Saturday, December 1, 2012

Self Improvement in 2013

It's never too early to start thinking about New Year's resolutions....following through is another story, but this is work stuff not weight-loss so I'm actually looking forward to putting these resolutions into action.

This year I have a list of things that I hereby resolve to do in each and every story time to make my programming more dynamic and meaningful to my audiences.  I look forward to reading some of your comments and resolutions for better storytimes, too.

1.  Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.  I hereby resolve that I will repeat any song or rhyme that I use with baby, toddler, or preschool audiences at least 4 times.  One thing that nobody ever taught me as a librarian, but that I have come to understand as a parent is that children need (and want) to hear the same thing over and over again.  Children don't even hear you the first time you say something, you finally get their attention the 2nd, the 3rd they are actually interested, and around the 4th time it is starting to sink in.  Honestly, I think that repeating a rhyme 4 times at the beginning and 4 times again at the end would be the way to go.  Trust me, rookies, the only people who will mind are the rest of the library staff who will be singing "Four and Twenty Blackbirds" for the rest of the day.

2.  Come to terms with puppets.  Little children love them.  They are magic.  I feel stupid using them.  I need to get over it.

3.  Socialize. Parents so often tell me that they bring their young children to storytimes for socialization.  But babies and toddlers are sssllooooowww to warm up to one another and not alot of interaction takes place in the course of their visit.  Therefore, I hereby resolve, as the librarian, to help socialization happen!  Maybe a round of "Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar" so that we learn each other's names at each session or a game of balloon volleyball?  Whatever it is,  I will invite children to talk to one another, play together, and learn together.

4.  Follow the 10 second rule.  Young children (even kindergarteners I suspect) need at least 10 seconds to process a question and formulate a response.  And so, I resolve that I will not answer my own questions.  I will count to 10 and let little minds do their thing.

5.  Get the wiggles out.  30 seconds of a half-hearted action rhyme does not get wiggles out.  If I say, "Let's get some wiggles out!" I resolve to mean it...and really let the kids cut loose for a few minutes.

6.  Messy is memorable.  The programs that kids and parents most often remember always seem to be, for better or for worse, the messiest to clean up: the build your own graham cracker house, making silly putty, or glitter explosion valentines.  I resolve that I will embrace this fact, and make sure that every month I hold one spectactularly messy family program that parents and kids will tell their friends about.

7.  Make parents happier people.  Every parent I know sighs a heavy sigh when they consider the luxury of browsing the stacks at the library, slowly ruminating over jacket flaps, and reviews.  Ahhh, the days.  With kids in tow, there is no time for browsing the hushed adult deparment. You either grab it off the end-cap, had the foresight to order something (not I, ever), or you go without.  I hereby resolve to make parents happier people by displaying adult books in or near the storytime area (yes, I know I will have to fight the rest of the library staff over this, but I'm already working on my arguments), copies of lists of suggested readings, reviews, and a periodical or two.....and I love my neighborhood library that serves coffee.  Now that is happy people.

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