January 27, 2009

so many ideas running through my head!

The spring semester has begun and I've gotten the chance to attend all three of my classes at least once. Monday night was Instructional Techonologies. The class spent a lot of time in a fruitful and amoebic (spread out everywhere) discussion on the massive question of how technology is changing education. One link I will share thus far - Ayiti, the cost of life - an online game funded by Microsoft Corporations US Partners in Learning designed by Global Kids and a group of high school students. If you're still not convinced that gaming can be used towards education and englightenment, give the game a try.

Tuesday night was Medical Librarianship. All semester long we will be working on one project - a porfolio of a library we've imagined. I am planning a Consumer Health Information Center in Camden County NJ, focused on nutrition. I have sooooo many ideas running around, I can't wait to put them all on paper. We're putting it together piece by piece. This week we're focusing on a mission statement, environmental assessment, and core values. I'm so pumped. We're even gonna get to floorplans and job descriptions!

Tonight is Cultural Diversity and Libraries. We read a an absolutely brilliant and comprehensive paper, Cultural Diversity: How Public Libraries Can Serve the Diversity in the Neighborhood and I'm excited to discuss it. Using examples from all over the world, the paper went piece by piece explaining what is necessary to make an impact with library service for immigrants and people of various ethnic backgrounds in the neighborhood. Perhaps the underlying theme in the paper is that even if all other work goes to plan, if there is not good leadership, a library simply cannot be successful.

So of course, an organization needing good leadership is pretty obvious. Yet it seems as if many do forget and attempt to forge ahead without support from above. Library directors and managers can make or break programs and initiatives. So many other factors need to be in place, but that I believe is the most critical. As a young librarian and likely holder of a future directorial/managerial library position in the future (I say this logically, as I will be in the field for another good 25 years) it will be my responsiblity to initate directives born from the ideals of library innovators and students... to tune into staff and support fabulous programs and innitiatives from the get-go... to push for changes that support the technologies of the time, to make sure the mission statement is consulted and updated, and to remember, "immigrant service is customer service" (Gary Strong, former director of Queens Library).

January 15, 2009

Teen Crafting

Last week on January 7th, the Bushwick Branch had its first monthly Teen Craft: Calendar Decorating. We normally get a good number of participants for our YA programs (Guitar Hero, Rock Band, Anime Art Contests)... but they're the same teens over and over again, and they are overwhelmingly male. Plus, man... there is only so much 'Mississippi Queen' I can take. I wanted to try out a program that might welcome some fresh blood (both male and female).

The description that ran in our monthly calendar:
Decorate and calendar for the new year with collage, markers, sitckers and more! Bring your own photos and stickers for a more personalized look.

I was lucky enough to find about 30 blank non-date specific calendars as a base in our unorganized craft room. It was more or less a regular wall-hanging sized calendar template: with the months and boxes printed up and a big empty space for art. A week after I decided on the calendar making idea, a patron brought in two large bags of a variety of magazines and asked if we could use them...hell yes! It was a perfect selection for collage. Since I used to be heavy into penpal-ing, I brought in a pretty massive collections of stickers that were crowding up my desk drawers at home. Quite easy to gather the supplies. Step one done.

I made sure to individually speak about the program with EVERY teenage girl that came into my branch (boys too, but like I said, we need more female representation) and put a flier right into their hands. I also filled in the dates of each month in my calendar for people to refer to as well as collaging a page as an example.

Fastforward to that afternoon: we had about 5 people show up initially, which I was thrilled about. Since my YA supervisor happened to be at the branch, he came down to help out. I was able to leave the program area and go back out to the floor to grab more kids... and I found a group of about 13 middle schoolers who had just been told by circulation staff (xoxo) to go to the program. Wonderful!!!

So we had a full house. About 25 teens showed up in total, and one even printed out her favorite manga characters to paste onto each month. It was great to see new faces, and I took the opportunity to go around checking out peoples work and introducing myself. I let the new kids know about our other programming and thankfully had February's craft on a flier already. About half of the new group came to this weeks Karaoke. I couldn't be more thrilled.

So what can I take from this, and reiterate with you?

-Introduce yourself and your programs to every middle and high school student that you see. And make him/her introduce his/herself! Not everyone can make it to a program, but a brief acknolwedgement of a teens present will make him/her feel a lot more comfortable approaching you.

-Make sure all the staff in your library knows what's going on with programming. That big group of students might have walked out of the branch looking for something else to do if it weren't for my lovely coworker who encouraged them to go downstairs. Communicate dude, and not just with fellow librarians.

-Try new things. Even if it was only the 5 initial teens who benefitted, it still would have been a success. Lord knows I can only take so much Guitar Hero. New programs (even 'old' ones like arts and crafts) draw in a new crowd, a different part of the neighborhood. It certaintly is wonderful to have additional patrons to serve, befriend, and collaborate with.

January 13, 2009

Spring 2009

Oh boy. Only one week left of break in between semesters. Being away from school a month makes me feel like I've never been there at all! I am truely excited though to start my three courses: Instructional Technologies with Jessica Hochman, Cultural Diversity and Libraries with Jason Baumann, and Medical Librarianship with Helen-Ann Brown (which only has 3 students currently registered including me!). 'Chornomore' aka this blog will hopefully be experiencing more frequent posts from discussions and readings around these classes! A round-up of the other courses I have taken thus far for the MLS:

Information Professions with John Berry
Knowledge Organization with Virgina Bartow
Information Technologies with Charles Rubenstein
Information Services and Resources with Deborah Rabina
Lit/Literacy for Young Adults with Hillias Jack Martin
Lit/Literacy for Children with Caroline Ward

Excellent! Stay tuned...

January 8, 2009

Malmö City Library

Wishlist for the world's libraries:
-remain pertinent
-constantly integrate emerging technologies into service
-support seasoned and new patrons

I stumbled onto Malmö City Library's page this morning and was inspired!

interior view

It's not 'new' news, but an exciting feature here is one can 'check out' a person: engage in a 45 minute conversation with someone in an entirely different pair of shoes from you (as far as religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality...)

That is awesome. A helpful and fun feature, and catchy enough to be mentioned outside of libraryland (I found an article about it in the Advocate). Innovative! Smart! Marketable!

And what about this. Suggest-a-purchase form for when patrons can't find what they are looking for in the library's catalog. These seemingly small innovations make huge differences. Let's take the time to notice these types of add-ons and services that make a library stand out and get attention...and more (and more satisfied) patrons.

January 2, 2009

My first published review

I'm unabashedly excited to have my first libraryland review published. From the January 1st 2009 copy of School Library Journal:

BRASHARES, Ann. 3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows. 336p. Delacorte. Jan. 2009. Tr $18.99. ISBN 978-0-385-73676-3; PLB $21.99. ISBN 978-0-385-90628-9. LC number unavailable.

Gr 7–10—Incoming freshmen at the same high school that the original sisterhood attended, Ama, Jo, and Polly are learning that falling out of friendship is an unfortunate part of growing up. They're spending the summer apart—uprooted—dealing with divorce, unmet expectations, and, of course, boys. Fans of Brashares will likely be thrilled to get their hands on Willows, yet the story falls short of offering the chick-lit genre anything new. Undoubtedly, though, readers will become involved with the girls as they grow their separate ways, ultimately realizing that the roots of their friendship have never really come undone. The sweet (near sappy) novel will find a place on the to-read list of many tweens and teens.—Emily Chornomaz, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
link to the slj page

It feels pretty great to have this out there, like it's an official announcement of my librarianhood. Under the recommendation of professors (John Berry, Caroline Ward, and Jack Martin) I filled out an application and submitted two sample reviews (positive and negative) to School Library Journal. Probably 2 months later, The 3 Willows galley proof arrived by mail.
I read the book (which wasn't exactly of my favorite genre), wrote a first draft, consulted Jack, and submitted the finished project. Not sure whether or not it would be used, I was happy to at least receive a second book to review about a month later. Brent Runyon's Surface Tension will hopefully be my next SLJ review! I didn't know for sure my review would be printed until I saw it in their today. They also sent me the hardcover first edition in the mail about a week ago, which I thought was extremely generous.
SO...my advice - find some way to get involved in libraryland besides the "job". Whether its reviewing or committees or blogging or strictly social librarian gatherings, the experiences are enriching, allow for networking, and usually add a notch to your resume. Mad cool.