Friday, January 31, 2014

A Day in the Life . . .

Friday at the Library

. . .a day in the life of a children's reference librarian

I'm taking a blog page from the The Show Me Librarian and Abby the Librarian and giving you a look at what my day looks like.

It's small, but there's a little fake

fire going on in there.

8:45 a.m. As I arrive at work, I pick up the CLAU display books that are on the Check In shelves for putting back on display. We have a gigantic Children's Wing, and so I walk through and turn everything on. Our patron access computers are on a timer, so no need to turn anything on but the lights in the Storywing, the Monster University Librarian, and the Fire in our display case.

9:00 a.m. The library opens to the public.

We only have today and tomorrow before the library closes for some building maintenance all next week. The first time we have ever done something like this. We have great plans! I want to post Facebook updates, but that might be reserved for our Outreach Department.

Children's Wing--view from the stained glass to the front.

I spend the next few hours at the main floor Children's desk alternately handing out puppet kits to a rotating collection of young families that mistakenly thought we had storytime on Fridays, but instead find themselves with free access to puppets and an awesome puppet stage. We plan on moving themed sets of puppets out of our office and into the big boxed cubbies on either side of our kid-friendly puppet stage. Basically we're being brave. We suspect the entire Ship's Cove area will soon be a toy free-for-all. Although, thinking about it . . . Laptime area + free access to puppets . . .hmmm maybe we should rethink how to do this.

It's a quiet morning to start. The weather called for snow, so I think people are staying home and watching the skies.

In between patrons, I am hammering out my personal 'closed for maintenance' schedule, along with the list of things I would love to accomplish:

-Mend the Ship Characters (and re-decorate the ship itself)

-Glue the Dinosaur/s together so we stop losing bones.

-Attempt to clean our ancient (Teddy Ruxpin-era) Mother Goose. She is VERY dusty.

-Scout out and make some new Flannel Stories -- having FUN on Mel's Desk and other sites gathering ideas. I also have 3 felt stories that need mending.

-Turn the box of Monsters University stuffies into puppets, for use with the puppet stage.

-Plan out a scenario of photos and video for the grand moving of the Monsters University Librarian we received as a gift at Christmas. We are housing her permanently upstairs on the Junior Mezzanine.

My monkey is MUCH larger,

but this little guy is way too cute!

-Turn a white monkey puppet I have into an albino sloth puppet--I HAVE to use A Little Book of Sloth by Cooke for a storytime soon!

-Plan out my portion of a Training for Storytellers that Children's will be presenting to the rest of the staff next week. We are gearing down--as in age level--trying to really present age perfect Laptimes and Storytimes.

-As part of the above, I am finalizing a write up on our Fall Storyteller Training where Kids on the Move expert, Jessica, talked to us about telling to our youngest of patrons. Blog post coming soon on that.

I also periodically pick up the abandoned board books and a whole stack of ABC and 123 books left on the tables in the Ships Cove. It's also a time to catch up on email--yeah, I find out that co-worker Mindy has just been promoted to being the head of Mending and Processing. We'll miss her on the General Reference desk, but it's a good move, with benefits.

Unfortunately we are having a lot of trouble with our one self-check machine here in Childrens. I've had to start it up about 5 times now. Grrrr. We think we are losing the video card, and as it is a part of the motherboard in this machine, it's bad news.

1:15 p.m. I move to the Mezzanine Children's desk. I love it up here. I get to talk Junior Fiction and Non-fiction.

I have a wonderful elderly patron looking for bird books for an eight year old. She also asks if we have Boys Life. We do. I walk her to the areas. Over the next 2 hours I assist with Ninjago books, biographies on Hitler, put a missing National Geo World Atlas on trace, place a hold on Lincoln's Grave Robbers, and assist a Laptime teller gather ideas and supplies for her Sandra Boynton Moo, Baa, La La La inspired telling coming up in a few weeks.

I have a patron (that I don't recognize, but must be a regular) come in and anxiously ask me how my book is coming along. I am stressed beyond belief over it, but I can't allow myself to do more than provide quick little answers as I am at work work, and is my at home work. I feel guilty when the two mix.

I'm supposed to leave at 3:15 for lunch, but I get an emergency call for a patron that will be swinging by in a hurry and is in desperate need for books on losing a pet for her child. I rush over to the Gen Ref for a book that looks good, as well as pull some JNF and get the other librarian downstairs to start pulling picture books on the topic.

3:30 p.m. Now I get to go to lunch -- while on my lunch, a regular patron stops me to ask what I would suggest for him to start telling storytimes to 4 year olds. I take a few minutes to suggest the perfect way to incorporate his puppet monkey by singing familiar (very young) fingerplays and songs, but to have the monkey get the lyrics wrong! Let the kids correct the monkey -- what do you think? Very fun!

4:15 p.m. I'm baaaack. Down at the main desk for an hour. I spend some time discussing the upcoming Caldecott and Newbery announcements with the departing co-worker (we never can leave on time!), anyway, we look over Besty Bird's picks on the

Also, I get to help a preschool teacher find new books to teach shapes, we get It Looked Like Spilt Milk, Mouse Shapes, as well as Ehlert, Emberley, and Hoban books. I find a damaged Go Away Big Green Monster (change it's status), help a child find Frog and Toad, and refill all the front displays. It's too busy to do any clean up.

5:15 p.m. Upstairs to the Junior Mezz again. This time I take time to quickly scan and then print out the Fuse 8 top 100 lists of all time (Novel and Picture). While the printer throws a bit of a fit, I'm out in the stacks with two sisters who want princess and magic books. Much is checked out and they are VERY well read. It's a challenge to find something new. I don't find much in the princess end, but they do leave with Law's Savvy, Taylor's Blackbringer, Penelope Crumb, Peter and the Starcatchers, City of Ember, among others and placing 2 holds before dad came back up from Media.

Oh, and I can't forget the family that I sent to the Teen collection (other wing, downstairs) to get Hollow Kingdom by Dunkle and Leviathan by Westerfeld, all our Jr. copies are checked out--my bad. I might mention that I LOVE booktalking in the stacks. I'm always a bit (more than a bit) hyper and excited, and I talk a mile a minute--unless I am pausing for dramatic effect--while out in the stacks. I'm sure you couldn't guess that I can be a bit talkative, could ya ;)

I sometimes wonder if I wasn't so enthusiastic over the books and doing cliff-hanger style booktalks, would it not be as busy here? I seem to be constantly running, even when we are slow for patrons. I have to say I do like when I can give patrons as much time as they want. Of course I have to temper it a little--I feel terrible when I find my patrons that left with an arm-breaking stack (our limit is 99) of books, ended up with large fines later on from overdues or lost books.

I get some more biography questions, it's that time of year--MLK day, President's Day--yes, biography heavy months.

Oops, gotta run, I hear a patron over in the stacks telling her son that the books they wanted are checked out--intervention time. There are many more books in this sea!

You know, this job fits me so very well. I'm a tad ADHD--I suspect, never diagnosed--and the opportunity to hop up at any given moment from my task at hand in order to help patrons, along with the constant change in topics of reference . . . well, it suits me nicely. I might mention that I was a slow starter in school, as reading and I didn't really click until Jr. High, but once my reading ability (yes, I was dyslexic too) matched my thinking ability, it was no holds barred. Yet another reason I love booktalking, I get to convince non-readers that there really is a book out there for them, they just needed someone to show it to them.

7:30 p.m. Yep, I'm still here. I have a 11.5 hour shift on Fridays--aren't you lucky? Or not. I'm back downstairs on the main floor--did I mention that's where we have Picture, Beginning, Intermediate, ABC, 123, Board Books, Read-Alongs, and 398's? It's a much larger floor than the mezzanine. It's also amazingly beautiful, the stained glass window is all black from the inside after dark, but as the sun sets--you've gotta see it to believe it.

I think I could use a break about now, but staffing is always an issue anymore, I'll have to abandon the desk for a tick.

. . . that was interesting, I've never had a full-grown man (kids, yes) mistake the women's restroom, well, at least whilst occupied. I also wonder how many guys don't shut the stall door--'nuff said, I think I'll stop now.

We are busy with a lot of browsers. I walk the floor and offer reference assistance, like the grandparents that are in to pick up cute baby books for a sick child. Another that needs the closed stack Where do we Come From book. There is a cute family gathered around the puppet stage in rocking chairs, as if it were a fireplace. The mom is happily snapping i-phone pix of the show being played by her children.

I have taken the opportunity (the cd player is down here) to put on Boynton's Frog Trouble, just nice and softly. Hmmm, I think Blue Moo is still my hands down favorite.

I get to send a 6th grader upstairs with a list of recommended titles to check out.

Wonder how much longer I can stand the cd, I like it better than Dog Train, but this slow music--at this time of evening--not fitting my energy needs at all. Okay, just in time, Broken Piano is picking up the pace. Still no comparison to Fifteen Animals, among others.

Yes, we sell awesome t-shirts too!

I love my job! Not just being around books and children, but being here at this specific library, in the Children's wing. It's seriously the best! There is never a day I don't see amazing, wonderful, dedicated families with their going-to-be-if-not-already super smart kids, just for the fact that they are committed to giving their children everything the community has to offer.

South side of the Fireplace

North side of the Fireplace

Just got to spend a few minutes with an awesome family, I was able to do a mini personal tour of the stained glass window--just wish it could have been in the light of day--of course, now they have to come back to see it in it's full glory.

Love, love being able to do this kind of instant tour, if you are ever in, ask!

Speaking of being asked, I got asked about my book again, twice. I hate feeling like I have to brush people off with short answers, but the library work vs. personal work is ever present in my head. I guess I shouldn't stress too much, this library was the incubator for the puppetry book, and it is all due to my uber-talented co-worker Mark and his puppets that I even have the idea, and have the skills he taught me.

It's getting close, time for clean-up and fill-up. I change display book status to IDCP (In, Display, Children's Picture), push in all the chairs, pick up books, fill the displays. Darn, missed my recommendation shelf--that's okay, I'm back to open in the morning.

8:45 p.m. Yikes, time to start the closing cd (we don't have a sound system) 15 minutes, 10, 5 minutes, and closed, and cue music . . . 'moment when the garage doors down, coil the air hose tight, fill the sugars, mop the floor, leave a light on, leave on a light . . . closing time, closing time, closing for the evening, see ya when you stop this way again . . . yeh, I know, kind of an interesting song for a library, but I'm tellin' ya, it's been played most every night for going on all 18 years plus years I've been here.

9:05 p.m. And as the music continues--loudly-- I turn off the Storywing lights, the Monster Librarian, the Fire in the display case, the printer, the computer screens (darn self-check, it's frozen again), and on the way out, the acorn lights.

9:15 p.m. Night all!

He's so going to be a hit when I make him! I can't wait to have the kids act out sloth fights (over huggable stuffies)--wherein the winner is the one to stay awake the longest!
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