Blogger Heather Acerro

Grab Bag Bundles

We’ve had book bundles of picture books as a children’s book display and we’ve had blind date with a book as a teen book display. Now we’ve combined the two concepts into: Grab Bag Bundles. Grab Bag Bundles are made of 3-5 picture books or non-fiction books on a theme, wrapped in brown paper, and labeled with a mysterious theme. Themes we’ve used include: Are you all ready for this? (Spring books!) Why DID she cross the road? (chicken books) That’s CLASSIC! (folk and fairy tales) Boo! (monsters) Three (books with 3 in the title)     To make the display work we: Select 3-5 books on a theme Check them out on a staff-use card Wrap them in brown paper Paste on a label with the theme & the # of books written on it Add to the display Customers are asked to take the bundles to our Public…

Blogger Heather Acerro

Warm Up Rochester, Minnesota

Fact: Minnesota is cold in the winter (and the fall and the spring). Several years ago one of our Youth Services Librarians shared a story with us about a first grade class that had walked over from the nearby Title 1 elementary school. During the class visit, the librarian told the class a story that included props of a clothes line with several pairs of mittens pinned to it. While the rest of the class was browsing for books after the storytime, a child pulled her aside and asked quietly if he could take a pair of those prop mittens home to his sister because she didn’t have any. The librarian made sure that he left with mittens for his whole family. Inspired by this and similar stories from our community, we launched a program called Warm Up Rochester in November 2016. The program encourages the community to make or…

Administrative and Management Skills

Planning Your Year

It is almost time for a new calendar, which is one of my favorite times of the year! I am a big planner and I love taking time to reflect and think about where I want to be at this time next year. Several years ago I started a practice of using worksheets created by Ink & Volt (they are free!) to prepare for the new year. They start with a reflection on the past year, thinking about what went well, what could have gone better, and the lessons learned. The second step is reflecting on relationships and the third is setting a yearly theme. Setting a theme is the most difficult and yet most rewarding part of this process. The theme should be short and should speak to all areas of your life. My 2019 theme was “nurture” and I used it to guide my goals, which is the…

Administrative and Management Skills

Update Your Disaster Plan! Part 2

  Overnight, on September 22nd, 3,500 gallons of water poured from the mechanical room on the third floor of the Rochester Public Library (MN). Staff opening the building on Sunday found several inches of standing water in the central core of all three floors of the building. In October I shared 13 lessons from the disaster, here are 11 more: It is going to take longer than you think to get back to normal. Two months after the water leak we have the 2nd floor partially open, and no access to our Auditorium space. After initial estimates for repairs were made, we exceeded the state expenditure threshold, and we needed a formal bid process. This process will add months to our recovery. Be creative! Is there a way to get part of the building back up and running while you wait for full recovery? We were fortunately able to expedite…

Blogger Heather Acerro

Update Your Disaster Plan!

Do you know what to do if your auditorium space turns into a lake? It is much better to plan now than to figure out what to do with water puddling at your feet! Overnight, on September 22nd, 3,500 gallons of water poured from the mechanical room on the third floor of the Rochester Public Library (MN). Staff opening the building on Sunday found several inches of standing water in the central core of all three floors of the building. The library’s physical materials collection was largely unaffected, but staff areas and meeting rooms were severely damaged. Rochester Public Library is a two story main library with Youth Services and fiction, movies, and music for adults on the first floor and Reference Services, non-fiction materials, and adult public internet stations on the second floor. Without branch libraries in the community, Rochester and Olmsted County residents rely on the main building…

Blogger Heather Acerro

Program in a Post: Cotton Swab Pointillism

With this post and around $15 (or less), you can encourage young artists to try a fun new technique. Supplies: Paint (washable tempera or liquid watercolors) Paint cups Cotton Swab Paper Room Set Up: Like Art Links, Squart, or Art on the Spot, this is a great activity to take out on the road to community outreach events. This is a favorite activity for our ArtCart. Program Prep: We like to cut the paper into half sheets (around 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″). Pour some paint in the bottom of your cups and place a few cotton swabs in each color. Invite kids and grown ups to make art. This is a super simple, colorful, and engaging activity!

Blogger Heather Acerro

Are Your Forms In Order?

I don’t know about you, but I love challenges to library materials. Challenges provide an opportunity for librarians to step back and evaluate not only the item that has been challenged, but also our philosophy, policies, and procedures. While book challenges don’t happen every day, they are certainly something that libraries are prepared to handle. All you need is a diverse collection, fully trained staff, and a solid selection and reconsideration policy in place and you are ready for anything. Last year, we observed that we were getting more challenges for displays and events than we were for library materials. With no official procedure in place for handling these challenges, we were inconsistent as the process really depended on who spoke with the customer. Since our staff put as much care into selecting displays, exhibits, and programs, we needed a way to approach these challenges with the same thoughtfulness that…

Blogger Heather Acerro

Summer Reading Slump

Hey, how are you holding up? It is about halfway through the summer reading season, and I am sure you are exhausted! Please remember to take care of yourself. Here are some ideas to get started: If you haven’t done so already, plan a vacation. Even taking a few days off to stay home and do things not related to work. Basically, get something to look forward to on your calendar. Take a walk. Since you get breaks, I encourage you to take them and get outside to enjoy summer for a few minutes. Read an uplifting book. One that I highly recommend is “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman. I’ve dedicated my summer to Up Lit and found several lists online. Binge (or just regular watch) an excellent show. Here are some of my current favorites: *Queer Eye (Netflix): So much more than a makeover, this is…