The State of the Union, er, Youth Services Department

Do you get caught up in the goal-oriented, stats-oriented, what-can-we-accomplish-next part of your job? I certainly do, so this past December, I took the Youth Services staff meeting (ahem, party) to the next level, adding in a look back over all the major accomplishments of the past year. We always have plenty of fun at our December meetings, included a white-elephant gift auction, pot-luck lunch and a Secret Santa-type gift exchange. In 2013, we did a food theme for the gift exchange, but most of us (except for those lucky few, grr!) are watching their weight, so my colleague came up with the idea of socks for 2014. It was awesome—I got peacock feather socks and socks with books on them! This year was the first of what I hope will be many “let’s celebrate what we have accomplished” themed meetings. I created an “Annual Report” type document replete with…

Live Blogging

Creating Competencies for Staff #pla2014

If a small stand-alone library with a very modest budget can create competencies and find/create training opportunities so their staff can all succeed, then we can too, right? Not convinced? OK, how about if the director of the library freely offers every single piece of work they did? Now we’re talking. You need a few things in place, according to Penny Albert from the Ephrata Public Library in Pennsylvania. You need buy-in from all of your stakeholders, clear policies and procedures, and a realistic timeline, but mostly what you need is the will to do it. And as to that, Penny says, “We are educational institutions but we don’t educate our employees.” That seems like a crazy way to do business. So, we can all go to Guerrilla Librarian and get to work.

Live Blogging

Evanced Celebration #pla2014

There was a lot going on at the Evanced party at the lovely Indianapolis ArtsGarden. Author/illustrator Kathryn Otoshi spoke beautifully about bullying and read her picture book “One.” The Young Actors Theater did a readers theater production of her book “Zero” and also performed their own piece. Demos of the Evanced beta product “Wandoo Planet” proved interesting. Kids build a virtual tree by identifying their main interests and then receive content suggestions. Evanced announced that they gave $5,000 to the Young Actors Theater. Yay!


E-Books and Apps in Storytime – #pla2014

Combine Saroj Ghoting, the wonderful early literacy expert and Cen Campbell, the fearless new media user, and you get some terrific ideas about how to use e-books and apps in storytimes. Their focus was not to argue if, when and how much when it comes to app use in storytimes, but to accept the reality–families are using and will continue to use media with kids. If we don’t wade in and position ourselves as the experts, we leave the playing field open for Disney, Nickelodeon, Fisher-Price, etc. Go to for app lists, discussions, training ideas, programming tips, etc. by wise librarians from all over the place.

Child Advocacy

EatPlayGrow @ #pla2014

At the Indianapolis Children’s Museum–the world’s biggest and best! for a Family Place Symposium on families and health. Not an official PLA event, but very exciting to be in this amazing space, learning about this terrific program. We are not a Family Place Museum yet, but I am certainly going to make it a goal! Shelley Sutherland KidSpace Supervisor Niles Public Library, IL