There’s always that little pocket of mellow time during the last week or two of December, after the end-of-year deadlines but before things rev up after New Year’s Day, when one can think ahead to the coming year with pleasant anticipation (rather than heart-racing anxiety).
Here are my roll-up-the-shirt-sleeves-and-get-to-work topics for 2013:
Ooh, I practically salivate when I hear those words. Never before have I been filled with so much hope for new public library/school relationships and partnerships. Super nonfiction for kids? Thoughtful reading and interpretation of different texts and formats? We children’s librarians have got that covered and we’ll be letting our schools know about all the ways we can support students, teachers and library media specialists. There are so many juicy possibilities for collaboration this year.
Are you as excited as I am about adding Art to the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math mix?* It’s true that we don’t have oodles of Librarian/Scientist/Artists on our staff. Luckily, there are plenty of folks around who are experts and are willing and able to support our efforts to offer STEAM programming to our communities. Museums (art, science, natural history), high school robotics clubs, Maker clubs/spaces, colleges and universities; tech-savvy library staff; these are just some of your potential partners. Not only can they provide interactive, meaningful out-of-school-time learning experiences for library kids, but they can provide training for your children’s librarians. We’re never too old to learn new tricks — especially if they’re super-fun. Lego robotics, anyone? (*interesting NEA study on the importance of arts education)
Yes, we’ve been doing this for a while, but it’s such a rich, deep lode of Good Stuff. From ECRR 2 parent/caregiver workshops to storytimes to library children’s areas filled with opportunities for families to read, talk, play, sing and write — we’re doing a great job, and there is always so much more to do. I’d like my own library system to go deeper than the one-off parent workshop we’re offering now and explore models of service in which we can initiate repeated meaningful encounters with new and expecting parents. If the desired outcome is to close the achievement gap and increase the number of children who start school ready to learn, that’s reason enough to keep charging ahead with early literacy.
What are your plans and dreams for the coming year?