Tag Archives: management

Censorship close to home: Cameron Post and Cape Henlopen School District

Recently I had the odd experience of learning about something occurring in my own neighborhood from the online young adult world and then watching it play out online and in the local paper. I’m referring to the Cape Henlopen School District removing The Miseducation of Cameron Post from a summer reading list. A lot of great posts have been written about how misguided this choice was and I’ve found it inspiring to see how the YA community worked with the local community to get the book into the hands of kids who want it. Here I’m going to speak about the latest development a writing contest that gives teenagers a chance to say their thoughts about the book as well as provide a sense of the local context.

To start, the wonderful coda that is the essay contest. To quote the text of the flyer which is currently hanging over the new young adult books section at the Lewes Library.

The adults have had their say. Now it’s your turn. If you’re a high school student in Delaware, you’re invited to:

  • Get a free copy of The Miseducation of Cameron Post from Browseabout Books (student ID required)

  • Write a 250-500 word essay about what you think board members should know about the book before deciding whether it belongs on a school reading list

  •             Submit your essay to ncac@ncac.org by September 1st

I love the idea of this because one of my main complaints as I read through all of the articles that kept appearing in the Cape Gazette, the local paper, was how there weren’t enough student voices.

Now to get into a little explanation of where all of this happened since Sussex County, Delaware is currently in a great deal of economic and demographic flux. Sussex County and especially the area which Cape Henlopen serves is compromised of a number of different social groups and they don’t all fit together. Along the coast in towns like Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, retirees with liberal backgrounds from major cities such as Philadelphia, Washington DC and Baltimore have second homes and many live year round. Rehoboth Beach is known for being a welcoming place for the LGBTQ population.

A little further inland, farms and developments vie for land with places that conservationists have saved carving out their own spaces. According to the Sussex County Economic Development Office, the three main industries are manufacturing such as PATS Aircraft, Agriculture/Food Processing with the Mountaire Farms, mainly known for poultry the largest and then the three main hospitals; Beebe Medical Center, Bayhealth Medical Center and Nanticoke Health Services. Tourism and educational services also provide jobs through a University of Delaware Campus, Sussex Tech and a branch of Wilmington University. This means that the area can sometimes feel split between those who’ve been here for a while and tend to be more conservative and the newer and older residents that can be more liberal as well as immigrants that move here to work. A good explanation of how this looks politically comes from a write-up of Delaware around the 2012 elections from The New York Times:

“Almost all of Sussex County is rural. It is the top poultry producing county in the country. Along its coast, however, more than two decades of investment has cultivated a string of resorts, Mr. Pika said, and now liberal pockets can be found there. Rehoboth Beach, for example, has a substantial gay community.”

My family came down to this area to retire into one of those liberal pockets and they’re steadily making inroads into changing the political climate but it’s not easy to do.

All of this background is to show how in a place where same-sex couples are common a book can be banned for bad language with underlying homophobia. One aspect that I found fascinating was how little thought apparently went into choosing the list as it was apparently the first year it was done. It’s good that they trusted the Delaware Library Association to make intelligent choices, but the fact that most of the School Board and parents didn’t know much about these books wasn’t. Also none of this went through the normal process for challenging a book, which in the majority of libraries I’m familiar with requires the one challenging to read the book. All of the books were from the Blue Hen list which is selected by the Delaware Library Association, these books were then offered to incoming ninth graders to read. The way it all played out was strange too, the book was banned, then put back on the list and then the entire list was pulled. An interesting aspect was how a major part of rallying around the School Board came not from any thought on the book itself but more supporting the local government.

One letter that stood out for me was from someone who grew up in the area, was proud of not reading the book and fully backed the board; “I would like to commend the board on its decision to remove the above mentioned book from the summer reading list for incoming freshman. I hope that you are able to stand by that decision. I have not read the book.”

In a recent article from July 29th, a number of locals are quoted which gives a good sense of what happened.

“She’s promiscuous, drinks all the time and does drugs,” Hesson said. “Are we pulling students up, or are we just handing them stuff?”

While the Metcalfes and Hesson represented about half of 50 people who attended the meeting, just as many continued to support the book and the message it offers for gay students.

Recent Cape graduate Madison Bacon said gay kids are bullied in school, and “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” could help them handle adversity.

“It is a wonderful book. When I heard you removed it, it made me very sad,” she said.

Looking back over what happened, I think that the entire area has been surprised by how involved the outside world became in the book banning. I know that Browseabout Books is still giving books away as they’re provided for part of the contest and according to a librarian friend, Emily Danforth is going to give a Skype talk to a LGBTQ book group that meets at the library. The entire experience feels like its reflected a lot of the cultural conversations in the country as well as the power of connecting in as many avenues as possible.

I feel proud to be a librarian, a reader of young adult literature and someone who can add a few words to this conversation. For my own part, I read The Miseducation of Cameron Post at the end of 2012 and enjoyed it immensely.

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Real World, Real Tools: Don’t try to be Wonder Woman

My first day at ALA was spent attending a program put together by AASL (American Association of School Librarians) called Real World, Real Tools that was run by Deb Logan, Laura Pearle and Wendy Stephens. This was an intense workshop that ran from 12:30 to after 4 and left me with many thoughts that I’m still processing. Here I want to write about some of the main things I learned in it as well as the experience of spending that amount of time with other school librarians.

The session was divided into five smaller parts that covered; Budgets, Staffing, Administration, Technology and Self Care. Each part began with a presentation and then we talked into smaller groups before coming back together. I’m not certain of the exact number of people who attended but I don’t believe it was more than 30 people, which was a good size. The way the program was put together reminded me of classes I’ve had in graduate school where a lot of information was covered but there was time in groups to process and discuss. I think any of the presentations could have stood on its own as a panel or poster but putting them all together was a great way to understand all the aspects of what a school librarian does.

My main impression looking back on this program was a mixture of I wish I’d attended something like this before I began my job last year and feeling grateful for going to it this year. A great deal of information was shared about ways to manage with a small or no budget, how to deal with staffing issues or the problems when you’re a lone wolf librarian, speaking the language of administration, making the best technology choices for your community and taking care of yourself.

At this point in my experience, the part that I found the most relevant was the administration section as a major issue I had this past year was knowing that I had to communicate to administration but not managing it as well as I needed to. That part of the presentation was a good reminder that good communication takes work and that as librarians, we can fall into the trap of forgetting that not everyone thinks like a librarian. Also that even if you’re in a fairly secure position, as a school librarian, you need to be constantly showing and proving to your school community what you do so they can observe you with more understanding. As a young librarian, I had hoped that perhaps this was something that was more tied to budget issues but now I understand that its part of being a school librarian. This was something I think I was aware of considering the rhetoric that surrounds libraries of what do you do and the huge lack of understanding from many sides. I’ve had many conversations with friends of my family, people I meet when I explain what I do where they look confused at the existence of librarians. The program shared a lot of good strategies for sharing your work to a community though it seemed like many of the ideas would require a good deal of thought into what works. All of these ideas are based around the idea of keeping the community aware of what you do and their basic gist was share your calendar of these are the classes you work with, these are activities happening in the library. The manners of sharing varied from posting a calendar, keeping a weekly record on a blog, using an erasable poster to share what kids have learned and directly emailing stakeholders. My main concern about these ideas is how to walk that fine line between informing people of your work and not having it feel like you’re going see, see all I’m doing. That aspect I think depends a huge amount on the community and how people communicate. Its something I plan on taking to my next job as well as the other part of it which is the importance of making your goals and ideas explicit and connected to the school’s goals. Build programs around tasks and goals that are key to the administration and district, be in constant communication with teachers about how you can tie in with them. A good school librarian connects to all aspects of a school and a great one needs to be able to show all the ways they work with and for everyone in the school.

The other major lesson that I took from this program was about not trying to be Wonder Woman, which is a common trap for librarians. That its easy to get pulled into the feeling that you have to do everything for everyone and if you don’t, if things fall by the wayside then you’re failing in your job. This is even more acute when you’re the only librarian in a building, there’s this feeling that you have to be the perfect example of a librarian, this isn’t realistic and can be unhealthy. Instead its incredibly important to make long term plans, look ahead and if there are a lot of big issues to deal with focus on what’s important now. Then share these goals with the community so they understand why you’re making the choices you’re making. This way, even if you’re the only one doing the work, other people are aware of what you’re working on and what takes the most time. Then the next and I think most important part is taking care of yourself. This was something that I didn’t do as good of a job with last year, I got so caught up in being the ever present librarian that my own health suffered for it. The message of don’t try to do everything and that you can’t succeed if you’re not healthy is incredibly important. Powerful change takes time and its hard to make change happen when you’re not at your best.

As I came out of this program somewhere around 4:30, I felt tired but in a good way since I had been immersed with people who were successful school librarians. I had conversations about my first year and the caring and advice I was given was wonderful. We as librarians are a powerful community and one that will always listen when you ask, “Am I doing this right? Do you have any ideas?”

I know as I look into the future, I will refer back to my notes from this program as I go forward as a librarian.

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Searching for balance: gaming in the library

Every library faces the question of how to balance play and work? In a public library, there’s always the worry about noisy activities in the children’s department spilling over too much into the rest of the library. In a school library, the question becomes one of balance between students who wish to work and those who wish to play. When space and resources are limited, the librarian faces the challenge of creating a library culture that insures equity of access to users while at the same time making a place where all students feel ownership. This was the first major challenge that I faced as a school librarian and one that has taught me a lot about perception, interaction and school culture.

At the beginning of the year, the library was chaotic as middle schoolers took over computers to play Minecraft. is a popular sandbox game where players can create, explore and play together. They would move chairs to cluster around and watch each other play as well as narrating their choices out loud. If a student needed a computer to work, the group of gamers would complain and bargain amongst themselves for who was to get off. My first solution was to ban Minecraft during the school day. That eliminated a few problems but students would find other games and I had to be constantly alert for what was going on. I discovered that the upper school students were annoyed at the middle school students because for the past couple of years, all gaming had been banned in the library, the change of that rule to ban only one game created friction. The older students felt it was unfair that the younger students were given more privileges than they had had themselves. There was also the fact that the middle schoolers didn’t have as many academic responsibilities and weren’t always as good at regulating their volume level. I found that the best solution was to talk with the middle school students about how they were playing and try to discuss the idea of time and a place for playing. Creating and posting new rules that I enforced began this conversation, which is still going on as new games are discovered and the year draws towards an end. In the new rules which have been enforced since the start of second semester in January, there are no multiplayer games allowed on the school computers during the school day, no Minecraft during the day and when academic work needs to be done, then a gamer must give up their computer.

A major and unexpected roadblock around these conversations came from some adults in the school community who perceived gaming in black and white terms as well as the use of school resources for any sort of leisure activity. I believe this is a generational issue which needs to be met honestly on all sides, because as lives are becoming more digitally entwined, it’s harder to say don’t do this or that. Bringing games into the library or the classroom might not be the right choice for every program but it is important to understand why the students are playing the ones they do, and how some games might be compatible with academic studies. Many times the behaviors that are being lamented as lost due to technology are just being reproduced in new ways. In Minecraft, I’ve seen students work together, discuss strategy, be silly and choose to spend their time after school with their friends. Though they’re playing a game online, they are choosing to play it in an environment where they are all sitting next to each other.

Another challenge of defining appropriate behavior for a school library is the difficulty of having a library that’s shared by middle and high school students because the norms for appropriate behavior change through the years. All students must be safe and comfortable in the library because it’s their space to work and relax. The school where I am librarian doesn’t have a cafeteria so students find other places to hang out and the library is a popular one. The challenge I’ve faced is balancing how to support what kids are enjoying, as well as give them responsibility for choosing what happens in their space and yet make certain that they aren’t learning bad lessons from their play. As a new librarian, I’m still working on how to best achieve this balance as it requires trust and communication among the school community so that students understand my expectations of them and the rest of the school understands why the students are given these expectations. The best tools I’ve found are observing and listening to the students. For example, they will comment on a game that seems overly distracting in terms of how its played in terms of noise level or subject matter, which is usually a sign that it doesn’t belong in the library.

One of the major challenges of this particular library situation is the limited number of computers that are easily accessible to students. In the library, there are ten computers, elsewhere in the school are two computer labs and a separate one for yearbook and journalism. However to enter the other labs, students must have a teacher’s assistance. That means that they’re not ideal for students who wish simply to spend a free period relaxing. Academic work is always a priority and that means that when students are playing games if another student needs access to work, then the gamer has to get off. It took some time for students to understand that the quicker they got off, the sooner that other students would be more accepting of their playing. Once gamers showed themselves trustworthy and understanding that while the computers were available, their primary function was always for work, this behavior was picked up by other students who were using computers for more leisure activities such as watching videos or checking their social networking sites. In this way the gamers who were initially defined as a problem group took on a leadership role in the library.

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Joy of Displays: Where The Hobbit, history and poetry live together.

This blog has been quiet as this year has been busy and complicated for me. A major project that I recently finished is creating the Library’s website, which is linked here and in the sidebar, over time, it will change to reflect how it’s used by students.

A large part of what I’ve done this year has been about the physical space, how do students use it and think about it. To connect with them even when I’m not there, I’ve done a lot of work on the bulletin board at the front. From what I observed when I began the job, it didn’t look like it had been used for much other than school announcements and a few posters. My first display was put together with posters I found on citations and with the help of my fellow librarian at the other campus, it gave me a sense of how I could use the space. It also showed me how students react to what I put up, one of the posters I had posted was from World Book and about internet myths. In truth it was better suited to middle school or possibly elementary school then my shared middle/high school library but I didn’t realize how much so until I student wrote a note under it. Now the note was a little sarcastic but showed me that to make my displays work, they needed to hit the right level for all the students who entered my library.

bulletin board display

First display

I decided for my next display to focus on Halloween, in preparation I got in touch with English teachers to find out what authors were being read and how I might post some works that connected with current classes. In the end, I got a few ideas and then had the chance to make the space mine by going shopping at Michael’s for ways to transform the bulletin board. My collection was a wonderful mix of fall and Halloween decorations and my major find, a Hobbit poster. Below you can see what the display looked like, the first day it went up, a student asked me where I found the Hobbit poster and all the time the display was up it sparked conversation about the upcoming movie.

Halloween display

Halloween display

After Halloween, I altered the display to go from Halloween to Tolkien based in celebration of the upcoming movie. Most of the visuals remained the same but I switched out the Halloween chosen pieces for works of Tolkien’s such as ‘The Washing Up Song’ and ‘Song of the Misty Mountains’. As both these pieces were featured in the movie, it was wonderful to be able to have the originals up on the bulletin board for students to find. When the movie came out, the board helped to create dialogues about it as students knew that I had an interest. It was interesting to me how well many of them knew the Lord of the Rings but weren’t familiar with The Hobbit, which led to talking about issues with tone between the movies.

The Hobbit Display

The Hobbit Display

As the month of January was a strange one, my next display didn’t go up until February but I decided for it to work as much as possible with the parts of the community that worked on diversity activities. An interesting part of this process involved figuring out who were the best people and groups for me to work with. In the end, the club UMOJA chose the elements of the display. I provided a poster while they told me that they wanted to highlight the work of Frederick Douglass and W.E.B. DuBois. Once I had that information, I explored to find powerful visuals for the display, along the way I was reminded how complex the subject of book covers can be. One of the requests had been for a focus on The Souls of Black Folks and I was able to find a variety of cover interpretations which became part of the board. Looking through my pictures, it turns out I don’t have a picture of that board.

March didn’t come together as I’d hoped, I had talked with the art department about a display but due to a number of events in and around the library, our timing didn’t come together. For April, I put together a poetry display that has generated some great responses. I took a risk with this one because I put up a whiteboard and invited students to write their own works on it. To provide a beginning, I wrote a poem on the board myself and since then, two other poems have been added. You can see the display below.

Poetry Display

Poetry display

Displays have represented a wonderful way for me to connect with the community at Roeper as the bulletin board draws the eye when someone enters the library. I love looking up and spotting a student reading a book that they’ve taken down from the display or seeing someone reading what’s been posted. Planning the displays has given me a way to talk with faculty and student groups about how I’m trying to integrate the library within the community. I’ve found it challenging since the bulletin board is a large space and I’m constantly looking at ways to fill it and make it an engaging spot.

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Finding my feet: the first two months

This blog hasn’t been updated since I began my new job at the Roeper School as I’ve been busy learning about the community and how I as a librarian best fit in. It’s now nearing the end of October, which means that I’ve been a part of Roeper for two months and so it is a good time to look back and forwards. The Roeper School is built around the idea of responsibility and community, a great amount of trust is placed in students to manage their own time and resources. The school was founded in 1941 by George and Annemarie Roeper after they had escaped from Germany and is built around their philosophy in which students are active participants and leaders. There’s a great focus on gifted students as Roeper tries to be a place where every student knows they will get the attention, respect and challenges they need in the school day. On the , there are wonderful write ups of the , and , I recommend reading them, they are linked here. During my orientation, one of the veteran teachers explained that the way this works for connecting with students is that in all interactions, you must be genuine, because the kids will form an opinion of you early on and talk amongst themselves about everyone. This ended up being good advice as one of the first major changes I made was that I chose to sit in the library instead of using an office behind a door that other librarians had used. I made this choice because the office felt too cut off from the library space and I wanted to make it clear from the beginning that I was available and visible to the entire community. A piece of positive feedback that I keep hearing from the community is how nice it is to see me in the library, I’ve heard this from students and faculty. It shows me that my instinct is the right one. One of the complications this presents is that I sit amongst the students, sharing tables with them instead of at a desk in the room but apart. This has been useful for starting conversations students feel comfortable approaching me about a variety of issues and I’ve been given a good window into how the library is used. However I don’t have a specific place and some mornings have to ask someone to move. I’m in the process of getting a desk, which will I hope help to create an anchor place for me in the library.

The library is one of the largest spaces to gather in the building, so students are constantly going in and out of the space. The most common activities in the library are studying, socializing and computer games. Those games present one of my major challenges in creating compromises within the library space. The library has eight computers in the main room and two computers in a quiet room. Due to the trust placed in the students, the Roeper computers have no filters and students have free blocks throughout the day in which to do as they like. This means that at times the library gets loud as students play computer games and discuss these games. One of my first challenges as librarian was how to insure that the gamers didn’t take over the library, that meant restricting playing of Minecraft and being firm with students to get gamers off the computers when they’re needed for work. This is part of a larger question about how to best use these computer resources and other technology resources around the school that I’m going to address in greater depth in another entry.

It’s a complicated issue, because technology education is a key part of modern education and a difficult one. It’s something that works best in a place between all or nothing and needs to be crafted for the needs of the community, because what works in one school won’t work in another. In the contemporary library, I as librarian can do a lot to create a space where students can learn how to be thoughtful online in their work and play. Technology usage and education is a major component of what I’m working on at Roeper and I’m going to dedicate another entry to my thoughts and observations. I’m excited to be a part of the conversation at Roeper about technology use across the school.

At this point when I look over what I’ve accomplished, a lot of it is in terms of what’s to come and there are many first steps that will lead to greater ones. I’ve been focused on learning a new culture and exploring how the library will play the most positive role in it. I’ve been in the process of gathering copies of textbooks to add to the reference collection for student’s use in the library, which is a small change from how the books were arranged before. I’m working on adding many donated books to the collection and expanding the periodical selection. One of my projects that I hope to finish soon, which will connect into how I wish to get more resources available to the school is putting together a library website. The conversations I’ve had with teachers have been about what are good resources for projects and research. I’ve created an outline of the webpage with useful websites grouped by academic disciplines, that when I post them will have explanations of what they will be the most useful for. The great guys in the IT department have been a real help for me in this as I’ve been learning how to get my ideas to fit within the beautiful website that they’ve created for the school. At this point, I’ve been able to help teach in one class, where I realized that there is a need for a lot of resources in one place and easily organized so that students can find what they need, as well as information to help them best use those resources. The class was an 8th grade science class, I came in to get them started on their research for creating a major experiment. Since those classes, I’ve talked with the teacher and we both agree that there needs to be more showing students how things work. Research is a key component of education but can be tricky to create an overall plan for as different teachers highlight various aspects of it. The Lower School librarian and I are hoping to try and create a schoolwide plan to have the libraries be the place that every teacher can look to when it comes time to teach students about research. She and I both attended the University of Michigan School of Information together and its wonderful be working with her since we share the same ideas of what a successful library looks like.

I feel most successful in terms of how I’ve been able to connect with the students as they’re the ones who spend the most time in the library. It’s one of their favorite spots to hang out and to work. When I was starting, I thought at first that I would be connecting more with bookish girls like I was in Middle and High School, and I do talk to them but the students that have reached out me the most are the roleplayers and gamers, who are mostly boys. If you’ve followed this blog, you know that I consider myself a gamer and that roleplaying and fandom is both a hobby of mine as well as how I’ve met friends and learned a great deal about my own creativity. When the students learned that I was a roleplayer, they asked me questions about my experience and I’m now helping to sponsor and run the roleplaying club. Another student has started a video game club, which is also being held in the library, which makes me hopeful. As I’ve observed in the library, a lot of students find great enjoyment in gaming and that’s something I want to try and find more ways to incorporate into other aspects of the school. Since one of the wonderful aspects of Roeper is how much control students have in terms of the courses they spend their time on and how they use their free periods. The chance to find more ways to take what they enjoy and add other educational levels to it, as well as discussing some of the culture of the gaming world feels like a challenge suited to the school and to me.

Something that I find a pleasure and a challenge is figuring out displays to set up in the library and ways to take advantage of the shelf space I have available. Last month, I put up my first display for Banned Books Week and enjoyed having many students and teachers asking questions. Many of the students weren’t aware of Banned Books Week, so I was able to explain the thinking behind it and the principle that libraries provid access to all books. At the moment, I’ve started a Halloween display that’s going slightly slow as I have books, poems and short stories posted but I’ve been having trouble deciding on bigger decorations. I’ve been going into stores full of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations and feeling overwhelmed as I try to think of what will be successful, work over a long time and make the library a fun place to be. Recently I was able to look at desks in a store and that helped me see the kind that works for what I wish the library to be.

The desk and decorations are small examples of my great challenges and joys in being a librarian at Roeper-how do I take what’s within my head about the roles of a librarian and library and shape it to fit and succeed at Roeper. I’m learning every day from what works and doesn’t work and finding incredible support within the Roeper community.

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Ann Arbor Book Festival Manga Mania-Ideas to Realization

The Ann Arbor Book Festival is a wonderful event full of numerous types of programming from writers’ workshops to a vendors’ fair and events for children. Since I first moved to Ann Arbor, I’ve heard of this festival but until this summer, I was never able to participate. When the emails asking for assistance started to appear on the SI list serv, I quickly said yes, I’d like to help especially with children’s activities. The first meeting happened on a Friday morning and from the start I found myself deep in helping to think of ideas for structure about an afternoon activity based around manga and understanding narrative. One of the most fascinating parts of this planning process was the mixture of people involved in the planning, professors involved in Chinese, Japanese and childhood education alongside the tech coordinators for North Quad and students who wanted to help. You can see the wide variety of people involved here and a final breakdown of what the day looked like.

The first stages of creating Manga Mania were full of what at times felt like too many ideas and quite diverse opinions such as that we shouldn’t have too much structure or too little. A challenge happened because this was the first time this particular event had gone on and so there were no expectations of how many or what age of children to expect. The North Quad staff was helpful because they had held events in the community space before so knew what was possible within it and that helped us to build ideas around that. After much discussion, we decided to create activities that would work for all ages but aim for the eight to ten range as by observation those seemed the children most likely to appear. On the day of the event, this was true and our predictions were mainly correct. As we had a sense of the age of the children, we then had to think about the activities, here it helped that a few of the organizers had done events such as this before and knew what worked and the flexibility of the North Quad space.

We decided to create a few different stations; illustration and character creation, pop ups and 3D art, and lastly puppetry. In the end a map was created of these stations and represented them as a participant going from their house, character creation, city hall, storytelling and finally the amphitheater for puppetry, face painting and 3D art. This map didn’t fully map onto the arrangement of the room on the final day but did provide a way for children to be aware of what was available for them to do. Character creation was something that I brought up as an idea for a template that the participants could have with them and as a way to think about characters within stories. As a roleplayer in various mediums, I have a lot of experience with how creating a character can stimulate creativity and understanding of how people and stories worked.

As the focus of this activity was to be about manga and art, we planned to include a large space on the paper for drawing characters alongside some basic traits; strengths, weaknesses, name, age, zodiac sign. On the day of the event, most children were proudly carrying these templates that had been filled in off with them alongside 3D art and spoon puppets. A benefit of the space we used in North Quad is that all of the tables are covered with white board, which meant children could draw on the tables or on papers we ended up providing. This made for a relaxed event as everyone was drawing on the tables no matter their ages and sharing what they created. The day of the event things came together wonderfully as slide shows with manga and other action characters showed on screens along the walls, the artists predrew on some of the tables to make things easier and wonderfully inspiring handouts kept appearing with character ideas. The North Quad space has tickers to show words and alongside the already chosen words, character names, skills and qualities were added.

I spent most of the event at the front door where I explained what was happening and helped people find what they needed. One of the disadvantages of North Quad is that its a confusing building and since we had a clearly marked open door for the Book Festival, I fielded questions from many participants. We did have a small issue with our sign and the door but that was something we couldn’t have predicted alongside the strong wind.

I was also able to say goodbye to most of the participants and see what they had created and give them handouts to take with them so they could continue creating. It was gratifying to see how much every child enjoyed the event. I think next year this event will be even stronger as an expectation has been formed of what it is like and parents and children will remember. For me this was one of the best experiences I’ve had since it helped me to learn what it takes to bring such a large event together and what good programming looks like.

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Filed under goals and career

Last Class Reflection-Librarians Always Educate

At the end of the semester, we looked back over what we’ve done and how it all connects. I think that this course, Professional Practice has been one of the most immediately useful of all my SI courses. Today at America Reads I was putting together another screencast and a series of How To guides for how to use the library program that I found for them. As I was working, I made sure to go back and add in steps that aren’t obvious to me but need to be understood. Professional Practice has really given me the tools to think about how do I in my role as a librarian no matter the setting make sure that I’m helping my patrons get the information they need. Also how do I keep myself up to date and I think that’s such a challenge as the world communicates so quickly now and librarians are very connected. Its so key to know who to ask and where to look to figure out what’s going on, what matters and who to listen to.

I think the aspect that helped me the most were all the various hands-on assignments because they showed me places to start. I know that when someone asks me if I know how to run a book club or a one shot workshop I’ll say yes. If the semester was longer, I would have liked to have time to polish some of the assignments but I feel like I have a start and a good base knowledge.

One of the best lessons I took away was making sure that everyone who might come to your library has a way to learn and feel connected. I think this is one of the trickiest parts of being in the world of public libraries and one of the most important things. Libraries have to be safe and welcoming.

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Filed under goals and career, professional practice reflection