Wednesday, September 30, 2015

This Week in Professional Development

There have been a few different fantastic ways I've dug my teeth into youth services this week, and I wanted to make sure to share them all! I place quality professional development in high regard; you can find people talking about all kinds of things everywhere-- but people who know their stuff so intimately that they can be entertaining AND amazingly informative? That's rare. AND, all these professional development opportunities are available free to you.

I was going back and forth as to whether create a curated post like this, but then I was extra-inspired by "Lifting One Another Up" by Jessica at Letters to a Young Librarian. I am so fortunate to be in a position where support for other library professionals, connecting them with resources and PD opportunities, is a valued part of my job. I want to make sure to share the love for those of you who aren't lucky enough to have a Me emailing you every week :)

I find that online professional development is a great way to inspire conversations: share these opportunities, watch them when you have time, and start an email thread about them!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"It's Always Been That Way": An Unsolicited Rant

I have a confession to make: I’m a pearl clutcher.

Okay, so maybe not exactly, but I have caught myself in the title of this post a few times.

While this fact isn’t the most inspiring thing in the world, it’s true. I’ve done some debatably-innovative-depending-on-who-you-ask-but-whatever-I’m-proud things. AND, I’ve uttered the phrase “It’s always been done this way.” Sometimes with a judgy air for the practice; sometimes in earnest and with a tinge of defensiveness.

I thought that maybe talking a little about it might shed some light for the “pearl clutchers” and the “change agents” alike, because the perception seems to be that we can’t find common ground; that we’re either one or the other. And I don’t think it has to be that way. In fact, I think that working together, and playing to each other’s strengths, can help us create a culture of librarianship that is overtly kind. And not just because you’re working tirelessly on the Next Big Thing OR because you love every piece of the collection so much that you can’t bring yourself to weed. I see you all. And you have value. And we all should feel valued, because that’s the only way we can do our best work. Together.

Monday, August 03, 2015

5 Simple Questions to Inspire Your Service

I'm in my fourth week on the new job, and am really starting to feel like 1) I'm part of something great, and more importantly 2) I CAN DO THIS. Oh and also 3) holy-crap-I-live-in-Oregon-how-did-that-even-happen. That last feeling is mostly on my drives through the county when I actually take in the incomparable beauty of my new home. It will probably last for awhile.

One of the things I had planned to do from the beginning was try to meet every one of the youth librarians I'll work alongside and tour their space. In the middle of summer reading. I know: I'm already The Worst; it can only go up from here! But truthfully, I have been so fortunate to be welcomed warmly and have scheduled sit-down chats with nearly all of the member youth librarians, with a last few ironing out a time.

I wanted to share the questions I'm asking to see which member librarians I haven't met yet read my blog and will be prepared when I see them. Just kidding. Clearly. I actually wanted to share them because I've found them to produce such a wealth of information and have inspired so many ideas that I think everyone should do this with their own colleagues immediately, whether you've known each other for decades or if you're just starting out; if you're a student or unemployed, you can ask these of your mentors or squirrel them away for when you're a new hire.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Literacy Skills Tracking and Support

One of the first things I started learning about and working on at my new job was the Ready to Read grant project WCCLS is running as a partnership with The Community Action Organization. Non-registered child care providers were trained in ECRR, and have just begun receiving bins of 50 children's books to share with the kids in their care. They receive a delivery each month for six months; then, a new cohort of child care providers is invited to the program. Don't worry, we're working on ways to sustain early literacy experiences after their 6 months is up!

After the first delivery and after talking with our partner organization, it seemed as though there might be a need for a little more support to the caregivers in order achieve Community's Action's grant goal of "storytimes or other structured shared adult/child literacy experiences" at each house. I also saw a need to meet my general grant goal of "if we're relying on someone else to do something new/change a behavior, we have to make as convenient as humanly possible."

To reach both goals, I developed an early literacy skills tracking sheet. There are four delivered with each delivery, labeled by week. I wrote it in English, and our Bilingual Outreach Librarian translated it into Spanish, while replacing different examples with more culturally relevant ones. For instance, Week 2 the "sing!" suggestion was "Five Little Monkeys"; he changed it to the fun song "La Marcha de la Vocales".

The inspiration was those pill boxes that have the days on them.On the back are a few questions to help improve the program; if providers don't fill them out they're discussed at pick-up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Make a Graphic Novel for Kids

I'm excited to announce here that I've made a big move! You'll now find me at Washington County Cooperative Library Services in Washington County, OR. My new position, Youth Services Librarian II, will see me supporting youth services in 15 libraries and continuing an already pretty great conversation of partnerships, grants, and outreach library service in the county. Two cities in the county, Beaverton and Hillsboro, are both twice the size of La Crosse, so it's quite a bit to wrap my head around! But my coworkers are awesome so that helps my transition a ton. I'm unsure the direction my blog will take in the future, but I promise it won't be "these are my pet peeves so don't do this" or "this is what I see that should change, but I'll write about it here rather than talking about it directly." My role in libraries has changed and I want to make sure to continue to honor the tagline of this blog, as well as value the people I will be working closely with every day. Maybe there will be more unsolicited rants. Maybe more research posts. Maybe guest posts from our member librarians? Who knows. Stay tuned, there will be GIFs.

One of my last programs at LPL was a "Make a Graphic Novel!" program, and darnit if it wasn't one of my favorite programs in recent memory. Here's how it went (sorry it's a little choppy; this is based on brainstormed notes about it I typed up for myself):

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Post for You, if You Need It

Shoutout to the #alaleftbehind. Long days on the reference desk, programs, and the library just seems a little more chaotic than it even was before you read your first "what to do in San Francisco" blogpost (which you still read, right? Or is that just me?) All this on the backdrop of widely shared articles asking you to kindly not tell people you're busy (edit: originally shared the wrong post, sorry) and social media updates from your Internet friends who are all hanging out together/talking about how refreshing it is to get away during the summer/eating beignets (oh wait that was 2011), and you begin to feel some real feelings. Some of them may not be the best feelings. And that's okay.

This isn't for those who are lucky enough to be at ALA right now. Please, continue your conversation. You deserve to be there. This is for the rest of us. And I need to write it now, because I might have the opportunity to got to Annual in the future, and writing a post like this from Annual would be disingenuous. 

Basically, I've been thinking a lot about this time last summer, and this is the blogpost I wish someone would have written then. So I'm writing it for you.

Monday, June 15, 2015

It's Happening! Guerrilla-Style School/Public Library Q&A at ALA Annual!

Last week I told you about the AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee on School/Library Cooperation (SPLC)'s idea to hold a Guerilla-Style session alternative (based on Guerrilla Story time) at the ALA Annual Conference in San Francisco. AND GUESS WHAT:

Join SPLC (we pronounce it "Splice") in the Uncommons at Annual for a conversation hosted by no other than the intrepid chair of our committee, Jenna Nemec-Loise!

Save the Date!
Guerrilla SPLC ("SPLC It Up"? Is that too cheesy?) 
Saturday, Jun 27, 2015
Networking Uncommons
11:00 AM- 12:00 PM

Bring your questions and tell your friends! We'd love to see a great mix from the many divisions we represent.

See you there! Well, not really. I won't be there. But attend and talk about it on Twitter so I can feel like I am!