First of all, hello and thank you for reading my first blog post on Generation 2.0 Librarians- sorry it took so long.
A number of blogs and individual blog posts focus on the more negative aspects of dealing with the public and focusing on customers or patrons that can be euphemistically described as “unusual” or “difficult.” Of course, there is a place for this sort of thing (as long as there is anonymity to protect the innocent and “guilty”)- but in these troubled times for libraries- it’s probably better to focus on the positive experiences that remind us why we love libraries and/or chose to be librarians in the first place.
Although I have a long history with libraries, professionally my experiences are minimal when compared to my mom’s multiple decades of librarianship- and I wouldn’t mind seeing not only a comment from her on this, but also another full blog post- but I feel the positives have definitely outweighed the negatives in the past two years.
Here are two experiences that have made me smile and made the job search struggle and student loans worth it (these are the tip of the iceberg but they epitomize my passion for librarianship):
- While interning at the Villa Park Public Library I have presented storytimes for various ages, but the group that stood out most for me were the preschoolers on Thursday afternoon. We often had the same core group of kids. One of them made me a name tag that I added to my intern’s badge and to be silly, they often incorporated my name into the songs we sang, such as “Twinkle, twinkle little STEVE”- which was too adorable to get upset about. After a few months of merely helping present programs, I was confident enough to plan my first storytime. Despite my nervousness, I was able to feed off their excitement and enthusiasm and they checked out not only all the books I read, but many of the ones I had in reserve as well. It can be hard to gauge how kids will respond to a certain theme, so I was thrilled by their reaction to a cat storytime and the books I chose in particular (they particularly loved There are cats in this book by Viviane Schwarz- so much so that by popular demand, I read it a second time to close out the storytime, I highly recommend it).
- Last week at the Aurora Public Library, a kid who looked to be around 11 or 12 apprehensively approached me at the reference desk and asked for books about doing skateboarding tricks. At first, I could not find any that focused on learning tricks in the catalog, but upon further examination I found one and a few more on the shelf after helping him search. I left him to choose, but before he checked out his book at the circulation desk, he walked over to the desk with a huge smile and said “Thank you.” In life, there are many forced, obligatory “Thank you’s” particularly when someone is performing a service that’s part of their job, but I’ve heard very few expressions of gratitude that sounded more genuine than his. Maybe it will end up being an insignificant and forgotten moment for him, but I can dream that that experience was a tipping point that will give him a positive impression of libraries for years to come- most likely it will be neither. Still, whatever happens, I doubt I’ll forget that smile or that “Thank you” any time soon.
What are some of your positive experiences with patrons that keep you going through the hard times? Or from the other side of the desk, have you ever had a great and memorable experience as a library patron? I’m sure my mom has a lot to say about this subject as well. Feel free to make as long or short a comment as possible. This is a long post (believe it or not, it was nearly twice as long before editing), so it’d be hypocritical for me to expect the same of others…
Thanks for reading.
~SteveTags: Add new tag, Aurora Public Library, librarianship, libraries, library experiences, library patrons, reference interviews, storytimes, Villa Park Public Library
We’re all excited about our Summer Reading Program at the Addison Public Library. We chose the Illinois State iRead theme of ”Scare Up a Good Book,” and we’re really having fun with it. Sue and I stayed after the library closed one night to create a haunted house from the playhouse we purchased on Craigslist. We plan to make the playhouse into a reading nook (wait until you see what we have planned for that), but after the house arrived, we thought, let’s make it into a haunted house for the summer. So with the lots of Mod Podge, graphics of rats, spiders, skulls, and the addition of spider webs and ghosts, we have a haunted house! Last week was crazy with all the children out of school and in the library to sign up for summer reading; but without a doubt, the haunted house was the star of the library for the week, with children making scary noises and running around and in and out the haunted house. We have some questions for all of you as we begin summer reading this year: 1. What’s your theme? 2. What excites you about summer reading? and 3. What scares you about summer reading (arachnophobia, perhaps)?
Check out more photos of our haunted house: Haunted House
Originally uploaded by mjaustenTags: Addison Public Library, haunted house, iRead, libraries, summer reading