is a professional.  This post is a gentle jab at those annoying queries at the library:

“I enjoy being a librarian, and working with the public. But it can be challenging, and sometimes you just need to vent.  No matter what people ask me, I make sure the words that come out of my mouth are helpful and positive – however, those aren’t always the first words that spring to mind…here are some answers I have not given to questions patrons have asked me. You’ve heard of FAQs – now here are some ALUs (”answers left unsaid”):
Patron: The book isn’t on the shelf, on a cart, or behind the desk – where else could it be?
Answer: In someone else’s home.

Patron: This computer is loading slowly – should I just sit here and wait?
Answer: You could stand.

Patron: All the bathrooms are in use, where else can I go?
Answer: There are bushes outside.

[five computers in a row rebooted while a particular patron was using them because she keeps pressing CTRL-ALT-DEL, after I showed her that CTRL-ALT-DEL reboots computers]
Patron: I’m sure it’s not something I’m doing.
Answer: Hmm, then maybe they just sense danger.

Patron: The computer said the book I want is “Checked out.” Does that mean it’s checked out?
Answer: No, that’s just our way of deterring patrons who aren’t pushy enough.

Patron: The museum pass I want is already reserved for the day I want to go – can you cancel that person and give it to me?
Answer: Actually, you don’t need the pass at all – just go to the museum and they’ll let you in free if you tell them the secret code; it’s “I need to plan ahead.”

[patron on the phone]
Patron: Can you speak up, why are you speaking so softly?
Answer: Because I’m in a library.

[patron brings in a broken playaway, and I offer to request one from another library or to show him where the book is on the shelf]
Patron: You think I want to *read* this book?
Answer: You’re right, that might be asking too much.

Sigh, I hate speaking ill of people who come into the library and ask for help, but I’m sure we’ve all been there. The good news is that questions like the above are few and far between (but they’ll never be few and far between enough).”

Here’s my “answer left unsaid”:

[Patrons are given 30 minute sessions at the computer terminals.  They get a 10 minute warning that pops up, telling them to ask the librarian to put more time on their session, provided no one else is waiting to use the terminal.  Recently, two patrons came up to me after their time expired]
Patron:
Can I have more time on my computer?
Answer: Sure, just go ahead and follow the warning – 10 minutes ago.

Does anybody else have a personal anecdote to share?  Please do…

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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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How an Audiobook Speaks Up for Itself

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Audiobook Week, graphic from http://www.devourerofbooks.com/As the Stacked book review blog has informed me, we’re in the midst of Audiobook Week.  Personally, I am a traditionalist when I read full-length works.  Although I [clearly] have become interested in reading blogs, articles, and forums online, I still prefer the paper-and-ink experience for novels, textbooks, etc.

I try to keep an open mind, though.  The first audiobook I “read” was The Lord of the Rings: the Fellowship of the Ring, starring the delightful voice of Rob Inglis.  Shortly thereafter, I received a gift of Good Omens on CD from a friend.  I’ve been “working” on this one for months.  I really enjoy the storyline and the narrator’s approach, too.

However, I still can’t seem to find harmony with the format itself.  I only listen to audiobooks in the car, on long trips.  [After all, if I have free time at home, I’d rather read a book in my hands.]  In the car, I tend to fumble with the multiple CDs, get mentally distracted, and often forget to play the audiobook at all on smaller trips.

I do, of course, believe that it is important for public libraries to stock audiobooks, as much as their budget will allow.  I know many people who prefer this format for many reasons: multitasking (something I am clearly unable to do – see above), listening simultaneously with a friend, and reading impairments such as dyslexia.  Additionally, my public library is fortunate enough to have a small collection of Playaways, pre-loaded MP3 devices with the most popular titles, in addition to the lengthy shelves of audiobooks on CD and cassette.

Thanks to Google Reader, I found an article on Stacked from 2009 that gave me a better understanding of how the strength of an audiobook operates on a different set of criteria than does a paper book.   According to Stacked:

Although listeners can have a preference for one of these, they can all be done well or all be done poorly. But what makes a good audio book and what makes a bad one? If you’re listening to one and aren’t sure, consider these:

  • Are the words pronounced correctly? Is the narrator using an authentic accent? One of the presenters mentioned a book set in Wisconsin where the narrator had a mid-Atlantic accent and it really killed the book for her as a Wisconsinite. The Dairy Queen, on the other hand, has an authentic Wisconsin accent.
  • Is the book complete with a clear, crisp sound? Is the volume consistent?
  • Do you hear juicy mouth sounds? Is the narrator’s voice hoarse?
  • Has the producer done a good job if material was dubbed not making it obvious? Is the text being repeated or omitted or cut too short? Are chapter breaks awkward or poorly timed?
  • Are names of the title, author, and narrator correct? One of the presenters said that there was one book where the reader mispronounced the name Nguyen and a student with that name was turned off entirely (for those of you unsure, that’s “win,” and the reader said “nah-guy-en”)
  • Does the reader mostly match the age and experience — at least in sound — to the main characters?
  • The readers connect to the text and are generally excited by the reading and discovery in the beauty of the story and the language.
  • Is music used effectively? Walden — the one by Thoreau — apparently has fantastic music interludes and was lauded for that reason.

Once I finish listening to Good Omens, I’ll be looking out for some recommended audiobooks at Stacked and Devourer of Books, two blogs that are providing a marathon of audiobook reviews and 101-information this week.  Be on the lookout for your next listen!

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