I am writing this blog post on the night before I return to work from bereavement leave. My dad was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme in late February. I once heard GBM referred to as the “great white shark” of brain cancer because of its relentless rate of growth and spread, and the lack of effective treatment. My parents moved in with my family right after Dad received the diagnosis; we put their house of 53 years on the market, moved their stuff into storage, and buckled up for the wild ride of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy while maintaining our “normal” work, school, church and home duties. Needless to say, it’s been a lot. I don’t know if you all experience this, but when I am particularly stressed out, I sometimes find that I cannot read. I just can’t allow myself to enter into a story. I can’t put my life…
Summer Reading 2022 is nearly here. I keep calling the months of April and May “Tax Season” for Youth Services Library administration. Goodness, it is a whirlwind getting everything set! Here’s what’s coming: We decided to follow iRead’s theme this year, Read Beyond the Beaten Path. We’ve been having a blast with the camp and nature theme! Each of our branches is even getting it’s own mascot!
Covid numbers are down in Los Angeles County! The mask mandate has been lifted, and life is feeling more akin to pre-Covid days. In the library, storytimes have moved inside, playtime afterwards has been reinstated, and we are living it up! After two years of outside or virtual programming, it feels wonderful!
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about tweens of late. My youngest son has reached tweendom at twelve, so the manifestations of the age are in my face daily. I’m working on a grant right now that is targeted at kids in junior high, and I’m learning so much about this age as a result. Let’s talk about some fun tween facts: The ages of 11-14 have been proven to be critical in the development of self-regulation. Social and emotional awareness explodes during the tween years, with a particular emphasis on social hierarchy, gender codes, and self-identity. Cognitive function changes greatly between pre-adolescence and adolescence, with tweens still rooted firmly in concrete cognition, while later adolescents develop more abstract thought.
So… about that turning the corner on the pandemic… Omicron has done a number on us out here in California. I’m not sure how it’s going where you are, but in the last few weeks, it seems to me that EVERYONE is getting Covid. For those of us left running our branches, time is stretched more than usual. Priorities shift and plans change with no notice. We cover this, we cover that, and if you’re anything like me, we start losing track of our to do list, long term goals, and daily priorities.
On December 7, the United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a warning about youth mental health, stating that there has been an “alarming” rise in certain mental health challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic. He states, “Mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are real, and they are widespread. But most importantly, they are treatable, and often preventable.” Dr. Murthy calls on everyone from youth themselves to caregivers, schools, community organizations and governments to do their part to create a healthier society. He says “we have an unprecedented opportunity as a country to rebuild in a way that refocuses our identity and common values, puts people first, and strengthens our connections to each other.” Children and Teen librarians are among the front-line workers who have direct communication with this population. We can intentionally and consistently shape our programming, collections, outreach, collaborations and in fact every day to…
We launched a big addition to our library collection last month: eleven podiums that make up our new Trail Tales! Trail Tales is based on StoryWalk®. This project was long in the planning. My colleague had tried to find funding to create a literacy/walking experience at the outset of the pandemic, but was unable to secure a source for us. However, we didn’t give up our dream of a StoryWalk® of some sort! We kept our eyes open for potential partners.
Our library pulled a lot of our fun toys and manipulatives from our children’s section with the advent of the pandemic. Of course, books and our outdoor programs are still a major draw for families to come to our library, but we’ve been trying to come up with other ways to engage families while they visit the library. Our staff has come up with some terrific innovations!