ALA Midwinter 2019

Seattle Flavor – #alamw19 in the Emerald City

The Gum Wall recently came up in a discussion about Midwinter and got me thinking about Seattle “must-do’s”.  Before moving to the Olympic Peninsula, I lived in Seattle for over a decade where I worked at a tourist destination and spent a big part of my work day helping people from around the world navigate the city.   If you need a break from the fluorescent glow of the Exhibits Hall and the low light of the conference meeting rooms, here are a few ideas. Visit the Space Needle.  Or at the very least, photo bomb the Needle take a picture of yourself with Needle in the background.  Voilá! Ready for the holiday card.  Be sure to take the Monorail to the Space Needle so you feel like a Jetson. Eat lunch at Pike Place Market.  The Market is alive with people and color, from the iconic fish throwing to the…

Children's Librarians are Experts

Children’s Librarians are Experts at Staying Calm and Being Flexible

As public librarians, we deal with unexpected hazards on the regular. In my experience, children’s librarians are the experts in our buildings at staying calm and remaining flexible, no matter the situation. We deal with minor disruptions in programs and Storytimes every day, enabling and training us from early in our careers to be expertly flexible humans. Could you imagine rigidly stopping Storytime and demanding that a crying child and their caregiver leave so you could continue reading your book in peace? What is peace? We are skilled at dealing with children here, and so we switch gears. We say, “The End” three pages early (even if it hurts us, because the book will seriously change their lives), and start passing out shaker eggs or scarves and put on a song. I may be lucky, but usually the crying dissipates. Even if it does not, our Storytime crowd is not…

Children's Librarians are Experts

Children’s Librarians are Expert Community Organizers

At the library, we are often times the nucleus of the community. We are the safe place for crafts and activities outside of school. We are a neutral place to collaborate on homework and to assemble resources to achieve and succeed. In a lot of cases, especially when it comes to working with the youth in the community, it is the children’s librarian overseeing, planning, implementing, and being the catalyst for personal and professional growth and development of children. Through our programming, we, as children’s librarians have the opportunities to work and network with many people in the community. From guest storytellers like police and fire crew, to students logging volunteer hours for community service projects, and finally to social workers conducting their own outreach or providing services for those in the community who need the additional assistance; we have contact with nearly every agency within our communities. Children’s librarians…

Children's Librarians are Experts

Children’s Librarians are Expert in Creating Timely Current Event Programs

This fall, voting discussions were happening spontaneously wherever adults gathered: the dinner table, the grocery line, the car radio and well beyond. Kids in our neighborhood heard snippets of local and national voting issues throughout their day.  Making sure to vote was often emphasized as a top priority. Just imagine the delight of children who walked into the Tecumseh Branch of the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana when they saw a large freezer box voting booth with a “Vote for Best Pet 2018” campaign in full swing!  The premise was explained on a bulletin board directly behind the booth itself. “Dog or cat?  Your vote decides!  Customers of any age may vote from now through Tuesday, November 6th.  One vote per customer, please.  The winner will be announced with a Dog or Cat Storytime, Parade, and Victory Celebration.”  Our sole service point included voter registration cards children…