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Glimmers of Hope: Sidewalk Stories

Hope! I can feel it in the air! Spring is upon us, COVID numbers are down, vaccinations are rising, and we here in California are moving down the color tiers of restrictions. We moved from the unrelenting purple tier to red last week, and more and more places are opening their doors to the public for the first time in a year! We are gearing up for our own rapidly approaching re-opening date at my library. Our doors are still closed to the public at the time of this writing. We have, however, started to do some outdoor programs, most notably Sidewalk Stories! The name is the program’s descriptor. We plunk down hula hoops at socially distanced intervals, crank up the sound system, make a little barrier, and away we go! We’ve completed three weeks of stories so far. I’ve learned a few things that I wanted to share in…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Confronting Reality: Wade in the Water

Have you ever taken a personality test? The Enneagram, or Myers-Briggs or even what house you would be in if you were a wizard? I take them all, and every single time, I am embarrassed by my category. I’m a Seven, an ENFP, a Hufflepuff for heaven’s sake. I avoid pain pathologically. If it hurts, I’ll feel it, but only for a minute. Then I have play some music or read something beautiful or pet my dogs or do something that restores my hopeful stance.

Blogger Liza Purdy

Changes: Turn and Face the Strange

We’ve had a lot of changes in the past year, haven’t we? Changes in lifestyle, in government, in health. In our work lives, we’ve had nothing but change! It looks like there’s more change to come for all of us as we creep back, ever so cautiously, to something that looks like a life and work pre-pandemic. I had some big changes this month. I was promoted to Senior Children’s Librarian, which meant I moved branches and completely changed the scope of work that I do. A lot of it scares me, to be honest. I have to know DETAILS. DATA. There are EXCEL SPREADSHEETS involved. People expect me to know things. Is this my strongest skill set? Not even slightly. However, I have the opportunity to work in brand new and really exciting ways that do build on my existing skills.  I can stretch and grow, and that is…

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Gratitude: Reasons I am Grateful This November

November is here, the start of the holiday season. This year is going to be strange for so many of us. Hopefully we can all stay safe as we celebrate! One thing that I am planning on doing as we approach a Thanksgiving that will look so different from years past is to practice gratitude. There are all kinds of studies about the importance of fostering a grateful attitude; it seems we can do nothing better for our mental health than to count our blessings. I am going to count mine with abandon in my personal life, but what about my professional one? What do I have to be grateful for as a children’s librarian in this year of the pandemic? I am grateful for my colleagues. As a public librarian, my day is usually spent focused on patrons and community members. This year, as I’ve hunkered down in my…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Storytime Starters: New Pandemic Skills Coming to a Website Near You

One of the things I miss most in quarantine is Storytime. I love storytime so much! It is an opportunity to create a whole bodied experience for families. I get a rush from presenting it. I love thinking about what themes I am going to do, what stories would be just right, what songs would work, what flannels. I even make playlists to go with my theme to entertain the parents and kids during the playtime afterwards. We have been doing storytime virtually since the pandemic started, so I have been getting my fix in a diluted way. As we all know, it’s just not the same. I was trying to think of other ways to deliver the storytime experience to families after our summer session ended when I happened upon Syossett Library’s Storytime Starters on their Instagram feed. What a brilliant idea! They posted books, flannels and some videos…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Shift

I am a stark raving extrovert. My energy levels skyrocket with personal interaction. I love small talk, and if the conversation turns a little deeper, and people actually share something significant, I swoon. I am also a bit physically restless. If I have to do the same thing all day long, I feel like I am going to jump out of my skin! I get downright grouchy. That’s why being a children’s librarian is the perfect profession for me. There is an opportunity for meaningful exchange in every single reference interview. The creativity, community building and performance necessary to make a good storytime is my idea of heaven. All day long, my job changes. I go from a morning storytimes, to an afternoon reference shift, to an after-school program with elementary school kids and their families. And outreach! Taking the show on the road is so much fun! There is…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Feeding Body, Mind and Spirit: Lunch at the Library

This has been a rough summer for most of us, I think. The reality that the pandemic is not going away anytime soon has started to really sink in. We’ve seen businesses open only to shutter again after a few short weeks. The hope of school returning as normal in the fall has faded, bringing challenges to many families. It’s been a hard reality to swallow. In our community, as in many others, we are still reeling from 2019. We had significant property loss due to wild fires in the fall, and a tragic school shooting at Saugus High School on November 19, which resulted in the injury of five high school students and the death of three. We were traumatized before the pandemic hit. We are now hunkering down now for another semester of online classes, unemployment, social distancing and life in the “new normal.” Graciously, there have been…