The Eighth Week

I was lucky to have a few unique experiences this week.

On Monday, I attended the children’s book group.  I’ve only been to one before, since it meets once a month.  It was great just to experience the dynamic of a group of 10 or so 9-12 year olds.  They can be so  insightful or thoughtful and so squirmy and inattentive at the same time!  But Erica has some nice techniques for bringing them back, as well as keeping them respectful of each other. The really unique thing about this particular group was the book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.  The book is almost entirely pictures, and I wasn’t sure how a discussion of a not-quite-graphic-novel would differ from a traditional discussion.  Erica did use the pictures heavily – she had the kids talk about the significance of certain pictures, talk pick out their favorites from a series of related images, and consider the meaning of recurring symbols.  I thought the discussion was incredibly successful, and the visuals helped some of the squirmier kids focus.  This really got me thinking about other kinds of possible discussion groups for kids.  What about a group to reflect on popular movies?  How about art, music, or other media?

Tuesday was preschool story time, themed Things that go Zoom!  I love, love, LOVED one of the books, Rattletrap Car by Phyllis Root.  It’s a very fun rhyme-y story with just the right amount of repetition, it’s funny for kids and parents, and it’s full of FABULOUS sound effects and expressive fonts.  It’s excellent for promoting any of the early literacy skills, and it’s fun!  I will definitely keep this book in my arsenal.  Also, Erica showed me how to do a great craft, a simple boat from folded paper and yarn.  It’s easy enough for small hands, has lots of space to decorate, and makes a nice toy.  I loved this story time!

Wednesday I finally got to observe a pajama story time.  (Check out my AWESOME pink teapot PJs!)  The crowd was much smaller than a regular ST, which is great – 100 people wouldn’t make for a very relaxing room.  But we had about 30, which was perfect.  Erica tried to craft the energy of the ST so that the kids got to be active and wear themselves out at first, and then settled down and got ready for bed by the end.  Essentially, this meant doing a dance portion in the middle (the fabulous Justin Roberts’ Silly Dance Contest), and saving the quietest story and song for the end.  The wind-down wasn’t quite as successful this time as it sounds like it was last month – the kids were just energetic all the way through, despite having that built-in arc.  I guess there’s only so much you can do on that front.  The upside to more-awake kids was that they did stick around to do the craft (just a night sky coloring page).  We got a really positive response – parents loved this program – and it’s a fun spin on a vital service we already provide.  Plus, wearing your PJs at work is a great way to get attention for a program!

Thursday I missed half a day for my SPL CRP interview (fingers crossed) where I got to present the materials from my story times last week.  After, I went to the children’s services meeting.  Going to these large meetings has been fantastic.  It drives home the advantages and disadvantages of working in a large urban system.  On one hand, it can be difficult to make and implement system-wide decisions and changes.  On the other hand, it’s wonderful to have such a great group of colleagues with whom to share ideas, skills, resources and opportunities.  I’m consistently impressed with how well the groups cope with uncertainty and change, despite the challenges.  Those with concerns are able to make their voices heard in a respectful and supportive environment.  And it’s great to learn new story time techniques, to hear others’ review of new materials, and share expertise gained at conferences and trainings.  It’s also been wonderful to meet so many of the librarians in the system.  I’m really grateful that Erica and Jessi have let me tag along.

Total: +12, =127

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