School is back in session and the class visit requests are rolling in. School librarians are pros at managing class visits. But for many public librarians, class visits may feel a little less comfortable than our regular storytime jams and STEAM programs that happen in our own, well-known program rooms. If you’re new to class visits or if it’s simply been a little while, join me for Class Visits 101: how to prepare, books to share, and the magic of brain breaks.
In library school, I took a lot of children’s classes. A class about evaluating children’s literature. A class about planning programs. Even a class devoted entirely to storytelling. But there are some things I never learned in school. I never learned how to make safety plans to escort a performer out of a library event turned threatening. I never learned how to respond to online accusations about the supposed predatory nature of LGBTQIA+ books. As book challenges sky-rocket and board meetings become hostile, what does it look like for new library staff to be well-prepared for the profession?
The Canadian wildfires have brought a smoky summer to many of our communities. In some parts of North America, wildfire season is a yearly occurrence that is only getting worse. For others, this may be the first time you’ve had to deal with smoke and poor air quality. If a blanket of smoke has settled upon your community, simple programs and robust collections can help.
I am afraid to put up a Pride display. That feels unprofessional to admit, but it’s true. I live and work in a very liberal area, and yet I am still afraid. From book bans to anti-trans bills to storytime protests, it is a very scary time to be under the LGBTQIA umbrella, an umbrella that feels paper thin against the onslaughts of contemporary hatred. This June, let us shine a light on books of queer joy. That joy can be so hard to keep alight on our own.
There have been 160 school shootings since 2018. According to the Washington Post, more than 300,000 students have experienced gun violence in their school since the Columbine shooting in 1999. Every shooting leaves shocked, scared, and traumatized children in its wake. Children who have never had an act of gun violence in their school are also aware of these shootings. They happen in schools just like theirs, towns just like theirs. Sharing books can be a great way to support kids who have fears and to start a conversation about gun violence – but this is not easy, given the very small number of books published on the subject. How can we build a strong collection when there is so little published?
In my area, libraries are bringing back their pre-pandemic range of programs, but one program is mostly missing: sensory storytime. I live in a busy, urban area, and yet in my entire county, only one library system has a weekly sensory storytime. My family needs a disability-friendly storytime if we’re going to be able to attend. For Autism Acceptance Month, let’s talk about why these types of storytimes are so important, and why they can be so hard to get (or keep) in the line-up.
April is National Poetry Month! Many people find poetry intimidating. Between meter, rhyme scheme, teachers overly focused on anything written prior to 1900, and words like “troche” and “anaphora,” the language of poetry can seem complex. But it is not too late – or too hard – to unlock your inner poet. Consider adding one of the following poetry programs to your calendar. They all use common library or household supplies, take no special knowledge or skill to lead, and can be put together in an hour or less. Gather ye thine quills and parchment!
TikTok is my favorite resource for professional development. That might seem unlikely, if you associate the platform with teens dancing in silly ways to trending songs. But TikTok can be a fantastic resource for storytime songs, reading recommendations, and learning more about childhood development – provided you use it thoughtfully. Here are some of my favorite things I’ve learned from TikTok since I started curating an account around all things library.