Tag Archives: public library

Emergency Preparedness

30 Aug

Sadly, there was an active shooter in a public library in Clovis, New Mexico on Monday afternoon. I believe this is the first time there has been a shooting in a public library and honestly, I’m shocked it hasn’t happened before now. Public libraries are just that – public which means anyone and everyone is able to enter and few libraries have security guards in place to handle a situation like this, especially smaller libraries like the one in Clovis which is a town of 40,000. It was a senseless act of violence that has left two women dead and four others seriously injured.

Yesterday, I sent out an email to my staff with our emergency preparedness notes to review. Thankfully, we haven’t had to use these notes, but by not using them we don’t always remember the details of what to do about an active shooter, a fire or medical emergency. After reviewing our notes a few staff members asked for clarification on a few points and made some suggestions that we hadn’t thought about before. I also include a link to a Run, Hide, Fight training video created by the city of Houston when dealing with an active shooter. These videos are never enjoyable to watch (obviously), but it does bring up some really great points to remember.

All I want to do by writing this is to encourage all libraries to have emergency preparedness directions planned for staff and patrons alike and hopefully you’ll never have to use them, but you’ll have them if they are needed. And if you have a emergency plan, remember to share with staff on a regular basis so that if a situation were to arise, your staff knows exactly what they should do. My heart goes out to the victims, their friends and families and the community in the wake of this tragedy. A huge thank you goes out to the local police who responded quickly and professionally to the situation in New Mexico and most likely saved the lives of other people in the building.

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Popular Trends & How to Incorporate Them into the Library

5 Aug

Yellow_Fidget_SpinnerPopular trends happen in a blink of an eye – a book becomes popular after being a sleeper when it was published, a movie becomes the most quoted movie of the summer or a toy becomes the must-have of the holiday season. As libraries continue to fight for funding and recognition within their community , jumping onto these popular trends is a way to bring people into the library that may not normally visit. So after carefully planning your programming months in advance, how do you throw in additional programs at the last minute and still have staff time to plan an event and market the program to the community?

Although this is something I think my library needs to work on a bit more, I think that it’s important to have a basic program plan ready to go for arts, movies, technology, and other themes. By having a basic plan, you can toss in any popular trend quickly and easily. Below, are a few popular trends over the past few years and I’ve added a quick program that’s easy to offer to your patrons.

Disney Movie Sing Along
Frozen was a HUGE hit and you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing kids singing the soundtrack. Offer a movie sing along at the library, a movie license, some speakers and a projector is all you need and encourage kids to sing along to all the songs. If you want, you can add snacks and crafts (but you don’t need to!).

Pokemon Go
Pokemon Go was a crazy trend last summer that had people roaming all throughout their community with their cell phones catching Pokemon. A quick, no fuss program (that you can partner with your local Park & Rec dept.) have a Pokemon Go safari in a local park or in the community. A 30-minute walk is the perfect amount of time for young kids, plus it gets kids exercising.

Slime
I’ve made more Slime in my life than I ever though possible. A few summers ago, I made slime with 4 different camp groups, plus offered another program at the library. I swore I would never make slime again, but it’s popular now and it’s fairly easy to make, so teach the kids how to make slime and talk about non-Newtonian fluids and bam – you’ve got a STEM program.

Kindness Rocks
This is my favorite, new popular trend – painted rocks that are hidden all over the community, often with kind words or inspiring quotes painted on them. This is a super simple program, have kids bring in their own rocks or purchase some from a home improvements store. Grab some paints and paintbrushes from your supply closet and you’ve got a program. Once the rocks dry, offer a second program to spread them throughout the community or allow kids to take them home and hide them near their houses. Because honestly, who doesn’t need more kindness?!?!?

So once you’ve planned the program, how do you promote a program that was planned a week ago? Social media for one – our patrons love checking our Facebook page for upcoming events, make sure to add it to your event calendar and promote it on your website. Plus, if you another program happening before your popular trend program – promote it there! Talk it up at the check-out desk and make sure you put together an eye catching flyer and leave it at the computer desks, reference desks and circ desks.

The worst thing you can do is try to offer a popular trend program after the trend has died down. It’s important to take advantage of the trend while it’s popular, otherwise you’re just creating more work for yourself and not connecting patrons with the world they know and love. The view that libraries are antiquated and unnecessary is so prevalent and what I want my library to do is to embrace those current trends and look at the future to gauge what might become popular and be ready.

Early Literacy At Its Finest

6 Jul

There’s a great article on the School Library Journal’s website about the positive effects of storytime on young children. Storytime began in the late 1800s and has changed drastically over the years from a time when children were expected to sit quietly and listen to an adult read books to today’s version of storytime that includes a wide variety of actions, senses, books, songs, dances and more.

I don’t think any librarian out there would argue that storytime is unhelpful to children, but there have been few studies to show the actual effects storytime has on PreK children. I think children’s librarians are also hesitant to say they are experts in the field as many don’t have a child development background and feel uncomfortable telling parents what they should be doing at home. New studies show that being intentional at storytime about early literacy skills makes a difference. Honestly, many of the early literacy skills I’ve shared with parents and caregivers in the past are things they already do, I just give it a name and explain why it’s so important.

I found this article to a fascinating read and really enjoyed learning more about research being done in the public library field. I’d love to see more research focused not only on early literacy, but on public libraries in general. We do far more good than people realize and we need to make ourselves known.

Director’s Thoughts #8

1 Jun

directors

Last week we introduced our Coffee Cart to the public – our library doesn’t have the space for an actual coffee shop, so this is what we came up with! This was an idea that’s been circling around my brain for quite a while and after discussing it with my Board and staff, I realized that it was actually a very doable project. Continue reading

Blogging Challenges

20 May

I’ve been struggling lately with my blog – it started out as a suggestion from my boyfriend a few years ago and at the time I thought, “Who would ever want to read anything I wrote?” and since, I’ve come to enjoy sharing my programs, discussing issues and connecting with people around the world.

But now, I’ve taken a new job and feel like my blog has somewhat lost its purpose, so that’s where I’m at. My job now is much more focused on everything from large-scale projects to the mundane paperwork of running an organization… but that’s not as interesting to write about. I’m having more and more difficulty coming up with content for daily posts six days a week that won’t completely put everyone to sleep.

I’m hoping to start working on a calendar of ideas so that I’m not thinking about content everyday and having to write it up, rather I’ll have put some thought into it in advance (which is what I should have been doing all along). With this new position, I’ve had little time to really focus on what I want this blog to become and so that’ s what I’ve been thinking about lately. Library/Librarian blogs have somewhat of a small audience – mainly other libraries/librarians, some teachers and parents who stumble onto programming ideas and others who get here by accident. It’s not like a lifestyle blog or a Disney blog that has the potential for a much larger following. Or does it?

So if you’re a regular reader, comment on what parts of the blog you like and would want me to keep and I’m going to spend much of my summer trying to figure out where I want this project to go. Thanks for the input!

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