My path was never the librarian despite my love of libraries and literature. I never considered walking this path until college when realizing that becoming a teacher wasn’t in the cards for me. I count myself lucky for working in libraries and customer service jobs that, with the finishing of library school, positioned me to gain a full-time library position in circulation within my state’s library system.
Were the job duties simple and easy? No. Were the job duties challenging and engaging? Yes. This is my ode to the library assistant.
I first became a library assistant after graduating with my Master’s in Library and Information Science. It was a rough period, with people around me asking why I was in an entry-level position, why I don’t make enough money, why I deal with duties that do not require my degree. My go-to answer: I go in 100%. This is my challenge. Eventually I’ll move up when the time is right. I need to learn circulation first.
Let me tell you something, I have the utmost respect with circulation. They deal with the front-lines, the first phone calls, the irate and the charming first, they deal with everything I did not learn in library school. (I was fortunate to have a required class on communicating with others however there wasn’t a class strictly on Circulation.) These guys are badass, helpful, know-everythings that I wonder how the library would survive without them. I can’t survive in a library by myself without circulation. If patrons are the lifeblood of the library, circulation is the heart of it all. They ensure I do my job as a librarian well.
I would never trade my time in circulation for another job. I learned how to properly run a register in the library, how to talk to patrons better, how to make small talk and promote programs easily (I’m an introvert that is confused by small talk), how to assess books for mending, how to multitask and juggle phone calls with a patron in front of me while needing to find a book on shelf. It was my boot camp into the library world post-school, with a full-time job.
To all of you working at library assistants, I love you all for you are essential to the library machine. You do the dirty work, the grunt work, the work that needs to be done. You help make the jobs of techs, librarians, managers, and volunteers so much easier. If you move up due to experience, you’ll be better equipped to handle the position. It needs to be said: You. Are. Vital.
We got programs up the wazoo! This year we combined programs to be more family oriented. The following programs are being put together by our library:
Ani-Mazing Anime Programs: A continuation from before summer, bi-monthly anime showings with discussion. Three episodes shown and patrons can vote for the next episode.
Cosplay Your Heart Out: My good friend and awesome cosplayer will be showing cosplay techniques and thrifty shopping to create a cosplay based on your favorite pop culture character!
Darin Miyashiro and Co. Japanese Koto Performance: Local Koto musician Darin Miyashiro will be doing a Koto performance for patrons of all ages.
Every Body Rocks Family Talent Show: Families can sign up to sing or play musical instruments for an audience!
Family Craft Time: Family members (caregivers and teens/children) are able to sign up to do crafts together! The Children’s Librarian is in charge and taught me how to do the craft so to be in charge of a class out of three classes. I’m not a crafty person (my origami cranes are sad cranes) so this gives me hope.
Musical Movie Mondays: Every Monday at 3:30 pm, we’ll be showing a musical-themed movie. So far we have Sing, La La Land, Pitch Perfect 3, Moana, and Coco. All movies are up to PG-13.
Here’s to 2018, a new year filled with adventure and goals! I’ve been keeping a bullet journal consistently since mid-2017 and found that it has helped me a lot. It got me thinking, teens could get into this as well! When I was in school, I wasn’t keen on my school planner but with bullet journaling, I can create and mold the planner to my lifestyle. For school, I’m a few years too late on that boat. Not too late for the teens though!
Number of participants: 2
Total: 5 (parents included)
We went over what a bullet journal is and the basics of what it entails. We watched a quick video by Buzzfeed (~4 minutes) on starting a bullet journal. Understandably we did talk about how the video wasn’t geared towards teens. That’s okay though because we made it our way!
Then we showed off supplies!
Each pouch had:
4 binder clips
1 washi tape
1 multi-colored pen with 6 different color ink
1 black gel pen
1 double-sided tape dispenser with whiteout tape on the other side
Each participant can choose between a grid notebook or a blank notebook (dot/lined was not available)
We went over the handout, from bullet journal basics to supplies then to steps.
First we made a key. Second we made an Index. We all made a weekly page together to try our hand at making a template. Afterwards the participants were free to brainstorm and create for their journal. Some pages that were created:
Favorite book genre page
Favorite sticker page
Overall the program was a hit with the kids and the parents. We extended the time by half an hour so the kids can create more. We had a couple books available for everyone to read through, one of which was listed in the handout.
What I should have done:
Change signage to read open to 6th – 12th grade instead of 7th – 12th grade.
Have blank template examples ready to look at/to take home. I’ve seen some journals where they print their template out, cut and tape inside their journal.
Make it more teen friendly. I know I listed template ideas but let’s discuss/brainstorm ideas and ask the teens themselves what would be an essential template for them. Also mold templates for “adulting” such as expense tracker to teens, such as turning it into an allowance tracker.
I would definitely do this program again. I would move it to December so that participants can brainstorm and create their bujo prior to the new year starting. As someone who has been attempting to be organized, I found that creating a bujo has helped in both the personal and professional arena. I’m able to keep better track of my readings, errands, and thoughts that would otherwise be a pile of Post-It Notes, scribbles in my notebook, or lost in my file cabinet monster. I hope that teens will be able to use this technique to organize themselves in this rapidly changing world. Here’s to a new year, new you!
*Note: Jennifer F. of The Artist Librarian took pictures of the program but sadly they couldn’t upload correctly. I wanted to give a shoutout to her for coming in and observing! ❤️
Welcome to the part 2 series to “Conference Time! or I Can’t Believe I Made It Through The Weekend!”
Time to blog! Saturday was the second and last day of the HLA conference. Their full Saturday schedule can be found here.
It’s game time. I talked story with a couple friends I hadn’t seen then ran to the first panel of the day.
Escape the Library! How to Run an Escape Room at your Library (presented by Jennifer F.)
Escape Rooms are a worldwide phenomenon, both commercially and also now in library programming. These unique, live action adventure games promote collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking in a fun and exciting environment for all ages! Discover what an Escape Room is, how to plan one, and why! Learn helpful tips and suggestions for a successful Escape Room event. Q&A to follow. Especially recommended for public or school librarians.
Escape Rooms! The new thing that I see on my friend’s Instagram and Facebook feeds. I’ve seen at a couple malls but never tried it. It seemed best for groups and the cost was running high so I never got into it. However this presentation changed my thinking of a pricey activity to something that can be done in the library with a high replay value. It is possible to create your own breakout kit with materials from City Mill or Ben Franklin or purchase a kit from Breakoutedu. It was so cool to see so many themes and subjects that the Escape Rooms have, from Minecraft to history to library themes, it seems endless. There are plenty of libraries in Hawaii that have done Escape Rooms, it seems it is here to stay. Special thanks to Pearl City, Aina Haina, Kailua-Kona, and Aiea.
Next I stayed for a turbo toddler panel!
Toddler Time and Beyond: Creating Programs for Our Youngest Patrons (presented by Danielle T.)
Programs specifically designed for infants and toddlers based on the early literacy research of Every Child Ready to Read (ECRR2) are a growing trend in public libraries. Research shows that the five principles of ECRR2 (talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing) greatly increase children’s pre-reading and school readiness skills. With the library’s already hectic programming schedule, incorporating ECRR2 can seem like a daunting task. Between staffing shortages, limited budgets, and the intimidation factor of working with infants, where do you start?
This presentation will focus on the Waianae Public Library’s efforts to create sustainable, budget-friendly, long term early literacy programming that empowers caregivers to use ECRR2 at home.
Mind. Blown. Yep. I’m not a Children’s Librarian nor do I have a lot of experience in that field. Danielle went from showing numbers on toddlers and their developmental stages to transforming her Keiki area at the library. Utilizing guidelines from Ever Child Ready to Read and other sources, Danielle’s storytime skyrocketed. My list of resources will be updated as I lent my the list Danielle handed out to us to my coworker. Stay tuned for that.
Graphic Novels and You: Let’s Talk Story about GNs in your Library (presented by Hillary C. and Kelly C.*)
Graphic novels, comics, manga. Today, these are synonymous in popular culture and our library collections. Why do we keep these books in our libraries and why are they important? Nervous about understanding? Come talk story and hear me out! Graphic novels are not going to be disappearing from our libraries any time soon. A recommended booklist will be included in the presentation.
I really need to give credit to Hillary here, every time she surprises me. I brought the brochures but she brought snacks! With a packed room, some people standing, we went over the brochure with resources on where librarians can find reviews as well as understanding the suggested age range on graphic novels. Then we opened up for discussion. We had several excellent questions:
Are graphic novels part of the Accelerated Readers list? Librarians and educators can search “graphic novels” on arbookfinder to determine if the title has an AR record. Plenty of titles that have novel forms have been published as graphic novels and thus have been incorporated to AR. The thing is that due to certain schools having certain titles under the AR test, it is up to the student/librarian/educator to find which title has an AR test at their school. From personal experience, I would give a title to a student/parent and find out their school doesn’t have an AR test for it.
Should we separate graphic novels that have 13+, 16+from each other or keep together? My suggestion to this question (it was specifically for 13+ and 16+) was to not separate by age due to how difficult it would be for patrons to find but for staff to shelve. It also shows there is a barrier preventing patrons from accessing graphic novels because it shows the library cares more about age restrictions than reading access.
Before we knew it, 50 minutes had passed and we had to end the session. In the meantime, we received our feedback where we got average to above average on the scale. If we do this again, we’ll be sure to have more than a Top Recommended list of titles but also have for Children and Adult. I still have my list of titles but need to polish it better. A new goal!
Battle of the Books: Partnering to Promote the Love of Reading (presented by Tamara K.)
Battle of the Books is a Kahuku Public and School Library-led, after school, extra-curricular program for North Shore elementary school children that makes reading social. Now in its third school year, hear how this sports-like reading event at school and district levels not only sustains but empowers Koʻolauloa area students to be successful 21st century citizens. The event is a child’s version of a quiz game show where teams of students compete for prizes to answer the most questions correctly about books from pre-selected reading lists. Additionally, details will be shared about its evolution to be more reflective of Hawaii’s keiki with its Pacific Islander book choices, its community impact as stakeholders work together to celebrate the love of literature, and the importance of working with many partners to make the long-term endeavor manageable for all.
Amazing. I had heard about the juggernaut known as “Battle of the Books” but had not seen in action. Tamara first showed us the demographic and schools in the Kahuku area. From there it was a matter of gaining community interest as well as backing from the principals of the schools. When it was time to come together… Well you’ll have to see for yourself because it was amazing what everyone had done.
Needless to say, this last day was filled with nerves but exhaustion in attending panels for a majority of the day as well as sitting for the final keynote speaker, Rebekkah Smith Aldrich of the Mid-Hudson Library System and of Sustainablelibraries.org!
Day 1 had interesting panels, two of which sparked interest and an ongoing situation in public libraries here.
Sustainability of Public Libraries in this Digital Climate: Transforming Communities Through Digital and Information Literacy (presented by Sharrese C. and Kelsey D.)
“Welcome to the Public Library. May I help you find a good website?” More and more public libraries are shifting their focus from helping patrons find book resources to digital resources. And with that push, patrons visit the library needing help with online job applications, using smart devices like smart phones and tablets, or accessing the library’s digital resources. Digital and information literacy instruction in libraries addresses this issue while promoting the Public Library’s basic tenet of lifelong learning. In this presentation, we will look at how public libraries can sustain and empower our diverse communities through digital and information instruction and engage with patrons on the importance of digital and information literacy. We will also discuss some examples of what some public libraries are doing to promote digital and information literacy and provide tips and tools for implementing digital and information literacy instruction in your library.
Indeed we need to provide the best service we can in an age where technology is becoming the norm and the public is attempting to keep up. However how much is too much help? Do we go by a case by case basis determining if a patron needs help setting up an email account or if they want you to write their personal letters? This presentation helped put into perspective how public libraries are helping their patrons out using technology. I reflected on this, yes we should provide the best service we can offer but we also cannot be there at every little thing but how can we get this started? Sharrese and Kelsey, managers in the public library system, bring up good points and here I also reflect upon what librarians can do.
Ensure the library staff knows about technology or common questions patrons might have regarding technology. Many libraries might have a staff of three versus a staff of fifteen so it is always helpful when library staff–not just the librarians–have knowledge of technology and customer service.
Know your limits. Helping someone print their resume is one thing but being asked to type the resume out to the letter can be going too far. Assess the situation and guide the patron so they see what you’re doing and can emulate the procedure.
Build repertoire with the patron and ease them into technology situations they may normally push away.
Customer service. Assisting patrons is what we do as library staff but understandably we all do not have teaching degrees nor have formal experience as teachers. Here is our time to shine showing empathy with patrons while guiding them to use a computer or understand technology in a positive way.
Next we had a cool presentation about professional development via social media.
Unbusying the Busy: Public Librarians Employing Social Media for Professional Development (presented by Dr. Irvin, Michelle M. and Michelle Y.)
The Librarians’ Inquiry Forum (LINQ) is a professional development model that uses social media as a means to create sustainable librarian communities of practice for the purpose of professional development. Librarians working with the Hawaiʻi State Public Library System gathered across the islands, online, via the social media platform, Slack, to enact ongoing, real-time professional networking and learning in inquiry-based discussions to learn the intersections between one another’s practices, questions, and concerns about public librarianship. The goal of LINQ was to have front-line “busy” librarians learn how a social media-based community of practice can be employed to “unbusy their busy” via collaborative inquiry, reflection, and learning for the purpose of ongoing professional development. This session will present data from the LINQ project that conveys ways in which front-line librarians learned how collaborative inquiry transformed their “busy-ness” to enhanced, more effective professional practice and identity.
We are busy. At times we can get overwhelmed. We definitely love what we do but there are times when there is a feeling of there is so much to do! Never a dull moment is what I say. Two points stood out in this presentation and I thank the presenters, Dr. Irvin from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and two managers from the public library system, Michelle Y. and Michelle M.
The definition of “busy”. Are we busy because without being busy, we are no one? Are we busy because being busy is our identity tied to our job? Are we busy because we resist (change/work/specific duties)?
Slack as a social media platform for building ideas and communication between librarians! Similar to the platform I use for video games (Discord), it really is something to consider. The pros of Slack being that we can communicate instantly versus creating a long email while sharing documents and pictures. The downside being that unless there was a something similar to a storage locker that has all the documents shared and properly labeled so it can be easily accessible, it is limited. The other thing being that not every librarian has their own staff computer so there is the risk of being met with a block of text when checking back on Slack.
I’ve been looking to plan a website for librarians in our system to communicate and share ideas. Thankfully going to this panel and hearing how Slack can be used as a professional development tool as well as a communication tool brings hope that we may be able to implement this into our work lives.