Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Remember That Day When…

It was awesome. Twenty-four kids who met 45 minutes earlier, were all cheering for each other as they took turns throwing underwear into a cardboard toilet. Their shouts of victory when the lid closed on the toilet with each slam dunk shot is legendary. The joy the library brought to these kids that day and to this librarian was immense.

Working in a library has those moments. There are spots of joy and success that stick with us as we venture through the years. The Captain Underpants program with the milk-crate toilet was held over sixteen years ago and it has stuck with me. I also often recall the outreach event at which I watched a colleague bravely sing camp songs to a packed room of kids and parents. She held everyone’s attention. It was amazing! We ran out of flyers at our library’s information table that night. These memories come up periodically along with a dozen or so other moments in conversation with colleagues and while training new staff.

Why do these moments stick out in my memory? I think they illustrate the reason I work in a public library. These memories show the connections and the humor that can be shared among people who have just met. It demonstrates how the library as a community center or school hub can bring people together to learn, share, and find connections. Recently, I have attended several webinars that encourage us to be mindful of our mental wellness and foster the wellness of our colleagues. Remembering and sharing these stories can do that. I encourage you to take a moment and think of those joyful moments that you have had. When were connections made between your library and the kids in your community? Remember the successes and the days that demonstrated why you are working at your library. Share one of your “I remember when” moments below!

Today’s blog post was written by Christy Kepler, Head of Youth Services at the Oswego Public Library District in Illinois, on behalf of the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee. She can be reached at This post addresses competency VII. Professionalism and Professional Development -1.


  1. Lisa Mulvenna

    I had a little friend who attended story times until she was 2 at my library and she got leukemia. It was totally heartbreaking! Three years later she came in when I was on desk and asked, “Do you remember me?” One of the first things she wanted to do when she was fully in remission was visit Mrs. Lisa at the library and I took a break to do our own impromptu story time. This will always stick out in my memory.

  2. Jen Abler

    The year was 2001. The scene was a classroom, probably 2nd grade, and we were there for a Summer Reading visit. We had so many schools and classrooms that I had to recruit staff from all departments to help. My brother worked in circulation at the time. At the end of our presentation a boy raised his hand and asked my brother if he was Tony Hawk. My brother responded with “Tony Hawk wants you to read this summer,” and then pretended to skateboard his way out of the classroom!

  3. Amanda

    After working in libraries for so many years, I’m lucky to have experienced several of those moments. The little girl who was late for storytime and came running the space doing the movements for our opening song (Skidamarink). The young child calling for “Miss Amanda” from across WalMart’s registers (How I heard him I will never know. So much space and noise between us!). The teen who would stop by my office for book recs – who I’ve seen grow from a 2-year-old to a college student. The tween who, when she saw me post in a group we had in common, messaged me on Facebook to tell me how much I meant to her when she was growing up (Yes, I cried. How could I not?). The preschool class who was SO EXCITED to see me for our monthly outreach visits…and them knocking me over to all hug me goodbye at the same time. Coming across the little notes and pictures kids and families have given me over the years. These are just some of the moments that, when I’m feeling stressed or unsure, remind me what I’ve done during my career mattered to someone.

  4. Sarah

    One of my favorite memories is from my first ever full-time librarian job. I played peek-a-boo with a young patron from behind the reference desk for at least a half hour. He laughed and laughed and laughed!

  5. Mary Donovan

    I’ve had many happy program moments, but somehow the memories that have stuck in my mind most clearly have been at the desk. The preschooler entering the department saying, “I wonder what we’ll make today, Mama?” — obviously looking forward to doing one of our self-directed crafts. Or the third-grade girl determined to start the Harry Potter series because “some of the boys in my class are reading them and I can read as well as any boy.” Or the ten-year-old girl asking for books about women astronauts because that’s what she wants to be when she grows up. The two little girls squeezed together in our rocking chair sharing a picture book. And all the kids who come into our department skipping! All these moments remind me why, despite the challenges of our current environment, I still love my job.

  6. Jen Trotta

    One of the best memories that I have is actually a recent one! On July 13th, we had 2 field trips to our community fire station, and we held story times for the families before each field trip. We had over 40 patrons in each session, and the kids were so excited! Getting to meet some of our community fire fighters and walk through the fire station, was definitely a treat for many of our patrons. After the event patrons said how happy they were to be able to participate in an event like this.

  7. Uma Nori

    Christy, Thank you for writing this beautiful post. Here are some of my “I remember when” moments.

    Every year before our Summer Library Challenge begins we visit all the elementary schools in our district, Our summer presentations excite and enthuse the students to want to sign up for the challenge. Even though we share a registration/ sign up date, without fail students come in running to the library to sign up for it. They greet us with an excited or shy hello and recognize the Youth staff from the visit. The sparkle and excitement in the children towards the library, program and staff is very rewarding.

    After our interior renovation some years ago we planned a grand reopening block party. We planned for all the entertainment outdoors. But as luck would have it – it turned out to be a rainy day. We moved all the activities indoors. The communities support and excitement for this event was spectacularly wonderful. The library was packed and the patrons had a wonderful time. They remember it fondly, that is why last year we had our 90th Anniversary birthday party. It was well attended and children and patrons had a wonderful time.

    Recently a couple of parents were remembering our virtual storytimes during the pandemic. They thanked us for doing them and said that the virtual storytimes were wonderful. It was nice to hear that their children looked forward to them and we made a difference and reached patrons in a creative way in an uncertain time.

  8. Mary Fellows

    The unsolicited hugs, trading jokes back and forth with a third grader who has newly discovered knock-knock jokes, and the times when I say where I work and people respond with “We love the library!!”

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