Blogger Alexa Newman

Running Background Checks on Outside Performers

Recently there has been discussion on the Facebook group Library Think Tank  (#ALATT) about running background checks on outside performers. It has been a rather animated debate, and caused me and my coworkers to do some serious pondering.   The subject under debate:  Should all performers have background checks run before they appear at a library? There were two incidents that sparked the discussion. One was a Drag Queen Storytime that was held at the Houston Public Library.  After the performance, it was discovered by a pro-family activist group called MassResistance that one of the performers was a registered sex offender.  The group brought the criminal status of the performer to the attention of the media. HPL didn’t run a background check on the performer, although Library policy does require checks be run on all performers. (It should be noted that Since March 2008, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)…

Call to Action

Involvement Challenge

Are you looking to get more involved at your library? Consider these options. Do you have a staff intranet? Ask if it would be OK to contribute content. We recently started using Jostle, and the Manager overseeing its content asked for a few more reporters. My boss asked me if I was interested, and I looked at it as a great way to be creative in a couple different ways. The first idea I am flushing out is a series titled: Meet the Management Team. We have a group of 15 Managers who meet bi-weekly at a Management Team meeting, so I started with our Executive Director, and our Deputy Director. My thought behind it was to ask them for interesting facts about themselves that staff may not know about them, but may help us to understand how their management style has become what it is. For example, my manager…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Teens and Tweens: Large Print Makes a Difference!

tween teen large print

Vision Thing Smartphones, tablets, laptops, and netbooks have all revolutionized the world for every age group.  For tweens and teens, the effects of hours of utilizing these devices has made a real impact on their vision.  The impact on literacy levels has also been noted.  Dr. Ralph Chu remarks on one condition called dry eye disease (DED), saying that, “you see (DED) commonly in people who are in their 50’s & 60’s, but now with children who are using their smartphones a lot, we’re seeing this more and more.”So, let’s read up on how large print can make all the difference in this vision thing! Large Print and Learning Believe it or not, larger print has some wonderful advantages, not just for staving off myopia.  Struggling readers can benefit significantly from larger print materials.  Tween and teen reluctant readers may want to read, but may be finding it difficult.  For tween/teen…

Blogger Jonathan Dolce

Libraries Rock: Between Summer READing ‘n’ Hard Places

Summer READing is upon us! So, you’ve got everything lined up for summer.  Performers – check!  Special storytimes – check!  Crafts – check!  Libraries rock! But what about the unexpected?  It’s all happened to us – a performer cancels at the last minute, or a crucial staff member calls in sick.  Will you be ready? Here’s some quick and easy hands-on activities that can be turned into full-blown, hour long programs!  All on the turn of a dime and just as affordable!  Rock – I mean – read on! Libraries Rock – Literally! Zen or Sharpie Stones What could be easier?  Take some rocks, get some Sharpies and create simply patterns all over them! These can be as simple or as complex as you want: Mini Rock Garden Easy mode: Get a shoe box lid, add some sand and rocks and create patterns with a plastic fork. Source: Pinterest Tip: Put…

Blogger Renee Grassi

A Librarian’s Open Letter to Jacqueline Laurita

Hi Jacqueline, First off, I have a confession to make. I have never watched an episode of The Real Housewives of New Jersey, nor have I watched any of the Real Housewife series or spin offs.  It’s just not my cup of tea. In fact, there are probably many other librarians out there who share my opinion. And that’s perfectly okay because that’s not why I’m writing this open letter to you today. This is not the first time a children’s librarian used this blog before to broadcast their message to a celebrity. In 2012, I fangirled my adoration for Glee’s Chris Colfer for writing a book and encouraging children to read.  That same year, Susan Baeir penned an open letter to Kourtney Kardashian about how she admired Kourtney’s commitment to reading and literacy in raising her son. I’m not sure if you, Chris Colfer, and Kourtney Kardashian share many things in…

Blogger Alexa Newman

Working Through a Remodel : Library Life in a Construction Zone

  My library is in the midst of an expansion and remodel project. Phase one, the building addition, was completed last week. A two story, 8000 square foot extension is now open. For the Youth Services department, this means a new office, Creation Center, study rooms, Homework Center / Parent Teacher collection,  and expanded stacks.   It is super exciting having new spaces (including a new departmental office), but there have been a few hiccups along the way. There’s been a delay with our office furniture, so several of us don’t have desks at the moment. And most of our supplies are still in the mover’s totes. We were closed for two days last week in order to move shelving, including the entire picture book collection and play area. Some materials went to offsite storage, some are in temporary moving carts, and others are in totes waiting to be reshelved….

AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

Do You Ever Say “No”?

Do you ever say “no” to your patrons? This question has haunted public libraries since we adopted the contemporary business model that states “the client is always right.” Moreover, it is part of the common core of public libraries to offer as much welcoming a place for our customers as we can provide. However, what happens when a customer is infringing into the positive experience of another client? More interestingly, how do we respond to this infringement when the parties involved are caregivers? It’s time to use redirection in public libraries. Redirection in Public Libraries As a Youth Services Librarian, I have worked with our Library’s staff to use redirection when witnessing in older children a behavior that might disrupt the library experience of other patrons. In other words, we avoid saying “no.” Instead, we use a narrative that help us reach the desired behavior using redirection and using positive…