Friday wrap-up

It’s been a busy week, as usual…

Monday was my second toddler storytime, and it was SO much fun!  I’m still using Judy Nichol’s book as a guide (the newest edition arrived at the library for the children’s office professional collection), and I chose her “Bears” storytime this week.  Despite my concerns about learning and presenting “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt,” I was able to pull it off, and we all had such a great time with it.  As Jim put it, I actually got out of my own way, and tapped into my inner storyteller. 

At this point, I’m not yet limiting enrollment to the toddler storytime, but it’s clear why Nichols recommends that approach.  Three families arrived late, and at different times, and the flow of the storytime was definitely interrupted by those late arrivals.  Perhaps in the future, once this storytime is better established, I’ll be able to require pre-registration and on-time attendance, but I am working in a small town with a limited number of toddlers, and I want to be accessible and open to all.  It’s a puzzle, one that I’ll have to work out over time.

On Tuesday, I hosted two book groups at the library.  One was the postponed 6th Grade Book Group, with a discussion of Jane Langton’s The Diamond in the Window, and the other was the Teen Book Group meeting, in which we discussed The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean.  (For details on the excellent teen discussion, see Tuesday’s post.)  The 6th graders totally surprised me, because their opinions of TDITW were polar opposite from the 5th graders opinions on the same book.  The 6th graders unanimously disliked the book, and I was hard pressed to change their minds.  In fact, Tuesday’s discussion has inspired me to write a entry on the current state of children and books that will be posted this weekend.

Also on Tuesday, another meeting of the Infant Storytime.  Not my best showing for the Infant Storytime, in part because I’m still working to put together a Mother Goose on the Loose program, which does limit the amount of time I have available to plan the existing infant program.  As every children’s librarian knows, there is never enough time to accomplish all the tasks on my plate.  But with time and perserverence, the Infant Storytime will become the awesome program that I envision.

Thursday morning was the Preschool Storytime, which was oh-so-popular last spring, but is struggling this fall.  Last week no one attended, but this week two families showed, and the three children were sweet and cute and terrific listeners.  Once attendance is a bit more regular, I’ll be instituting changes to that storytime, as well, enhancing it with varied, hands on activities in addition to the older stories that have always been at the core of Thursday mornings.

Tonight will be a showing of The Jungle Book after the library closes, my first attempt at running an after-hours program in the new building.  If Lisa’s health has improved (she was struck down by the evil cold yesterday), she’ll be assisting me, as will Jim, who has promised to bring me dinner first.  What a guy!   🙂

In addition to all these programs, I’ve been working assiduously at book ordering.  Not just new titles, but also filling gaps in the collection:  classics that are somehow missing (such as George MacDonald’s  At the Back of the North Wind) and books by popular authors that we don’t have (Andrew Clements’ The Jacket) and books to complete a series.  And, now that school has started back up, I’ve been adding nonfiction titles to the collection that will support school projects, such as the project that requires study on a country in the Middle East. 

All these tasks have been in addition to the ongoing challenge of monitoring the afterschool crowd:  all lovely and charming kids, but kids who do need a fair amount of supervision in order to maintain the quiet decorum that a library requires.  My room is getting to be more manageable, and I’m considering the implementation of a rewards program to recognize good behavior.  When I was at Alcott School, one of the 4th grade classrooms that I helped in (help is such a weak word for SPED tutoring, but whatever) used an approach gleaned from the masterful teaching of Kitsy Rothermel.  (Kitsy was my 5th grade teacher, and is a fabulously talented woman who still volunteered her time and expertise at Alcott when I worked there, teaching 4th grade writing classes.)  Kitsy’s approach: the ticket system.  The teacher has a giant roll of tickets, and quietly hands out these tickets to kids who are “caught” doing something good, like working independently, following directions, etc.  The kids then write their names on the tickets, and put the tickets into a box for a weekly drawing.   Each Friday, the teacher pulls out one ticket, and that child gets to choose a prize from a prize box.  It’s an incredibly successful approach, and creates a cycle of positive reinforcement.  It would need to be modified somewhat for use in a public library setting, but I think I have a plan for that – I’ll post an update when I’m more secure in my approach.

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