Administrative and Management Skills

Greenish: How one children’s department is trying to be better at the three R’s

“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein is a very polarizing children’s book. Some people say it is a heartwarming story about a tree that is always there for a boy when he needs it. Some people say that the boy selfishly took from the tree without ever giving anything away himself. Whether or not you think this book is fundamentally heartwarming or appalling, one thing always stays the same – the tree loses its resources over time.  As a children’s librarian I am in the world of paper, so I am not advocating for the abolishment of printed books any time soon. The research clearly shows the benefits of holding a physical book vs. holding a screen for young children. I merely want to try to be better stewards of everything we do in our children’s department that supports literacy.  When I was a young kid in Alabama, I remember…

Administrative and Management Skills

The Importance & Wonder of Award Seals

Header for ALA Award Seals page

Every book awards season, readers and librarians alike anxiously count down to the ALA Midwinter meeting where, at the Youth Media Awards, the announcement of winners and honorees will take place. For ALSC members, the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, Pura Belpré Medal, Sibert Medal and the Geisel Award – to name a few – looms large. Equally as important as the books chosen for those prestigious medals and awards, are the award seals that will soon appear on those books.

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

Meet Your ALSC Board: Maggie Jacobs

In this regular feature, we profile ALSC Board members. We hope to offer information about the people who work to guide the organization so that you can feel more comfortable in reaching out to them with your concerns, questions, or comments. To continue this series, we invite you to meet 2019-22 ALSC Board Member, Maggie Jacobs. I am a somewhat maverick member of the ALSC board in that I am not a librarian. I am a lawyer who had a career awakening in my 30s about my true vocation as an educator. And more specifically, an awakening to a deep sense of disillusionment and anger about the educational inequities in our country that belie the Horatio Alger story of yore that anyone who is hard working can climb their way up to the top. The idea of this country as an individualistic meritocracy is simply not true in today’s world…

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…

Administrative and Management Skills

Wanna be a Branch Manager? Manage Yourself First.

Do you want to be a branch manager? Ok, I have a scenario for you: Let’s pretend you are a children’s librarian in a large multi-branch library system, with a personal passion for serving homeless adults in your city’s downtown district. Given the choice between facilitating an outreach storytime in a women’s shelter downtown or in a private Montessori school one block from your library (all other things being equal), which should you choose?