In our library, the children’s space is, by far, the most used. Sure, we’ll get an adult wandering in to look at books every so often, and the one teen that lives in town often parks herself beside my desk to chat, but each day after school (and every day in the summer), our children’s area is hopping!
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I have been trying to write this blog post for weeks. The more time that goes by, the more guilt I feel. The powers that be at ALA are going to lose their patience with me, I tell myself. One post a month is not that huge of a commitment — just send it already! I frequently feel this crushing sense of guilt about a lot of things, particularly this year, and I don’t think I’m alone.
Toot, toot! Do you hear that? That’s the sound of me tooting my own horn. Not something I love to do, but I’m doing it anyway because … I wrote a book! It was not easy, and toward the end I never wanted to look at the manuscript again. But now that it’s here, I’m pretty excited about it and wanted to share it with you.
Welp. After writing a post just a few months ago about my anxiety surrounding re-opening, my library is now closed … for a second time. We closed in March, then opened again in mid-May, after the governor declared that libraries were among the first wave of places allowed to re-open.
All seemed fine at first: our toys were put away, the computers were appointment-only, and everyone was encouraged to grab their materials (after sanitizing) and then leave.
My library, like so many others, is not doing in-person programming this summer. We still wanted to do some kind of big summer activity, a la summer reading, but since many of our young patrons don’t have internet access at home, we didn’t want to make it a solely virtual program. So we decided on themed grab-and-go bags.
Let me start by saying that I am white. I am privileged beyond belief. I have never had to be afraid of being judged, dismissed or killed because of the color of my skin.
I feel too ignorant to speak on something as important as racism, and I want to stay in my lane. But I feel that for libraries to remain silent on what is going on in the world is to be complicit. That goes for tiny, rural libraries too.
What a strange time we are living in. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a bit lonely and disconnected. Working in a small-town library can be rather isolating in itself, but when you’re cut off from your community, it’s easy to feel rather irrelevant.
With everyone stuck at home, is there even a way for library staff to connect with people? The answer is yes! I rounded up some out-of-the-box ideas for reaching patrons via social media. plus a few offline ideas for those who don’t have an internet connection.
There are very few programs that guarantee great attendance, but animal programs are a safe bet for all age groups. Who wouldn’t want to snuggle with kittens, meet rescue dogs or learn about exotic animals? Here are a few of my tried-and-true ideas to incorporate some furry (or slimy, feathery or slithery) friends into your programs.