April is National Poetry Month! How are you going to celebrate? My library system allows cardholders to sign up for daily poems sent to their email, along with a prompt for those interested in creating their own poetry.
At my previous library branch, I had the pleasure of working, for seven years, surrounded by the artwork of the late, great Ashley Bryan. I also met him when he came to admire the branch, and he was an absolute delight, both to library staff and to the local school children he visited. I, along with countless others, mourned his passing earlier this month. The memory of how excited the kids were to meet the artist who “decorated” their library stand out as a career highlight. I imagine that Mr. Bryan’s Let it Shine! is a childhood favorite of these young people, who are now high school upperclassmen, if my math is correct. They were second graders when we opened the new branch in 2012. I remember thinking that Mr. Bryan’s energy, being that he was in his late 80s at the time, was astounding, as he engaged the kids…
I enjoy anticipating the Youth Media Awards every year. I love to see if they honor my favorite books and to create a to-be-read list of unfamiliar titles. I also enjoy getting in on the action, if you will, by participating in several Mock Awards. Happily, our youth collection development specialist organizes Mock Awards for our library system. And, while we work for a large system (Cuyahoga County Public Library), I believe anyone can do so.
A colleague—and friend—once told me that I was the best “natural networker” she had ever met. I was stunned, because the idea of going to a networking social and trying to make small talk throughout the evening and to sell myself sounds completely and utterly miserable. I’ve never even attended a networking event. The idea of doing so makes me break out in hives!
Last month, I attended my first in-person professional development in two years when I presented at and attended the Ohio Library Council’s Convention and Expo in Columbus, Ohio. While there, I saw amazing speakers like Jason Reynolds and Saeed Jones and attend other sessions focusing on youth services. To me, the most impactful session was entitled “Rich, Robust and Expressive: Vocabulary Building in Storytime; Storytimes for School Readiness and Community Needs.” Presented by Dr. Maria Cahill, Associate Professor in the School of Information Sciences in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky and Janet Ingraham-Dwyer, Library Consultant—Youth Services for the State Library of Ohio (and truly the MVP for youth librarians in my state), the session focused on Direct Vocabulary Instruction (DVI).
This past month, I fortunately attended a training on Reimagining School Readiness that focused on Growth Mindset. The Bay Area Discovery Museum (BADM) and Center for Childhood Creativity developed a position paper after performing a comprehensive review of current psychology literature. The purpose? To draw out how research can be used by educators and families to give children the skills and the learning experiences that matter most for later success in school and in life.
It’s that time of year. Kids are back in school and will soon be coming into the library for homework and research, not just for pleasure reading. I admit…I have always enjoyed helping children find the answers they need to a homework question. I find it strangely satisfying. And this year, as the pandemic continues, students are going to need our support more than ever. How can we help?
Have you ever moved your library? If you are like me, you get very excited to work in a new, fresh space with state-of-the-art technology and a pristine collection. But, you know, you have to MOVE.