Happy 1-Year Birthday to Jbrary!

It’s our 1-year birthday today!

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We are so grateful to every single person who has supported us and watched our little YouTube channel grow. To celebrate, we’d like to share some Jbrary highlights interspersed with children’s librarian themed “Hey Girl” memes featuring my nephew Blake because THAT’S HOW WE ROLL.

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Let’s start with a look at some statistics:

But those are just numbers.  What’s really made this year special is the people we’ve connected with.  Our community of practice.  The youth services librarians all across the world who we learn from every day and who inspire us to keep doing what we’re doing.

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So what did we get up to this past year? In addition to filming over 200 videos, we were also involved in some neat projects.  We participated in the CLEL Bell Awards blog tour by highlighting our favourite books to sing.  Thank you so much to Mel from Mel’s Desk for allowing us to promote this awesome resource that highlights picture books that provide excellent early literacy development support.  We also wrote a guest post for Pragmatic Mom featuring our Top 10 Multicultural Books to Sing.  If you couldn’t tell, we kind of like to share our love of music!

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In an effort to share all of the wonderful resources we find on our blogroll each season, we also started writing a quarterly column for the newsletter published by the Young Adult & Children’s Services section of the British Columbia Library Association. Our column in YAACING, “We’ll Link To That,” features all sorts of professional development goodies for youth services librarians. So far, we’ve written a column for Fall 2013, Winter 2013, and Spring 2014. We are super excited to keep giving shout outs to those who share their work online for us all to benefit.

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Lastly, we’ve made an effort to provide new, weekly content on our blog.  From storytime plans to evaluating our babytimes to reflecting on what it means to be an On Call Librarian, we spent the last year talking about things that advocate for our field.  Our most popular post is our Superheroes Preschool Storytime, followed closely by Song to Get the Wiggles Out.  We’re also very proud to have participated twice in Flannel Friday, first with our Jamberry felt song and then with the catchy Pyjama Party song our co-worker Miranda taught us.

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 So where are we off to next?  For starters, we plan to begin our second year as Team Jbrary  by presenting a Guerrilla Storytime at the 2014 BCLA Conference on April 1st.  Then in June we’ll be heading to Las Vegas for our first ever ALA Annual Conference! We are so excited to meet all of our online friends in real life and hope to meet many new faces as well.

What a year, what a year, what a year, what a mighty good year!

Goodbye, Friends: The Life and Times of an On-Call Librarian

Lindsey and I work as on-call librarians in a large urban library system.  The nature of being an on-call librarian here is impermanence and change. Constant change. We started by filling scheduling holes across 22 branches either on the fly or landing a set of shifts. We have both been fortunate to take on larger stints at various branches, allowing us to catch our breath and even get to know some of our storytimers. While we cherish and appreciate these opportunities, we have both done a fair amount of goodbying lately, enough to get me thinking about all this moving on and how to do it with grace.

While I’ve sung Goodbye Friends a bazillion times, it’s never felt quite the same way as it did last week when I said goodbye to my preschool storytime crowd. Come April, I will be swapping Friday programs with another librarian in my neighbourhood and will be doing back to back Babytimes instead. But gosh darn it, I’m going to miss all those little Preschool sized faces, and the way they make me feel funny, brilliant and important all at the same time. As I prepared to say goodbye to this group I wrestled with some pretty prickly feelings which are difficult to own up to, but for the sake of this post here goes: I wanted the children to create small signs and protest until I returned; I wanted parents to whisper about how they hadn’t known what a storytime could be until I’d come along. In short, my ego made a horrible self-celebratory flannel story while my rational self slept. How embarrassing to wake up to this mess and not have the elves to blame.

I think we can all relate to the fact that while we might not be making the big bucks, we deal in the currency of giggles and singing-as-they-leave-tots, aka Golden Moments. Golden Moments would not exist if we did not open ourselves up to real relationships with our patrons young and old; these are often what keep us going. But, as an on-call librarian I have clearly struggled to balance my hunger for Golden Moments with what would realistically best serve my community. So I have arrived at this post full of angst and questions, lots of questions! How do you juggle wanting to deliver shiny short lived programs while ensuring families are connecting to your library’s services and programs in a long term way, a way  that means they will be coming through the doors long after you’re gone? Continue reading “Goodbye, Friends: The Life and Times of an On-Call Librarian”

Superhero Academy: Spring Break Program at the Library

For the past few weeks I’ve been in spring break planning mode.  Now the funny thing about this program is that I won’t actually be the one carrying it out.  I’m moving to a new branch this week, but I knew I wanted to leave the incoming librarian with an awesome program to start her off.  I’m a little sad I won’t get to see the kids’ faces as they complete their superhero training, but the upside is I have an amazing program I can pull out in the future.

I got my inspiration and activities from the many other people who’ve held a superhero program and blogged about it.  Here’s a list of resources I consulted:

So here’s what I decided on!  When kids first arrive, they will be given an OFFICIAL SUPERHERO CHECKLIST that they have to complete in order to get their OFFICIAL SUPERHERO CERTIFICATE. The five tasks they have to complete are:

1. Make a superhero mask or cuffs (or both!)


I got the template for the superhero masks from Sunflower Storytime.  For the cuffs, I collected a bunch of paper towel and toilet paper rolls and cut them down to kid-size. The plan is to have markers, crayons, and stickers out that the kids can use to decorate.  Then all you need is a hole punch and some ribbon to finish them off.

2. Bean Bag Attack


I collected empty tissue boxes, soda bottles, and an empty jug of laundry detergent (ask your co-workers – they will come through for you!), and then I decorated them with pictures of super villains.  I hope these aren’t too scary! You can stack them in any formation you like, then give kids bean bags (or squishy balls) and have them knock them down.  I anticipate this station being one of the most fun.

Continue reading “Superhero Academy: Spring Break Program at the Library”

We’ll Link to That: Spring 2014

Well we promised not to tarry with the next instalment of the column we write for YAACING, which is published by the Young Adult and Children’s Services (YAACS) arm of the British Columbia Library Association and here we are delivering! If you’d like to catch up on our last two columns you can find them here:

Awesome People Doing Awesome Things

Our Storytimers of the Season come to us this time from just south of the border in Olympia, Washington. Sara and Emily are the Fairy Twins behind Fairy Twins Book Time, a blog we recently discovered. They’ve got it all: cool storytime ideas and outlines, displays and program ideas for older kids. After reading their origin story plus checking out their Hair Storytime we have no doubt that these two are pure magic.

We noticed a funny thing as we hunted and gathered links this time around, it seemed as if Readers’ Advisory and Technology Advisory were dominating the headlines. We went with it. First up Ingrid, who is known as The Magpie Librarian has written a great piece explaining the process of selection for the Rainbow List which is put together by the GLBT Roundtable of the ALA. Her piece is packed with RA tidbits, reflections on the importance of the Rainbow List and a call out to authors and publishers to keep repping the underrepresented. Angie Manfredi wrote a great post on the ALSC blog which is a nod to the big four Youth Media Awards and an enthusiastic pointing to three other kidlit awards which youth services librarians should pay attention to. Check out the American Indian Library Association’s American Indian Youth Literature Awards, the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association’s Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the Amelia Bloomer List which is created by the Feminist Task Force of the Social Responsibilities Round Table of the American Library Association.

Continue reading “We’ll Link to That: Spring 2014”