A Day in the Life of a Children’s Librarian

A Day in the Life of a Children’s Librarian

Oh your job must be so relaxing and peaceful… you just get to read all day!

 

Blogging about our days as children’s librarians is not new, Abby the Librarian has done it, as has The Show Me Librarian, Never Shushed, and Storytime Secrets.  But, we all bring a fresh and different perspetive and I have been wanting to blog about one of my days for quite some time to show the real variety in what I do each day.  Recently my days have been quite the mixed bag.  There are some days where I start my morning with two very full storytimes and end it with giving a presentation to a local community group about our library expansion project, with some collaborative work and patron engagement in between.  There are very rarely two days that are similar, sometimes I have a couple programs in one day, and others I spend most of the time in my office planning.  My favorite parts of my days are when I get to interact with the tiny humans enjoying the library.  Even if it just means waving goodbye or popping my head up when I hear a “Mom! Miss Meg is here!”.  Actually, about two minutes ago I had a 3 year old that I know from outreach visits introduce me to his dad, by his father’s first name, which gave both of us a good laugh.

Here was my Wednesday:

8:30am- leave for work, listen to a TAL podcast on the way

8:50am- arrive at work, talk to our amazing custodian for a few minutes.  Teach him how to download podcasts onto his ipod touch.

9:15am- clean up community room (our only room in the library for programming).  Put away tables and chairs and clean up any remaining craft supplies from storytime on Tuesday.

9:30am- post on Storytime Underground about my apprehension on using a parachute in Music & Movement.

Finish planning for Music & Movement, sync the ipod to our new playlist with correct order of songs, print off ‘lesson plan’ for coworker and I

9:55am- set up for Music & Movement… Put duct tape ‘x’s on the floor, hook up laptop to projector, get projector turned on, make sure ipod is plugged into speakers, bring out the parachute (!!!)

10am- LIBRARY IS OPEN.  Luckily I have a staff member who comes in and gets the children’s room all open and ready for the public, so I can continue to to work in my office/wherever I happen to be.

10:15am– check Storytime Underground post and feel a little bit more confident in my parachute-ing abilities

10:20am- last minute check to make sure everything is ready to go for Music & Movement

10:30am- open the doors for music & movement, remind everyone to sign in and sit down on an X

10:30-11:15am- Dance, boogie, jump, stretch, breathe, sing, PARACHUTE

I LIVED I DANCED I PARACHUTED I CONQUERED

A photo posted by meg (@itsmissmeg_) on

11:30am- help check out on the desk

11:35am- OH HEY I HAVEN’T CHECKED MY E-MAIL YET. Check e-mail. Respond accordingly

11:45am-1:30pm- Work in my office on the spring calendar while also hopping to the desk to help check out

1:30pm- realize that I forgot to put my lunch of leftovers in the fridge and instead it has been in my bag the entire time

2pm- go out for lunch, get an okay salad to go from grocery store

2:45pm- set up for after school club.  The craft this week is bracelets and necklaces so not too much to set up.  Although I do have to drag all of those tables and chairs out that I put away this morning so I guess this is my third workout of the day

3:30pm- finish working on spring calendar

4pm- After School Club! Spend the next hour making bracelets and necklaces while jamming out to some kidz bop

5:00pm- IMPROMPTU DANCE PARTY.  Literally.  Some of the younger siblings of after school club kids came in and I put on Shake it Off and we had a dance party for a few minutes. The mother of one of the dancing children sent me this video to the library facebook page and I tried my skillz at turning it into a gif:

via GIPHY

5:10pm– Quickly gather information I will need for evening meeting

5:15pm– Leave library and head to neighboring town for a forum about the CT Office of Early Childhood 4 year strategic plan.  I attended as the Children’s Librarian of my town as well as a member of my town’s early childhood collaborative. Bonus: This meeting includes delicious food! AND COOKIES!

**While at this meeting I was happy to see that “Partnerships” are included in one of their goals.  Unfortunately, libraries were not mentioned. I work closely with and am a member of the local early childhood collaborative and they know how beneficial our partnership is so my group was not hesitant to bring libraries to the table and let the OEC know that this was a vital thing missing from their plan.  A tweet of mine also brought it to the attention of ALSC and they will be sending me some information to share with the OEC.  I also sent some e-mails today to try and open up communication between the state OEC and libraries that are working hard with young children and their families in the state.

7pm– Head home!

Even at home I wear my children’s library hat while I read a middle grade book, interacted with Hafuboti on facebook about library programs, and checked twitter which is 99% librarians on my feed.

OTHER CHILDREN’s LIBRARIANS:
Please write posts about your day! IF you don’t have a blog, guest post here and tell us about your day!

Unicorn Storytime

Unicorn Storytime

Unicorn Storytime

In a semi recent Storytime Underground facebook page post someone mentioned about asking their storytime group for suggestions on books or themes… I got to thinking about doing something similar and realized that without a doubt, hands down, the most asked for topic would be Unicorns! So I decided to plan a Unicorn Storytime!  I announced the theme the week before (which I never do) so that the big die hard unicorn fans would know to come, and many even came wearing unicorn themed clothes or with their unicorn stuffed animals!

Unicorn Picture Books

*also let this be known, this is my official call for more picture books featuring unicorns!*

Unicorn Thinks Hes Pretty Great
Unicorn Think’s He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea
uni the unicorn
Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Brigette Barrager

i wished for a unicorn
I Wished for a Unicorn by Robert Heidbreder and Kady MacDonald Denton

Unicorn Extension Activities

Actually… I couldn’t find/come up with any great Unicorn songs or rhymes so we just did our basic Goldfish Song and Icky Sticky Bubble Gum!

Unicorn Craft

If this didn’t fall the week after ALA Midwinter I might’ve prepared a much cooler craft BUT, I think we did alright with some last minute planning.  I printed off two unicorn coloring sheets, added the traceable text on the bottom, and set out markers, crayons, glue, ribbon, scissors, and GLITTER!  One of the skills I try to work in at least once a month in storytime is scissors so for this one they were able to cut little pieces of ribbon for their Unicorn’s mane.  The glitter was just because it was unicorn storytime and can you REALLY have an authentic unicorn storytime without glitter?

Glitter

Unicorn

Unicorn2

All in all this was a great storytime, despite very few options that I could find for book choices and songs.  Many of them loved that storytime centered around one of their favorite things and they got to tell me about the unicorn stuffed animals they have at home!

Other Unicorn Storytime Resources:

Storytime Secrets- Fannel Friday: I Saw Five Little Unicorns
Random House- Uni the Unicorn Storytime Kit

Babies Needs Words Everyday

Babies Needs Words Everyday

BNWEDBlogTour

I am so so so excited (and honored!) to have been asked to be a part of the ‘Babies Need Words Every Day’ blog tour.  To view the other rockstar blogging librarians (seriously, how did I get so lucky to get in this mix!?) on the blog tour click here! Babies Needs Words is an ALSC initiative focused on bridging the 30 Million Word Gap.  It includes 8 beautiful posters that promote four early literacy practices: talk, sing, read, play!  In addition to the FREE posters it includes a downloadable book list and a media kit.

I am so excited to share with you this poster that promotes reading!

BNWED_Poster_Read2-page-001

Before my tiny tots storytime we have 15 minutes of play time & so I decided to put the poster on our toy tubs:

READ1

Having something different on the tubs attracted a lot of curious looks and the parents all noticed the posters during playtime.  I hadn’t thought of putting anything on the tubs in the past but I may switch out each of the different posters ever month or so for something new to look at that includes a new early literacy tip!

READ3

Reading, in a library!?

Reading may seem like a no-brainer in a library, but I think the biggest way we can promote this early literacy practice is being great models for parents.  Many that come to my tiny tots storytime mostly come for the social aspect of it & to get their baby around other tiny humans.  And then while they are here I surprise them with some early literacy tips and they go home with things they can practice outside of the library.

I hear quite often from new parents that they don’t even realize that reading to their baby is beneficial… sure, they sing and talk to their newborn but reading!? They can barely even sit up– what good is a book going to do!? When we read stories in storytime I share an early literacy tip about how to read to baby and let them know that it is completely okay to not finish a book.

Each storytime includes a choral reading of a board book.  As we are passing out the books I mention that if your little one is near you and looking at the pages to point to each word as we say it, or the pictures in the story.

READ2

Depending on how the group is I also read a big book.  Sometimes with the big book I will ask questions and point to the pictures.  This helps the caregivers realize that the book can be a conversation– we aren’t just reading the words and moving on.

Tips to promote Reading

  • In the first couple months, reading is a bonding experience.  Snuggle in with baby and read a story that you loved yourself when you were a child.  (True story: We have a dad who is reading his newborn The Hobbit, because he loves The Hobbit and they snuggle and baby usually falls asleep but zomg they are bonding SO MUCH)
  • Soon, baby will be able to enjoy looking at the pictures in the story.  Pick a high contrast book or one with fun textures.
  • When baby is able to sit up and hold things, have board books around the house.  Point to the pictures in the book and name them.
  • As you share stories, point to the words on the pages.  This will help them realize that the words you are saying are those weird black squiggles they see on the page.
  • Read often and read stories you yourself enjoy. It is okay to not finish a book or only read a few pages at a time.
  • Picture books have a lot of unique language that we don’t always use in our day-to-day!  These unique words helps build a strong vocabulary which then makes your tiny human more ready for school, helps them be a rockstar in school, graduate at 12, go on to MIT or something, and become the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  Really. Just from reading Moo Baa La La La.

 

One again, I am so honored to be a part of the Babies Need Words Blog Tour.  Go check out all of the amazing resources ALSC has to offer.  Seriously.  They have this Press Release that all you have to do is insert your Library’s Name and then send it to local organizations to try and see if they will display the posters!  Not only is this a great way to promote early literacy in your library (more so than you already are) but it can be a huge community partnership!!  The Letter to the Editor that they include has the biggest mic drop I’ve seen when it comes to early literacy:

By participating in the Babies Need Words Every Day campaign, we can work together to build a healthy, sustainable community in one of the most high-impact and cost-effective ways: by investing in its youngest members.

So yea, check out everything there is to offer– and share how you plan to use Babies Need Words in your library!

Four of the Babies Needs Words Posters in our boardbook and play area
Miss Meg’s Top 10 of 2015

Miss Meg’s Top 10 of 2015

I am currently on storytime break, and haven’t really felt the need* to blog about any of my recent storytimes, so things are slow over here on Miss Meg’s Storytime.

*Typically, I try to only blog about storytimes when I have something to add about that theme.

It will probably be a few weeks until I have some new content for you but until then, here are a few of my favorite things! (The Sound of Music is our favorite family holiday movie)

via GIPHY

Top 10 favorite things from Library world

10. Kendra’s Self Care Sundays on her blog, Read Sing Play.  So much of my online and personal life is about the library world, I am in over 10 library facebook groups, when people see me around the community they see “Miss Meg the librarian”, my closest friends here in CT are all librarians or work in libraries, and nearly everyone I follow on twitter is library or book related.  My persona is “Librarian” everywhere.  Sometimes it’s good to just step back and not think about the library, or reading, and do my own thing.  I love that Kendra recognized this and started blogging about the things she does on Sundays to take care of herself, and how by doing this she is really making herself a better librarian anyways.

9. My favorite school age program I did this past year at my library was Spy Academy (1, 2, 3).  This was a lot of fun and both challenging and very rewarding.  I did this program last winter and I still have regular questions on when I will be offering it again.  It required a bit if planning and prep work but I highly recommend doing your own version!

8.  Fictional Talking Bears Storytime.  This was such a fun theme for both me and the kids!  A new unexpected favorite (along with teeth storytime).

7. Canva.com… I’m counting this in “library related things” because I use it mostly for library things like this blog and promotional materials at the library.  I LOVE Canva, it makes creating eye catching posters and social media things really easy and fun.  Here are some of my favorite things I’ve created:

Early Literacy Playgroup Toddler- Dance Party

6. This year I was lucky enough to be chosen for the 2017 Nutmeg Intermediate Book Award Selection Committee.  The Intermediate Nutmeg Book Award is the Connecticut state award for books aimed at children in grades 3-5.  What this meant is that between January and October of this year I read over 100 middle grades books to help decide the top 10 that would be on the nominee list, which a winner will then be voted on by the kids across Connecticut!  It was a lot of work reading all of those books and attending meetings an hour away but it was so rewarding!

5. My first time attending Book Expo America (BEA)!!! It was exhausting, and a whirlwind of things happening BUT SO AMAZING.  It will be in Chicago in 2016 so all you midwest librarians should definitely find a way to attend! It is not expensive as far as conferences go and you get to come home with SO MANY BOOKS!!!! And meet so many authors! Ahhhh I am getting all excited again just thinking about it.

Me with Mac Barnett & Jory John
Me with Mac Barnett & Jory John

BEA Book Haul
BEA Book Haul

4. Maker Morning Roundup.  This is something started by Holly (of Let the Wild Rumpus Start) and I to hopefully shed light on some of the great maker programs happening out there in library world.

3.  I wrote a thing!  This past year Upstart launched their new 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten line, and I was asked to write the free startup guide!  This was a super fun project to research and write and I hope it helps many librarians in the future to start their own 1,000 Books program!  There are a couple more things that will be published this coming year that I am excited to share as well.

2. Outreach storytime.  This year marked the first full year of outreach storytime and me being a #librarianonthego.  This was one of my goals for 2015 and I am so excited to report that things are going great so far!  In our small town, I visit a local pre-school, and a handful of at home daycares once a month for storytime.  This was previously a service that the children’s room didn’t provide so there have been a few small obstacles in just getting the word out.  Now, my outreach storytimes are some of my favorite parts of the month.

Storytime at the Farmer's Market
Storytime at the Farmer’s Market

1. A Very Merry Trump-mas; in which Rebecca from Hafuboti trolled the Storytime Underground facebook page to get us to rethink how we do programming around the Holidays.  I sometimes feel like a broken record at this time of year because I am personally against Christmas programming and so half of my comments on facebook in library groups are “hey, watch your privilege, not everyone is Christian”, but I really enjoyed the perspective Rebecca had that made us really think hard about what we do and why we do it.

Okay…okay… I need to do an honorable mention as well because I really couldn’t pick only 10:
Invention Storytime, Storytime Underground Local Chapters, the Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak, Twitter, and every time I let the children use glitter in the library. Oh, and that one time I let the kids “paint” with squirt guns thinking that the paint would come off of the wall but it’s been over 6 months and many rains and it’s still there. oops!

Squirt Gun Painting


Top 10 favorite things not from Library world

10. I shaved half my head!  I had been thinking about it for a long time then I  started reading the graphic novel Nimona (in which the main character and some of her head shaved) and decided then and there that I AM DOING THIS.  I did receive many comments from people with their opinions of my hair (not that I asked) but I am SO HAPPY I did it.  My current hair is short on one side and growing out on the other but I plan to keep it short for a very long time! Follow me on instagram (@theemegnificent) to see more sweet pics of my shaved head ;)

5

9. I got a new sewing machine from Mike as an early Christmas present.  I have wanted one for years so I was so excited that we found one at a decent price the weekend after Thanksgiving.  So far, I have just made a couple scarfs, a small stuffed animal, and some bookmarks, but my long term goal is to be able to make my own dresses and skirts.

8. At home paint nights.  As many of you have seen, there are a lot of dedicated places for these “everyone paints the same pictures and drinks wine” type of things.  Which seem really great and someday I’d like to do a real one but until then, Mike and I have made our own at home (and we never get cut off on how much wine we drink!).  We don’t always have a ton of money to do fancy things, but we like to get creative with what we have.

at home paint night

7. I ate a lot of delicious food in 2015 including Oysters in Boston, a new Taco place near us, chicken wings every chance I get, Thai food for my first time, a bunch of goodies when I visited home in November, some fun new homemade meals, and cheese at every opportunity.

6. For both of our first times, Mike and I were able to take part in a CSA box.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and once a week for 22(ish) weeks we picked up a box of mostly vegetables (some fruits) fresh from a local farm!  It was so fun exploring new veggies and recipes.

5. Okay so technically not library related because I read all of these books in my personal time but my favorite books for 2015 were Dumplin’  by Julie Murphy, Ms. MarvelLumberjanes, and More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera (who I also got to meet at BEA!)

4. I was lucky enough this year to go home for Thanksgiving!  It was my first time home for Thanksgiving since I’ve moved out of the midwest and I was so happy to be there.

3. Visits from friends and family.  In 2015 alone my best friend and her husband visited from Minnesota and we spent the weekend in Boston, my brother visited from Wisconsin (and again spent the weekend drinking beer in Boston), and I joined my other best friend (since Kindergarten!) for a long weekend in NYC. <3 My mom and dad are planning a visit up here for summer of 2016!
Also, along with my friends and family visiting we also had to chance to visit many of Mike’s friends in Boston and NYC and regularly visited his family in MA!

1
Boston!

2
Best friend since Kindergarten and I on a casual stroll through Central Park

6
Brother and I! He visited for my birthday on July 4th.

Mike & I with his little cousin
Mike & I with his little cousin
Though not technically a "visit"... these are our very good friends in CT!
Though not technically a “visit”… these are our very good friends in CT!

2. New kitten! I received Frank on January 1st of 2015 :) He’s a stinker and the very definition of a scardey cat, but he gives the best snuggles (unless it’s 4am then he gives the best finger nibbles). Frank joined Rae (who I received in 2014) and they still don’t quite get along but I love them both oh so much <3

Frank Frank & Rae

1. In February of this year, my boyfriend Mike joined me in Connecticut. Previous to that we had been long distance for 18 months (first from NH -> WI, then from CT -> WI). It is still an adjustment for both of us to go from living alone to constantly having another human near us, but I am oh so thankful that our relationship is no longer comprised of facetime and phone calls.

Mike with (then, a kitten) Frank, his first week living in CT.
Mike with (then, a kitten) Frank, his first week living in CT.

 


2015 was a really great year for me, professionally and personally, so here’s to 2016!  See you then.

Fictional Talking Bears Storytime

Fictional Talking Bears Storytime

What started as, I assume, a joke response on twitter to storytime theme ideas has morphed into one of my new favorite storytimes:
Fictional Talking Bears Storytime!

I took Glam Librarian’s response and ran with it!  I began storytime by asking the kids what they knew about bears– they growl, are big, have fur, etc– and then asked them if they knew of any real  bears that talked.  They didn’t.  So I told them that today we would be reading stories about bears that talked.  These were called fictional stories, because it isn’t real.  Sometimes in our make believe stories bears do talk.

And, it was super fun picking books for this theme…some of my favorite books include fictional talking bears!

Fictional Talking Bears Picture Books

Baby Bear Counts One
Baby Bear Counts One by Ashley Wolff
I Want My Hat Back
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
This was probably the favorite of the day…by both the parents and the kids! Everyone laughed at that ending
Bear Snores On
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, illus. by Jane Chapman
I really take any opportunity to read a book from this series!
The Terrible Plop
The Terrible Plop by Ursula Dubosarsky, illus. by Andrew Joyner

For our songs we just did our normal Goldfish Song by Laurie Berkner and Icky Sticky Bubble Gum by David Landau. If we don’t do them both than I will have requests!

In past bear themed storytime I have done this flannel story from Mel’s Desk
bear flannel

For our craft we of course had to make our own fictional talking bears– puppets! I used the template from East Coast Mommy.  I explained that for the older pre-schoolers they could try and cut their own and that since these are fictional bears they can be any color!

Bear Puppets

All in all, this was a GREAT storytime–  up there in my favorites with the teeth theme!  This storytime really forced me to have unique conversations with the group using new language and talking about new concepts.

Invention Storytime

Invention Storytime

Invention Storytime

Invention Picture Books

Anything is Possible
Anything is Possible
by Giulia Belloni, illus. by Marco Trevisan
Rosie Revere Engineer
Rosie Revere
by Andrea Beaty, illus. by David Roberts
Al Pha's Bet
Al Pha’s Bet
by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illus. by Delphine Durand
Oh, Ducky! A Chocolate Calamity
Oh Ducky!: A Chocolate Calamity
by David Slonim

I actually only read the Anything is Possible and Rosie Revere, Engineer because they were all pretty lengthy books and I was losing the attention of my preschoolers. This storytime theme would work a lot better with the 5+ crowd (I had mostly 3 & 4 year olds). That being said, It was a really fun one and it was a fun challenge.  This would also fit really nicely in a STEM storytime theme.

Invention Songs & Rhymes

This theme was a little bit harder to find songs and rhymes for…

Inventors
source, sung to “twinkle, twinkle, little star”

Invent, invent, inventors
Cameras, robots, radios
There’s the wheel and telephone
They are all your inventions
Invent, invent, inventors
Thank you for your creations

I also did a version of this shadow guessing game from Storytime Secrets

If anyone has any other great invention songs or rhymes that would work for storytime please leave them in the comments below!

Invention Craft

I was planning on doing the marshmallow and toothpick thing with this but since I have a young pre-school crowd I thought it might be more eating of the marshmallows and the idea would go over their head a little bit.  So, instead we decorated boxes!  These were just plain brown mini treasure chests we had leftover from something else.


Other Picture Book Ideas:

Papa’s Mechanical Fish by Candace Fleming, illus. by Boris Kulikov
Now & Ben: the modern inventions of Benjamin Franklin
Oh No! Or, How my Science Invention Destroyed the World by Mac Barnett, illus. by Dan Santat
Inventor McGregor by Kathleen T. Pelley

Flannel Friday: Vegetables

Flannel Friday: Vegetables

This weeks Flannel Friday was part of my Vegetable Storytime.Vegetable Storytime Flannel Friday | Miss Meg's Storytime

kind of used the song from PreSchool Alphabet but really adapted and changed it to fit with my group. I handed out one veggie to each kid in the group (I usually have about 10 in attendance) and when their veggie was called they came and put it in the bucket and stirred it.  This was the song we sang:
Stir it, Stir it
Until it’s hot!
Come put the _____
in the pot!

Vegetable Storytime Flannel Friday | Miss Meg's Storytime

On my outreach visits I didn’t bring the bucket and we just used the plastic baggie instead and they shook it up.


It’s been awhile since I’ve participated in FF and it is good to be back!

Flannel Friday this week is hosted by Lisa at Libraryland.

 

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