What I’ve Been Up To

Not blogging, unfortunately! Despite my very good intentions to regularly post it’s been a challenge to keep it up. Rather than try wax poetic about pressing issues in the field of children’s librarianship I thought I’d take it easy and give an update on the things I’ve been working on.

But first, I must tell you a threw an Eras themed birthday party and it was magical. OG readers may remember this peanut from many years ago. He’s almost 11!

STEM Kits

Since last summer I’ve been working on a special project to have in-branch lendable STEM kits for a large public library system. I purchased all items, created documentation and procedures to support staff, and assisted in the roll-out phase. This project pushed me to think through a system-wide lens and gave me some project management experience. Do you lend STEM kits at your library? Please let me know what toys and games are a hit! We lend Ozobots, Cubetto, Code and Go Robot Mouse, Cody Blocks, Snap Circuits, Keva Planks, Picasso Tiles, foam dinosaur bones, Clixo, and light boards.

ASL-English Storytimes

My library re-started our bilingual ASL-English storytimes and I am working with a new Deaf storyteller to co-deliver the program. Learning new ASL rhythms, learning more about Deaf culture, and connecting with Deaf and HoH families is a part of my job I really love.

Pro Do Books

A few of my favourite authors have recent books that I am anxiously waiting to get a hold of. Ellen Galinsky, author of the 2010 book Mind in the Making, wrote a book about the adolescence called The Breakthrough Years. As someone with an almost 13-year-old this could not have come at a better time. Cal Newport, whose writing on deep work I have written about before, recently released Slow Productivity, a topic I really want to write more about as I continue to learn about slow librarianship.

Training Support

How does your library train new youth services staff? In the next few months I’ll be working on a project to create materials to support new information staff. Anyone have a robust training plan already in place they’d care to share? My inbox is always open.

What are you working on right now? What is giving you all the positive feels?

13 thoughts on “What I’ve Been Up To

  1. I love your idea of STEM kits. I have just begun to think about the possibility of creating a loaning system for for our Keva Planks and our Bee Bots. I use them both with our young patrons but have never circulated either item. Do you have books and activities to go with the kits?
    We do lend backpacks with different themes that have activities, books, and items that families can use on there adventure. We currently have a hiking, birding, night sky(in process), biking, and Geology (in process). The backpacks are very successful.

    1. I created 2-page guides to go with each kit that explains how to turn on the device (if needed) and how to get started. Some of the toys come with clear instructions you can laminate instead. We also have circulating STEAM Kits that include books and activity ideas. Because my project was focused on in-branch lending I tried to keep the amount of supplementals to a minimum because things get lost so easily. Those backpacks sound amazing! A nearby library to me offers vlogging kits and advanced drawing/calligraphy kits that I think would be a hit with tweens and teens. I’ve never heard of the Bee Bot but it looks similar to the Code and Go Robot Mouse. Thanks for the new discovery!

  2. You’ve been busy, Lindsey! Your STEAM kits sound very interesting! You say they are in-branch lending, does that mean patrons can’t take them home? How long is the loan if they can only use it in-branch? Do you RFID kits to prevent theft? I’ve had a couple of chunky wooden puzzles walk out of my branch recently. 🙁

    What I’m working on? Moving my branch to a temporary location! We’re closed during April to set up in the new space. It’s exciting and exhausting in equal measures.

    1. Yes, it means they can only play with it while they are in the branch. We didn’t put time limits on it and it’s worked out fine. Most families aren’t staying for hours and hours. They simply return it to the desk when finished. I did add RFID tags to the containers and to any piece large enough. Shockingly we’ve had no instances of theft! But also we were willing to accept this as a possibility and if it happens we will replace it as budget allows. Best of luck with the move! I had to do that a couple of years ago and it was so much work.

  3. So – is that Eras-themed birthday party going to be adapted into a middle years program template, please and thank you?? ;-D

    1. haha, I think someone else is already working on this! I do have a bingo game I bought on Etsy I can donate 🙂

  4. I had to laugh at the “waxing poetic about pressing issues in children’s librarianship”. I feel like I definitely do not wax poetic, but rather jump up on my soapbox and rant, LOL! I’d really like to do STEM kits, but I just do not have the time or the storage/shelf space. I have so many ideas, but not enough time or energy (or staff!) to bring them to fruition. It’s frustrating. As far as training, no library I’ve been at has really provided any on-boarding or real training; it was always sink or swim. In general, I don’t think libraries are very good at training.

    I am super stressed because I am behind on summer reading planning and preparation, but one bright spot has been the “Kid Librarian for a Day” program I recently started. It’s been getting a great response and good feedback from the participants and their families, the community, and the library community. I plan to write a blog post on it soon. It wasn’t my original idea, but I did things a little differently and made it my own; it’s still evolving, but it’s been a lot of fun. Another positive – my 3rd Annual Peeps Diorama contest had way more entries this year, more than the previous two combined, and so many good ones!

    1. I love your “rants”! Every time I read your posts I think about the thought and effort you put into writing them. It also take a certain amount of courage to share one’s opinions online and ‘learn out loud’ as I call it. I feel like I have barely thought about summer reading yet, partly because I’ve been working on other projects and partly because our schools don’t get out until June 27th. I can’t wait to read about the Kid Librarian program! It sounds kind of like the “Mini MLIS” program I read about years ago and always wanted to try. And a Peeps contest?! You have the coolest ideas!!

  5. Hi!! This might not be the right place for it, but I can’t figure out where else to post. It looks like there’s an issue with the links in your header menu. I can’t seem to get access to the normal Storytime page, and it seems like it’s affecting all of your pages.

    1. Hi Carly, thank you for the heads up! One of my plugins broke, but it should be working now. You can also email me at jbrary@gmail.com in the future.

  6. Hi Lindsey! I have also been considering what you are calling Slow Librarianship (love that! I am using that now), but I’m definitely still in the conceptual stage xD. I’ve put Slow Productivity on hold, are there other resources that you are using to explore this?

    1. Yes! For the library specific topic I recommend reading these two articles. Julia Glassman coined the term in 2017, and Meredith Farkas has also written about it. I highly recommend checking out the references at the end of each post. Adrienne Maree Brown’s book are great.
      https://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2017/the-innovation-fetish-and-slow-librarianship-what-librarians-can-learn-from-the-juicero/
      https://meredith.wolfwater.com/wordpress/2021/10/18/what-is-slow-librarianship/

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