and some tips to try to solve them. In my system, a lot of children’s librarians become managers. It makes a lot of sense, as children’s librarians are constantly juggling multiple priorities, have to deal with a high level of work, and are invested and passionate about library work. In fact, I think children’s librarians make great managers for all those reasons (but maybe I am biased)! If you are thinking of becoming a manager or are just starting out in management, check out these classic management mistakes and learn how to avoid them.
Category: Blogger Amy Steinbauer
Practice Picture Books
One of the reasons that I love my job is that I can connect my passions with serving my community. In particular, I’ve had this dream of practice picture books as an early literacy service since around 2017, but something always came up and I never got to it. When I became a manager, this dream got put on the back burner’s back-est of back burners. Until now. I often hear parents or caregivers say that they want their toddlers/preschoolers to move past board books and into picture books, but they are concerned that the books are too delicate for their child’s use. They know the toddler death grip is real or notorious destructive preschoolers may accidentally or not, tear or rip the pages of picture books. These fears may sound important to patrons who don’t want to destroy precious books or who may worry about a fine, but at…
The show must go on? Emergency Program Plans.
Before the pandemic, my system would require every information person to be trained in story time, including managers. The reasoning was that in an emergency, anyone could cover the program, and we wouldn’t have to cancel. We also have Emergency Story Time kits at every branch with books reserved for programming, so they don’t circulate; CDs of classic kids songs, song cards, and miscellaneous items like puppets or scarves. Our big emergency story time kit is in a big container with a lid and usually located in the back of the workroom. A few years ago, we updated them to include a laminated list of tips, tricks, songs that everyone knows, etc. Another ALSC blogger, Angela Reynolds covered this topic in 2011. In this new phase of pandemic, and working from the perspective of a manager, I no longer see the absolute necessity in emergency program coverings. Most libraries seems…
The Art of Being a Trash-y Library Person
When I was a children’s librarian, I really loved trash. It was a vibe. Despite working for one of the wealthiest areas of my city, there was no funding for my programming. I did it all on my own, and I had to be frugal. I had to look at all my trash and find new purpose for it all, so that I didn’t have to spend too much of my hard-earned money on supplies. If you were to ask me now about it, I would insist that this was the wrong move. I shouldn’t have been spending my own money on this, but I had a zest for this and you couldn’t have stopped me.
It’s a Beautiful Day in Your Neighborhood: Creating a Serviceable Service Map
My system is rethinking, relaunching, and rediscovering what our community and neighborhoods are like right now, and how the library can fit into our local communities. It feels like the perfect time to start this work, as our neighborhoods have been pretty closed off the last couple of years to keep us safe. I warned my staff when our fiscal year started in October, that pretty much all they would hear from me this year is the word: Resetting. And that word is perfect as a launch to reset yourself in the community, and reconnect.
Restorative Justice at the Public Library
Restorative justice is one of those buzzwords that has been going around in education for the last decade, and has been making it’s way to the public library over the last few years.
Celebrating the Library’s Birthday!
A fun and easy way to program is to celebrate your library’s birthday! It’s a great community building moment, since you can reach our to local partners and contacts and bring them in on the celebration.
Hidden Figures Trading Cards
This post is in honor of my colleague, Julia Pflager, who created an amazing passive/self-directed program that should be shared with all. Julie and I used to work together, and one of our favorite things to do was to plan bimonthly big programs where we would decorate the children’s room with larger than life items and self-directed activities and programs that featured different programming themes. It was so much fun!