Tag Archives: children

Resource: Library Services for Children Journal Club

6 Oct

lsc-journal-club-logo-v3.pngBear with me as I introduce this story by telling you all how I met Lindsey. Lindsey (and her awesome colleague Dana) have this little website called Jbrary. I’ll wait for you to check out their amazing-ness if you don’t know who they are already. Go ahead, I’ll wait… You’re back? Awesome. So, I had been following Lindsey and Dana through their blog and on Twitter for awhile. We’d share each other’s posts and chat about children’s library stuff, but seeing as they live in Vancouver and I live in Philadelphia, we never met in person. That is, until the ALA Annual Conference in 2014 held in Las Vegas. I went to an open house for ALSC members and as we were playing a get-to-know-you game, I bumped into these two. I (and quite possibly all three of us) fangirled about finally meeting in person. And that is how I met Lindsey (online and IRL).

And, Lindsey just created this amazing new resource for children’s librarians called the Library Services for Children Journal Club. The LSC Journal Club was created to keep children’s librarians informed of research and articles published that pertain to our field and spend time discussing these materials with others. Lindsey will be hosting meetups in Vancouver, but she’s reaching out to bloggers and librarians around the world in the hopes that more children’s librarians create their own meetups – whether that means a relaxed setting with wine at someone’s house or in a staff meeting at work.

I find that many children’s librarians are so busy being children’s librarians, they don’t have time to spend on research and I love to learn more about my field, so any and all journals are a huge help!

I can’t wait to share this great resource with my own staff, but also with our county/consortium because I think it’s going to be super valuable! Check it out!

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Director’s Thoughts #13 – Program Evaluation

24 Aug

directors

I’m finalizing our strategic plan that will begin officially in January and our next project to take on is program and service evaluation. It’s definitely a time-intensive, difficult project because people feel strongly about programs and services, what we should keep, what we should get rid of, what we need, what we want, etc.

I’m going to focus on programs right now as I haven’t even begun to think about evaluating the many services we offer. My goal is to first look at a program evaluation model. I want to gather information from the employee creating, planning and presenting the program as well as gather information from the public. My goal is to answer a few questions:

  • Why are we offering this program?
  • How does this program benefit the community?
  • Is this the right time of year to offer this program?
  • Does this program take up too much staff time?
  • What is the ROI for this program?
  • Does this program need to be repeated regularly?
  • Where are there gaps in our program offerings (specific time periods, groups of people, types of programs)?

To answer these questions, I’m working on some sort of evaluation form to write down any input information – time, cost of supplies, staffing, how often it happens, etc. Next, is the output – how many attendees. And finally, outcomes – skills/knowledge developed and social aspect (how is this affecting the community).

I also need to start working on a simple, but effective tool to gather information from program attendees – a short survey that helps us understand what the community is looking for and whether or not a particular program reached it’s intended outcomes.

As I said, this is not for the faint of heart, but I want my staff to free themselves from tired programs that are only happening because we’ve always offered it, to be able to jump on new trends and try exciting new programs (without it meaning it becomes a regularly scheduled program all the time). It won’t be an easy project, but it’s the next step toward moving us into the future!

The Solar Eclipse Experience

16 Aug

Solar_eclipse_1999_4_NRAt this point (especially if you work in a library), if you haven’t heard about the solar eclipse then I want to be you! We applied for the NASA grant and didn’t get it, so my children’s and teen programming librarians decided that we would offer a program anyway and buy some glasses for the program participants. We went back and forth on how many pairs of glasses to order, how popular we thought the program would be, who we could have come in to actually do the program, etc. We were finally able to get one of our middle school teachers to put a program together for us (right before school started and she was kind enough to volunteer her time). We decided to only order enough glasses for the program participants and opened the program up to 40 kids. Well, needless to say, the program is completely filled with an additional 25 kids on our waiting list.

I come into the library yesterday morning, ready to open my office and I seen an email pinned to my door, it’s from Amazon. They’re refunding us our money for the glasses because they cannot verify with the manufacturer that our glasses are properly certified. I have 40 kids planning on coming to a program in less than 36 hours who are expecting glasses. It was not an enjoyable way to start my day.

After hours of searching online, calling local retailers and doing a ton of research, we made our decision. We’d proceed with the program, email the participants ahead of time explaining the situation, provide the kids with instructions and materials to create a pinhole solar eclipse viewer and hope for the best. So far, I haven’t heard any major complaints, but as the director I made the tough call to choose not to hand out our glasses. My librarians did the research and chose the glasses that appeared to be certified (and it says it right there, printed on the glasses), but I don’t want any eye injuries as a result of handing out faulty solar eclipse glasses, so that’s where we stand. Meanwhile, we’re continuing to field calls from community members asking if we have glasses to give away and trying to get into the solar eclipse program that has been full for a month.

I can’t wait for the eclipse to be over.

 

Reader’s Choice

8 Jul

Summer Reading is in full swing and without a doubt we’ve had parents requesting classics, literary books, and titles that will challenge their kids, rather than picking up the Diary of a Wimpy Kid title for the 100th time.  And while classics, literary fiction and challenging works have their place, I strongly believe that kids need to learn to read for fun rather than what’s required of them. As an adult, when was the last time you read something that was required of you (outside of work)? Or that you read something that challenged you?

I just spent the last three days reading a Nora Roberts trilogy – sappy, romantic, happy endings, the works. Nora Roberts tends to be my guilty pleasure books, I know everything is going to work out in the end, they don’t take much thought process, but I love them. If kids only read things picked out for them by teachers, parents and adults – how will they learn how great reading can be? When kids read the same title over and over again, it’s because they like it, the book makes them feel confident in their skills and isn’t that what we’re looking for? Confident readers that enjoy reading?

So the next time you stop by the local library or bookstore, allow your kids to peruse those titles that make them want to read and maybe slip in a few read-alike titles that a librarian or bookseller can suggest, maybe they’ll pick up those new titles right away and if not, when they’re ready, they will! Happy Reading!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/31/16

31 Oct

I got a lot of reading down  over the past 24 hours (not so much throughout the week)… I finally finished Start With Why – not a book that was easy for me to get through, it seemed a little all over the place and wasn’t as well organized as I would have liked.  But, I’m done!  I also read the heart-wrenching book,  Beautiful Blue World by Suzanne LaFleur about the effects of war, especially on children and how quickly it forces them to grow up.  It is a middle grade book and one that I think would spark a lot of discussion among kids; I’d be curious to hear what they have to say.  I also read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child yesterday and as I said last week, I was really happy with the way the series closed and I haven’t read anything else J.K. Rowling has published over the past few years.  I was hesitant to read the script being that it’s a different format than the series and in all reality written by other writers, but my curiosity was piqued so I gave it a shot. And I should have just left well enough alone.  It was sadly not the world of Harry Potter that I lived in for so many years growing up and unfortunately the script gave me nothing else I really needed in my Harry Potter world.  My real question is now, did the actual theatrical show do anything for the series as a whole?  I’m not sure that I see anyone else but the movie franchise actors as these characters anymore.  Again, my curiosity is piqued.

My reading over the course of the next week is as follows: Jubilee by Patricia Reilly Giff, because Patricia Reilly Giff, need I say more.  And I’m going to attempt Decide: Work Smarter, Reduce Your Stress and Lead By Example by Steve McClatchy (hopefully this doesn’t take as long as Start With Why. I’ve got a busy work week, so we’ll see how much reading I can get done!


imwayrJoin Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. It’s the best way to discover what to read next.

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