NYLA conference

October 31st, 2007 by cathy

My mind was just reeling after the NYLA conference. It was almost too much to take in. At first, I wasn’t so sure if I was taking any of it in, although now I think I may have just been in information overload. That, and driving overload (600 miles in four days. Egads!)

Thursday I went to a special day long continuing ed program called “Get with the YA Program“. It was a real eye opener… mostly because if I had a population of a quarter of a million and staff dedicated to helping me specifically and oodles of money, I could do so much more. As it is, I serve a population of 15,000, have a total staff of about 12, and a programming budget that is shameful. Kevin King, from the Kalamazoo Public Library came to talk to us about the four s’s: Support, Staff, Space, and a Stash of cash. The presentation gave me a lot to think about. I realize that I need to work on my time management and organization skills. When this is accomplished, I need to write a couple of grants that give me lots of money so that the teens and I can create zines to distribute throughout town. We’d need lots of cash for a digital camera, scanner, laptop, collating printer/copier and lots and lots of paper…. actually the zine idea came from Zahra Baird, who works at the Chappaqua Public Library. I also realized that I need to take a more active step in working with the schools and in the community. I need to work with social groups and people in power to get what I want. Kevin explained that one of the more important things about being a librarian is to be able to communicate well with others, to work well in a group and to be a good listener. He talked about how teens brains are literally made up differently than the adult brain. They think and act differently, because that’s the way their brain works. Luckily, I think I still have a little of that teen brain left so that I can talk to them pretty easily.
Kevin gave me lots of ideas for programming… now I just have to get going on them! One of the easiest things, I thought, would be to start programs for “tweens”. I’ve found that people all define tween very differently. One program I went to determined that tweens are kids in 3 – 5 grade. I thought, “ah-roo?” Umm, I don’t think so.

According to a Business Week article:

A tween is vaguely defined as a prepubescent between the ages of 8 to 14, 9 to 12, or 8 to 12, depending on whom you believe. (Some industries, such as the wireless sector, categorize the age as an unbelievable 6 to 12 years old, prompting one to ponder, “in between” what?) Regardless of the exact age definition, most agree that the breaking point of a “child” becoming a “tween” is by the American fifth grade (approximately ten years old), when he/she rejects more childlike images and associations and aspires to be more like a teen.

I would like to think of tweens as people in (5th?) 6th grade to 8th grade. I know that 8th graders would like to think that they are teens, but middle schoolers and high schoolers are SO different, maturity wise.

I think the idea that a SIX YEAR OLD is a tween is ridiculous. However, if you take a look at some of those Halloween costume ads, maybe it isn’t (I’m being sarcastic, BTW.)  Some of these costumes try and tart up little kids. Its disgusting. Why can’t we let little kids be little kids? Why can’t they just have fun doing little kids things?

Anyway. I would like to start doing some “tween only” programs, similar in style to what I do for the kids and teens. Once a week, all month long, I’d do a program for tweens only. I thought I could call it “Tweensdays”. Goofy, I know. So sue me… no don’t. I have to save up for my girls-only cruise (WOO HOO!) in January.

Welp. Its after midnight and I’m tired. I have so much more on my mind that I want to tell you!

A couple highlights:

  • YSS wanting to recruit me for committee work, and a local librarian trying to push me into their clutches :0
  • Even more NYLA fun… such as winning a set of diseases!
  • Calling the police on the teens because they are out of control, scare the kids and adults (and even some of the other teens) and having them swear at me so that I have to go all alpha dog on them. And belief me, I can if I need to. I know ghetto neck and I’m not afraid to use it.
  • Grants grants grants. I have so many ideas for grants my head may explode.
  • Jack mishaps in Wegmans. Blood, screaming and a mommy trying to stay calm and she looks frantically for daddy.
  • DDR madness at the Kyle household and CALVES OF STEEL!

I think that’s it for now. I will try and cover all of these topics (and more) in the next couple of days. I can’t believe that so much has been going on! Eek!

3 Responses to “NYLA conference”

  1. adrienne Says:

    Oh, no! Poor Jack! I trust he’s okay? What will he be for Halloween this year? How about you???

    The term “tween” seems to mean kind of two different things, depending on who you’re talking to. I definitely think that we need to think of the 3rd-5th or 6th grade crowd differently than we’re thinking of younger kids and older kids, but it’s hard to know what to call them. I think they call themselves “kids,” but that isn’t much of a distinguisher.

    It always takes a while for things I hear about and learn at conferences to actually sink it. It’s always so overwhelming–all the new ideas and people and things. It always gives me new energy, though, to tackle my stuff back at home. 🙂

  2. Pat Says:

    Wow, it was contagious. I called the cops this week too. Totally outrageous in here on Monday afternoon. The whole loud, disrespectful disruptive unruly scenario. About 40 of them and 1 of me. Glad to know I wasn’t alone. How did your Halloween program go? I had absolutely no one show up for spooky stories here. Have a great weekend.

  3. cathy Says:

    Adrienne – Jack is okay, although his lip really bothers him and he’ll start crying out of the blue or if he’s eating something and it hits his lip. Poor little guy. 🙁

    I do try and hit programming for each age group. Story Times for the five and under crowd, Thursday programs for the fifth grade and under crowd, Tuesday programs for the teens. Now I just need to come up with programs for the 6 – 8 graders… especially since my high schoolers don’t like it when the middle schoolers come to the teen programs.

    Pat – I’m going to post about it, but I ended up getting into one of the teens faces and telling him he needed to leave. Its always scary, but it needs to be done. After he was gone, everything has been a lot better. All of the same kids (except him) and now things are much more comfortable.

    No one came to my program either. I do have some cool pictures of a fire one of the pages made for me. We put an electric candle in the center and it looked great. Unfortunately, there was no one but me to appreciate it.

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