May 20, 2013

The Center of Everything

is the latest book by  Linda Urban. I just finished up this book and it was okay for me. There was not a lot of action in the story it was more about self-reflection (something I don't do consciously enough). Ruby makes a wish to relive part of her grandmother's last day in order to right her perceived wrong. She has always done and been what and who she is "supposed" to do or be. Supposed to do. . . it got me to thinking. . . oh yeah, by the way this is not a book review.

Two recent blog posts really got me to thinking about how I go about this whole librarian thing: Hey You MLIS grads and You Don't Have to Do All Things to be an Awesome Librarian.

I have had my MLIS for one year now, and my job for a year and a half. It has been a super busy year with a lot of changes going on in my library (mostly by me). It got me to wondering if I have been jumping the gun. . . have I done too much? Am I doing what I am "supposed to do"?

One of the first changes I made was to level the easy readers in our collection. We had many, many parents coming in for "really easy" books for their kids to read. I was not familiar with the collection (like the parents) and thought it would be an easy, quick way for parents to find what they needed. Looking back a year later, and after talking with the local elementary school's principal, I am regretting that choice a little. I would still label them, but instead I would use the guided reading levels that the school uses for consistency for the parents. Yes, I could make a list of them, but really what is the point. I (as a former non-librarian parent) would rather go to the shelves, pick up a book and know whether it was the "right" level or not (that instant gratification thing that is so popular these days). So, yeah jumped the gun there.

The second big thing I did was buy a loft with donation money for the kids area. AWESOME decision! I would make it again and highly recommend it if you are short of space and have a few thousand dollars laying around. Yes kids throw things off of it (I put soft blocks and puppets up there), but the kids really love it. It is "their space" in a library with very little space. It doubled our little kids area and I am not done tinkering with the space under it yet. I am thinking rope lights, bean bags and a kitchen to promote the literacy activity of PLAY!

The third thing I changed was the way we shelved (I use that term loosely) our board books. They were in one of those crappy blue plastic crates. I participated in a Military Grant and was able to buy a super cute shelf for the board books. In 2011, the year before I started, we had 97 board books go out. In 2012 after I added the new shelf. .. wait for it (these are amazing numbers). . .347 circs! The new shelf more than tripled the circ numbers. (I know that is some shameless back patting on my part, but none the less super exciting).

I also added a Wii. . . some days yeah, some days aargh.

There are a lot more changes you can read about in my other blog posts (especially the picture book reorganization).

I have been super busy, I am a one woman department. I do all of the things you are "supposed to do" like preschool and toddler storytimes, but I really don't always know what the rest of the "supposed to dos" are.

I am super lucky to have a director who is extremely supportive of youth services and usually always wants more kids in the library. The two of us together are quite the pair. . . constantly dreaming up ways to make things more user friendly and easier to access. Last week we reorganized half the library (with the help of our coworkers). We kicked the Young Adults out of the kids side of the library!!!! Best day ever. There is so much more room now it is amazing.

I'm rambling. . .basically, I love this job. I love my boss and coworkers. I feel constantly challenged to do things better yet easier. When I started, I felt like I had got thrown into the lion's den/ shark tank/ under the bus (take your pick). It was overwhelming not to have my schedule for the day mapped out to the nearest quarter hour. Workshops, conferences, supportive coworkers, and many of you bloggers out there have helped me see the limitless possibilities in library services for youth. Not necessarily what I am "supposed to do" but what I can dream of doing.

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