Saturday, February 28, 2015

Mixing It Up

Often, when we plan and think of programs we only consider "active" programs - programs like storytimes or workshops where a library staffer or performer is the leader and is active throughout the session. Other types of programs - like passive (stealth) programs or DIY programs where kids can interact with material whenever they stop at the library - often aren't blended into the mix of program offerings. The class discussed the positives- and negatives - of having a variety of program types and what it can mean for workflow, engaging kids and balance within the department and the library!

- It seems that creating a mix of active, passive and DIY programs would really give the staff more time to concentrate on other aspects of the Youth Services department.  I have mentioned our Tot Spot area, which really takes care of itself, but I think most of our programming is active. My hesitation with having more passive/DIY programming would be the patron's reaction to it.  Maybe the passive programming would be a welcome change for them.  I love the idea of the Book Bundles and a Winter Reading Program.

I am in favor of mixing it up, especially for those libraires with one staff person in youth services. Perhaps someone else can fill in for the YS staff person while they are on vacation because you can pre-plan a passive program or have things set for DIY. I also think you have a lot of different needs in a community and what might work for one family, may not work for another. 
My daughter is a speedy crafter so if she went to a structured craft program she would be done in 5 minutes and antsy to leave. Also, arriving to a program on time can be another struggle with little ones! I'm all for drop-ins.

- A lot of this comes back to balance, I think. We previously talked about balancing age groups and balancing work and life, but it also applies here. I strive to balance the themes of the programs as well as everything else. 
Which is to say, I have Story Time, Crafts, Messy Art, Preschool Lab, and special events for the preschool set. I have reading with dogs, art, science club, cooking, and special events for the school-age crowd. I also do one program a month for the older kids and I try to find things that either have broad appeal or I specifically do something girly followed by something more boy (kids don't always fall into types, of course, and everyone is welcome to come to anything). 

For the most part, though (the exception being the crafts), these programs are all either programs or unprograms. I have had very few passive programs and I am now suuuuuper excited to add them to the mix. I think that they are perfect for my over-scheduled-but-still-want-to-come-to-the-library kiddos. I think the passive model will work especially well with the teens since I don't see them very often. 

Of course, there is a lot of prep work involved in a passive program, but once they are rolling by god they roll! I can't wait to try them. And if they ease my day-to-day burden a little? Even better. 

- I feel like the most important reason to have a mixture of programming styles is so kids come back. They don't want to keep doing the same thing over and over again. Lego club is great. Kids come in a build and we talk a bit but ultimately, they do it all themselves. I have had the suggestion from multiple patrons to have craft events. We provide the materials, but really, I'm just making sure nobody is cutting their hair or gluing themselves together. I think it's important to have events where the programmer is very involved. This is the best way to interact with the kids. You get to have fun and play and then you are seen as more fun I think. 

The only pitfall I see in doing this is that sometimes it's hard to incorporate all age groups which can deter families from coming. You may feel as though you need multiple events of the same kind to bring in all ages. For me, I feel like a family event is the best idea. Children who are old enough can participate on their own but the younger kids can have a parent or caregiver stay and help them. It's family time but it's also something to be hands on and relaxing. Kids need a break sometimes. They want to let loose and go crazy and I want the library to be the place to encourage that.

- Doing passive and DIY programs has been a work in progress for our library.  Our patrons are getting used to the idea of not having something guided so much and being able to come in and participate throughout the month with a more passive program and or just sitting down and doing a fun activity as part of a DIY program.  These types of programs are becoming more and more popular I think because this allows our patrons to not be tied down to a particular time frame.  People are more and more busy now a days and still like to participate but not neccessarly at the times we would offer programs.  
I don't have a hestiation in offering all three types of programs at our library, I think this offers our patrons a wide variety of activities that they can still take part in as part of their library experience.  

Thursday, February 26, 2015


The class shared ways that they worked to calm summer madness at their libraries.

Over the years I have learned to "loosen up" about [summer] story time. We make it very simple and not too many "rules". First off all, it makes it easier for the staff. When there is only one person on duty at a time during the rest of the week it can get stressful if the staff has to keep track of a bunch of details and steps. We have volunteers who take over during program days, freeing up the staff member to concentrate on the other library services. We made the reading slips/reward very simple to deal with. We have timed slips-each a different color. It doesn't matter if the child does it in a day or a week or more. When they turn in that slip, we have a box with a same colored slip attached to it and that is the reward for that reading slip. We have a counter in the back of the circ desk where the different boxes for each reward are lined up so the staff member can easily know which reward to give out. I have also learned to do very general themed story times so I am not too locked in to a theme that finds you obsessing over trying to find an activity to fit into the theme. It's amazing how many 5 letter words can be found to set to the song BINGO so you can easily have a song for a theme. ( last week's H-E-A-R-T - for Valentines day for example or P-I-Z-Z-A is a food I like to eat-save a bite for me) I also feel that when we went to timed reading it was better for the kids- after a school year of "having to read a particular thing" it is great that with timed reading we give the kids a chance to read what they want to read- we can help develop the fun of reading that way.

In Wisconsin, our Department of Public Instruction consultant is trying to emphasis that we shouldn't put all of our eggs in one basket for the summer library program which typically runs 8-12 weeks. She likes to ask, "What about the rest of the year?" Some of our librarians are considering ditching the cheap summer reading prizes and just going with a book for a prize at the end of summer reading. I am still trying to figure out why we put all of this pressure on ourselves to put on a show every summer? Who is demanding this? Does our community even notice? 

Over the past few years we simplified record keeping of books read or minutes read, that was one stress reliever. We make it fun for the younger kids to track their reading success by using die cuts and having them decorate the library with die cuts for each book or for every 5 books read.  They love to do this and helps in keeping the library fun and decorated throughout the summer months.  

I have also gone to more of the DIY programs for families.  Our summer school schedule for our district has under gone several changes, the biggest one is this years summer school schedule.  So it is easier to plan one or two scheduled events and then having several DIY programs throughout the summer for families to participate in on a given day throughout the day.  Some of the programs we have set up for DIY are Minecraft day, Digital Photography Scavenger Hunt, Loom bracelets, art activities, and Lego builds.  

I will always plan one day during the week of Summer Reading with NOTHING to do--no programs, no entertainers--nothing.  This day is usually Friday.  We run two sessions per day, Monday -  Thursday for different age groups to check-in, listen to a story or two and complete a craft.  These days might also include a special program in the evening.  Fridays are for de-stressing, straightening the department to re-connect with our collection, and if needed, prep for the next week.  It is so nice to have this day to look forward to!

We also bring in teen volunteers to help with our weekly sessions.  They help with check-in, playing games, and helping hand out/clean up craft supplies.  It is a huge help to have the extra set of hands!

...something I am doing that hasn't been done so much in the past is incorporating outside community help. Nothing is set in stone yet since it's only February, but I've been making connections and talking to some community members in the school about them possibly helping me do programming this summer. I don't have many volunteers and our staff is always very busy with their own duties. I've spoken to the guidance counselor at our elementary school about offering free yoga sessions for kids this summer, to a local therapy dog owner about bringing her dog in for the kids to read to, to the middle school media specialist about doing some sort of two session program, and some of my teen advisory board members about running programs that they're interested in, like Pokemon. Not only would this keep the weeks filled with fun and interesting things, it would also help keep the pressure off me to facilitate all of these activities. Yes, I need to make the initial contact, but once the semantics are figured out, it's up to them. I am loving this so far because I moved to a small town of 2,900 people and knew no one, and this is giving me an opportunity to make connections with others in the community who serve children. I also think this will be a great stepping stone for collaborating with the schools so they'd be more open to letting me come visit classes or advertise our programs. 

In previous years, the children's librarian ran herself ragged trying to make sure all the kids have events each week and this and that and on and on.  This year will be my first summer reading programming. I don't want to be stressed out. I don't handle stress well. I have one to two programs a week planned. I only have 2 paid performances that will happen and there is only one project for each age group that I will be putting together completely by myself. We are not doing weekly prizes this year. One because they are a pain and two because they are generally cheap prizes that either get broken or lost. Instead, we are saving that money for incredible end prizes. 

I have to say, my director has pretty well given me free reign to operate any way I want as long as I have a well thought out plan. She hasn't said no to a single idea yet. And I think that the less we overplan and stress out, the better a program runs anyways. We can tell when the host is a mess. It's not fun for the kids when programs are like that. So we are doing all a favor by calming down and just having some fun instead of spending so much without really having it to spend or driving ourselves crazy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Take a Break 2

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One of the students, Laura Bultman, a children's librarian in suburban New Jersey was of several minds on breaks. Here are her thoughts:

Breaks in programming are tricky for me to pull off. 

I am of several minds, here (I am large, I contain multitudes.). On the one hand, I love having a steady story time so that parents can think "oh, it's Tuesday, there's Story Time", even if they haven't been to the library in a while. On the other hand, once I get deep in to programming, I have very very little time for all the other things I have to do: collection development, room maintenance, outreach, etc. 

On the third hand, I desperately need breaks in order to prep for the next series of programs and to do all the things that I don't get a chance to do when I'm heavily programming. 

And on the fourth hand, when am I supposed to take vacation? I know that's a personal thing and not directly related to programming breaks exactly, but since I am a department of one, if I'm not here then there are no programs so vacation time is essentially a program break. 

All this to say: I take three breaks a year: end of December into January, June, and end of August into September. Each break is about four weeks long and I take a break from programming entirely. This January, I put out Book Bundles to ease the transition, but I don't do any other programs at all. 

I take some vacation time with each break (a week at most), which shortens the time I have to do all the prep/collection work I intend to do and then I find myself rushed again to get everything together in time. 

I hesitate to ask for a longer break, though, because the board has raised their eyebrows at the breaks I do take. They haven't complained, but they haven't been receptive enough that I feel comfortable pushing for more. I also end up with families in the library asking "Oh, didn't story time start again today?" and I hate letting them down.

But I can't over-emphasize the importance of taking breaks. Really. Last January, I weeded the entire non-fiction collection and moved several sections to improve visibility and library flow. This January, I weeded several sections, repurposed some old magazine shelving, changed the shelves you see when you enter the children's room, and revamped the parenting section.

Ok, this is long enough. Take breaks! If you figure out how, let me know....

Friday, February 20, 2015

Take a Break 1

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We spent some time discussing creating balance and structure in our program planning. One aspect of the discussion involved the efficacy of taking program breaks. Should we? Shouldn't we? And if we do, what  is our experience - and our patrons' responses? Here's what the class had to say:

- ... in my previous library, the children's librarian offered storytimes in semesters. Spring, Summer, Winter and Fall. She took 2-3 weeks off to do school visits, prep and refresh for the next 'semester' and take vacation time. In the beginning, she was worried about taking breaks so would just put some crafts out in the storytime room just in case families showed up for storytime. But over time parents learn and adapt. Besides, Parks and Rec doesn't offer Pilates or water aerobics 52 weeks a year so I don't see why libraries should feel they have to?

I actually like the idea of setting out some crafts in the storytime room when storytime is on break. While it wouldn't be a full break then, it would still give families something to do in the transition.With the internet, it's so easy to find super simple crafts these days. 

I don't think it's always that the librarians feel they have to offer programming all the time as much as it is a board or community misunderstanding. In my old library, my director felt strongly that breaks of any kind in programming were bad for the children and the families in our community. Her only exception to that was the week between Christmas and New Year's because we weren't open most of those days anyway. It got to the point where I wasn't allowed to take vacation on days when we had programs, and we had programs every day I worked, so I went to the board for some help. It turned out that she was telling me I had to program every day and couldn't take breaks because that's what the board was saying. I talked to them about burn out and the need to plan programs in advance, and they realized that breaks weren't such a bad idea. I still didn't take many breaks, but we followed the school calendar for programming, with an 8 week summer reading program as well. It worked well for that community.

I usually take a 2 or 3 week break before Christmas through the New Year. Parents are so busy right before the holidays and the weather is usually iffy right after so it works great. I also break the story time off at the end of April and take the month of May off-for preparing for the summer reading programs and then start story time up in June. Also we usually take August off from story time- staff vacations, family vacations etc are that month and then we start up when school starts as families are back on a schedule. I haven't had any complaints about the breaks.

When our Youth Librarian quit, we took about a 5 month break. We just started programs again Monday night. I think for us it was a wonderful thing. This gave us time to rethink the way things were going and also to think of new programs as well. I understand that sometimes it's difficult to take breaks. Sometimes it's tradition and sometimes it's expectation. However, I'm only 26. I plan to do this for many more years and so I know that breaks are important. We do three weeks of storytime and then week off. We also switch between toddlers and preschoolers. I also don't think it's a bad idea to throw in breaks close to holidays when you know everyone will be busy or out of town. I intend to incorporate breaks for my own sanity to be honest.

It is hard to take breaks.  I guess I'm afraid that if I lose momentum, the parents will forget all about us and never come back!  But seriously, I am afraid to take breaks.  However, this year around Christmas,  I actually took 10 days off to spend with my family.  And, knowing that, I started our preschool programs a week later than usual in January.  The outcome?  I came back refreshed and ready to go, and, believe it or not, all the parents came back with their kids, too! :) I used to feel obligated to have one or two programs over Christmas break to give the kids something to do--not anymore.  I realized that by taking a break I'm doing right by the patrons, because Ms. Jen comes back rested and ready to work.  I'm glad I tried the longer break this year, and will definitely do it again next Christmas.

I think the practice of taking breaks goes back to the question of why do we program? If we are programming to entertain, breaks would be devastating. Take a break in this scenario and the audience might leave for somewhere else. If we see programming as a way to engage patrons in discovery/literacy/reading support, a break just means inviting the patrons the do this discovery/literacy work on their own. When we look at why we program and examine other reasons we might use to approach programming and what that model might look like it opens up the possibility of more balance. When I first started out as a librarian, I had fears of "The No-Returning-Patrons". Through experience I discovered, this simply didn't happen. Even when I worked in a metropolitan area with seven libraries in seven contiguous but independent communities (each library was within 1-3 miles of two-three other libraries!), breaks didn't drive our patrons away. They always came back. It taught me that my anxiety over this issue was mostly an illusion. And it gave me the knowledge that I could achieve a better balance with my other duties and home life to make sure I still had a variety of offerings without running like the Energizer Bunny (TM) throughout the year!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Programming vs. Unprogramming

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We discussed unprogramming in class recently.  A question that came up was how unprogramming differed from regular programming and if it actually saved preparation time. In the course of our lecture and discussions, many students realized they already incorporated unprogramming into their program work!  

In the program v. unprogram model, unprograms allow kids more freedom to explore and and discover independently. The "program" model is one where the staff member remains the leader and pretty much keeps the action going through their actions and ongoing presentation. Kids are the audience; the librarian is the leader. The burden of "making it happen" is on the library staffer and the timing can be a little more rigid and librarian-presented. It's more like a storytime and less like your programs.

That said, I agree with you, unprogramming "stations of stuff" can be time consuming to prep if there is alot of pre-cutting/pre-prep - or simpler to prep if kids are given alot of agency to create.

Here's a for instance of a simpler prep I've done. When we crash into a planet and the kids have to go into survival mode (we first talk about what the planet is like - hot or cold; dark or light; windy or calm; sandy or full of plants), I might have three stations - I let a few kids be "medics" to put stickers on "wounds" (at first there are only a few "injuries"; once kids see the stickers, far more wounds are found ;->. Next station is robot hands to grab a cup of legos. Third activity is kids work alone or together to build Lego shelters. Finally we re-gather and kids each talk about their shelters - that's a beautiful imaginative thing! They invent the best stuff to help them survive or live in luxury while waiting for rescue.

I like to look for ways when I do this kind of unprogramming for maximum chances for kids to create and explore so I try to keep the stations focused on giving kids a chance to experiment, build, craft or make. And with all the ideas I have pinned, it's easy to gather just the right stuff to keep planning and prep in perspective.

Sometimes people approach each and every program as an extravagant party that they are hosting. Unprogramming suggests that planning can be less if kids are allowed the time to try things and discover more at their pace. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

You Say You want an Evolution

If the old adage, "If at first you don't succeed - try, try again" has any legs, than our class guest blogger, Jennifer Regan, a children's librarian in Illinois, is the perfect person to exemplify it. Here she breaks down how she solved and solved for the equation of success:

A few years ago a co-worker and I wrote a grant for Tot Spot, an early literacy program focused on parent and child play.  We were very excited to receive the grant money and used it to buy books, toys, games, flannel boards and puppets centered around ten different themes.  Tot Spot started out as a once a month, "open-house" style program on Saturday.  We supplied parents with a checklist for each themed station and supplied other parent resources (books and handouts) on early literacy.  At first, Tot Spot was hugely popular and we had many patrons coming to play with their little ones.  

After about six months, the numbers dwindled and we were left wondering what had happened.  We continued to set up the program--which was A LOT of work--clearing out the activity room, setting up all the stations and signage, then cleaning up and dragging the bins back to the storage closet.  I finally decided to close up shop.

As a new program year started, I had the idea to give it another try and have Tot Spot open immediately following our half-hour storytime on Monday evenings--again, once a month on the last Monday of the month.  This worked out OK, but it was still a crazy amount of work for the six kids who came to Storytime.  Also, the kids were so excited when it was Tot Spot night, that they didn't care about the book or craft for Storytime.  Some moms felt it was too late to stay after storytime to play, and inevitably we would have a meltdown from a child who wanted to stay.  Again, Tot Spot got "shelved."

I felt is was a terrible waste of resources to have the wonderful Tot Spot materials packed in a closet.  I found space in the Children's Department (thanks to the support of my director who agreed to move an outdated "kids" computer that rarely worked!) and our Early Literacy Tot Spot was born!  I only set up two themed stations at a time and keep them up for about 4 - 6 weeks.  The kids are always excited to see what the next stations will be.  

The response has been terrific!  We reach many more children by having the stations up all the time.  We also have a rack of early literacy handouts nearby for parents to read while the kids play.  It's a lot less work for us, because it's only two stations at a time and they are easy to keep tidy. Best of all, it's a program that virtually runs itself!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Re-creating a Program for Success

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It's OK. Go ahead. Admit it.  We all experience a program that seems to have hit a dead end. People stop coming, staff time seems wasted and it looks like its time to say adios. Or is it?

Our student librarians discussed how they evolved programs and breathed new life into them with a few simple changes:

For over a year, we had a weekly afterschool program for K-5th called Reading Academy.  The program rotated between the librarians and we would choose a book to read and then do activities based on the book.  It was a flop.  The number continued to dwindle (by the end we would only have 2 kids per program) and we were never excited about it.  Then, we got an amazing reference book: "After-School Clubs for Kids: Thematic Programming to Encourage Reading" by Lisa Shaia and decided to rebrand.  We now have the After School Crew which has monthly themes like Monster Mash and Mad Scientist.  We've found it has really revitalized us as librarians because it's a lot easier to come up with a cool activity based on the theme and then the book instead of the other way around.  The patrons seem to love it too as we've had completely filled programs and the numbers have barely dwindled.  My favorite thing is that on the very first program for it, I went around our room to encourage families to come and a family I had never seen before decided to attend.  They have now come back every week for the last month because they like the program so much!

We have been planning more STEM and STEAM programs.  The children are very interested in science; however, we seem to have trouble filling a program at a certain time of day.  Our solution has been to set up hand-on self directed tables. The families seem to really enjoy these. Many times the parent or grandparent has the opportunity to teach something new and it becomes something of a family event.  Right now we have a circuit board set up and the children test different items to try and complete the circuit.  This allows many more families to experience the learning than we could attract to a single program. 

- I run the Mock Awards for our library system and I had heard from a few librarians they didn't feel comfortable attending. I probed them and found out they didn't like getting up in front of the group to discuss the books' merits. Since I am a very outgoing person, this never would have occurred to me as a barrier to attending!

So I took this feedback to heart and I switched up the way we shared our opinions about the Mock books this year. We had tables of 5 and each table had a set amount of time to discuss the Caldecott, Printz and Newbery. Each small group had a Table Captain and this person summarized the small groups' opinions and shared it with the larger group. A few of the small group members chimed in if the Table Captain left something important out, or they thought of something else to add.

A few people have thanked me since the Mock awards to say they really liked this format because A) they were more comfortable attending because they didn't have to get up and speak in front of a large group and B) we ended on time because the table members weren't spending time discussing who was going to stand up and talk about each nominated book! 

We changed our program to a timed reading recording for our summer reading over the previous counting number  of books. Once we did this a few years ago we saw many more participating throughout the summer and completing more reading records. It gave kids a chance to spend time reading something they really wanted to- say one of the Harry Potter books and not feel they had to read a bunch of books to complete the reading record. A couple years after we switched to that, we added a super reader booklet for those who completed their reading time- a fun booklet of various types of reading. For the reward for that booklet completion we had a board game/pizza party program at the end of the summer for those kids ( and also invted our summer teen volunteers to the party).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Programming Challenges

While most of us would say programming, the most public part of our work, is also the most fun, it also comes with challenges. In preparation for problem-solving in weeks ahead in class, our participants (from libraries both big and small) discussed some of the most challenging parts of programming work. Here's what they shared.

Uncertain attendance numbers: 
- My greatest frustration would be when I plan something that I think is super awesome and then only a few kids show up. While granted, those kids do have fun, it always kind of deflates you a little when you think you have this great thing planned but can't get kids to come in and join the fun. Finding the balance of making sure you're still excited about whatever you're doing while also making sure that it's something that is appealing to kids too is really hard but really important because obviously you want to like what you're doing also or the kids would be able to tell you're a little "eh" on the whole thing.

My greatest frustration is having to limit attendance for a program, and then have people sign up and not come for the program--even after a reminder call--when there are people who really wanted to come on the waiting list. Ugh!

Great advertising/low attendance:
- Effective Marketing, you put posters up, advertise in your newspaper column, post an event on Facebook and still people say they had no idea that a program was happening.   

- I totally relate to your comment about people saying they didn't know about the program after you have worked on all that pr. Sometimes I think they would like us to come right to their door and take them by the hand and lead them to the library. :)

My biggest frustration---getting parents to bring their children to the programs!  I have a wonderful relationship with our Elementary School.  I'm able to send flyers home with students about our programs.  So that's TONS of people who find out about programs.  Then when the time comes for the program to start, I either get *crickets* or four kids.  How can I get the kids TO the program?  It's a constant struggle.

Being the only librarian:
- I am the youth services department all by myself. This can be incredibly frustrating. I run short of time to keep up with literature for all ages and I find I can only do so many programs in a week or month to serve all my distinct age groups. I often look at what the libraries around me are doing and I think I should be doing more - and then I realize that they have 8 Children's Librarians and one is specifically for early literacy and one is specifically for outreach... I have to remind myself that I am only one person. 

Being new and following a well loved librarian: 
- Attendance has always been pretty steady here, maybe not high numbers, but consistent still. However, that was with the former person. I'm very nervous that because it's someone new that parents won't respond well. Or they won't even be open minded about the new way I want to do things. I want so badly for this to be perfect and the kids to have fun, but they have to accept me before they can do that.

The previous librarian here was very well loved and my first day was filled with everyone I came into contact with telling me that she left a huge hole to fill and that everyone loved her so much and were very sad that she left. It didn't really set me up for feeling like I can conquer these new tasks! But I spoke with a good friend of mine and she reminded me that in a short time, people might be saying the same thing about me. Change is always hard for people to handle, but eventually they fall into the new routine. 

- My greatest frustration is following in the footsteps of someone who had my position for 22 years. Everyone loved her and misses her dearly. While she created a lot of great programs and workshops for our youth services librarians across 16 libraries, I feel there is some room for improvement. I think with fresh eyes, I can help improve on what has been in place for many years and maybe take things to the next level. So one of my frustrations is rocking the boat if I change anything too drastically. I have been playing it safe this last 7 months pretty much running things as is. I have been tweaking things here and there but no major changes will happen until I am at least one full year in! 

Parents who are uninvolved: 
For the most part parents who bring their children to the library are terrific but then there are those that are just so disconnected from their children and what is going on. They pay no attention to our handouts, our guidelines, tell their kids we aren't going to check out now...all the kind of actions and statements that frustrate me when dealing with them.

parents that allow children to be disruptive or destructive and putting in the time, money and effort to plan a program with little attendance.

Budgetary woes:
The city has cut our programming budget going into the budget cycle for next year. Unfortunately, that means that starting July 1, we will no longer have any money at all for programming. That means I can't even buy glue, markers, or construction paper for story hour or other programs because that line item is gone. We are looking for grants that will help us fix this hole in our resources, but so far we haven't found much we can apply for. We can stretch what we already have for as long as possible, but it won't get us through the year. We'll need to get creative on free programming!

Challenges are always part of our work and how we work to solve them can make a big difference in our programming work. In coming weeks we'll be looking at ways to creatively approach these and other issues in our work. Stay tuned!.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

BIG Love

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Our spring 2015 programming class has begun. We are already into lively discussions with the students who hail from around the country as well as from my home state of Wisconsin. 

What are we talking about as we begin? BIG LOVE! Here, directly from the student/librarians are a few of the reasons that programming is just so much darn fun and so satisfying:

Kids and parents expressing appreciation for the library/ program presented. a "four-year-old girl came in with three of her friends all dressed up like princesses. She told me that she wanted to have her birthday party at the library, so they all came to make crafts for each other and their parents. It made my heart absolutely melt, and all the stress I felt the night before making sure all the supplies were prepped was totally worth it."

Kids and parents expressing appreciation for the program presented when you are a brand new librarian following in the footsteps of a well-loved librarian who is no longer there! "My greatest happiness is when I do take a leap and implement a change and people truly appreciate it."

Being a department of one, it is lightning fast and easy to make changes. There is no committee, no extra paperwork, no delegating who is going to do what part, etc, etc. I used to work with 10 other children's librarians (big library) and all ideas had to go through an arduous review process that killed all momentum before it even started. I often wish I had a part-time assistant, but in general I am very happy making my own way. I see a great idea and I can immediately try to implement it. I love the forward direction and the flexibility. Doesn't work? I kill the program. Roaring success? I make it happen again. Easy peasy. "

Happiness to be involved in the work! "Happiness comes from seeing the faces of the people you are serving in your community after they have just gotten done with a great program.  Happiness comes from the question "Are you going to do this again?" Happiness is when a child brings you a drawing that you will display proudly.   Happiness is doing fresh and exciting things for your community.  Happiness is sharing a skill or information with a group of very interested people."

A chance to stretch creatively " I have an amazing manager who is willing to let me try new things which really allows me to push the barriers.  Sometimes it goes better than other but I love thinking of new and exciting things for my littles and their families!" 

Enjoying the reaction of the kids in the program. "my biggest happiness in programming is watching the children enjoy the program I've planned.  I've done a few Mo Willems programs- Elephant and Piggie Party, Pig Day, Pigeon Party, and those have been so fun!  I love to see the kids get excited about books, and then seeing the books fly off the shelves.  The pure joy of it keeps me going." 

What are your joys in doing programs. Share with us!