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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Taking Care of Yourself When Your Library Is a Second Responder

Orange tabby cat sleeps with its head in its paws
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay 
I read a short piece in the Atlantic about how public libraries often act as Second Responders.  Like when there is a natural disaster, and the library provides resources to help folks figure out where to look for help, or goes to a shelter to provide storytimes or activities for kids and families to do to help ease stress and boredom.  Or when a kid's home is not particularly pleasant or safe, or when they don't have a home, and the library provides an excellent place for them to be.  So many, many examples.

I love seeing this role of libraries getting some attention.  It is what many of us are doing every day, and I'm glad others are paying attention and singing our praises.  I love it when we get good press for doing our jobs.

I'm also aware that this second-responder business can be exhausting, and can leave librarians with some symptoms of Secondary Trauma.  Remember to take time to pay attention to your own health and well-being.  Look for moments to breathe deeply.  Look for chances to reflect and act with intention when you plan your services, and remember that being Second Responders takes time and energy and resource, and you need to figure out a way to track that so you can let folks know what you are doing.

Let me know if you have any thoughts about this!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Spoilers! Game

Yellow triangle warning sign with large exclamation point, underneath it says:  Warning:  Spoilers Ahead

I found out about this game, Spoilers!, from an ALSC listserv.  It was developed by Kendra Wright, formerly at the Sno-Isle Library System in the state of Washington.  Though this game requires library staff to commit to reading a lot of middle-grade books, it sure seems like a great way to develop relationships around reading.  It might be a really fun way to work with kids who struggle with reading, or who need more encouragement to read during the summer (or any time).  You could offer it specifically to a smaller group of kids, or try it out on an individual basis with a kid who spends time at the library already, but who might need a little extra nudge to read enthusiastically.

The basic gist of it is that a child chooses a book they haven't read before, the librarian gets a copy of it, and reads to the halfway mark.  Then the child comes back after reading the whole book and tells the librarian two endings:  one true, one that they made up.  The librarian tries to choose which one is real--kids love trying to trick adults!  Read about the whole idea here.

I love the idea because it engages kids in a one-on-one relationship about reading, with plenty of individuated support and validation for reading, which the research supports as being a really excellent motivator.  Plus it give kids a chance to be creative and sneaky, which is a great combination when put to the right kind of application!