So, we did it, you guys! We got past summer and summer library programs!!! The Slog Days have been conquered, we may even have had some weeks of no programs and *gasp* vacations. School is back in session and we are turning our minds to our fall initiatives and fun.
When we are in the midst of summer library program with huge crowds, double staffing, many programs and busyness amplified day after day, it's hard to remember that we can react or plan for anything that isn't happening RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE. It feels like dark and endless days sometimes. Creativity - gone. Energy - depleted. Blog posts - ha!
When we hit the first week of September it is truly like a new leaf turning over or the sun coming up over the horizon in the morning. We breathe a sigh of relief and look at the adventure of a different rhythm coming to the fore. One that allows us to enhance the services and initiatives we offer our families and kids.
I knew we were there in the last two weeks when I looked around the department and saw all the amazing stuff the team has been putting together that has come to fruition. Like what?
Last fall's fundraising letter (our director sends out project-centered appeals in spring and fall that typically generate $2500-$500) was for ipads to give kids and parents a chance to interact with curated content. Our new colleague Brooke took this project on and we debuted the ipads this week to general delight of kids, parents and staff.
We have had grant-funded kits with ten books each kept in a closet (ask for it please) for about twelve years. Almost no action. So Sara took this project on and developed fifteen new kits of interesting contemporary fiction, graphic novels and non-fiction - 5 books in each with suggested websites and questions. Best of all, we found a place to house them in the room. They too debuted this week. Our plan is to add to this collection rather than let it stagnate.
We deliver rotating book collections to many of our Headstarts and daycares during the school year. Included in these bags are often posters for the parents or information on events for the providers. And this year as a little surprise, my colleague Sherri is including a welcome-back candy bar with a wrap-around she created to thank the teachers for their participation. It's a sweet treat for little investment.
High School lunch hour
We have been taking some baby steps to do more outreach in our high schools. But this year, with a new high school librarian of two years (who also just became a library board member!), the ice was broken. My teen librarian colleague Linda will staff lunch hours on two different days, chat up the library and library card sign-ups and hand out go cups to new registrants, kids who have their library cards or (smart people that they are) those who can recite their card number.
Each school year, we like to create a theme around which we build our field trips for preschool-early elementary children. In previous years, the character has been Pete the Cat, Spot and Emma Dodd's dog. This year, Dinosaur is the star. Colleagues Sara and Brooke developed a script around this raucous roarer and the debut last week with our first group of the year told us we have a hit on our hands.
We have long wanted to include rhyme and poems in this corner. Colleague Sherri had the poetry bug hit and created a series of poetry posters that will now be rotated in and out near the "parent" chair. We will be listening for some reciting to tots!
Yes, I made a contribution despite being hip-deep in administrative work! Our fall firefighter-themed stealth program rewards kids for book check-out by offering them a chance to enter a raffle for some ALA posters, books or a chance to spend two hours at the fire station with the firefighters. That has the kids interested! We have long wanted to partner with our fire department and picking up the phone this summer was a simple solution. Our colleagues are just as fired up as we are!
Alot of the work and preparation on these efforts (with amazing support and wizardry from colleague Celine) happened during summer or in the months leading up to SLP. To see it all roll out in just a short two weeks really speaks to me of staff resilience, determination, effort and teamwork. And it tells me, that the sun does keep rising on our work and efforts.
Sunrise photo courtesy of Pixabay