So this consistent blogging this is harder than it looks. I’ve started no fewer than 10 posts since my last one. And I’ve rejected every one. Too long! Too boring! Too disjointed! Too out of date! Too manager-y! Too preachy!
I decided the best course of action was to just DO IT.
Here’s what’s been going on:
1. I had the opportunity to attend a storytime training provided by the amazing staff at the Kent District Library. They organized it around the 5 ECRR practices. I now know how to properly read “Moo!” by David LaRochelle! I’m changing the way we count in storytime from index finger first to thumb first because thumb first strengthens those first three fingers better and those are the one’s we need to be strong in order to write! I’m feeling a lot more confident about dipping my toe into the world of storytelling! If you’re not familiar with the Play-Grow-Read! portion of KDL’s website, check it out. It’s a goldmine of early literacy activities and tips.
2. I’m now obsessed with Vivian Gussin Paley and the prospect of running a Little Authors program thanks to this superfantastical post by Cate. At the end of toddler storytime, we always have play time and I use this as an opportunity to get those kids telling me stories. This past week I had one little girl playing with a truck that got a flat tire. “Oh no! Can we fix it?” A second girl whispered to me, “Miss Erin! Miss Erin! I have a little tiger who lives in my pocket and his name is Tiger Sausage and he’s magic! He can help!” I love the idea of sitting down with them and actually writing out their words and then sharing the stories with everyone. I’m concerned about logistics: too many kids who want to participate, the timing, wanting to include a session for K-1st graders, but I’m going to make this happen. Narrative skills are too important not to.
3. We’ve delved into the world of passive programming for school aged kids and our first week was a HUGE success. We’ve got a Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle theme going on with a display highlighting not only TMNT books, but also books about ninjas, toxic waste (it’s a stretch, I know, but we went there!), turtles, and Renaissance painters. Our first week we did a design your own pizza passive activity. I found a blank pizza coloring page and had them color it with crayons. I also asked that they write down their ingredients. (Avocado was a surprisingly popular topping!) They turned them in at the desk and got a scratch and sniff pepperoni bookmark. This week they’re testing their ninja skills by transferring pompoms from one container to another with chopsticks, stacking cups into a tower and finding the hidden-not-so-hidden TMNT around the department. We had about 130 kids participate in the first week and this week they’re entered into a drawing for some TMNT swag so I expect it will also be popular. The last week we’re asking them to create their own mutant animal. I think I might have gone a little overboard with changing it out so much. Next month is Star Wars and I’m scaling WAY back.
4. I stumbled upon a twitter conversation yesterday about the Chattanooga Public Library audit thanks to Anne who posted a quote from this article. Dang. DANG. Chattanooga has an great reputation for providing innovative services. Corrine Hill, their director, was also named LJ’s Librarian of the Year in 2014. I didn’t participate in the conversation on twitter, but I followed along and have been pondering it ever since. I frequently get tunnel vision when it comes to my department, but I need to remember to be invested in the library as a whole. If I have a concern about something that I believe is ethically questionable, it is my responsibility to bring it to the attention of the powers that be. As a taxpayer supported institution, it is critical we are transparent and held accountable for mistakes. I really do think Anne said it best: “Truthfully, this profession needs hardworking, honest people. Brilliant and progressive are secondary.”
Amen to that.