Archive for October, 2007

NYLA conference

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

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!


Thursday, October 18th, 2007

You wouldn’t believe this, smelling my kitchen sometimes and considering where I work (libraries can be notoriously stinky) , but I’m addicted to smell. About a week ago, my friend Adrienne went to Chicago for a blog conference. When she got back, she brought me some soap. It smelled great, but I didn’t realize HOW great until I got back home and used it for the first time. The whole room smells great now! She got the soap from Lush. What a great friend she is… now I need to go to Chicago!

Drowning my sorrows in strawberry rice krispies treats

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

I’m glad that I decided to buy the Rice Krispies and strawberry marshmallows this past time I went grocery shopping. They were delicious!

I’ve had the worst turnout for my story times. In fact my best story time turnout was 14, which included parents, and someone else had actually done it for me, because I had to work at the first tech camp in my library system. Just so you know what a tech camp might entail, I talked about DDR and Guitar Hero and encouraged libraries to make it a part of their own libraries. Anyway, I’ve had terrible time trying to get people to go to my story times. Then to make matters worse, I read this article.

Okay, so maybe Webster is “a little bit” bigger than Hilton (2000 census – Webster 37,926 Parma 14,822). But still! Then of course, I could decide not to have story time next spring. But what would happen then? People would complain, just like they complain that I don’t have story time all year round. Ugh. I love doing story time, even if there are only two adorable little kids that I read to, but its sometimes distressing with all the preparation I have to put into each story time session I do.

Then I made the mistake of trying to do an educational program for Columbus Day. I called it “Discovering Dewey Decimal”. I had three kids, all in one family. My one homeschooling family that comes to all my programs. I was quite proud of the program I had put together; a tour of the library, with me asking questions the whole time. Then I had the kids go through a bunch of Jack’s clothes, toys, books and food and organize them into categories and sub categories. I think the kids really enjoyed this, and it made it easier for them to understand how dewey decimal is organized. After that I had them do a dewey decimal treasure hunt. I guess all that was important was that the people that were there had a good time.

If you look at the D&C’s website, Hilton has been getting quite a bit of publicity. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all good. The town and village are fighting over where the library should be. Many residents want to keep it in the village. Everyone has a position and they’re all being very loud about it. Personally, I don’t care where it is, I just want there to be more space so I don’t have to continually shift books, so that I can have more programming, so that the teens have their own space with their own computers that they can feel more comfortable and adults don’t yell at me about the “hooligans”. Part of the reason people want the library in the village is so that the students can walk right to the library after school, however once they get to the library people complain because they are in the library and taking over the computers and being noisy. Recently, due to all the newspaper press, people have been coming up to me daily to tell me that we better not move out of the village. I’d love not to move out of the village, but someone better give us space to build a nice cozy (but big) library. Parma keeps growing, even if some people would rather not admit it. We need to have a library that is big enough to provide the services that a larger community expects.

Another fun topic. A patron complained that we did not monitor what movies kids/teens take out, because we should not allow them to take out PG-13 or R rated movies. Now we have forms parents have to fill out before kids/teens take out movies and we put stickers on their cards to show what rating they can take out. But that’s not good enough. According to a certain member of the community, the murders in Rochester are comparable to the atrocities going on in the public library… the filth and violence we allow people to check out is deplorable… I guess we shouldn’t have the Passion of the Christ, Schindler’s List, or Saving Private Ryan. Those are all R rated movies. Shame shame on us. I’m a mother first and then a librarian, and I am OUTRAGED that they would compare us to the atrocities going on recently. I do not encourage kids to check out these kind of films. In fact, should you look at our kids collection, we have every single Elmo, Dora and Veggie Tale movie in existence. However, I have ONE child. Not 5,000. I am not going to monitor what everyone else’s child is taking out. Not only is that not my job, its also illegal. There is this thing called Intellectual Freedom. I think its important to let parents do their job. They need to take responsibility for their children’s well being. This is not to say that I don’t care what happens to these kids. If someone was trying to rape a kid, I would do what I could to stop it. However I don’t think its my place to tell kids what they can/can’t check out. I’d be pissed off if someone told my kid they couldn’t check something out. That’s why I went through the hours of labor. So when he gets home with it, I could yell at him and tell him he’s grounded. Also parents all have different limits for their kids. Some parents are okay with sex but not violence. Some are okay with swearing but not sex. Some are okay with the horror movies but realistic violence. Some don’t want their kids watching any of it. What are we supposed to do? Get rid of the DVDs? But what about the huge percentage of people that come to the library just to get movies? What are we saying to them?

I am sure that there is going to be LOTS of arguments and bloodshed over the next few months over these two topics, and the library will not go anywhere, and the boss lady will stress out more and more until they push her over the deep end. I don’t want to see that… wait maybe I’ll video tape it and put it on youtube. 🙂

Irondequoit may have it even worse though. Poor things. Our prayers go out to you… wait I shouldn’t pray should I? I’m evil and corrupt and the spawn of satan, or something like that.

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