Back! And this blog needs a new name.

Ok, so I’ve graduated from my MLIS program, started a position as a children’s librarian, and gotten married–all in the last 6 months! This blog has been on hold because those things kind of took up all of my time and attention. Since I returned from my honeymoon last week, I feel as though I can finally BREATHE and increase my focus on becoming the best librarian I can be for my new community.

Although I’ve worked in a library before, this is my first professional position post graduate school. I strive to become a kickass ninja librarian who supports early childhood literacy (and all the research surrounding) in creative ways, promotes diverse materials to kids and families, and develops innovative programs that cultivate a culture of learning and engagement at the library–not to mention fighting for intellectual freedom and contributing to intersectional conversations online and in my community.

Wow, that is a confusing sentence and a lot I want to accomplish. But so many incredible librarians do this daily and I want to be among their ranks! This blog will follow my adventures and growth as a new librarian in my branch’s community. Additionally, as I’m finding that my MLIS education didn’t quite teach me all the skills required for this position (all the librarians out there mumble, “big surprise”), many of my posts will  compare and reevaluating what I learned in grad school vs. what I need to know for my job or what I wished I grad school had taught me.

So sit back and enjoy. I look forward to engaging in meaningful conversation with other librarians online again!

Official Youth Services Librarian Status: GAINED

Today I had orientation for a new job as a Youth Services Librarian. So very exciting! So very anxiety inducing! To alleviate some fears and gain a bit more confidence, I turned to the brilliant librarians in the Storytime Underground Facebook group for first job advice and tips. Here are the top suggestions and ideas. (Someone should really have a blog devoted to giving new librarians advice…Or is this already a thing? I should librarian it.)

1. You don’t have to say “yes” to everything to be great at your job.

2. Stock up on vitamins and Purell.

3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew your first year–try new things but don’t overwork.

4. Plan a backup program for when things fall through. Including regular programs and storytimes–particularly for when you or someone else gets sick.

5. Bring donuts on your first day.

6. Always ask questions! There are no stupid questions to you coworkers.

7. Listen to your coworkers. Trust your coworkers’ advice.

8. Keep a journal for all your ideas. Also good for keeping track of things.

9. Keep paper planner. Keep track of what you’re doing, attendance, stats, to-do lists, follow-up for ref/RA, and notes to yourself. Helps with keeping track of time, monthly reports, and good as paper record of your year.

10. Better to have one great program than many mediocre programs.

11. Know your community’s needs and wants! The more you know your community, the more successful you’ll be.

12. Keep a spare diaper at your desk. And a spare outfit for yourself.

13. Listen, learn, and love what you do.

14. Always be silly at storytimes!

15. Introduce yourself to local daycare providers. In fact, reach out to your community members and collaborate on programs.

16. Get to know and show appreciation for your facilities/staff cleaning crew.

17. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know but I can find out!”.

18. Get to know the kids. Learn names of kids and parents/caregivers. You are much more comforting and authoritative if you know names.

19. Always be kind to your patrons and staff. A smile goes a long way.

20. Don’t buy your own supplies or books for your collection.

21. Take notes at all your meetings. Date each meeting. Star things that need to get done.

22. Document everything. Keep a large binder for all professional paperwork, such as request for leave, reimbursement, performer contracts, etc. Include copies and originals.

23. HAVE FUN!

Scientifically Modified Food for Thought

Or, I like My Speculative Fiction with a Side of Social Commentary, Please.

I made a reading list based on feedback from the teens I booktalked to!

Several of them mentioned their appreciation for science fiction. Some teens also indicated a strong interest in social justice. For a recommended reading list I created for my Teen Materials in a Digital Age class, I decided to blend the two and create a list of science fiction with heavy social commentary. I hope this list provides teens the opportunity to explore these imaginative worlds, think critically of the situations presented in the novels, and consider the possible parallels to their own lives. Speculative fiction presents readers with contemporary social issues in a controlled situation that is no less powerful than realistic fiction. A teen reader may be challenged through these books leading to an affirmation or alteration of their values and identity. My list is directed at older teens aged 14 and up.

Feed by M.T. Anderson, 2002

In a future where computer chips feed humans access to unlimited information and targeted advertising, a girl tries to challenge the system.

Diverse EnergiesDiverse Energies edited by Tobias S. Buckell and Joe Monti, 2012

This diverse anthology includes 11 stories of teens against governments, society, and sometimes each other, all by popular sci-fi authors.

Enders GameEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card, 1985

Placed in a military training program at a young age, Ender shows tactical genius in alien war games that soon grow suspiciously realistic.

Summer PrinceThe Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson, 2013

June falls for the Summer King and plans her most socially provocative art installation yet in a technologically advanced Brazilian city.

ProxyProxy by Alexander London, 2013

This fast-paced, sci-fi update of “The Whipping Boy” puts Knox against those in power who forced him to become a proxy to pay off his debts.

Knife of Never Letter GoThe Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, narrated by Nick Podehl, 2011

On a planet where animals and men can hear each other’s thoughts, Todd must flee to keep a dark secret. The audio won an Odyssey honor.

TankbornTankborn by Karen Sandler, 2011

Genetically engineered Kayla challenges the uncomfortable truths of her oppressive society in this page-turner about race and class.

Booktalking to 10th Grade Honors World Lit Classes

Mrs. E came into the library seeking booktalks for her 10th grade honors world literature classes. The World Lit classes have a semester long project where they read materials with authors from 7 regions around the world. I would provide students with reading options from 5 regions, excluding North America and Europe. The books needed to be a mix of reading levels, YA or adult, and include some translated texts.

I had my work cut out for me! Luckily, the librarian had a list of non-western materials within the library’s collection that I could choose from. Composing these booktalks took longer than the ones for Mr. L’s classes, particularly because I had not read any of the titles and had to solely rely on professional reviews or quick browsing through the pages.

Much like with Mr. L’s class, I began my booktalks by asking the students their reading preferences. The answers I received included psychological thrillers, more sci-fi, contemporary, and nonfiction. Hopefully some students found some books to pick for the next phase of their project!

1st Period Booktalks

3rd Period Booktalks

5th Period Booktalks

Book Cover Slide Show

One of my projects at the high school library was to produce a slideshow of book covers featuring a short sentence descriptions to draw student interest. I spent a few hours browsing the library shelves compiling a list of well-circulated books, worthy classics, and popular favorites. After I had a sizable list (made even more sizable after I added some of my booktalking titles into the mix), I set about creating the slideshow. I purposefully did not theme the display in order to appeal to a wider range of audiences.

Sample below.

Wuthering Heights

Americanah1

Eleanor and Park

Boy Meets Boy

Invisible Man

Booktalk Tuesday–LIAR

Liar

LIAR by Justine Larbalestier

Micah is a liar. She tells you so herself.
She lies about small things, like what her parents to for a living.
She lies about big things. That she’s a boy, not a girl.
She lies about her boyfriend, who has another girlfriend. Or does he?
But when her boyfriend goes missing, Micha decides to start telling the truth. The real truth. You
just have to believe it.


Great for people interested in false narrators, thrillers, supernatural…maybe.