Whenever we start a new job - no matter how much experience we had previously - there is a "getting-to-know-you" period where you introduce yourself to colleagues both in your library and in organizations throughout your new community. As I work my 100th day here in my new job, I am feet-first in the midst of that particular dive and it has helped me reflect on just what it is we are doing in public library children's work.
The other day I sat down with an elementary school principal and she asked, "What is your vision of what you hope to do?". Hmmmm. This was followed by an interview for our system newsletter where I was asked, "What are the most important elements in children's services in libraries large and small?". Both questions lead me to the same places:
-I want to make sure we recognize that children are individuals with feelings, ideas, joys, sadness and the inevitable cranky day or two. Let this guide us in our work.
-I want to make Children's areas fun and a place where kids feel welcomed and smiled at and can delight in books.
-I want to be welcoming to community organizations, agencies and schools and collaborate and partner with them to support literacy and reading both at their sites and at the library.
Call me a starry-eyed idealist but in a fundemental way, I think libraries are truly the “people’s university” – a place that people of all ages and income levels can come to find information and resources that allow them to access the world. We are the one place that supports the foundation of all learning: reading and literacy. By working with children and families from the time kids are born, we help to build an informed and literate citizenry.
That's what I think we are doing. How about you?