Friday, May 31, 2013

Still getting ready...

I've been working a little here and there to make a difference at the library. Most of the time I was at the school this week, I was working on getting books re-cataloged and re-labeled.

I'm still not sure what to do about the whole "special collections" section. I think the idea of the collection was sound when it was started, but it just isn't working for me. I have pulled small series (only 4 or 5 books) and re-cataloged and labeled them. I have been a librarian long enough that I don't believe in lumping things unnecessarily. My biggest project was the graphic novels that had been thrown together in the SC. I moved anything nonfiction back into nonfiction. If kids are looking for shark books, I want them to find them together in the nonfiction, even if one is a graphic novel-styled and another is made using photographs. I noticed a lot of graphic novels are being put in the 741.5 section of nonfiction, no matter what subject. So I changed them around, for example, putting the graphic novel classics (Swiss Family Robinson, Around the World in 80 Days, etc) under a single call number, "Graphic Classics."

I've also been mulling over the idea of what to do about stuffed animals. I get the idea of stuffed animals based on story book characters. I get the idea of stuffed versions of our school mascot, leopards. I don't get the idea of having a bunch of random, garage sale reject toys. Today when I was at the school, our principal pointed out the mountain of stuff in our resource room. She explained that I could take anything I wanted, and leave anything I didn't want from the library. The teachers take what they want and the leftovers are taken to other schools. Pretty cool idea, really. I ditched the last of the fake plants (dust catchers & spider web bases). I also took in 2 tubs of stuffed animals that have nothing to do with books. I still kept a small tub of beanie babies. I also found a bunch of puppets. I want to find a fun way to display them. What I don't understand was why the library had a bunch of random stuffed animals spread through it when I found, stuffed in a cupboard, a bunch of really nice Dr. Seuss character toys and almost all of the Laura Numeroff "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie" type toys. I also saved a couple of really nice monkey toys. I was thinking of using groupings of similar animals to create displays. The monkeys could be reading "Curious George", the bears reading "Wake Up Sleepy Bear", the giraffe's reading "A Giraffe and a Half" and the penguins reading "Tacky the Penguin". Something along those lines anyway. Eventually I want to have a huge leopard collection, we'll see how it goes.

I also wanted to note that I've started adding extra pages to the blog. I want to have one for each of the grade levels with ideas of read-aloud books for them.

Here are a few "before" pictures of my library.  Check out that skylight!  The collections are pretty evenly distributed with a work/computer area to my immediate left, nonfiction to my front left, the story area directly in front of my desk, fiction, jr fiction and special collections to my front right and easy readers to my immediate right.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Finally, my own library!

You know, as a teenager, I don't think I would have ever told you that my dream job would be librarian, but here I am, 34 years old and it is truly the greatest job ever. I've worked at our town's regional library for 5 years as a part-time library aid. I started out with the job of just checking books in and out, helping patrons and other basics. Over the years, I have added all kinds of little things here and there to make my job more interesting (yes, even the library can be boring on slow days.) I started a monthly display, complete with designing posters to match it, a book club for elementary kids and then I was asked to create and maintain the public information slides we show on our public channel. I have been teaching eReaders/eBooks for about 2 years and I've even taught digital scrapbooking classes for the adult programs. It seems like I've always got something to do and plenty of ideas to fill my free time.

But as I said, I was part-time. That means less than 20 hours a week during the school year and around 30 a week during the summer. That has worked okay since my kids were young, but starting next year they'll both be in school all day long. Even with Girl Scouts, my graphic design and sewing for extra money, I don't know that I could have stayed as busy as I needed to. I've waited for a full-time position to open up, and I think the one I had my eye on will open up in the next year, but I'm not sure.

In mid-April, my friend texted me to tell me that the school librarian position at my girls' school was open. She encouraged me to apply and I thought, why not? I didn't know that I'd even get a call back. I don't have a college degree. I've never worked in a school before, and I don't even work in the children's area of the public library. I applied on a Tuesday and by the next Thursday, I had interviewed and been offered the job! I do want to share that when asked to describe myself, I said, "Intelligent, Creative & Unconventional." I accepted and now I feel like my head won't stop whirling! So many ideas, and so many questions!

The librarian I will be replacing left before the end of the school year, so I was able to do a little bit of subbing before school got out. I won't be needed at the school this summer, so I'll finish my summer at the big library. I've used some of my time at the school to get some things done, like shifting (which ended up including dusting a lot!) but that led to more questions. I think that I will have a lot to do this summer before the kids come back before I'll feel ready to call the library my own. I decided to start a blog because I had a hard time tracking the answers to some of my questions down online. I am lucky to have the other elementary librarians in town to act as mentors and the friend who suggested I apply worked at the same school as the librarian 8 years ago, but there are other ideas out there I want to see. I started a few Pinterest boards, which you can follow at these links:

Library Resources
Library Ideas
Library Bulletin Board Ideas

I'll post things that work for me, and things that don't work for me. There is so much to learn and so much to create!