162. A Secondhand Compliment

Today, at the Neighborhood School Readiness Team meeting, the organizer passed on a compliment. She’d been working with a youth services manager at another Fairfax County Public Library and mentioned the Fairfax City group. This other librarian said about me that I’m a rock star! And that I do great things as a librarian!

This completely blew me away. I honestly had no idea anyone would ever talk about me that way! (Yes, it also made me think some people don’t know me very well.) But most of all — It was good to feel like my colleagues respect the work I do. (Very good!) And it was sweet of the facilitator to pass it on.

161. Diversity in the Library

At the Crazy 8s Math Club at the library today, we had ten kids. One kid was white. I didn’t ask to be sure, but I’m pretty sure we had kids of Asian, Arabic, Hispanic, and Indian descent as well. I heard one girl explaining that her parents were from two different countries, but I didn’t catch which one her father was from — the mother was from India. (The girl said this with a completely American accent.)

All the kids were happily playing together. I think a couple of the boys didn’t speak English real well yet, but they did know how to play with other kids.

It was just lovely to see.

148. Library Programs

I didn’t post about it at the time, but last week I did two new library programs, and they went great! And that just makes me happy. First, we did a Computer Deconstruction program — kids took apart computers and other electronics. We’d done this before — but under the auspices of TechShop. Except for the last time, when they didn’t show up as scheduled. So this time, we ran it ourselves. We collected the electronics and bought some tiny screwdrivers and went at it! The kids had a great time!

The next day, we did our first Breakout EDU program — We’d bought a set of locks and a box, and looked on their website for an escape room type program to do with them. We did “Attack of the Locks” with a Star Wars theme. We let in a lot of kids — and they had a great time.

And I was so happy to get to bring these great programs to the kids.

146. Capitol Choices

I know well that the group of people who are passionate about discussing new children’s books make up a tiny percentage of the population. I’ve found them in other book bloggers. I’ve found them in people who comment on the Heavy Medal mock-Newbery blog and other School Library Journal blogs. I’ve found them among other ALSC members.

But how lucky am I to live where I can meet and talk with such people in person! Capitol Choices is a DC-area based group that chooses 100 of the best children’s and young adult books of the year each year. We meet monthly to discuss the books. Participants are mostly librarians and other children’s book professionals. The discussion uses the same rules (mention strengths of the books first, then observations, then concerns) as ALSC committees.

It’s kind of wild to be around a roomful of like-minded people and get to talk about great books with people who know what they’re talking about and care as much as I do. Lovely!

142. Moving Juvenile Biographies

Hey, I’m a library geek!

When I came to this library, the adult and juvenile nonfiction was all shelved together. Now I have a branch manager and assistant branch manager who agree with me that it would be nice to separate them. There are so many beautiful children’s nonfiction books designed for browsing, not for reports!

Anyway, this week we finished moving the biographies. (We’re going to save the rest for after Christmas.) Already, we’ve seen kids and parents browsing the new section. I’m happy about this, and happy for the chance to do good work.

134. 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Spokesperson!

I’m on TV!

On Monday, I was holding a kick-off for the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten program, and our local station, Channel 16, wanted to do a feature, since it’s a new initiative for the library system.

I was nervous about it.  I was making up the program.  I thought I’d read a couple books, then sign the parents up while the others read to their kids or the kids played with toys.  But I wasn’t absolutely sure that was going to work.

On Sunday, I was reading in Champagne for the Soul, by Mike Mason, and I read the sentence, “What are you allowing to get between you and your joy?” I immediately thought how I was stressed out about the program the next day.

And then I thought, Why not just enjoy it?  Why should I be stressed?  I know it won’t go perfectly smoothly, and I know I will stumble over my words in spots or think of better things I could have said.  And I am truly excited about this program, encouraging parents to read with their kids.  So it’s not a stretch at all to enjoy it.

What I didn’t realize — I’d have a professional editor preparing the clip.  Yes, I stumbled over my words.  Yes, it took several times of them asking me questions.  But in the finished version, all that’s taken out, and it sounds like I know what I’m talking about!  Best of all, they did a great job filming the kids and parents in the program more than filming me.

I’m very happy with how this turned out, and so happy to be a spokesperson for such a great program!