Librarian Skills: Hard Lesson Learned

Today’s Librarian Skill (possibly even transcending to a Life Skill):

Back Up Your Data.

I really don’t think I have to tell you why I’m sharing this little tidbit of advice.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be attempting to recreate 3 years worth of files.  And eating my weight in chocolate.

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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?

Book Clubs for Kids

At last month’s CYPD conference, I gave a presentation called “You Can Find Me in the Club, The Book Club!” (cue the 50 Cent music).  I talked about the two book clubs our library has for kids, how they work, and what we do during meetings.  Since I’ve been working away at various book club related tasks today, I thought I’d share some book club info with you.

What are your book clubs?

My library hosts two book clubs for kids.  One for kids ages 5-8 called “The Page Turners” and one for our tweens ages 8-12 called “inbeTWEEN the Lines.”

What do the book clubs do?

We meet once a month to discuss a book and do different activities related to that book.  The kids get a free copy of the book (while supplies last) to keep.

Why do you have book clubs for kids?

Why not?!  Book clubs give kids the chance to talk about books.  It can help them define what they like to read (or what they don’t like to read).   It also encourages them to read outside their comfort zone in terms of reading ability and their normal reading tastes.

The book clubs have also given me the opportunity to get the know the kids one on one.  Because book clubs do have a fairly big discussion element, we get to talk about more than just the books.

How do you select the books?

I DO WHAT I WANT!!!  Actually, I try to think about what the kids would like to read and what books might bring more kids to the book clubs.  We mostly read fiction (picture books for the younger group) but I do try to include some non-fiction and graphic novels.  There is also something classic-y every year (i.e. Where the Wild Things Are, Pippi Longstocking, etc.).  In the summer, I try to tie the selections into our Summer Reading Program theme.  In 2013, we read all award winning books in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Caldecott Medal.

Where do you get the books?

I have purchased the books through the Scholastic Literacy Partnership and Book Depot.  Both have been fabulous in terms of selection, price, and how quickly the books are delivered.

What have you read?  

The Page Turners (5-8 year olds)

  • Silverlicious
  • The Snowy Day
  • Make Way For Ducklings
  • Bad Kitty
  • The Sandwich Swap
  • Junie B. Jones and the Yucky, Blucky Fruitcake

inbeTWEEN the Lines (9-12 year olds)

  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • Savvy
  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants
  • Hatchet
  • The City of Ember
  • Dewey the Library Cat

My library doesn’t have a very big programming budget.  How can we start a kids book club?

In Indiana, there are Book Club kits available through the Indiana State Library.   The kits contain 15 copies of each title and check out to your library for 3 months.  If you’re outside Indiana, check with your state library to see if they have a similar program.  I also think this would be an excellent grant opportunity.  Reach out to your Friends of the Library group to see if they could help fund this project.

Have any more questions about kids book clubs?  Ask away!