Category Archives: Library events

Weekly update

It’s been a busy week at the library.  Here are some of the things that have been going on:

A local newspaper is working on an article about the teen volunteers who run the Saturday Storytimes and the Games Hour.  The reporter was at the library yesterday, interviewing some teens, witnessing the joyful roar that is Game Hour, and she’ll drop by on Saturday to interview more teens and sit in on the storytime.

The 5th grade is doing a complex project on motion and design, and many 5th graders have come by the library for help in doing research.  It’s relatively easy to find materials for some of the projects – the Wright Brothers, history of the wheel – but for other projects, it’s terribly difficult – the history of load-bearing vehicles, cars of the future, Mars exploratory vehicles.  Nicole, Lisa, and I have been working hard to assist these students, but sometimes it’s tough to find what they need!

The stomach bug has been making the rounds among the staff.  Between the bug and a cold that is starting to raise its head, we’re dropping like flies.

The budget for summer programs seems to be balanced, so now I’m just trying to find a few free moments to make the necessary calls.  Hopefully that will be done today, so that I can reveal the fabulous programs that will be coming this summer!

And one last thing: I’m searching for ways to get donations of paperback books to use as prizes for summer reading.  The books need to be classics, and noncontroversial.  Anyone have ideas of where to go, who to ask?

Thursday update

It’s been a good week at the library:

The Clay Painting Workshop went off without a hitch.  The manager of Fire Your Desire ran the show, and she is fabulous.  The workshop was calm, orderly, and fun for all (including me!).  And the kids painted some great looking ornaments – I was really impressed by their creativity!  The workshop has inspired me, and I think I’ll gather together some of my female friends for a “Ladies Night” at Fire Your Desire; Fridays are their chick nights, where you can reserve a table for a large group of friends, or just drop in with a few friends, and paint up a storm.  Sounds like a lot of fun to me!

The first Teens n’ Tots Saturday Storytime went beautifully, with our first teen volunteer reading along with her mom to a small group of kids and parents.  They did a great job, and I have a lot of faith that Saturday storytimes are going to grow in popularity as we regularly run them.  Also, it looks like there are two more teen volunteers who will be helping out in the future…

And then there’s the Tuesday infant and toddler storytime.  Another huge turnout this week, the biggest yet.  It’s a LOT of fun, because it’s not just a storytime, it’s also a social event.  Most parents and kids end up hanging out in the children’s room for an hour or so after storytime ends, and it’s great to see friendships being made between both adults and children.  Next week’s Tuesday storytime should be even better, because Lois, the mother of our teen Saturday volunteer, will be helping me.  Two voices will carry better than one over the noisy crowd, and Lois reads a mean story (her undergraduate degree is in elementary education).  I’m so grateful to her for volunteering her time to make a popular event that much better!

Speaking of popular events, Joanne’s Story and Craft (on Mondays and Wednesdays) continues to be a local favorite.  Joanne is incredibly creative, and each week’s craft project is better than the last.  I love seeing the kids come up from the hour-long session with a big grin on their face, proudly holding their project, saying “Mom!  Look what I made!”

In other news, Children’s Book Week is next week (the 13th through the 19th), and I’ve put up a large display in the children’s room with the titles of the library staff’s favorite children’s books.  Come check it out, and tell me what your favorite is!

That’s the weekly update!  I’ll be posting the promised JE titles tomorrow or the next day, since there are some great new titles in that section


I started at the library on November 7th of last year.  Within a week and a half, I was in charge of a huge after-school program (Harvard has “early release days” once or twice a month, and the library usually has programs on those days).  Over the years, this program has been called “Ornament Decorating Workshop” and “Claytime”; it’s the most popular early release program of the whole year.  Last year, there were two sessions of thirty kids each, all anxious to paint clay ornaments and coasters.  Lots of parents attend, too, so the program room was PACKED.  I have a memory of myself standing by the door, desperately trying to figure out which kids were there and which kids hadn’t shown up, and who might be crashing the party.  It was, well, awful:  I didn’t know a soul in Harvard, and no one knew who I was, and chaos reigned.  The worst part was as the kids finished, because I had to write down what type of ornament the child had painted and a description of the paint job (”Emily – flamingo – yellow with purple spots”), a totally necessary step so that the ornaments could be identified after firing.  And remember, glazes are a different color before firing than they are after firing.  Was Emily’s flamingo really yellow, or was it brown?  You try doing that with a mob of thirty kids you’ve never met before and with glazes you can’t identify.

So, guess what.  This clay painting workshop is coming up again, on Wednesday.  I’ve changed the name of it to: “Clay Painting Workshop with Fire Your Desire,” for two reasons.  I’ve changed vendors from Claytime of Shrewsbury, very nice people but too far away, to Fire Your Desire of Acton, also extremely nice people, and just around the corner from my house.  And I did have some complaints last year about this being described as an ornament painting workshop.  We’ll still be painting ornaments, but they’re not necessarily Christmas tree ornaments.  This workshop is for kids of all beliefs and denominations.

But what about the chaos?  I’m still a bit nervous about this event, and truthfully can’t wait for it to be over, but at least I know a fair portion of the kids and adults who will be attending.  And Fire Your Desire is making the logistics a lot easier for me; Susan, the owner, is letting me pick up all the paints, ornaments, and other supplies first thing in the morning, so I can take my time getting set up.  She’ll also be sending someone over to help out with the actual workshop.  Most importantly, Susan provides me with firing slips for all the kids.  I am SO thrilled about this!  I can write out the slips ahead of time with each kid’s name, and then there is room to jot down what two ornaments the child decorated, with descriptions.  Much, much easier.  I hope.

Just two final notes here:  a great big thank-you to Susan at Fire Your Desire, since she’s fabulous to work with AND she cut us a great deal, letting each child paint two ornaments for last year’s price for one ornament.  And a HUGE thank-you to the Friends of the Harvard Public Library for funding this event.  Too often the generosity of the Friends is under-recognized by program attendees; events like this one are free to all because the Friends work hard to raise funds and then generously give those funds to the library for programming and other uses.  Without the donation of the Friends, this workshop would cost $5 per child.  THANK YOU, FRIENDS!!!!!


I’m really not complaining, more just explaining.

Yes, I’m tired again.  And once again, my blog entries are suffering.  Days like these, I wonder how people manage to work as many hours as I do AND have children.  I really really wonder.  Because I certainly couldn’t pull it off!

Though it has been a particularly jam-packed couple of weeks, with one more overscheduled week coming up.  Here are some highlights of the week starting tomorrow:

I’m going to try out Gail Carson Levine’s new book on creative writing for kids with my student “John” tomorrow night.  He and I have been working exclusively on non-fiction writing, and he’s gotten pretty good at that, so now seems like a perfect time to try some fiction; and how fabulous that Levine’s book just came out and just arrived at the library.

Another highlight of the coming week is the second meeting of the Bagels n’ Books group for 4th and 5th graders on Tuesday afternoon.  Group membership has reached the nice round number of twelve (that will be the maximum, I’m afraid – perhaps I’ll have to start additional groups) and we’ll be discussing Edward Eager’s book Half Magic.  Should be fun!

Also on Tuesday, another infant and toddler storytime.  Since I worked this Saturday at the library, I was able to spend an hour or so cooking up a plan for this week’s storytime that (hopefully) will be engaging and fun for all.  I’m slowly building up my repetoire and gaining a sense of how many songs and fingerplays realistically can fit into a twenty-minute program.

And on Wednesday morning, the last morning session with “Josie,” one of my favorite students.  Josie has now finished Step 6 of the Wilson Reading System, and her parents think this might be a good time to phase me out so that she can sleep a little later on Wednesday mornings.  Josie and I have bravely and happily been meeting at 7:15 – before her school bus arrives, and before I need to go to work – and we’re both a wee bit exhausted!  I’ll miss working with Josie, though, since she’s a bright, engaged, hardworking, and happy kid.

So that’s my week in brief.  Next weekend I’ll get some sleep.  Then I’ll start looking for a new student…  : )

And in the end…

…we ate cake and cookies and brownie cupcakes and got to visit with the town fire truck.
Yes, the end of summer reading is here, and the finale picnic was a LOT of fun.  The kids had a blast with the fire truck and all the fire truck’s accoutrements (hats and boots and coats), and we went through a huge amount of yummy desserts.  Rumor has it that some kids decided to forgo their proper lunch in order to have more room for dessert, but I take no responsibility for that!

So tomorrow is the very last day of summer reading, and I’ve already begun to put some of the summer stuff away.  By the close of the day tomorrow, there won’t be a trace of the summer reading program left in the children’s room, and we’ll all have to start turning our focus towards (gasp!) the school year.  I hope that everyone else has had as much fun this summer as I have; though a few months ago the organizing of the program seemed like a gargantuan task, now it’s just a collection of happy memories.  And, shockingly, I can’t wait ’til next year!  We’ll see what I can cook up for next summer…

Nanny McPhee

Quick note on this movie, for those of you who haven’t seen it (and might not be inclined to try, even!).  It’s not the absolute best movie that I’ve ever seen, but it’s still pretty darn good.  Emma Thompson is great as the hideously scary Nanny McPhee, and Colin Firth is at his charming, cutest best as a baffled father of too many.  And that raucous brood of misbehaving children – too fun.  Not to forget Angela Lansbury as the rather despicable aunt; she’s shed that “Murder She Wrote” persona and is entertaining again.

The movie was a hit at last Wednesday’s movie night, and I spotted many of the grown-up women in the audience with tears in their eyes (me, too).

Crunch Time

I’m afraid that I haven’t paid as much attention to this blog as I should in the last two weeks; the start of my first summer reading program is just days away, and it’s definitely crunch time.

Just when I think I’ve caught up, I think of one more thing that HAS to be done RIGHT NOW.  Yesterday it was assembling large envelopes for the raffle items that have the logos of the donating stores on them.  (One of the raffle items, just arrived, is pretty awesome, by the way: a baseball autographed by the actor and Red Sox fan Mike O’Malley, star of the show Yes, Dear.)

Today, hopefully, I’ll finish up all those nagging last minute items: making the raffle tickets, creating posters for each of the summer’s events, stamping all those museum coupons with our official stamp, confirming the ice cream pick-up time…ugh, I’m getting a stomach ache just thinking about the list.

With luck, next summer – my second summer on the job – will be smoother and easier.  With luck, all the kinks will have been worked out by next year.  With luck, I won’t be this stressed out and exhausted next summer.

Wish me luck, I need it!