Just like every Thursday, 10:00am finds me getting ready for storytime. I’m probably practicing a new fingerplay or song I’ve just learned—maybe a new variation of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”, perhaps accompanied by some American Sign Language. I’m definitely re-reading the book I’ve chosen for the day, trying to memorize where I want to pause to point out a character’s expression, and where it makes sense to ask my audience what they think will happen next. I’m double-checking my felt board pieces and making sure my music is ready to go. By the time it’s 10:30am and patrons are showing up, I know better than to keep them waiting long. I put on my headset, turn on my camera, and hit the “Admit All” button on the Zoom waiting room.
Earlier this year, Maeve Brewer and Mary Voors joined the ALSC Mentoring program with the hope that collaborative learning and personal/professional growth would result. We decided that one of our mentorship goals would be to write a blogpost on the general topic of how we can use the Covid experience to help us become stronger and more adaptable children’s librarians and managers.
My system is rethinking, relaunching, and rediscovering what our community and neighborhoods are like right now, and how the library can fit into our local communities. It feels like the perfect time to start this work, as our neighborhoods have been pretty closed off the last couple of years to keep us safe. I warned my staff when our fiscal year started in October, that pretty much all they would hear from me this year is the word: Resetting. And that word is perfect as a launch to reset yourself in the community, and reconnect.
It has been a long two years for libraries, and summer reading programs were no exception. We spent two summers creating passive programs in what felt like countless grab-and-go bags. This year, we are excited to host our first in-person summer reading program since 2019, but we also began our planning process feeling a little daunted: how could we best create a show-stopping 2022 program after two pared-down years?
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!
NYPL After School is a free drop-in program for kids aged 6-12 that takes place after regular school hours, Monday through Thursday, from October-June, when school is in session. Teen Reading Ambassadors are employed in our After School program, acting as leaders and role models to younger kids, ambassadors for the Library’s mission to inspire a lifelong love of reading and learning, and writers and editors of their very own magazine. Rachel Roseberry is the Manager of Young Adult Literacy Programs at The New York Public Library and I caught up with her to learn more about the magazine project and how it came to be.
This post is in honor of my colleague, Julia Pflager, who created an amazing passive/self-directed program that should be shared with all. Julie and I used to work together, and one of our favorite things to do was to plan bimonthly big programs where we would decorate the children’s room with larger than life items and self-directed activities and programs that featured different programming themes. It was so much fun!
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.