How Do You Manage THAT?!?! Part Deux

Pixabay image
It's almost class time again!

The four week CE class exploring issues in youth management (personnel, advocacy, difficult patrons and partners) that I'm teaching offered by UW-Madison SLIS starts on Monday Jan 30. This crowd-sourced problem-solving adventure helps you navigate some of the stickier wickets you encounter in running a youth department.

Just a heads up - there is a 10% registration discount if you register by Monday January 16.

This version of the course covers different material from part one - and you don't need to have taken that before heading into part deux.

Hope to see you there!


I Learn Every Day

I've always felt that if I don't learn one new thing every day, it's a wasted day. As I've grown older, I would have to up that learning paradigm to 10 or more new things daily. In the last year, the last few months and weeks, the learning has accelerated even faster.

Learning isn't always joyous. It can also be painful and difficult. But I believe it is a lifelong process and commitment. It is in the smallest of details, the largest of grand schemes and, most importantly, in the everyday work and personal lives of everyone I meet, everyone I read, everyone I hold dear and every stranger who is unknown but knowable.

I have had many opportunities to learn this year - from students in my classes; from librarians on the front line in the small libraries in the system that I serve as youth consultant in; from proteges, peers and mentors in the library field; from those who are struggling - and fighting - to make sense of gross injustice and insensitivity based on their gender, color, beliefs and identity. Learning inevitably leads to action and to constant changes and growth in my world view.

While I teach, mentor and share, I also listen, read and learn from so many others. I will always be a learner and a seeker.

As I reflect on this learning, I also want to express my gratitude for those who teach me. You make me better. Thank you.


Power Up Youth Leadership Conference - Let's Go

Registration has opened for the first ever national youth library leadership conference for youth staff and managers: Power Up: A Conference on Leadership for Youth Services Managers and Staff.

Scheduled for March 30-31, 2017 and sponsored by UW-Madison SLIS Continuing Education Dept, the conference brings together speakers from throughout the country to address aspects of leadership and management for youth librarians at all stages of their careers.

You don't have to have the word "manager" or "supervisor" in your job title to benefit. Anyone who runs or works in a children's or teen area will get a ton of information and networking opportunities at this conference.

The conference kicks off with Gretchen Caserotti's keynote and concludes with an address by Deborah Taylor. Also featured is a reception and tour at the Cooperative Children's Book Center, a short 15 minute walk from the conference center.

Seventeen sessions packed with information from multiple perspectives and voices include: Reflective Leadership
Considering How Managing Your Collections Affects People
Determining if Management is for You
Benefits of Finding Your Programming Style
Developing Leadership Through Book Discussion
Leading a Multigenerational Team to Success
Channeling Passion into Leadership
Unconventional Outreach; Discovering Your Power
Addressing the Need for Confrontation
Leadership for Unofficial Leaders
Reaching Underserved at Small Libraries
Start Anywhere on Your Leadership Path
Managing Media Mentors

If you are a Wisconsin library staffer, ten scholarship s are available for registration.

It looks like a great conference and I hope to see and meet lots of colleagues there!


If You Build It, They Will Come

Today I was in beautiful Madison WI making mischief around the concept of strategizing effective change and building balance in youth programming. And it wouldn't be November in Wisconsin without a look at the summer ahead and quenching the "hair-on-fire" fear we sometimes feel before we realize there are ways to make summer funner!

Below are links to information cited in the presentation.

Happy reading!

Summer Learning
Get Ready for Endless Summer Reading.
Libraries at the Center of Summer Learning Toolkit

Easing the Stress
Summer Library R/Evolution Pinterest Board - links to many articles and posts that help us re-think how we support kids during the summer.
It's the End (and I Don't Want to Die)
Counting Kids
Going Weekly -Prizeless
Unprogramming webinar and resources

Samples of Summer Learning SLP logs
Weekly cards with experiential choices
Passports to adventure
Summer Reading Booklets
Bingo Cards

Building a Better World Program Ideas
Kids Give Back at Portage Public Library
Food Donations, Adopt an Animal, Charity Challenges
Pinterest Board on Build a Better World Program Ideas - Sharon Goforth
Pinterest Board on Build a Better World - Loch-Wouters

Slide Deck

After our workshop, I hope everyone felt that we got here:


Taming the Youth Management Dragon

How many times do you say, “They didn’t teach me this in school!” as you navigate some portion of your day as a youth librarian and/or manager?  There are so many conversations to be had that we are digging in to re-offer our online CE course How Did You Manage THAT?!?! - the Sequel running January 30 - February 24, 2017

Whether you were in our first class this fall or not, join us to take this hands-on, hearts-out course on youth management issues. We’ll explore the delicate dance of navigating personnel issues (library staff, patrons and partners) as well as discover tips to more effectively balance, advocate for and marshall resources to make smart management decisions. The course will be collaborative as you share your own experiences and ideas that have worked in managing your youth services area.

Registration is now open for this course as well as other amazing courses for youth services librarians through the UW-Madison SLIS CE office. And you get a 10% discount if you register by January 16, so don't delay! Hope to see you next year!



Pixabay Image
Tonight I am humbled and so grateful I can hardly find a place for all the feelings.

I am at our annual state library conference. I had the honor of working with all our youth services conference presenters to bring fifteen programs to our members. These programs were extraordinary -  Amy Koester came up for IL to share her thoughts on leadership and involving families. Wisconsin youth librarians shared their expertise on play groups, tangly issues on collection development, shared TABS, service to teen moms, teen college and career planning, service on award committees, transformative partnerships, new SLP paradigms, youth art galleries in libraries and so much more.

We celebrated our award winners - library and librarians of the year and inductees into the Wi Library Hall of Fame.

And more personally, so many colleagues said yes to me over the past few days. I have been elected the president-elect of the WI Library Association. My term as president begins in 2018. Over the past two days, so many colleagues from all types of libraries serving all ages have answered "YES!" when I have asked them to help me in creating an annual conference of consequence in 2018 and to step up to create a strong board, amazing committees and a place where all library staff feel welcome to interact and push library service in our state further and faster. I am humbled by their commitment and their faith.

Our Youth Services Section nurtured  me, my WLA board colleagues of the past six years forged me and the confidence of the members of the association lift me up. I am so lucky to have this support and the guidance of my colleagues. This is the true grace that makes all things possible.


Passive Program Power

Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, Youth Services Manager at George Latimer Central Library in St. Paul MN, and I presented a session on passive programming at the Minnesota Library Association this week. The following links can lead readers to more information about the programs we talked about - and introduce you to some great bloggers!!

1000 Books Before Kindergarten (origins, facts, research, planning tips and more!)

Craft Cart and Scavenger Hunt 1 (ideas from St. Paul libraries)

Check-Out Clubs (tried and true hits from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Tabletop Prompts 1  (from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Tabletop Prompts 2 (from Gretna Public Library, NE)

Exploration Station (from Monroe Public Library, WI)

Scavanger Hunt 2 (from Gretna Public Library, NE)

Scavenger Hunt 3 (from Texas)

Scavenger Hunt 4 (from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Letter of the Week (from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Pinterest Passive Program Board (a plethora of ideas from...everywhere!)

Book - DIY Programming and Book Displays - Amanda Struckmeyer and Svetha Hetzler


Nine Years Old!

Pixabay image

Every year as September winds down, I like to give a little birthday party for the blog. She's nine years old now and half a million views from her beginnings in 2007 as a class project.

The blog has connected me to you, dear readers, over the years and continues to call me - even if I resist her siren song far more in semi-retirement.

Thanks for all your support and friendship. I still can't promise more frequent posts but we shall see what next year brings.


Counting Kids - Still Thinking About Summer Reading/Learning

There was recently a thread on the ALSC listserv discussing whether there was a national "finisher" rate for summer reading program.

It became clear pretty quickly that definitions of finishing ranged from counting the number of kids who signed up to the library setting a goal and counting the kids who reach it - and everything in between. It was also pretty apparent that each library takes an individual approach to SLP and the idea of any national benchmark beyond number of kids participating (and even that is shaky) is apples and zucchinis.

I have had my turn at this dance over the years. When we shared information with our schools, we kept careful excel sheet or database data that we updated each time a child returned. When we looked to increase usage by certain grade levels or from certain schools, we loved our stats - and used 'em. When we handed incentives along the way or created a goal, we kept track to see when kids hit that level. I have been stat bound on some level most of my career.

But this summer I watched as colleagues at my former library dispensed altogether with sign-ups. When children registered they put a sneaker on a pillar. Throughout the program, kids could pick up weekly activity sheets. Both methods used the "count back" strategy to arrive at numbers. You know how many sneaker cut-outs you began with and count what you have leftover to determine sign-up numbers (1000 sneakers; 25 left = 975 kids starting the program). You have 300 copies of a weekly activity sheet and at the end of the week you have 10 = 290 kids participated that week.

This took the pressure and onus off the staff and provided less widgeting for kids. Since the library went prizeless a few years ago (except for a book for the kids) and seldom used stats on grade level or school, this was a simple evolution. Kids earned a book this summer after returning once and a "Summer Reader Lives Here" yard sign when they self-reported a 5th return visit.

Record keeping and definitions of success can be administration/board driven or an internal call to crazy stat keeping. But when we break down what we really - no I mean, REALLY - need in stats we gather (whether in-house or online), it may become clear that we are over-asking kids and over-working staff for returns that have no larger meaning.

Finding ways to simplify the process of getting the numbers we need (kids signed up; average participation rate) can take some real stress out of a busy time and carve needed time to reach out and really interact with kids and families. And seems worth the change!


Come to School with Me on Youth Management!

Pixabay image
I'm happy to say I have the opportunity to once again present "How Do You Manage THAT?!? Issues in Youth Services Management Part 1", October 17-November 11 for UW-Madison SLIS CE. This course was originally offered in fall 2014 so I'm pumped to examine the issues in this first version of the course.

What are we covering?
  •  Collection Development Mojo – savvy selection, weeding, confounding conundrums (bindings, salespeople, cold calls, awards, earning a place on the shelf)
  • Strategic Planning Power – big picture visioning; outcomes and goals; balancing services; statistics power
  • Room Management and Space Issues- from chaos to calm; involving your public; creative space-making; managing behaviors
  • Leadership from Within – fostering  relationships with other library staff; dealing with reluctant administration/board/patrons/co-workers/employees;
  • Zen Balance and Creative Engagement – partnerships/collaboration; PLNs

Active participation in discussion, a short paper that helps you identify a goal to work on and presto! You've earned CEUs and valuable insight from this crowd-sourced course where we all help each other examine these issues. Problem-solving and sharing are hallmarks of this learning opportunity.

Registration is now open (with a 10% discount before Oct 2). But don't delay; the course tends to fill fast!

And please check out the other UW-Madison SLIS fall CE courses. My colleagues are knocking it out of the park and each class is dynamite!!!


Last Call for Power Up Conference Proposals

Pixabay image
The sands of time are quickly running out for putting in program proposals for the exciting national conference on youth leadership and management coming in spring 2017. This is a perfect opportunity to pitch your thoughts and ideas relating to that topic.

The audience will be be both staff and managers, leaders and those who want to become more effective leaders. It promises to be a thought-provoking two days that hone in on the power that youth librarians hold!

Here are the details. But don't wait. The deadline is Sunday July 31.

Power Up: A Conference in Leadership for Youth Services Managers and Staff
March 30-31, 2017

Keynote address by Gretchen Caserotti, Library Director, Meridian Library District (Idaho)
Closing address by Deborah Taylor, Coordinator of School and Student Services, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

Call for Proposals:
Do you have ideas about management and leadership in Youth Services? UW-Madison, School of Library and Information Studies is pleased to offer Power Up, a brand new conference to share your exciting ideas! The conference will be accepting proposals until July 31, 2016. Topics may include, but are not limited to: strategic planning, collaborations, ethics, leadership pathways, advocacy, mentorship, managing change, work/life balance, staff motivation, and innovation. Youth services librarians and staff from all over the country are invited to attend!

Please submit a 200-250 word description of your proposed session to Meredith Lowe, mclowe@wisc.edu, by July 31, 2016. Sessions at the conference will be one hour (45 minutes of presentation, 15 minutes of discussion).

Panel presentations are accepted. All selected sessions will receive one complimentary conference registration and a discount for staff members they wish to join them at the conference.

Be sure to bookmark this page to stay updated on the conference itself!


ALA as Re-invigoration

Sarah Houghton, she of the Librarian in Black blog, wrote a powerful post on lessons learned at ALA 2016.

She wrote: "I’ve had a hard few years professionally. I was looking for this conference to make me believe again–in what I do every day and in what I’ve dedicated my life to. Spoiler alert: It worked.  So…what did I learn?" Find out here.

You, like me, may find yourself nodding your head. 

Every day is a great day to be a librarian!


Kudos to ALSC

It was with real pleasure that I read that ALSC is offering their recently cancelled bienniel Institute (originally scheduled to take place in Charlotte NC in Sept) as a Virtual Institute online.

It is a BIG thing to undertake the cancellation of a major conference  - especially one that had already opened for registration. The ALSC board under the leadership of Andrew Medlar, with the able assistance of the ALSC office staff, listened, encouraged member discussion and input and researched what we as an association could do to respond to the law passed in NC that went against core values of our division as well as basic human rights.

The process was transparent and input deep and thoughtful -on all sides. The decision was a difficult one but one that I wholeheartedly supported. The ALSC board promised to honor the work of the institute organizers as well as committed participants by offering a way to still hold the conference - perhaps as a pre-midwinter conference in Atlanta or virtually.

I am very pleased that the decision was to go virtual on Sept 15-16, the time when the Institute would have been offered in Charlotte. Many of us had blocked out that time already. And for just slightly over the cost of an ALSC online course, ALSC members and non-members are invited to register for two days rich with online content. For many people who struggle to afford the costs of registration, lodging and transportation, this is an incredible bargain!

Head on over to the Virtual Institute webpage and register - and I'll see you virtually in September!


Happy Library Week!!

Pixabay image

A big MWAAAAAA to all my library friends and colleagues out there!

Thanks for all your passion and work serving your community in your library work! Like most of us, the reason you get up and go into work is that opportunity to serve your patrons - whether it is the public in public, academic and special library work or other librarians in your role as consultant or educator. That bread and butter focus is what informs our work and helps us push through challenges and change.

While I used to tell the kids that Library Week is like a "birthday for libraries," it is just as much a celebration of each and every staffer who cares enough to work so tirelessly in every aspect of library work to bring great services to their communities. Your dedication makes the library tick like the heart of the community that it is. Libraries transform - and so do you!

So here's to you, my friends!


Votes Needed! - ALA Conversation Starter

Pixabay Image

Mel Depper and I have a Conversation Starter proposal in for the upcoming Orlando ALA conference. Each Conversation Starter proposal goes up for a vote by the public which accounts for 30% in the selection process. ALA staff votes account for 30% and 40% is decided by an advisory group of ALA members.

We hope you - our public - will read our proposal and consider voting for it.

Our program, You Say Yes, I Say No: Achieving ALL.THE.THINGS. will be full of tips on finding the space and time to serve our local and professional communities and still leaving time to have a rich non-work life. It's easy for all of us to be overwhelmed with all the great new shiny services and opportunities to create real change in our libraries as well as spread the word to our peers. This session will address those issues as well as savvy strategies to create realistic outcomes.

You can read all about it at here.

Voting is easy; just click the Thumbs up! But hurry, voting closes on Wednesday April 20!

And don't forget to look at all the amazing Ignite and Conversation Starters you can vote on too!