Blogger Alexa Newman

Working Through a Remodel : Library Life in a Construction Zone

  My library is in the midst of an expansion and remodel project. Phase one, the building addition, was completed last week. A two story, 8000 square foot extension is now open. For the Youth Services department, this means a new office, Creation Center, study rooms, Homework Center / Parent Teacher collection,  and expanded stacks.   It is super exciting having new spaces (including a new departmental office), but there have been a few hiccups along the way. There’s been a delay with our office furniture, so several of us don’t have desks at the moment. And most of our supplies are still in the mover’s totes. We were closed for two days last week in order to move shelving, including the entire picture book collection and play area. Some materials went to offsite storage, some are in temporary moving carts, and others are in totes waiting to be reshelved….

ALA Midwinter 2018

Namaste, Library Peeps : Getting My Zen On at #alamw2018

One of the coolest amenities at ALA Midwinter 2018 was the Yoga / Meditation Room. I hope many of you had a chance to stop in for a moment, or two, or …. just hang out and be present for a while.     For the past few conferences, ALA has been sponsoring the yoga / meditation room. Since I am moderately obsessed with yoga (although I’m not sure if that is a very “yogi” thing to say) I stopped by Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and got in some abbreviated practice. Even if you don’t have a yoga practice, being able to sit down and collect your thoughts and just BE for 10 minutes or so can be beneficial to both your mental and physical health. I found the room here in Denver to be an oasis of calm.  Dim lights, soothing music, mats and meditation cushions as well as…

ALA Midwinter 2018

Learning, Connecting, and Having fun at ALA Midwinter 2018: It’s Been a Whirlwind #alamw18

It’s been a whirlwind, indeed. Although I’ve attended several Midwinter meetings over the years, this one has been especially fruitful. The sheer pace of meetings and activities has had me dashing all weekend. That’s my excuse for not posting sooner. I arrived from Chicagoland early Thursday afternoon; I managed to avoid the blizzard back home.While my coworkers had a snow day, we were enjoying 60 degree weather here in Denver. On Friday I attended the Bill Morris Seminar, the highlight of my conference experience so far. As part of the 2018 cohort, I came away with an expanded skill set for children’s literature and media evaluation. And I met some truly amazing people in the process. Immediately after that, I attended the inspiring opening session where activists Patrisse Cullars and Marley Dias discussed what inspired them to rise up and take action. Later that evening I joined up with the…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Winter Reading Programs : Game On at the Library!

Most public libraries, and many school libraries, conduct Summer Reading Programs. In fact, many of you (like me) have already begun planning your SRP. I’m curious to know how many other libraries out there hold Winter Reading Programs. And what your different programs entail. Please share your comparisons, ideas, and suggestions. I’d love to gather some innovative ideas. At the Algonquin Area Public Library District, we started our WRP years ago as a family reading program where the entire family would read and record their time together on one log as a group to earn a single prize such as a fleece blanket, or a sled. Each child also earned a paperback book of their choice upon completion of the family program. A few years ago we reformatted the program to more closely follow our SRP model. This included extending the length of the program, from 5 weeks to 2…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Workplace Dress Codes – Does Your Library Have One?

The next two weeks at work are a couple of my favorites. You would probably assume the reason for this is because of the holidays: time off, free treats to be found everywhere, and most everyone is in a good mood. In reality, they rank up there because my library is running a Jeans for Charity event. Two or three times a year, our staff is allowed to wear jeans in exchange for a $5 minimum donation to charity. A different charity is selected each time. Past beneficiaries include animal shelters, Family Alliance (a health service), and a battered women’s shelter. Why, Alexa, (you ask) are you so excited to wear jeans?  Because my library has a dress code. A dress code that prohibits blue jeans, shorts, sneakers, t-shirts with writing (other than our SRP shirts), and backless shoes. It is probably best escribed as business-professional. I do enjoy dressing…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Engaging Your Community : What Does That Mean?

A definition Community engagement is an important emerging trend in public libraries.  What, exactly, is community engagement, you ask? Well, according to Dr. Crispin Butteriss of Bangthetable.com, it can be described as both a process and an outcome.  In other, words it is both a noun and a verb.  Butteriss further describes it as “the process of getting people better connected into the community and for ensuring that the services they were designing me[e]t the specific needs of the people they are working with.” Applying the principles of community engagement specifically to libraries has been the focus of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.  The LTC initiative “seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents.” On a regional level, RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) has formed a community engagement networking group. I am my library’s youth liaison to the community.   I do outreach with several different agencies,…

Blogger Alexa Newman

A Super! Library Card, or, A Nerd Finds Bliss with a Piece of Plastic

September was Library Card Sign-Up Month, and my library promoted it, as did many of yours, I’m sure. ALA offered several promotional aids, downloads, and materials for Library Card Sign-Up Month. This year’s honorary chairs were the Teen Titans. Cool, huh?! Some libraries partner with local businesses to offer discounts when you present your library card. The Crystal Lake Public Library in Crystal Lake, IL (my home library) is one such library. Businesses they have partnered with include both national and locally owned shops and restaurants including Wendy’s, Chili’s, Dairy Queen, and Jersey Mikes. My library offered small gifts for both patrons signing up for new cards and for people who just showed their cards to desk staff. We also offered a limited edition Teen Titans library card. What was extra cool, in my humble and nerdy opinion, was that patrons (and staff) could exchange their current card for the…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Growing Pains

  Jackhammers, shattering glass, cranes, bulldozers, earthmovers, and more.  Things have been pretty chaotic for me and my coworkers this past month.  We have started a Library expansion project.  So, that’s where my mind has been turned lately. It’s been exciting and frustrating in turns.  The construction noise has been a challenge for us and our patrons. I wish I could accurately describe the cacophony.  It is fun to watch the construction work and to chart the progress of the project.       We are packing up books and furniture to put into storage: the movers arrived this morning.  Finding materials has become a bit of an adventure. Many collections have been shifted or moved entirely.  Shelving is coming down and being relocated. Meanwhile we are trying to carry on programming and services as per usual.   We are running five youth programs this morning, one youth and one teen program this…