Sometimes, working in small rural libraries is difficult. Single-staffed branches have limited time for youth programming. There’s no room for large comfy chairs or crawl-through shelving. And yet, children swarm the place, coming in every day after school, for weekly storytime, or to play Minecraft on the public computers. When I visit large, urban libraries, and see amazing children’s rooms, I swoon at all that space, all those bright colours and beautiful furniture.
We are now in the midst of the holiday season. How does a public library (or school library) handle the holidays? Or, how should a public library handle the holidays?
In an environment where great emphasis is put on statistics like door count and program attendance, it is tempting for public library staff to view school counterparts either as competition, or conduits to promote our programs. A better approach to the numbers game is to collaborate together on programming, which can mean adapting public library programs for a school setting.
To celebrate Banned Books Week, Rochester Public Library (MN) has invited customers (and you!) to vote to ban a book. That’s right: ban a book.
Do you use the classic display to highlight Banned Books Week?
At my library we have a monthly guessing game in a display case near the Children’s Services desk. Last month’s theme was guessing the number of drops of water in a bottle. This month’s game has lots of puppets stuffed in the case. In the winter it was about snowflakes. The library has been doing this since before I started working there, and I can see the positive effects of the game. To participate in the month’s game, a library visitor must fill out a guessing form at the Children’s desk. A child doesn’t have to be able to write to participate; family members can help make sure the guess itself is legible. There is generally an employee working at the desk, and having the forms and pencils near us encourages interaction between the families and staff. Sure, we greet people as they enter the Children’s Library, but the guessing…
I did a fair amount of live-blogging for PLA this month, so all my serious thoughts were all dried up – except to say that PLA is incredible and I learned a ton. So, to wrap-up Poetry Month, I wanted to share a display my coworker Krishna put together: We had slots for children to write their own pocket poems, and some of them are too good not to illustrate (no grammar or spelling altered). Poem #1: dope My interpretation: Poem #2: My Zootch Here’s what Shel Silverstein had to say about that: Poem #3: untitled My interpretation: To all budding poets, I salute you! All illustrations copyright Lisa Nowlain, 2016. Lisa Nowlain is the Harold W. McGraw Jr. Fellow and Children’s Librarian at Darien Library in Darien, CT. She is also an artist-type (see more at lisanowlain.com).
Rochester (MN) Public Library’s core values focus on being a welcoming and inclusive environment. A few years ago we started to hear from adults and teens in the community that there were not a lot of safe spaces for LGBTQIA teens to hang out, so in our 2015 Action Plans we included “Develop programming to specifically meet the needs of Rainbow Families and LGBTQIA teens” and got started. Before we share our ideas for serving LGBTQIA kids and families, let’s talk about “LGBTQIA”. LGBTQIA stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning, Intersex, and Asexual or Ally. Without including the word “queer”, this alphabet soup is not inclusive of the entire spectrum of sexual and gender identities out there. But as you can imagine, when we use the word queer in our program descriptions or trainings, people have a lot of questions. Queer is a word with a terrible…