Peeking Behind the Scenes at the Library
We are going full-tilt with our Library Stars 2nd grade field trip adventures. By the end of the week we will have seen kids from five of the eleven schools who will eventually come before May. We are super happy that all the thought and planning has resulted in a great program and many return visits so far from our "Stars".
By dividing each group into three, all kids get to experience each piece of the tour as a small group which leads to alot of spontaneity and sparks interest. That brief 15 minutes per "station" provides a glimpse at the collections in Youth Services; some lively booktalks of high interest books, and a background look at the parts of the library that only staff gets to see. I want to expand on this last component because it has been such a fun part of the adventure.
We start at Circ and let the kids see how a book comes through the book drop into a comfy, lined bin. They learn that over 3,000 books a day are checked out and returned and get to see the busy Circ workroom where books are staged to go back on the shelves or shipped to other libraries with faraway names like Black River Falls, Mindoro or Viroqua. We open the door to the outside bookdrop and let them know that we empty those books every four hours to avoid puking bookdrops.
Then, on to the adult area where they walk past the Reference desk and into the back storage shelves for both Reference and Archives. That's where we have the slick movable shelving with hand cranks. We explain that this is where we keep lots of the history of our community but the shelves are scrunched together - only Harry Potter's Knight Bus could get between the shelves unless we crank them open. They love that demo.
We head over to Tech Services to see the boxes of new material ready to be opened (like Christmas every day!) and the carts of new books ready to get cataloged and "dressed" with labels, stamps and plastic jackets. We tell them that we choose all the books, CDs and DVDs to buy for the library and spend about $8,000 every month on new materials. If we have time, we open the door to the busily humming server room, show them the old mini dumb waiter elevator used for book delivery and then whisk them back down to the Children's Room.
The kids are wide-eyed amazed to see what goes on in the library and staffers in those departments enjoy having a spotlight on their often unseen and under-appreciated work. It's fun to insert a few facts along the way as well.
Do you have favorite background tours? What stuff do you show?