Blogger Meg Smith

Ring in the New Year with Youth Services Goals

This season can be a time for reflection and planning. It’s hard for me to imagine that in just a few days we will ring in a New Year! My professional goals for 2017 focus on training, teamwork, and creating enhanced early literacy spaces for our youngest patrons. What plans do you have on the horizon during this next year?

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In 2017, our youth services managers will play a more critical role in developing new staff training. Each quarter one manager will lead the youth services staff in reviewing a topic of interest. For example, trainers may focus on technology trends or diversity in picture books, and topics will be advertised in advance to ensure strong staff participation. Each manager will host the training at her/his home location so staff are able to visit our individual youth services departments on a more regular basis and increase their familiarity with managers working at other locations. These sessions are called SPARK, or Services, Programs, and Resources for Kids, and will provide department managers with hands-on opportunities to develop training to benefit our larger youth services team.

I plan to provide more experiences for staff to network and to increase our opportunities to work together to streamline programming. This goal aims to develop a centralized youth services team across our system. Part of this teamwork approach connects to our work with building community partnerships. One vibrant example of this partnership is our work with our local botanical garden. During the holiday season, Cumberland County Public Library & Information Center staff provide festive story times during the Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s holiday light show. Garden staff gave us an interactive tour of their traveling LEGO exhibit as well as some interactive programming ideas for our children’s activities this summer. This field trip provided an opportunity for staff to collaborate and connect, and we hope to offer more of these team building experiences in the New Year.

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While these two goals focus on professional development, our biggest goal on the horizon is the development of early literacy centers at our branch locations. With funds received from a LSTA EZ Literacy & Lifelong Learning Grant and administered by the State Library of North Carolina, we will purchase technology, furniture, and manipulatives to provide opportunities for young children and caregivers to play and explore together. We’ll examine how we promote early literacy tips and model positive parent/child interactions through our programs. As a youth services group, we’ll explore how we can best share the message that parents are their children’s first and best teachers with more families in our community. I’m excited to see how our ideas to enhance our early literacy programs and services become reality in the New Year.

Training, teamwork, and early literacy centers are professional goals I plan to develop. What ideas do you hope to implement in your library system in 2017? Please share in the comments below!


One comment

  1. Teresa K. Cain

    I love your field trip idea, especially because it wasn’t at another library. Brilliant!

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