Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Consider Stillness as a Librarian

When you are a super passionate, energetic, big idea thinker, and dreamer, you can be a complete asset to your place of employment. You dream big and come up with exciting services, beloved programs, and best of all- you have the zest to see them through! However, you can also be a scary nuisance to your institution and given advice like “your passion is unsustainable” or “work would be easier for you if you just came in, worked your hours, and left” because sometimes people who want to do more are scary… it means change!

Blogger Chelsey Roos

How Do You Choose Your Next Project?

How do you decide what programs and projects to bring to your library each year? For the last five years, I’ve had a lot of projects I’ve wanted to do “someday.” A tiny sampling from my giant list includes: A librarian get-together for all the area school library staff once a semester A toddler process art class Creative writing classes for elementary and middle schoolers A book club for our 1-3 graders A storytelling festival A monthly parenting seminar featuring local experts and resources A back-to-school night for area teachers to visit the library and pick up free books to build up their classroom libraries So, so much more Big Dreams, Little Programming Space All of these projects have remained dreams instead of realities, because no matter how hard I try, I can’t do everything (can you relate?). I work for a public, county library, at a busy branch where…

Blogger Chelsey Roos

Zoom Storytime Catastrophes and Other Online Disasters

An incomplete list of things that have gone wrong in my Zoom storytimes: My internet went out I played a song too loudly on the ukulele, which led to Zoom automatically turning down my volume, which led to no one being able to hear me when I began to read the next book I completely forgot the chords to a song I have known for at least five years (see also: things that have gone wrong in my in-person storytimes) A child burst into tears over being muted after interrupting too many times A child drew all over the screen share when annotations were accidentally turned on A caregiver accidentally took over the screen-share (luckily only displaying emails and spreadsheets), while I went into a panic over getting control back We belatedly discovered our new event registration software allowed patrons to register for Zoom events with only a phone number,…

Blogger AASL/ALSC/YALSA Interdivisional Committee

The Ups and Downs of Transformation

I have always had the tendency to apply idioms and proverbial phrasing to the “bumps in the road” encountered while human-ing (I also make verbs out of lots of things).  It is one of the ways I’m able to persist in difficult times and have had to rely heavily on this during a year where words like “challenging,” “chaotic,” and “concerning” are all surface level descriptors of 2020, a truly transformative year.  Yes, I mean transformative.

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

How Would Beloved Children’s Characters Survive the Pandemic?

Picture Book Characters

Allow me some brevity to the seriousness of the current climate. If you can step out of the moment for some light-hearted fun, join me in guessing how beloved children’s picture book characters would be surviving the pandemic and 2020. Below are my guesses of the fates for 10 beloved picture book characters. Corduroy: From Corduroy: I think of all the characters, this bear is gonna be a-ok! He is used to spending his time alone, wandering around with little purpose, and looking for something that is outside and unattainable. I think we can all relate to those feelings. Peter: From The Snowy Day: Peter has become all about those daily walks! He is walking around his neighborhood, local parks, and getting those 20,000 steps in. He has developed some serious local guides and is maybe Mr. Neighborhood by now. Caterpillar: From The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Sorry, friend. But this…

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Trust in the Time of COVID

I’m lucky. In the midst of a pandemic, when almost all of the local schools are remote, and with all of the programs that I run for my urban public library system online, I have developed extra-strong partnerships with classroom teachers and school librarians. Some ask me to recommend resources for students. Some invite me to visit classes over Zoom. All eagerly share information about my numerous Zoom book clubs, maker programs, and author visits. As a children’s librarian in a public library, I have always worked closely with my school-based counterparts. But now that everything has moved online, I find my school-based colleagues’ seal of approval more crucial than ever.  Think about it: in the old days, families would wander into the library off the street. They would meet the librarians, see the environment, judge for themselves that the library was a safe space. They would pop in and…

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Leadership During COVID-19

Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a post for the ALSC blog titled, ‘Leading Toward a Shared Vision and Common Purpose.’  I cited Richard Harwood’s book, Stepping Forward: A Positive Path to Transform Our Communities and Our Lives, for finding hope through common purpose and collective action. This call to step forward and find authentic hope is even more relevant in today’s pandemic-changed world. COVID-19 has been an extreme test of leadership across the country, causing even the strongest and most seasoned leaders to begin dreaming of early retirement. The library world is no exception. How can we be the kind of leader our teams need during so much uncertainty and change? What leadership skills and traits are most beneficial in these trying times? As a new library director (7 months in!), I’ve consulted many resources for ‘crisis leadership’ advice. Providing strong leadership for our teams is especially important…

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I Miss My Public Library Partner

I miss my public library counterpart. I don’t work with her every day, and I don’t see her very often, but in these Strange COVID Times, we need each other more than ever. I miss her because she offers me an additional library perspective on my students and their needs. I need her because she can do things in the public library that I just can’t do here. She needs me because this is where the kids are. With many public libraries offering only curbside pick-up and limited services and hours, school is where her patrons are. Library Zoom programs can only go so far. She and I typically offer our middle school families an evening Parent-Child book club. We run this program a few times a year and participation is a tradition for some families. We have great discussions and share pizza and snacks. We talk about the book…