Archive for reference

The Fifth Week

A busy return after being away last week!  I read at toddler story time, observed baby story time, put up a children’s display, assembled a book list, and spent time on the reference desk.

Erica’s story time theme this week was ducks, and she had a big book of One Duck Stuck.  Since I’ve been having a little trouble handling big books, I tried reading this one at both toddler story times on Thursday.  I’m really glad I got to do this twice in a row, because it went much more smoothly the second time.  I was able to concentrate less on turning the pages without ripping the book in half, and more on telling the story.  Also, it was just a bit long for the first group’s attention span, so I clipped some pages together for the second reading and the kids stayed engaged. I’m looking forward to running a whole story time next week!

I also spent a lot of time this week on the new seasonal children’s display.  The children’s section doesn’t have much space for a display of books, so Erica uses a cork board to put up pictorial displays.  Mine is for spring and early summer, so I’ve themed it “Grow! Read!”  I made large paper flowers with covers of children’s books with spring and summer themes as the centers.

I had a lot of fun, and Erica gave me enough time to make it very elaborate.  Of course, I would never have that kind of dedicated time as a full-time children’s librarian.  However, I could have made and assembled most of the pieces while on desk to save time.

I also pulled together some books for a teacher who wanted materials for toddlers on what to expect with a new sibling.  I used [“brothers and sisters – fiction” AND “babies – fiction”], then tried to pick things that were age-appropriate.  I also avoided books like Julius, The Baby of the World, which set up expectations that the older sibling won’t like the baby.  If a parent has that concern, they can certainly come to the library – but I didn’t want to cultivate negative emotions toward the baby if none existed before.  I came up with this list of books that were checked in at that moment:

I’m a big brother / by Joanna Cole

I’m your peanut butter big brother / Selina Alko

When you visit Grandma & Grandpa / by Anne Bowen

Bernard Wants a Baby / E Goodman

Russell’s secret / by Johanna Hurwitz

Rosie and Tortoise / by Margaret Wild

Hannah’s baby sister / by Marisabina Russo

Arthur’s baby / Marc Brown

I also just browsed the shelves nearby, and found a few other selections.  I picked a few on adopted sibs this way as well.  I hadn’t thought of that while at the computer, but of course many new babies coming home are adopted.  One more reason to always go to the shelf!

Finally, I observed baby story time again this month.  Since this was totally new to me last time, it was nice to see it again and be able to soak up more of the details.  I got to think about what types of activities and props might be effective, and observe the balance of time between reading, singing, and other activities.  Erica used balloons to demonstrate play and learning, which was very successful and fun for adults and babies.  However, I think I would be too nervous about the choking hazard if any of them popped to replicate this on my own.

Next week I’ll start off by heading to a regional teen services meeting.

Hours total: +25, Total = 78

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The Second Week

I’m starting to fall into the rhythm of story times and desk shifts.  It was nice to see each age group’s story time for the second time around.  Some of the kids and families recognize me, and I’m absorbing more of the details of how Erica delivers an effective story time  instead of just paying attention to the big outline of what she does. Her story times have a great rhythm – they flow nicely between stories and activities, and don’t get derailed when a few children get fussy or overeager.  I’m not sure that there’s one particular secret to having this kind of gentle authority – I guess it comes with experience – but hopefully watching how Erica deals with individual situations will help me get a sense of the larger skill.

Weeded folk and fairy tales

Also, this week I began a weeding project in the children’s folk and fairy tale section.  Most of the nonfiction at Northeast underwent a significant weed last year, so there’s not much to do beyond pulling damaged items.  We did a dusty shelf on the easy nonfiction, and found that almost every item was circulating (or missing).  Folk and fairy tales, however, had a more substantial group of poorly circulating items.  We speculated as to why this might be.  They’re not in a very visible location, and their Dewey classification is confusing for browsers.  Using the Horizon tools for weeding was a nice way to learn more of the technology, and also to see how other branches are dealing with this collection.  It looks like a few of them need to weed their folk and fairy tales, too!

It was interesting to be there on a day without a story time.  Even a single story time eats up almost the entire morning, between set up, the story time itself, free play time and talking to parents, helping participants find materials in the busy children’s section, and clean up.  The pace of a day without this seems pretty necessary for Erica to wind down from the high-energy story time days, and is also critical for getting things done.  We processed new

Chicken story time craft

books, worked on the book order, and set up a basket of craft materials for Erica’s sub next week.  (I made this craft sample for her chicken-themed story time.)  It’s also important for her coworkers.  Erica is much more program-heavy than they are, which means she’s available for desk shifts far less often.  That puts a lot of burden on them to be on desk, and cuts into the time they have to plan their own programs, maintain their collections, etc.  It’s a difficult balancing act when one person does much more programming than the others – but it will probably be the case in almost every library that the children’s librarian is doing  far more of this than anybody else.  It’s good to see how everybody works with this.

A day without story time also gave me more time on the reference desk.  I’m getting to help with a wide array of adult reference questions, from finding an old photograph of an amusement park ride which no longer exists to printing a list of regulations for decommissioning oil tanks.  And, of course, I’ve received many tax-form questions.  I still wish I could find these answers more quickly, but I have felt that everybody has walked away with good, useful information.  Observing and assisting the other librarians has been a great way to learn more about the resources the library has to deal with these inquiries.  I’ve also discovered that I have much stronger teen RA skills than I had realized.  Just from reading some teen lit, writing a few reviews, and spending time in the teen collection at Sno-Isle last quarter, I’ve apparently picked up a pretty solid working knowledge of teen materials.  Realizing this makes me want to ensure that I do the same for children’s this quarter.  I’m making an effort to read more children’s lit, and to pay attention what is being weeded, ordered, and processed.

Next week Erica is on vacation, so I’ll be bouncing around to visit some other story times.

Hours: +24, total 42

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