Tag Archives: programming

Teens, Stress & Anxiety

13 Oct

I just recently read an article in The New York Times about the number of teens who are experiencing severe anxiety. And my first thought, was how horrible that so many young people have to deal with what can be a debilitating disorder, but also what can we do, as a library, to help.

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Director’s Thoughts #14 – It’s Been Awhile: Storytime

12 Oct

b8a7c2491785eeb0c506cfc6f7c40d36--nurse-humor-medical-humorThis week I covered a co-worker’s storytime while she was away and after a year of being away from it; it was strange coming back. I did storytime for eight years as a children’s librarian and I think that I made a smart decision to move into another role when I did.

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Director’s Thoughts #13 – Program Evaluation

24 Aug


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.


Far Too Common a Problem Results in Unexpected Heroes

28 Jun

I think at this point almost everyone who follows social and community issues has heard of the skyrocketing numbers of deaths due to drug overdoses, specifically that of heroin in the past few years. It’s a national crisis and you can learn more about the startling number of people it affects on a daily basis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. What people may not be familiar with is that public librarians are being trained in administering the antidote – that’s right those so called meek and mild shushing librarians – on the front lines of the opioid epidemic across the United States.

The first article a friend shared with me was from Philly.com about a branch of the Philadelphia library that has trained staff to administer Narcan, the antidote for a suspected opioid overdose. I’d heard the story before it was published, but reading about how these librarians save lives on a regular basis both in and around their building and then go right back to their job is amazing. Other articles have been posted in recent weeks, including a CNN article that was posted just the other day. You’ll find similar stories in areas all over the United States as librarians step up in their communities to try and make a difference. Just as they have by hiring social workers who come in to help provide services for the homeless population, by offering a place where children from low-income families can find lunch during the summer when they’re out of school and help people polish resumes and submit online job applications when they don’t have access to the Internet at home. Librarians have been community heroes for years.

Thankfully, we haven’t had to deal with the specific issue of opioid overdoses in our library, but after a program I attended at our local mosque about sharing the Islam faith with the community, I’ve been thinking more and more about what we can do to make a difference in our community.

My plan is to provide community dialog problems that address social issues like the opioid epidemic, bullying, racial equality, LGBT+ rights, and so much more. I’m hoping that the library becomes the meeting space for organizations who are already doing amazing work in these fields to come together to not only educate the public, but to also create a shared sense of responsibility for what happens in our own backyard and to, again make a difference. I clearly haven’t fleshed out all the details to this long-range program idea, but I’m really excited about the potential partnerships we can form and how we can positively affect our community.

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