Programming Superheroes

Image: Pixabay
That's what we youth librarians are, you know.

I've been thinking alot about programming over the past couple of years. I've been writing about it, teaching about it, listening to ideas about it, revising my thinking about it and considering it in the context of all we do as youth librarians in our work day.

And one consistent theme that has struck me is that programming for kids in libraries - while not all we do - is the part of our jobs that is most visible, touches children's hearts most closely and consumes a great deal of our creative and imaginative energy.

We come into work, don our superhero librarian costume and plan and present amazing early literacy storytimes; school age programs, outreach visits and more. We think about how to involve kids through passive programs, DIY programs, partnerships with other organizations.

Back in our "Barbara Gordon" street clothes, we scan Pinterest, blogs and journals for new programming ideas. We talk to our colleagues, watch webinars, brainstorm and dream new ways to reach kids through our programming. We see program possibilities while we shop for groceries, stop by a festival, in our jammies while watching TV.

All the ideas get tucked away and pop back out when we don our superhero duds back at the library.

Part of being a superhero is finding ways to take those ideas and balance them to serve people without burning out. So we share tips on how to do programming and collection development and planning and advocacy and all the background tasks that make up a whole youth librarian's M.O. in a sane, fun and sustainable way. The hidden secret identity parts of our work are less visible to our public but just as heroic.

We recently received a lovely tribute to our youth staff- both past and present - from a patron whose children's reading lives were touched by staff helping the find the perfect book and presenting great programs.  These glimpses into the change we make as very public programming superheroes and quieter reader's advisors and information professionals reveal the depth of our good work. We all receive these positive boosts from our patrons and they warm our superhero hearts.

Whether thanks are expressed or not, the work we do to shine a light on literacy, learning experiences, and reading through our programming touches the lives of children and brings us out to them and them into our libraries.  Shine on, my superhero colleagues, shine on!

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