Welcome to this latest attempt to connect librarians from west-central Wisconsin with each other! Please send in content (booklists, ideas, photos, etc.), and comment on posts so we can help each other. If you were using feedmyinbox to get new posts sent to you before, you'll need to switch to another service (blogtrottr works like feedmyinbox, googlereader is a good blog-reader to try).

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Achieving Balance: two blog posts

balancing,hikers,hiking,men,persons,Photographs,sports,womenToday, in just one day, I read two thoughtful, worthwhile and entertaining blog posts with advice for new librarians.  Interestingly, they have almost opposite messages, but both have value, and are worth reading and fitting into your worldview.  These pieces are directed toward new librarians, but actually their message is useful to all practicing librarians.  Both refer to recent MLIS graduates, but I think their advice is not exclusive to people with a Masters Degree, either, but to all of us who care about our library jobs.

Marge, our indefatigable, wise, and thoughtful colleague from LaCrosse greets new MLIS graduates in her Tiny Tips for Library Fun blog, encourages recent graduates to leap in, don't feel like you have to wait to be invited to participate in the dialogue of librarianship--put your ideas out there in social media, staff meetings, conferences.  Sometimes a fresh perspective is exactly what is needed in the world, so don't hang back!  Great advice for all of us, including some folks who have been around a while, quietly doing amazing things.

For something completely different, in Letters to a Young Librarian, Ginger Williams reassures new librarians that you "Don't Have to Do All the Things" to be an awesome librarian.  Sometimes this is a great reminder, too.  It is important to remember that you don't have to do EVERYTHING, you don't have to be a "rockstar" librarian who is featured on blogs and heavily involved in professional associations, known all over the state or country (in library circles, anyway), in order to be crucial, important and awesome to your own library and community.  You don't have to tackle everything at once.  You have permission to set a more cautious or realistic pace. 

I think both of these messages are important:  you are awesome for just serving your own community well, learning your job well, working as a team with your co-workers; and your ideas and innovations are worth sharing, too, no matter how new you are or how small-seeming your project might be.  I like the idea of us acting as a community for each other, supporting each other as our creativity, energy, passion, and ability to get things done ebbs and flows.

What do you think?? 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

SLP Promotion in Ellsworth is Golden

Julie (mean banker Mr. Bigglebottom, above) adapted the new book: The Gold Miner's Daughter, A Melodramatic Fairy Tale written by Jackie Mims Hopkins into a play for the library staff (and a few volunteers) to perform for students to promote the Summer Library Program in Ellsworth.  Nineteen classes of students come to the library to hear about the SLP and get treated to a fabulous, book-based play.  The kids had a chance to participate (booing, hissing, cheering, etc), and they loved it!  The staff has a chance to ham it up, play multiple characters, and promote books, reading and the library.  They love it too, though they are pretty wiped out by the end of the school visits!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Summer Reading Gaps

I attended a meeting of system consultants trying to help their libraries serve traditionally underserved populations last week.  It's always a treat to get together with other people who do your job, especially when those people are smart, thoughtful, dedicated and honest (those of you who love the youth services workshop for just that reason will understand what I mean, here).

One of the great things that happened at this workshop was an inspiring presentation by Victoria Sanchez of the Milwaukee Public Library about concrete things they have done at their library to make sure the Summer Library Program is reaching kids who are most at risk of losing ground during the summer.  She started out by showing this fascinating and distressing video:

Pretty incredible!  She stressed that this reading gap is income-based--not an urban/rural issue, or a race issue, but an income issue.  Since all of us work in areas where there are plenty of kids who don't have access to as many books or diverse, literacy-rich experiences during the summer, it is crucial to think about how to reach those kids.  As literacy leaders (I love this way of looking at librarians!), it is important for us to reach outside the boundaries of the library to get more kids involved.  In Milwaukee, this has meant creating relationships and providing deposit collections onsite at summer programs.  This is a process that has grown and developed over the year, along with a strong library-based program.  

So, good for all of you for being in the trenches to help kids avoid the summer reading gap.  What do you do to make sure your program is accessible to all the kids in your community?