Category Archives: Summer reading

In praise of elementary students

I never, never, never post on this blog from work – but I have to take a brief moment today to say “hurray!” for the three great classes that just visited from the elementary school.  Two second grade classes came for a visit together, and they were so fun and so well behaved – I had a great time with them.  And then a third grade class just came for a tour of the library, and I was blown away by how attentive they were and by what great questions they asked.

What a great morning I’ve had with these visiting students!  And I can’t wait to meet the terrific first and fourth graders who will be visiting me this afternoon!

Procrastination…the fine art of

I turned on the computer to work on the library tour that I’ll be giving to the elementary school students this week, starting with two third grade classes tomorrow.

“Why don’t you get your work done now, in the morning, so that we can enjoy the rest of the day?” said my wonderful and wise husband before heading outside to work on installing the cedar decking on our new back steps.

That was about an hour ago.  In that hour, I’ve checked Facebook (both my account and Pepper B. Collie’s account), checked my email, read something my sister sent me, checked my work email, looked at a shirt on Garnet Hill, drunk two cups of tea, sent an email to my friend, turned on a McAfee scan on the computer, and now logged in to write a blog post.  And my flashdrive and the hard copy of the library tour that I printed out on Friday are both sitting next to me on the chair, unused so far today.


Summer books

Today I chose the books that we’ll be reading this summer in my book groups!

Teen Book Group ~ Grades 7 to 9:  Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George

6th Grade Book Group:  From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

5th Grade Book Group:  The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Connor

Yay!  I’m really excited about all of these titles, and I think each book really suits the personality of the book group that will be reading and discussing it.


Just after storytime finished this morning, while I was still surrounded by a crowd of happy and chatty two and three year olds, my coworker Jane brought a large cardboard box into the children’s room and put it behind my desk.  Not too unusual, just another delivery of something, so I didn’t think much about it.

And then, after all the storytime families had left and the room was quiet, I noticed that the persistent (and recently rather loud) tinnitus in my ears had graduated to a new level of annoying:  my ears were going beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep.  “Oh, dear,” I thought to myself, “I guess I really DO need to see a doctor about the tinnitus – this is awful!!!”  And I started getting really worried.

And then I realized that the beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep  beepbeepbeep could be traced to the box that Jane had delivered.  A-ha!  The delivery of bookmark timers (which will be summer reading raffle prizes) had arrived!

But my joy at their arrival soon changed to absolute frustration bordering on beginning insanity.  There are one hundred bookmark timers in that large cardboard box, and each bookmark is in its own little white box.  AND I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHICH ONE IS BEEPING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Aaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

[It should be noted here, as I quietly go insane, that the tech services staff had lived with this box for two days before figuring out where the beeping was coming from…and that Jane brought the box down to me so that THEY wouldn’t go insane.  :)]

T minus six days

The elementary school class visits begin next Monday – always an exciting time of year!  I’m working on my final preparations for the visits, which include narrowing down the book choices for the books that I’ll read to the Kindergarteners and the first graders (I’ve pulled at least thirty of my favorites…so so hard to pick only a couple); streamlining my tour of the building to make it history-rich (the building is historic and very cool) but still engaging for a large group of kids; and creating a new feltboard story to use with the younger kids.

I’m really looking forward to next week’s class visits, since it’s such a great way to meet and make meaningful contact with every child in town who attends the public elementary school.  And, of course, to promote the library’s ever-popular summer reading program.

And now it’s just up to the Bruins to establish whether I wear my Bruins shirts for the class visits…if they’re still winning, I’ll be wearing the shirts, since the Bruins are statewide co-sponsors of the summer reading program.  If they’ve lost and are out of the running for the Stanley Cup, it may be a bit too fresh and painful for the kids.  (But wearing a Bruins shirt does catch the attention of sports-minded kids, which is always great.)  Stay tuned to find out what I’ll be wearing next week…

Movies…and lessons learned

Last night we showed The Rise of the Guardians for the May family movie night, to a relatively small crowd.  Usually I run the family movie nights on the first Friday of the month, but this year the Friends held their annual book sale at the library for the first time, which meant that we needed to make the large program room available to them for about a month for collecting, sorting, and then selling of the books.  So movie night got bumped to later in the month…and prom was last Friday night, so movie night got bumped to yesterday, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.  Obviously, not as many people were in town for last night’s movie, so we had a smaller crowd.

I’ve been in my job for a while now, and sometimes I think that I’ve got things all figured out.  But then there are nights like last night where I realize that I’ve learned another lesson.  Last night’s lesson?  Next year, I won’t bother to run a movie night in May.  Not just because the crowd was smaller, but also because of all the things that I need to be accomplishing right before summer reading starts, and in times of stress like this, a movie night feels like time lost that could be spent stuffing summer reading bags or preparing for the elementary class visits.

But, more importantly, I realized last night that we’d wasted a great movie that could have been our opening movie for the summer reading program.  We hold two movie performance licenses at the library, but there are still a limited number of new release children’s movies that are covered by our licenses.  I really struggled to come up with five movies to show this summer, and I know full well that the two older movies that I chose to show in August will not draw as large a crowd as a newer movie would.

So last night was an if-only night:  if only I hadn’t insisted on showing a movie in May; if only I hadn’t chosen a hot new release to show at that May movie night; if only I had saved Rise of the Guardians for the June 21 movie night.  If only.  Lesson learned.  I’ll remember next year…

4:30 Panic

Ok, it’s that time of year.  I woke up at 4:30 this morning, and started to panic about all that I have to get done.  The elementary school visits begin on June 3, which is the unofficial start to summer reading (even though the “real” summer reading doesn’t start until June 25, the day of the Ice Cream Social).

It’s lovely that there is a movie night tonight, and equally lovely that this is a three-day holiday weekend, but in reality all that means is that I lose four hours today and eight hours on Monday when I could be getting a lot of work done.  So I gave up on sleep at 5:15, and hauled myself into work very very early.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get enough done this morning before we open so that I can enjoy my holiday weekend.

And this is one of those days when I want to point out to anyone who thinks my job is “cute” and easy – it ain’t.  It’s a lot of never-ending, hard hard work.  Rewarding work, but hard hard work.  And did I mention never-ending?  🙂

End of Summer Exhaustion and Vacation

Between finishing up the summer reading program and Ophy’s ongoing health issues, this has been a loooooong two weeks.  I went in to the library yesterday to inventory and put away all of the summer reading prizes, and when I got home I sat on the couch to watch the news (Jim had band practice last night).  Next thing I knew, I was wakened by the phone ringing an hour and a half later.  It’s not my style to fall asleep on the couch in the middle of the afternoon or early evening (or ever, really), so I think it’s safe to assume that I was absolutely tuckered out.  Exhausted.  Worn down.  However you want to put it, I was tired.

I worked today, and managed to finish up everything that might potentially haunt me during my vacation week; this included submitting my statistics to the state for the summer reading program.  And even though I planned the summer and knew full well what was going on all summer, I was blown away by our statistics:  we ran 58 programs (including hired performers, storytimes, book groups, and other library-run programs) and our attendance at those 58 programs was just shy of 1,900 adults and kids.  Wow.  Wow.  No wonder I fell asleep yesterday!

So goodbye to summer reading 2012 – it was a good summer, and we all enjoyed it and got lots of reading done.  (The kids read for over 5,200 hours this summer!)  And hello to Abby’s vacation 2012 – a stay-cation, of course.  I’m looking forward to sleeping in and making a full pot of tea every morning (and drinking the whole pot, too) and reading lots of books and going on adventures with Jim and repainting the exterior of our house and helping Ophy to recover.   Woo-hoo!

Winnie the Pooh

Last night’s movie night was hands down the sweetest movie night ever at the library.  We showed the 2011 film Winnie the Pooh, and the audience was full of younger kids (all under the age of five, I believe), some of whom had never been to a movie night before.  They were so sweet and so attentive and so wrapped up in the flow of this very gentle movie.  Lots of giggles when Pooh’s tummy grumbled, lots of delight when Tigger bounced and sang.

And from my adult perspective, I was impressed by how Disney constructed this movie.  Mid-way through the movie I went and checked the DVD case to make sure this was actually a new film, because it has the look, feel, and spirit of the older classic Disney movies.  The animation is lovely (the DVD case says that it’s hand-drawn) and the plot is gentle, with just enough tension to make things interesting, but not so much that younger children are anxious.  And I loved the way that the original text of the books is integrated into the film.  The text is almost a character in the film, as full page spreads of the original book (or a facsimile thereof, I’ll have to look at the book to figure that out) appear from time to time, and then the words and letters will move and fall and incorporate into the action of the movie.  My favorite bit was when the characters are stuck at the bottom of the pit they have dug, and then they use the words of the text to build a ladder to climb out.  So cool.

The best part of last night’s movie?  Everyone left happy, and got home in time to get to bed at a reasonable hour (a major benefit of a movie that’s only one hour).  That happy-and-bed-at-a-reasonable-hour includes the children’s librarian, by the way.  🙂

I take it back

Did I say in my last post that summer reading was winding down and things were getting a bit quieter at the library?

Then again, maybe not.  After an extremely busy Monday, I take that back.  I saw kids today that I haven’t seen all summer – and some of those kids have read twenty hours or more so far.  And then there were the reference questions!  Tons of kids and their adults looking for books today…and happily, I was able to come through for most of them with a book in hand.  The rest have books requested for them, soon to arrive.

It was a very fun day.  Very fun.  But definitely not quiet.  And now for some rest to prepare for tomorrow, which promises to be busy again.  (Especially since the road construction seems to have come to a halt.)

P.S. Total time reading by kids in the summer reading program now stands at 3,809 hours.