Monday, March 2, 2015

Uncertain Staff Support for Programming

While thinking about doing passive programs, a question came up.  What if other staff in the library aren't supportive of an effort you are involved in like 1000 Books Before Kindergarten or SLP? What happens when you aren't there and it is up to them to promote the program or give out prizes and they are clearly reluctant or just plain won't do it. The class tackled the question and shared experiences..

This is where a strong director who backs up efforts throughout the library and with all staff (no matter what the size of the library) is essential. A director leads a staff and creates a team by making sure everyone is a part of initiatives and is enthusiastic supporters. No youth person should feel responsible for getting everyone on board. That's why I think it's important to keep one's director on board and supportive so they, as managers of the staff, help everyone understand that they are part of - and need to help with - the great youth initiatives that happen. When you have that backing and team building to form a cohesive, supportive group from a director, staffers feel great at supporting youth stuff since it's just part of the job.

We haven't really done too many DIY programs -such as crafts available mostly because of space problems. We do only have a single person on staff but I think if you you make it simple without too many "steps" for the staff to have to deal with your staff can be on board. For example our 1000 books before kindergarten we have everything organized in order- slips for each 100 books labeled and color coded with dots so it is obvious and easy for the staff member to handle. The only problem we have had is because one aspect of our 1000 books is that we take a picture of the child with their book at the end and not every staff member knows how to use the camera. But that too has been easily solved because most of today's parents take a picture with their phone and we just have them email it to us along with permission note to post the picture and I can take care of that when I am at work. 

I ran into that some in my old library. I worked there part time, half days Mon-Thurs. I started with a summer reading program, and noticed quickly that everyone who was involved only came to the library when I was there because the other staff wasn't on board for the program. I made sure to include registering for summer reading and submitting records for prizes as a part of every program I did all summer, so everyone who came could be sure to get anything counted they brought with them. I gave out my email address with all the promotional materials and said parents could email reading logs to me as well. Anyone could leave book logs in the book drop as well, because they would wind up on my desk on the mornings I didn't open the library.

While clearly not an ideal situation, it worked out ok in that community. Everyone learned my schedule and learned that the rest of the staff didn't want to deal with summer reading stuff, so children and families almost exclusively used the library during my hours. I waited to do any prize drawings until 2 weeks after the end of the program so people who couldn't get to the library during my regular hours could still have a chance to win. I had stacks of book logs out on the table in the children's room so kids could pick them up without having to ask a staff member for a new one. I made it work because I thought the kids in that community deserved to have a good summer program. That first summer, I had 20 kids register. Last summer, which was my last summer, I had over 100 kids register and complete their reading goals. Even when you don't have other staff who support your work and programming, it's possible to modify what you offer to support your community.

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