Propsz to Scieszka

I wonder what my children's-librarian-work-life and my reading life would have been like without the sheer insouciance of Jon Scieszka? Duller, for sure. How have I been changed? Here are just a few of the ways...

First off, I was able to find a last name more challenging to spell and pronounce than my own.

In my first introduction to his books, I was treated to a take on fractured fairy tales that was bright, sly and way-out-of-left-field chaotically hilarious. That fearlessness, that sassy voice and careening ride through his plots never changed and always delights me. If I need a laugh, I pick up one of his books.

Recommending his books to kids always results in a home run. Because of Jon I have achieved goddess-like status with kids. Thanks Jon!

Due to Jon and his buddy Mo Willems, I have an unbreakable date at ALA for Demco's Book Cart Drill Team World Championships. With those two as emcees, happy chaos (as in the dictionary definition: "the infinity of space or formless matter supposed to have preceded the existence of the ordered universe") reigns.

Finally, because - beyond his great humor - he has been an articulate advocate for kids, books, reading , encouraging boys to read, libraries and literacy, my work has been made immeasurably easier. Thanks for taking up the baton (oh, I mean the scepter) and the sash, Jon. Ya done good.

Scelebrate Scieszka!

Over at A Year of Reading, bloggers are being invited to do a post on celebrating outgoing Ambassador for Children's Books, Jon Scieszka: "So, on January 4, we thought it would be great for the Kidlitosphere to thank Jon Scieszka for his work over the past two years as the first Ambassador by hosting a virtual party for him. If lots of us in the Kidlitosphere put up a post celebrating some aspect of Scieszka's work, it would make for a nice tribute to him from the bloggers."

So post, celebrate and send your link over to AYOR on Monday and party down for Jon.


Stop the Madness

Am I alone in believing that the Summer Library Program is just one small part of what any good library offers to children? There are so many SLP workshops and presentations offered as CE - just seems far out of proportion to the breadth and width of what we really do in children's services year round.

Summer programs are six, eight, ten, twelve weeks long. So what are Children's Librarians doing for the other 40-46 weeks of the year? Just planning, publicizing and running programs, outreach and services for all ages. Just working on creating and maintaining excellent cooperative relationships with schools and community organizations. Just using new Web 2.0 skills to better reach our customers and entice our tweens and young parents to enjoy the library on a whole new scale. Just struggling to work with a stressed out customer base that doesn't always want to see us as on their side. Just providing literacy support and guidance for parents and kids and keeping on top our game by reading the books we recommend. Just advocating for kids and libraries. Just trying to keep up collections of great books for kids in the midst of tight budgets and increased use. Just trolling through blogs, listservs, books, our colleagues brains for new ideas for programs and services. Just managing staff and departments and relationships with colleagues and co-workers.

Our work with kids is so much more than just those summer weeks. I find myself thrilled when I look at a state conference, online webinar or regional workshop and see a topic addressed that deals with what we are involved with beyond summer (see "Just..." above). I need just as much help annually with those issues as with the yearly visits to the SLP well that, let's face it, are really just another way of dressing up the "summer widget".

Don't get me wrong here. I appreciate all the work and effort that goes into summer and, for libraries in the CLSP group, the lead times needed to produce material and put together the massive support that is provided. I just think that Children's folks deal with far more than that and need just as much CE support for the far-ranging topics and age groups we deal with daily. So program planners, please keep that in mind as you plan those learning opportunities for Children's folks. We'll love you for it and become better at our work in the process!


Deja Vu to You

Ok, ok, I just CAN'T help it...two of my favorite prolific bloggers have uniquely reasoned -and skewed -looks back at the decade and the year. Betsy Bird looks at kids lit trends for the aughts at Fuse 8 and Travis at 100 Scope Notes does the year in review. As someone who loves this kind of perspective and these writers' unique voices and sensibilities, I don't know if it can done better!