Archive for the 'Librarians' Category

A Typical Tuesday During Summer Reading

My lovely friend Abby has a series of posts on her blog about a Day in the Life of a Children’s Librarian, and I have always wanted to do one.  I also kind of promised Lindsay that I would do one during BEDA, which I never got around to.  So today was a pretty cool day at work, and I thought I would share a step by step look at what I did.  Some of you might say that this is NOT a typical day, but I will do this every Tuesday for six weeks this summer, so yes, it is pretty typical for me.

8:35  Get in to work and check the book drop.  My boss and I are supposed to be at work at 9:00, but both of us snuck in at the same time today.  That is how hardcore things are during the summer at my library.

8:40  Set up the room for storytime and make quick example of the craft.

9:00  Went over stories for the program and jumped up and down in excitement over a delivery of new smelly markers from Dick Blick (they are so fancy!!!).

9:30  Storytime for one of the daycares with 27 people there.  We did around the world stories including “Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes” by Mem Fox, “My Granny Went to Market” by Stella Blackstone, and “Say Hello” by Rachel Isadora.  We also sang one of my very favorite songs “Sally the Camel.”  It’s great, look it up.

10:00  Craft time with the daycare.  All the kids got reading passports that we stamped with a “World Traveler” stamp and they drew their portrait inside.  Each week they will get a new stamp in their passport and then they take it home on the last day.  They also made their own personal flags out of cardstock and popsicle sticks.

10:20  Quickly clean up and reset the room at the same time for the next storytime.

10:30  Storytime for the public.  Do the same thing all over again for a crowd of 50.  It was one little guy’s last storytime before he moves and it was super sad to see him go.  He came to my very first storytime at the library over two years ago.  *Sniffle*

11:20  Clean up the room and reset it for the teen program this afternoon

11:40 Gather some last minute supplies for the teen program and then search frantically for my car keys.

11:50 Finally find my keys and head home for lunch.  (Even though I am at home, I use my lunch break to check work emails.)

12:40  Back at the library.  Spend a few minutes at the desk checking stuff in and shelving things.  Help a few kids pick up summer reading stuff.  Go over the I Spy that our lovely page did for the display window and say that it looks awesome.

1:30 Last minute set up for the teen program.  Get out display books and enough pens and pencils for the scavenger hunt.

1:45  Kids start arriving early so we start dishing out the ice cream cones.

2:00  The program has just started and the stream of kids coming in is not stopping.  I run to the store to get more ice cream!  We end up having 43 kids show up!!  They all eat their ice cream and then break up into teams for a library scavenger hunt.  I worried they might think it was kind of lame, but they went CRAZY over it.  They were running around the library like little cockroaches searching for the answers.  I loved it, but according to my boss, this is the last one we do for a while 🙂

2:40  Announce the winner of the hunt and give away prize books to 8 lucky kids.

2:45  Kids clear out and we clean up the drips of ice cream and put away the bean bag chairs.

3:10  Finish out my regular shift by working the desk.  I shelve, check stuff in, help people search for the hidden pictures in the library, and chat with a nice family that comes in for storytime.

5:00  Head home for a quick bite to eat.

6:00  Back at the library to get ready for our Family Night program.  A local wildlife rescue guy is bringing his reptiles to the library.

6:25  Let in the massive group of people gathered outside the door and try to get them to keep an aisle clear in the middle of the room.

6:35  We start the program and these are the things that happen

*115 people show up.

*My camera batteries run out after he brings out the second animal.

*I yell A LOT to get people to quiet down.  I adore my patrons, but they are always rowdy when performers come.

*The giant tortoise poops on the kitchen floor.

*When the tortoise tries to walk on the carpet he can’t get any traction so he just sits there swinging his huge legs.  SO CUTE!

*The cobra poops all over the presenter and our floor.

*The cobra literally escapes his container and we all scream bloody murder.  He doesn’t get very far, but it literally sounds like we are all being massacred.  I am halfway out the door ala George Costanza in a fire.  In a situation like that, I was like, “You’re on your own kids!”

*He brings out a Ball Python that is the hugest thing ever.  It is shedding its snake skin all over the carpet.

*Everybody gets a chance to touch all the animals (except that crafty cobra) and they all seem to have had a marvelous time.  Most kids go home with a piece of snake skin.  I was even brave enough to touch some of them.

7:30  I vacuum up the snake skin and try to clean the cobra poop off the carpet (I did not succeed).

7:50  I put the new receipt printer in the cash register since I have the magic touch.

8:05  I finally head home.

Phew!  So, every Tuesday for the next five weeks I have four programs.  But then I am halfway done with my programming for the week, so it is pretty easy peasy from here on out.  Sorry this was such a long post, but it was a really LONG day.


P.S.  Man, kids and parents are going to be talking about the escaped cobra for a long time.  It was so awesome how we all freaked out, and then laughed about it.


I Get My Craft On, Because I Have To

I would not consider myself a crafty person at all.  That’s why I was terrified when I learned that my current job would require me to do a craft every week with preschoolers.  At my other libraries I hardly did any crafts at all, so that’s why I literally curled up in the fetal position upon learning they would be such a huge part of my job.

Well, two years later, I have pretty much caught on to the general rule of storytime crafts at my library.  Let the kids use the smelly markers and let them play with the glue and they will be happy campers.  Anything more complicated than that and the moms/dads have to do all the work and then nobody is happy.

I also learned that when making the examples, it is always best to do it myself.  That way I know exactly how the craft is done and if there are any weird hiccups I need to be aware of.  (I learned this the hard way after having volunteers make one of the examples for our big Holiday Party.  They did a great job, but they didn’t tell me that the little rubber stampers they used all had plastic coverings on them that needed to be taken off.  All night long parents were fighting with the plastic, trying to take it off the stamps.  I felt terrible.  Lesson learned.)

Sometimes, I have to dash off the examples really fast right before storytime.  Other times, I really put a lot of effort into it, and then they come home with me and earn a place on my fridge.  Here are a few of my favorites from my personal collection.

My family

This is about as simple as a craft can get.  I just found a pretty frame pattern on the internet and then printed it on cardstock for all the kids.  Our storytime was about families, so I had them all draw a family portrait.  I am the world’s worst artist, so I actually spent a lot of time on my picture.  From left to right it is me (I almost forgot to put myself in, that’s why I am leaning in from the side), my sister (I apologize to Anne for drawing hips like Giles does), my dad, and my mom.  The cats are Addie, Hermione, Penelope (who kind of looks like a mouse), Pippi, and Amy, Callie, and Tigger (my parents’ cats).  The kids were fascinated by my picture and loved to hear all about my cats.  It was a great motivator for them to draw their own pets in their pictures.


This is one of the more involved crafts I have tried.  The cupcake liners make perfect flowers, and we have a million tongue depressors at the library so I try to use them every chance I get.  The insides of the flowers are little foam smiley faces that I flipped over so the back is showing.  This was the type of craft that some kids got really into, while others just colored all over the sheet.  I brought it home with me because I loved my ladybug and bumblebee so much.

Swim Fishy Swim

This was the first craft to make my refrigerator.  This was a summer reading craft last year, and I always try to be a little more ambitious when it comes to summer stuff.  Not only do more people come, but we also have a lot more volunteers to keep busy, so we can do more complicated crafts.  For this one, we used an X-acto knife to cut out a fish shape from a piece of blue cardstock.  We used the fish themselves for a craft with the older kids later.  Then we put a piece of contact paper over the fish so that the sticky side was facing up.  We placed the plastic backing from the contact paper over the paper so that we could stack them easily without them sticking together.  All of this was done ahead of time.

When it came time to do the craft with the kids, they stuck pieces of tissue paper, aluminum foil, sequins, and a googily eye onto the fish.  The goal is to cover up as much of the sticky stuff as possible.  Then they could decorate around their fish.  I am extremely proud of my brain coral.  That is some of the best art I think I’ve ever done.  The final step was to put plastic wrap over the top and tape it to the back.  That covered up any extra stickiness and makes it look like the fish is under water.  It is apparently also makes it yummy for cats because Pippi loves to chew on my picture.  You might be able to see her little teeth marks near the top left.

So, I am getting used to doing crafts on a weekly basis, and have even received some compliments from parents about the stuff we do each week.  I actually look forward to planning them (sometimes).

Also, if you ever come over to my house and see artwork on the fridge, please don’t ask if it was done by my kids at the daycares or at the library (those pictures are all in my office) because you can just assume they are mine.


How evil is your library card?

Soooo I didn’t blog yesterday….because Steve and I were busy buying a house! It isn’t OFFICIALLY ours yet, but we are on our way to being proud poppas (yup, I am choosing to be a poppa in this situation instead of a momma) of a cozy little bungalow!

Wonder what mysteries we will discover in our bungalow?!

But I got a super exciting EVIL post today!

While twittering at/for work, I came across @Evilwylie’s offer of free EVIL LIBRARY CARDS!

“Nope, don’t explain, I’m sold.” <–my head.

Coolest thing ever, right? It gets cooler! @Evilwylie happens to live near my library and so we are going to get our evil library cards from the evil man himself 🙂

I tend to really really like evil things. Not real evil things (after all, I'm a Ravenclaw, not a Slytherin…but I married a Slytherin…) I really really like funny, dark, melancholy things like Emily the Strange, skeletons, Alkaline Trio, Murder She Wrote, sloths, etc. So an evil library card? YES PLZ!

I like to imagine that my Rainy Day book for Little Dead Girls is evil enough to deserve being checked out with an evil library card…


The only way I will exercise…

So somehow I seem to have forgotten about Mousercise for the last 20 years until the library started a wellness program where we have to stretch every morning. And since my supervisor is awesome, she interlibrary loaned the Mousercise soundtrack for us to listen to while side-bending and lunging. I totally had a mousercise VHS tape when I was little and felt totally AWESOME when I did my own work-outs. (I also did the Jane Fonda tapes with my mom which made me giggle uncontrollably) I actually don’t remember too much of it, but several of the librarians actually remembered whole routines–I am in such awe of my coworkers.


Ballad of a Children’s Librarian

During the past six weeks, I have done thirty-six storytimes by myself,

six teen programs,

and emceed six family nights without losing my voice,

for I am a children’s librarian.

I have watched 140 people cram into a room made for 80.

I have touched a baby alligator’s tail and fossils from the Devonian period,

for I am a children’s librarian.

I have gained upper body strength and painful back spasms from moving tables and chairs multiple times per day.

I have killed one vacuum while picking up sand, flour, popcorn, dirt, chips, sequins, and (fake) snow,

for I am a children’s librarian.

I have explained to not one, but two kids that they can’t have another prize if they threw theirs up on the roof.

I have made boats, sharks, bubble machines, terrariums, octopuses, and painted with sand,

for I am a children’s librarian.

I have placed multiple holds on the Clique series and Diary of a Wimpy Kid books whilst controlling my gag reflex.

I have worked so hard that I sweat through my clothes with three hours left to go of my shift,

for I am a children’s librarian.

I have battled screaming toddlers, water balloons, rude people, and sulky teens.

I have dealt with a power outage, bad weather, a movie that stopped in the middle for no reason, and figuring out how to open the attic door (we have an attic???),

for I am a children’s librarian.

I have impersonated an ocean wave, a seal, a turtle, many fish, and a snail.

In doing so, I have made a fool of myself in front of the whole town and several times made it into the local paper,

for I am a children’s librarian.

The summer reading program is now over, and I have survived to see another year.  Pretty soon the kids will go back to school and public librarians everywhere can breathe a much-needed sigh of relief.  I am already feeling the stress melt off my shoulders.  To all of you librarians suffering through the final push of summer reading, I wish you luck!  You can do it (Abby)!!!!


One of the reasons I love my job.

Because I get to DANCE! with little kids! and giant dogs! Seriously, my fellow librarians knew how happy this would make me that they didn’t even ask–I just got an email one afternoon that said “Amber, we are going to film you dancing to Beyonce tomorrow. Dress appropriately.”

(filmed for the River Bandits’ Library Night which then got rained out booooo)


Something That Might Make Me Throw My Shoe At You

When I get very angry I have a saying…….it goes, “I’m so mad I want to take off my shoe and throw it!”  I have never actually thrown my shoe at anyone (or anything) but sometimes after a long day, I’ve come close.  Most of the incidents that push me over the edge happen while I’m at work, dealing with the general public.

I work in a small town, and I genuinely love most of my patrons.  I know them by name (and I have a lot of their card numbers memorized) and I know what books they like to read.  I am really fortunate to be in a situation like that.

But………there is one thing that patrons do that makes me so upset, the shoes could start flying…

The thing that really grates my cheese more than anything else is when people put things on the shelf backwards!!!!!  When I say backwards, I mean with the spine facing towards the shelf.  I wish that people wouldn’t put things back in general, but that is never going to stop (I break out in a cold sweat every time I hear a parent say, “honey, put that back where you found it”).

Right way

But please, everyone in the world knows how to put a book on a shelf properly!  You would never know it from walking around a library.  The worst is when a little kid does it in full view of a parent and the parent does absolutely nothing.  Parents, you need to take some responsibility for you child’s actions every once in a while.  It does not take a colossal effort to turn that little DVD back around so it faces the right direction.


I was helping a sixth grader find books the other day and she did it RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!  I think you could probably see smoke coming out of my ears.  But since I am a non-confrontational person, I just waited until she had her back turned and fixed the book.  Yes, I will admit that even though it makes me furious, I am too much of a chicken to actually correct people about it.  Go figure.

So, the next time you are in a library, if you attempt to shelve something yourself (but please don’t even attempt to shelve it yourself…leave it up to us highly trained librarians…or unpaid volunteers :)), please be courteous enough to at least have the spine facing in the right direction.


P.S.  Woohooo!!!!  I made it through BEDA!!!  Don’t expect another post from me for a little while…..I am taking a much needed break.