Posts Tagged 'Libraries'

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.


Amazon Gets a Library Card

Lindsay started on a more serious tone today, and I’m going to continue.

Amazon announced this morning that they were going to “launch library lending for Kindle books.”  It was a very exciting morning.  My fingers couldn’t move fast enough between tweeting about it and ichatting my co-worker (yeah, we use ichat at work. jealous? :)) about what it would mean and how it would work.

Now I won’t pretend to know everything about how eBook lending works and all that*, but I feel like I have a decent grasp on it as not just a librarian, but as one who purchases additional copies of eBooks for my library.  (We’re in a consortium of several libraries who share e-copies of many books, but we can buy extra copies that are only for our patrons.  Those are the ones I buy – the YA ones.)  And after tweeting about it a lot today, I learned that average users don’t really understand how it all works – and really, why should they need to?  Except in certain times.  Like today.  When great-sounding news may have a catch that is missed in press releases.

So in case you want to know, here’s how it works.  If you want to check out an eBook from your local library (for FREE, btw), you’d probably go through a company called Overdrive.  Your local library uses this company to purchase eBooks and audiobooks for you to download (“check out”) to your computer or device for a specific length of time.  Here’s the part you may not know:  There are a few different formats for eBooks and audiobooks.  And your library buys multiple copies of the same books in these formats.

Audiobooks come in wma and mp3 formats.  That’s probably something you’re at least a little familiar with.  For the eBooks we currently buy through Overdrive, there are PDF files and EPUB files.  The basic difference is that PDF text remains static (you can only zoom in/out) while EPUB text is reflowable (size can be increased, pages reload, etc.)  So Twilight, for example,  is available for me as an eBook in both PDF and EPUB but as an audiobook only in the wma format.  (I suspect it’s not available in mp3.)  And the catch is not that it confuses patrons (though it does), but that EACH version of the book costs money.  It’s as if you’re buying both a hardback and paperback copy because people will want to read differently or will only be able to read it a certain way, depending on their device.

Still with me?  Here’s where the Amazon stuff comes in.  Amazon has a whole new file format for their eBooks.  Kindle books come in AZW files.  Their files are specific and have their own DRM (Digital Rights Management), which makes them unable to work on non-Kindle devices.  So while Amazon’s news about wanting to lend books is fantastic for library patrons and libraries, as a purchaser of library copies of eBooks, I’m a little concerned we’ll have another file format to purchase an eBook in.  There are lots of answers we’re still waiting for.

If you want to know more about Amazon and lending, here’s a few articles to read:
Kindle Library Lending and Overdrive – What it means for libraries and schools from Overdrive
Some Questions for Overdrive and Amazon about the Kindle Lending Library-Update from Librarian by Day

– Jill

*Librarian friends, please correct me if you see ANYTHING wrong or misleading.

A Very Jill Update

Apologies nerdgirls & friends, it’s been too long.  It’s amazing how busy life can get when sometimes you work 11 hour days and discover firsthand the addictive qualities of Angry Birds.  Let me catch you up to speed.

A few weeks ago I bought myself a Christmas present – the new iPod touch!  To be honest, I wanted it more for the wifi capabilities & apps than the music player.  I love being able to stay connected with my email, facebook, & twitter without sitting in front of an actual computer.  And oh, the apps!  Seriously, Angry Birds gets addicting.  Plus I’ve just discovered apps for Cash Cab, Set, Picross, and Kakuro.  If you don’t know of those, do yourself a favor and check them out.  Fun AND good for your brain!

Not my real hand.

Next up: the weather.  Wherever you live, there’s a good chance you saw snow this past weekend.  I saw a lot of it.  Not because I was up in Minnesota by the Metrodome or anything but because there were blizzard warnings in Illinois!  My sister and I were traveling back upstate from being home.  It took us 6 hours to go what’s normally a little over 3 and then it took me 3.5 hours to go what’s normally about 2.  The blowing snow was horrible!

Not taken while driving.

That’s taken on an actual interstate in Central Illinois.  I do not recommend driving in blizzard conditions.  Wish we could all be on a warm cruise like Jen!

The last update on my life is about my library.  We’re a finalist to win $10,000 in a contest!  And, if we win, all of the money will go to improve our small teen area!  I know most of you who know me have voted, but if you’re a fan of libraries (and how can you not be if you’re reading our blog) please take a second to vote.  You use your email address, but you will NOT get spam or even a confirmation.  Please use all your email addresses; they each count as a vote. Thanks to everyone who’s voted!  I really appreciate it!!

– Jill

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)!!!!


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.

And the Award for Coolest Parking Garage Goes To…

Kansas City (MO) Public Library!


Look at how awesome the library’s parking garage is!  On the far left, which I don’t think you can see in the pictures, are titles by KC authors.  Then some popular favorites.


I think people in the community could nominate and vote on titles.


It’s difficult to see in this picture, but see the steps on the left?  They actually look like stacked books!  You can kind of see that in the top picture.


Don’t you think all public libraries should do this??

– Jill

My Latest Library Trip

Going to the library is seriously one of my favorite things.  I always walk out with way too many books…like today.  In true NerdGirl fashion, here’s a picture of what I got.


I think it’s a nice mixture of picture and chapter books.  I’ve been looking for a middle-reader series to replace Judy Moody, who I love, so I’m excited for Ivy + Bean.  Plus I have been craving Ella Enchanted since Lindsay mentioned it in her vlog awhile ago, and I can’t wait to listen to it on my drive home for Christmas.  And I have to admit:  I’ve never read Fancy Nancy, Olivia, or Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich, though I know Lindsay, Amber, and Jen have highly recommended them.  I figured it was about time I read them.

Iowa City Public Library has quite the Nancy Drew collection.  I was impressed.  I’m determined to make my way through them – the originals! – to make sure they get checked out and the librarians know they’re loved.  I’d love to get started on Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock now since the ice hitting my window makes for nice reading atmosphere, but unfortunately I’m too tired.  Tomorrow!