Help Wanted: The Care and Keeping of Volunteers

Help!

My teen librarian and I are looking to write a volunteer policy.  We’ve had some teen volunteers in the past that have been just fine but after some issues with a programing series this summer…well, a policy would be helpful.

So…advice for writing a volunteer policy?

 

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Librarian Skills: Summer Reading Preparations, Part 1

It’s that time of year, folks.

Summer Reading is about to consume my every waking moment.

Well, not quite yet.  The panic doesn’t officially begin until May 1st when I claim no responsibility for anything I say or do until after Summer Reading.  THEN it’s time to panic.

Planning for SRP is a year round event.  Even when it’s no where near Summer, you’re still thinking about SRP.  You may come across a Pinterest craft in October that will be perfect for SRP.  A book that comes in in March will be just what you need for an SRP Storytime.  A parent will ask you in January when SRP starts.

And for some of us lucky few, we get to plan a program for multiple branches (six to be exact).  Six times the prizes, six times the paperwork, six times the programming, and six times the headache fun!

Here’s how my planning breaks down (our program runs from June 1st to August 1st, and we use the Collaborative Summer Library Program, for reference):

October/November-

-CSLP disc and catalog is shipped to us from the State Library.

-We (the adult librarian, teen librarian, and I) go ahead and place an order for prize/staff t-shirts, prizes, and posters immediately.  As it gets closer to Summer, they do run out of some of the materials, so we like to make sure we get what we want.  We have the numbers from past Summers for reference in terms of how much to order.

-Begin looking through files on the disc to get ideas.  I will print out certain portions of the manual because it’s easier for me to look through it.  I flag any programming ideas that appeal to me

January

-Begin looking for a kick-off event.  We host a big kick-off event for the whole family at each of our six branches for SRP.  I typically start getting fliers/advertisements from different vendors in January.  I just like to get this done and out of the way ASAP.

-Look for an intern.  My library is fortunate to be a hop, skip, and a jump from a university with a Department of Library and Information Sciences.  Without someone to help out during the Summer, there is NO WAY we could have programming at our branches- end of story.  Interns gain real-world programming experience by doing these programs for me.  Fun fact: I started my library career at the library I’m working at as the Summer Reading Intern.

-New books.  Publishers are very in tune to what we’re doing for Summer Reading.  About this time of year, there are (conveniently) a TON of new books that will be perfect for this year’s theme, whatever it may be.  Time to stock up!

This finishes up the preliminary Summer Reading plans.  March is when things really go into high gear…..

 

 

 

 

 

Librarian Skills: Vacation Preparation

Vacation is upon us!  Well, at least it is for me.  I had scheduled some time off in December early on in the year.  A few weeks ago, after consulting with our library’s scheduling goddess (really, I have no idea how she does it), we realized I had a few more vacation days that needed to be used.  Thus, I will be off work from December 13-December 26 (other than a training I’m going to).  Wow.

But before vacation starts, I need to take care of a few things here at work.  I’m lucky to have an awesome staff who keep the Youth Services department running smoothly at all times, so that’s never a worry (no pressure girls!).  I do try to leave them a list of special projects to work on, as well as a list of projects for our volunteers.  We’re heading into our “slow season,” so it’s a good time to clean house and get some things back in order.  The only thing out of the ordinary is that my staff needs to view a webinar about some changes coming to our circulation program.  My director is going to make sure all of them see the webinar before the changes take place.

Because my vacation falls in the middle of the month, however, there are some business things that need to be taken care of.  What needs to be done before I can have some fun?

-Schedule for January

-Monthly Board Report (early meeting due to the holidays)

-Final book orders for the year

-Final craft supply order for the year

-Winter Reading Program- Our WRP begins in January but we’re sending everything out to our branches next week.  Many of our staff members have vacation time coming up and we want everyone to have a chance to look over the program information before it starts.

I also need to do little things, like set up my auto-respond email message and voice mail (if I can figure out my phone), and maybe clear off my desk a bit.  I doubt the last one will happen.

What do you do to prepare for vacation?

 

Librarian Skills: Schedule Organization

My name is Alyssa and I am an Organized Mess.

Desk

This is my desk.

Right Desk

This is my bookshelf.

Left Desk

This is to the left of my desk (hi Princess Labelmaker!).

Behind Desk

This is behind my desk.

 

Yes, this looks like a pigsty (my home is far worse) and I should probably be ashamed to share it with the world.

But you’d better believe I know where EVERYTHING is in my office.  Could I send someone to find something in my office?  Absolutely not, but I could find anything in less than 60 seconds.

Except for the stapler remover.  I can never find my stapler remover.

I may not be good at organizing a space, but I would like to say that I’m pretty good when it comes to organizing a schedule.  Since I’m the head of a department, I have to be able to sort out a monthly schedule for my self and my staff.  How do I do it?

 

Organizational Tool #1: The Yearly Calendar

Every year, I create a calendar in Microsoft Publisher for programming.  This includes weekly programs, special program, and class visits.  I go through and try to fill in all of the weekly programs for the year; I add the other programs as the year goes on.  There are some programs, I know immediately who is doing what and fill in their name (i.e. weekly storytime).  For other programs, I fill in who is doing what on a monthly basis (i.e. class visits).

On the whole, this is a calendar for my eyes and my purposes only.  Every month, I will print out the monthly calendar for each staff member and one copy for our Circulation Manager, who creates the master work schedule.

 

Organizational Tool #2: The Weekly Planner

We keep a weekly planner  like this one on our circulation desk at all times.  It lists every program we have during the week, as well as who is doing the program.  Again, I fill out a big chuck of it at the beginning of the year and then add to it as the year goes on.  It has also been helpful to write down our local school schedule in this planner, so we know when the kids are on  break.

I’ll also make a note of when I have a meeting.  We don’t write down any vacations or personal appointments on this calendar because it is in public view.

 

Organizational Tools #3, #4, and #5- Personal Planner, Desk Calendar, and Microsoft Outlook Calendar

Ok, so this all boils down to how I keep myself organized.  And yes, it requires three calendars.  All three calendars contain the following information:

-My programs and meetings

-Personal appointments

-Appointments for my son

Personal PlannerThis planner is always in my work bag (which is worthy of it’s own separate post).  It’s what I have on my person 95% of the time, making it easy to add info to.  It’s also where I keep track of birthdays and when payday is. 🙂 (Sidenote: I’ve tried 503 different smartphone planner/organizing apps and have HATED all of them.  Paper planners 4 life!)

Desk Calendar- In addition to making a large and fancy coaster, this calendar gives me a quick glance of what’s going on during the month.  Very helpful during phone calls when I’m trying to schedule quick meetings or class visits.

Microsoft Outlook Calendar– This calendar is attached to my work email.   I keep a lot of future dates scheduled here before placing them on any other calendar.  It also sends me reminder messages of when things are coming up.

Why three calendars with essentially the same information in each one?  My brain requires repetition in order to remember something, particularly dates.  By having to record the same information in several different places, it becomes easier for me to remember the date without having to look at the calendar.

 

Maybe one day I’ll apply the same effort to cleaning my office that I do to organizing my schedule….

 

How do you organize your schedule?

Summer Reading is Over!!! Now What Do I Do?

 

Our Summer Reading Program ended on August 1st (happy dance).  This was our most successful summer ever with 953 kids from age birth to 5th grade participating.  Needless to say, we were all exhausted.
Within one week of the program ending, all the decorations were taken down, the prizes were put away, and the library went back to business as usual.
And I had nothing to do.
Ok, not really but August is a strange month for me.  After so many months of intense focus on this one program, I always feel lost when Summer Reading ends.  Even though there are 500 things that need to be done, I literally feel like I have no idea what to do.  I have a hard time turning off my Summer Reading Brain and going back to Rest of the Year Librarian Brain.

Thankfully, I have had a few things that have forced me back to reality.  Currently, my library is interviewing for a new teen librarian and we will have one (hopefully!) soon.  There have also been school visits to schedule, along with new cards to issue the students.  I’ve also been getting ready for the CYPD Conference that is coming up over the weekend.

Does anyone else have trouble coming back to regular library life after Summer Reading?