Winter and spring breaks are coming up, which means our libraries might be more crowded than usual! This is a great time to engage library users, but can also be a bit stressful when trying to manage many age groups simultaneously. Your regularly scheduled toddler storytime now might include older siblings attending, and your children’s section might be filled much earlier than usual. So, how do you balance all of your patrons’ needs simultaneously? Passive programming! But, passive programming is so much more than a tool to help you multitask; it helps build community.
Ever since I transitioned from children’s librarian to a branch manager– I have been way more obsessed with the staffing needs that is required to run a children’s department, well. Depending on your branch, location, system, or building– children’s departments probably average anywhere from 3-15 programs a week. And while it might look to some managers or admin or even patrons, that those programs just appear magically– I know all the hard work that it takes to prepare, craft, present, and manage those programs– and all the staff needed to make those dreams possible.
Children and technology. When these two topics are put together mixed opinions abound. Unfortunately, research on this topic has yet to come up with a consensus about benefits and detriments. (1) In the future, I’m sure we will have a better handle on how digital interfaces affect people and society. Right now, the answers about children and technology all seem to start with ‘it depends.’ As a youth services librarian in a public library, I didn’t get a lot of training on how to effectively incorporate technology into programming. One of my first big programming failures was an evening bring-your-own-device (BYOD) storytime that got zero attendance. (It turned out that an evening storytime wasn’t a good fit for the area’s demographics, so I failed forward, repurposing the activities to be used in my regular storytimes instead.)
January is an engaging time! It’s a new year, a new month, and a new decade! Sometimes it stresses me out to think of all the ways that I can get newly energized with this spirit. I like to think of it as my Leslie Knope spirit- as I am always trying to better myself as a children’s librarian, manager, friend, and human being. Let’s grab our glasses- Laurie Berkner style, and have a look at some ways to refresh.
How can librarians connect children with trustworthy scientific source material about climate change?
Incorporating Information Literacy into Youth Book Clubs Can you teach information literacy while still offering a fun, engaging book club?
I’m tired. Actually, my feet are killing me. But it was worth it. Last night (as of this writing), my library hosted 70 people in a holiday Gingerbread House decorating program. Obviously, our customers were excited. A word of digression before I explain how we put on this fun—a concern about diversity. Our branch is in a very diverse area and, although the program had worked in the past, I was concerned. While we avoided religious symbols, Frosty, Rudolph, Santa, and the rest of the secular Christmas gang were represented in the candy used for decoration. We did have blue and white frosting available if anyone wanted to make a Hanukkah-themed house. Several members of our new-immigrant Southern Indian community did come and participate. I would think hard about your community, as there are ways to do a fun “house” program that could be inclusive. We did a Halloween haunted…
I am passionate about yoga, so much so that I went to a yoga school and obtained my certification through Yoga Alliance. Combine that with my love of youth programming, and I had to develop programs for our library. I teach classes for all ages, from adults (with students over 80!) to preschoolers. My youth programs focus on fun, fitness, and mindfulness. Yoga has seen a steady increase in interest over the past several years. Yoga for kids is also on the rise. I’ve been conducting yoga storytimes, kids yoga, and tween yoga classes for the past 18 months. They are all popular with our young patrons, with yoga storytime being the most sought after program. There has been a heightened focus on mindfulness and meditation in the media and with the general public. Studies have shown that practicing mindfulness with children can increase concentration and reduce stress…