Blogger Liza Purdy

Time Management for Library Professionals

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.

Blogger Liza Purdy

A Crisis in Youth Mental Health: How the Public Library Can Respond

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…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Collaboration Wins: Our Trail Tales Story

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.

Blogger Liza Purdy

Innovations in the Children’s Library

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!

Blogger Liza Purdy

A Little Marie Kondo for the Children’s Department

You all know Marie Kondo, right? She of the Spark Joy fame? I love watching her shows on Netflix. I just watched a new season last week, and it inspired me to think about decluttering our library’s programs a bit, now that our Fall session is underway. We are still in a strange “not quite where we used to be, but not mid-pandemic either” place, so I thought it would be a good time to reflect on activities that we embraced during the pandemic to see whether they are worth keeping. What changes did we make that the public really embraced? What did we love as a staff? What is everyone just OVER?

Blogger Liza Purdy

Do What You Do Best: Advice from a Child Welfare Expert

I’ve spent the last few months trying to educate myself on Childhood Trauma, ACES, and how to become a trauma informed library. The task is daunting! The learning curve is steep, the information is abundant and there are so many children in need of care. I was beginning to despair. Then an old friend of mine from high school (shout out to the Shaler Area Titans!), Dr. Lisa Schelbe posted her new book, The Handbook on Child Welfare Practice, on Facebook. Dr. Schelbe is an associate professor in the College of Social Work at Florida State University. Her areas of expertise are child welfare and child maltreatment prevention, among others. I knew I had a resource that could help me focus; she literally wrote the book on the subject! I reached out to Dr. Schelbe, and we had an amazing conversation about what practical steps we can take as children’s…

Blogger Liza Purdy

Trauma and Resilience in the Library

The last time I blogged here at ALSC, I started what I hope will become a series on Childhood Trauma, abuse, neglect, ACES. It is hard stuff to hear. Since writing that first blog post, I’ve taken part in training for mandatory reporters of child abuse and neglect in the state of California, which further deepened my commitment to doing whatever I can to raise awareness in libraries of this painful and pervasive issue. I have read two good articles in the past month on Childhood Trauma: A Child Trends article on implementing trauma-informed care to  build resilience, and a Harvard University Center on the Developing Child article also on resilience. The Child Trends article defines resilience as “positive child outcomes despite exposure to trauma, prevention of trauma recurrence despite high risk for further exposure, or avoidance of traumatic experiences altogether in the face of significant risk.” (Bartlett, 2019). In…

Blogger Liza Purdy

The Trauma Informed Library

A month or so ago, I watched a terrific documentary on Amazon Prime called Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope, based on a book by the same name written by Nicholas Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. The movie depicts the precarious state of Kristoff’s hometown, Yamhill, OR. The town has been devastated by economic hardships, the opioid crisis, and poor life expectancy in the past few decades. Kristoff checks in with some of his classmates who have faired far worse than he in the intervening years. I was fascinated by the documentary. I was particularly riveted by a segment regarding Adverse Childhood Experiences, or ACEs. I had never heard of ACEs, but I believe that they are incredibly relevant to the role of the Children’s Librarian. Kristoff interviewed Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, California Surgeon General, and founder of the Center for Youth Wellness, which is a “national leader in the effort to…