Blogger Maria Trivisonno

In Defense of Slime

In my June blog, I talked about a summer drop-in program pilot occurring in my library, including the successes and the challenges. Since that article, we have had several more popular and overwhelming programs, including one in which 75 people (!!) came to have Messy Science fun…including slime making.   As you might imagine, this was more than a bit overwhelming, and more than a little pricey. We went though 4 gallons of slime.  I had NO idea we’d get so many people, and luckily, I tend to overbuy and had enough.  I joke that it’s the same impulse my Italian family has to ensure 3 times the amount of needed food is available at every family get-together.   However, what I wanted to talk about was a comment I fielded the next day when a customer overheard staff talking about the huge turnout—why do libraries bother with slime programs?…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Fall Titles Galore!

For the past four years, my library system (Cuyahoga County Public Library in suburban Cleveland, Ohio) has hosted a Youth Book Buzz, a day when several publishers and Baker & Taylor come to preview upcoming summer and fall books.  This year, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, DC Comics, and Inkyard Press, along with the aforementioned Baker & Taylor, sent a representative to booktalk titles along with ARCs (advance reader copies) for attendees to snatch up at the end of the presentations.  In addition, ARCs the library system received over the past year were also available to take. (Many thanks to CCPL’s Collection Development department!)   I came home with one bag full of middle grade novels, and one bag of teen books.  Picture books were available, but I focused on grabbing longer texts.  Here are some of the children’s books I’m excited to see coming out in August and the fall!…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Making Changes…

It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since I started at a new library. It was a lateral move to a branch in the same system.  Same job description.  It’s even the first branch I ever worked at when I was a 16-year-old page, with a lot of the same staff.  It’s like coming home. But it’s still new.  And I’m grappling with how to simultaneously hit the ground running and make logical and not impulsive changes.  Changes that will actually improve the library for customers and staff, and not just “put my stamp on things.” I’m still muddling through, but I thought mentioning a few things that seem to be working, and have worked for me before, would be worthwhile. First, I recommend sitting back and watching for some time, and asking questions.  See how people approach the collection.  See how attendance is at programs.  See how fellow staff (or your staff…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Interactive Picture Books

In 2011, I read a most unique (at that time) picture book—Herve Tullet’s Press Here.  My guess is that most of you are now familiar with the book, but in case you are not:  Tullet created an interactive story where the author instructs the child to press a yellow dot which appears to affect when happens after the page turn.  Thanks to the child’s directed actions, the dot multiplies, changes colors, moves around the page, and grows.  Meanwhile, the child gets a chance to tap, rub, tilt, and blow on the book.   I though the book was brilliant.  In a way, it mimicked interacting with a tablet while still giving the child an experience with a book. I was so delighted with Press Here that I purchased multiple copies that holiday season and gave it to every toddler and preschooler I know.  Several relatives of these kids told me…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Impromptu Programming

Children’s librarians are experts at many things as we recently learned. But I know a major skill that’s tested almost daily on the floor is flexibility. I was a brand-new library paraprofessional when the first day of spring break descended upon my branch…along with every preschooler-third grader in a 10-mile radius. Or so it seemed. However, they weren’t the only people at the library. There were a lot of adult patrons using the computer banks who were not happy with the noise level. I’m sure you’ve had this happen where you work—it’s not like any one person was inappropriately loud. The amount of (young) people in the building was just causing a lot of noise to build, and customers were looking sideways at each other…and at the staff. Well, as the only children’s staff member present at the time, to be fair, they were looking at me! So, I did…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Best of the Rest

I love the Youth Media Awards!  I was lucky enough to be able this year to watch the livestream and cheered for The Poet X winning the Printz and Pura Belpré Awards and The Girl Who Drew Butterflies winning the Sibert. Darius the Great is Not Okay achieving the Morris Award thrilled me, as did Julián is a Mermaid getting a Stonewall.  All three APALA awards were books I loved (Darius again, Front Desk, and Drawn Together).  The Truth According to Mason Buttle moved me greatly.  And I loved seeing the first Excellence in Early Learning Digital Media Award be announced.   I also love the YMA because, despite best efforts, I do NOT read as broadly as those on book committees.  How did I miss Merci Suárez Changes Gears?  I’m not sure, but my To Be Read list has multiplied in the most enjoyable way possible.   Having known…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Playtime!

‘Tis the season that many of our young patrons open gifts…including lots of toys. So, when brainstorming for a topic, the importance of “play” seemed appropriate. I have always loved PLAY. One of my earliest memories is walking around the corner Christmas morning when I was three years old and seeing the 1980s version of the Barbie Dream House. I played with that for 9 years. My dolls had three generations of storylines that I played and edited (in the hopes of reaching perfection) time and time again. To this day, my best friend claims that I am the one having the most fun when I play with her kids. However, my interactions with caregivers and children at the library show that love of play is certainly not universal.  For example, I had a long conversation with a child care provider who lamented that when she brings her charges to a…

Blogger Maria Trivisonno

Children’s Librarians are Experts at Homework Assistance

One of the most satisfying parts of being a children’s librarian to me is helping children reach their academic goals. My branch has a Homework Center, and they directly help students complete their work and learn new skills. However, the part I really enjoy is when a child comes up to me on the floor with an assignment and needs to find research materials to complete their work. I remember being a kid myself—always being a little leery to ask an adult for their assistance. I love being able to take a task they find overwhelming and help them learn how to find books, articles, and websites that will give them an overwhelming sense of relief. I so enjoy the happy look on their faces when I send them off to write the report. Non-librarians may believe that the above is a folly—who needs a librarian’s help with the internet?…