Blogger Meg Smith

My Summer Wish List

Olaf, in Disney’s Frozen, is famously and surprisingly infatuated with all things summer. Children’s librarians, on the other hand, seem a natural fit to be preoccupied with these warm months ahead. As our busiest time of the year is on the horizon and our summer reading program begins in just a few short weeks, I’ve created my own wish list of my hopes and dreams for this year’s summer reading program. While it would be nice if our programs and prizes brought in the kids in droves just like that Disney blockbuster hit, I’m setting my sights on more realistic milestones to gauge the success of our program. So without further ado, here’s my summer reading wish list for 2015. Marketing Magic    We’ve always targeted the schools with summer reading publicity, assemblies, appearances on morning announcements, and promotional summer reading DVDs.  This year the print publicity students receive not only highlights…

Blogger Meg Smith

A New Year Brings New Possibilities for Summer Reading

Ringing in the New Year often means a time of personal reflection, but it can also be a perfect time to create professional goals and to strengthen our work objectives.  While it may be months away, one of my library system’s 2015 goals is to review our current summer reading program and to consider some new ideas for this club. Administrative and youth services staff have collaborated on how to best see these ideas through to fruition. For us, the year 2015 is all about impact. How can we ensure our summer reading program makes the most powerful difference in our community? Focus on the Journey, Not Only the Destination Our traditional summer reading program has focused on specific reading milestones that children must reach to receive individual prizes. In 2015, we will consider our summer reading program to be more of a journey instead of a destination. Once children…

Blogger Meg Smith

How Does Your Library Grow?

“Children’s Librarian, Children’s Librarian, how does your library grow? With continuing development and innovative programming and pretty furniture all lined up in a row?” This simple twist to the classic nursery rhyme “Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary” points to the growth necessary for our libraries’ survival if we are to continue our impact and ensure our longevity. With many of us facing increasing responsibilities and shrinking budgets, it may be natural to feel that growth is simply impossible. There may be, however, some practical ways we all can enhance the services and resources we provide for children, their families, and our communities. How does your library garden grow? Our community branch library received a major renovation this past summer, funded in part through a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program grant in partnership with Fayetteville State University in Fayetteville, NC.  A staff office was turned into a conference room that has quickly become…

Blogger Meg Smith

The Reality of Renovation

“Why is there so much water on our bathroom floor?” I remember screaming as I stood in the gallons of water sloshing over my feet at 5:30 that morning. A loose valve had sent the water gushing throughout our bathroom, bedroom, and surrounding closet.  This forced splash, so to speak, into home renovation also coincided with the introductory stages of remodeling at the library where I work.    We are anticipating our major renovation to our community branch in August when we receive an updated computer lab, new conference room, and more modern and compact seating for customers.  Our branch’s renovation is already underway. We have received beautiful new office furniture to allow for a more compact space to organize our paperwork and supplies, and this is just the start to our improvements. While exciting, the period of renovation can also be an extremely daunting and exhausting one, particularly if you are thrust…

Blogger Meg Smith

Change Keeps Coming

Whether you are a project manager for your library’s youth programs or a supervisor adjusting to staffing shortages, librarians often deal with changes.  I recently attended a fascinating workshop on a relevant topic for many of us working with children in libraries: Leading from the Middle in the Middle of Change.  Hosted by the Library Administration and Management Association (LAMA) section of the North Carolina Library Association, this workshop differed from a traditional training; it was an unconference or participant-driven event. Lois Kilkka, Deputy Director for Library Experiences with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, presented an inspirational speech on leadership and how to facilitate change at any level within an organization. The participants, including project managers, coordinators, deputy directors, department supervisors and branch managers from across North Carolina, discussed how to best encourage our co-workers to not only withstand but to embrace change. We formed small groups to focus our discussions on one…