Ima manager. I KNOW. It has this crazy stuff about it.
Lots of angsty political stuff, negotiations with team, peers, other departments, other libraries, frazzled patrons, colleagues in other youth serving organizations. Like that.
Schedules, budgets, reports, time sheets. Like that.
Visioning out, supporting team dreams, mentoring, championing, guiding, sometimes even discouraging. Like that.
I joke and tell my team that's why I get paid the big bucks.
But guess what? I am still - and will always be - a children's librarian.
Nothing makes me happier than plunging my hands into the guts of the work - doing a program; setting up a stealth initiative; doing a storytime; jumping into outreach or hosting a field trip; hanging out doing reader's advisory and winging it on desk; collection development; room management. I've done it and I can do it. Bread and butter.
I don't get to do that hands-on as constantly as I'd like and there is a nagging management eye searching like Sauron's the whole time. But still. It's all in my toolkit.
I was reminded of it when I subbed into a toddler storytime. I haven't done a two-year old storytime in awhile so I was a little trepidatious. But my old sidekick, Jessica G.Raffe, eased the two year olds into accepting somebody different from their regular vacationing presenter. And boon companion that she is, she made me feel better!
Jessica is a giraffe so she can't make sounds (STEM!); she does whisper to me, though, and therein lies alot of the magic. She tells me things as the straight woman and I am her mugging interpreter. She smooths the way and I am instantly in sync with my two year old BFFs.
Jessica brought a bag that contained something to tell me the theme. After feeling around a bit, I discovered where we were going when I pulled out - oooh a truck!
With Storytime Katie as my total inspiration, we read Jonathon London's A Truck Goes Rattley-Bumpa and Dig Dig Tip Tip by Emma Garcia. My literacy tips included having kids repeat the recurring words ("Dig, Dig, Dig", "Tip, Tip, Tip") and talk to the grown-ups about making the connection between the word and the sounds the kids are making with them. We did a take on "Where is Thumbkin" with our fingers featuring different trucks that was a wild success. Anna Bella inspired our scarf play based on a share at Guerrilla Storytime at the Wisconsin Library Association (really YOU must host one of these at your conferences!) - kids became the different trucks and used their scarves to do truck tasks.
I played Justin Roberts Obsessed by Trucks (Jungle Gym CD) as everyone headed into storytime. We shaker-danced to Laurie Berkner's Trucks (on the Victor Vido CD). With all this excitement, we ran out of time to read I Stink by McMullen so I just showed the pictures because we wanted to do some trash canning linked to a garbage truck craft.
My search for a mini-trash can elicited a My Little Pony one from a staffer, making a perfect gender counterpoint to my trucks. Kids crushed tissue paper and threw it in. We spent the last few minutes with a simple garbage truck, gluing the trash on (thanks again Katie!).
Lots of truck books in the storyroom to check out and chatting about trucks after doing Rob Reid's Good Bye Rap made a perfect end.
I'm back in the management role, but I tell you I'm going to miss my storytime buddies. Sigh. But it's nice to know that when I need to step in, the magic is still there.