Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Yes, I'm a Children's Librarian

It's almost Christmas! (And, yes, I'm starting to panic because Mr. B seems to have nothing under our tree.) To celebrate I'm gifting all of you with another post featuring what I do all day as a Youth Services Librarian.

You can read previous posts here, here, and here.

11:30- 1:30 p.m. Upon arrival, again, I'm busy answering emails, organizing my day (and desk), checking voice mails...all the fun stuff required to start my day. On this day I had to send out a quick email to the teen librarian at the main library asking her to immediately put the life-size Jenga set in inter-department deliveries. My yoga program is the next evening and if I don't have "Yoga Jenga" the kids might not come back. Also, since it was a Monday my inbox included a weekly department update, program information for the week, and reminders consisting of my change of location on Saturday, that we have our youth services department's Christmas lunch on Thursday (yay), and the deadline for Spring programming is quickly approaching. What?! I'm still in Christmas mode, but I have less than a month to decide what programs I plan to have through May 2014. (Wow, 2014...)

A few other co-workers and I were selected to take an online Early Literacy and Books course which begins in January. However, this course requires prep work (Intro to Moodle) that must be done before then, so I spent some time finishing the week's readings and assignments. Also, last week I attended a 2014 Summer Reading Program workshop at Kent State University (this summer we're all about Fizz, Boom, Read!) and I needed to fill out the appropriate evaluations.

And even though my story times and toddler tales are on a three-week break (a little longer than usual due to the holiday season) I still have to plan the ones for January. Those themes include Royal Readers, Winter White, Arctic Animal Friends, and Teeny Tiny Things, and I have the first three. I'm all about winter, penguins, and polar bears right now. I can't wait to share with the kids The Reader by Amy Hest. It's all about finding the perfect place to share a book in winter. Love it.

1:30-3:00 p.m. I spent the next few hours organizing the office, creating some space to breathe. We finished up quite a few programs over the last couple of weeks, including my Grinch movie program, story times, and craft night, and the office is quite crowded. I cleaned off some carts and packed away the unused Christmas decor and Grinch materials.

Then I began prepping for my Yogi Kids program, which is tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. My routine, games, and craft were all planned, I just needed to get it all together...and provide a craft sample. Tomorrow night's craft is a gingerbread man (or woman), so I set out finding some paper, making a few gingerbread people as templates for the kids to trace onto paper, and cutting it out and gluing it to a background. I ran to the basement, a.k.a. craft storage heaven, grabbed some fun materials (including sprinkles and ground cinnamon so the gingerbread person would smell nice), and finished off my little guy.

I'm ready to go!

Update: On Tuesday, every single parent, but one (out of 10), called to say their kid was sick and wouldn't make yoga. Sadly, I had to call that lone parent and cancel the program. I was sad but I am still healthy.

3:00-4:00 p.m. I allowed myself one hour to peruse some of the new books cluttering my desk, included were a few Halloween books that didn't quite make it in on time. Tsk.

4:00-5:00 p.m. Now that I have a little bit of downtime, which I don't but I have to squeeze this in somewhere, I'm weeding through my juvenile fiction collection. For the past six months my circulation staff complained about the lack of space on the shelves and the constant need for shifting the books (to try and create more space, which we don't have). I'm fully aware of the space issue in the "J" books. I'm fully aware of the space issue concerning the music CDs, the audio books, and the picture books...which I weeded 10 months ago. I'm aware that I need more space for everything!

To start the weeding process, I have to go into our catalog database, Sierra, and create a weeding list. After narrowing it down, this list consists of every single "J" book at my location and listing for each item: author, title, bar code, call number, date created, last circulation date, total number of circulations, and total number of circulations this year. Then I export the list into Microsoft Excel, where I tidy it up and make it pretty for minimal printing. (This is also where I bug ask Amanda about Excel questions before she hurries out the door for the day.)

I have well over 200 pages of books to weed through.

5:00-5:30 p.m.

Before the weeding begins, I take my lunch, enjoying my tasty Potato, Broccoli and Coriander Soup (leftover from Sunday's Baking Extravaganza...details soon). Also, I have no idea why I brought in a platter of cookies...clearly our patrons have the whole homemade cookie thing under control. Yikes, looks like I'll be enjoying my lunch in my office over the next few days, that way I'm not in constant view of these goodies. Good thing I'm not a huge cookie brownies are a whole other thing.

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Before the fun weeding, a patron who borrowed some of our Life-Size Candy Land pieces returned them and I had to put them back in their proper place in the basement. We will be needing these come January when we have Candy Land at another branch. Thankfully, it's not here this year. It gets crazy.

Ahhh, weeding.

Making a list and checking it twice, withdrawing the unloved and damaged.

Actually, I LOVE weeding through collections. It gives me a chance to view what is going and not going out on my shelves, which says a lot about the community I serve. It allows me to do some shelf-reading (making sure the books are in order so we can find them), tidying up, and finding areas to spend money on replacements. Plus, my-OCD-A-type-personality kicks in. It soothes me.

Weeding a collection also requires a lot more of an analysis per say. I have quite a few details to consider before withdrawing a book from my shelves. The most obvious ones are circulation and condition. Has the book left my shelf within two years? (For "J" books the shelf-life is around two to three years, but since I need the space I'm weeding aggressively and narrowing it to two years.) Is the book in decent shape or is it damaged in some way? If yes to both I'm pulling it.

However, if it's only damaged I have to look at the circulation and how long it's been with the library to see if I need to replace the book with a newer edition. Is it damaged because it's so well-loved? And if I'm pulling it because it hasn't circulated in two years, is it because the cover or topic is outdated? Can I/ Do I need to replace it with something else? Is it an award winner or honor and I have to keep it on my shelf?

Now I have to pay attention to all of the other books....the ones that aren't a definite "yes" to my obvious criteria. Are any of these books some-what damaged? Are they circulating but still look outdated? Are there more current versions of the classics? Take for instance the award-winning Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. I have two copies on the shelf, both are damaged enough I want to weed them; both have circulated this year. This is a classic and decently popular title. It has to stay on the shelf. So, I'm weeding the most damaged one, while leaving the other on the shelf until I can replace it with a recent edition. But then there are the series, the dreaded smaller populated series. What if all six books in the series have circulated this year, except two? Do I weed those books for space? Do any of the other library locations have this series in case a kid wants the one I weeded? And if a book is not on my shelf, is it because it's currently circulating, in the wrong place, or missing? Do I need to replace it? Why are there books on my shelf that aren't on my list? And, yes, the questions and considerations go on and on....but this isn't library school.

While it's sad to pitch the books (most will go into the library's book sale), I dislike giving children battered and outdated books, and look at all the space I'm making for our new book friends! :)

Speaking of sad, I came across a few titles that have never left the shelves. The one above was purchased in 2007 and has never been outside the library. :(

Into the book sale she goes, and hopefully to a good home.

I had about two hours for weeding, and managed to make it through A and B authors. I had a lot of kids coming in working on last minute school assignments since this Wednesday is their last day until the new year...a couple of grammar and animal questions, and a ton of biography inquiries.

7:30-8:00 p.m. I try, try to spend this last half hour cleaning up the children's department. This means I clear all the books off the tables (and try to re-shelve them if there's time), clean up the play area, do a final walk-through to make sure the shelves look books randomly stacked on an endcap, etc..., and sometimes I help at the circulation desk, you know, when it's five 'til and all the regulars can't believe they forgot we close at 8 p.m. and are rushing to check out. More often than not, I'm rushing to clean up my program mess and am flying through the department doing a rough once-over. Kind of like when you have company coming over and you throw everything in a closet, telling yourself you'll get to it later. My desk is my closet at the end of the night. My later is tomorrow morning.

That was my Monday in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed!

Starting with the "C" authors tomorrow.

With Love and God Bless,

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