Thursday, October 22, 2009

Taking time for training

All the children's librarians in my library system used to gather together once a month for three hours of information sharing, discussion, and training. After lunch, we'd inspect all the children's books offered on that month's order sheet so that we could make informed choices about how to spend our limited budgets. Then we'd go home happy, satisfied, and in love with our profession and jobs.

Ah, those halcyon days!

Due to anticipated staff shortages, our administration cut back our meetings and book inspections to every other month and limited the duration of the meeting to one hour. Um... one hour?? Luckily, we have been able to push our meetings to two hours, but we require special permission and good reason to hold a three-hour meeting.

We are flexible people and we have done our best to adapt, trying to pack the most information and training that we can into our short and infrequent meetings. But there is never enough time and never enough meetings! Here is a list of only some of the topics that our children's librarians want meetings/workshops on or that we want to provide:

Baby/toddler storytimes (best practices, etc)
Early childhood development (brain development, developmental stages, parental roles, how librarians can help)
Computer classes for kids (info literacy, how to look up a book, how to do research, using fun apps, word processing)
Children's books (meeting authors, how to booktalk, best new books, etc)
Web 2.0 (how children's librarians can use it for professional development and with kids)
Book discussion clubs for kids/kids advisory board
Summer reading club (outcomes measuring, innovative programs, etc)

And we only meet every two months for no more than two hours! Aiieeee! And of course different children's librarians (and Children's Services staff) have different priorities.

Well - at least I am happy to see that I've got enough work to keep me busy for a LONG time!


  1. Hmm. Interesting to see how a bigger system works. I am THE youth services librarian at my library (I have an aide who basically shelves and I partner with someone from the school district who does early childhood education). The YS librarians in my consortium get together once or twice a year and have maybe two or three training meetings. We don't really interact much. I like the idea of collaboration though, and the YS librarian in the next town over and I are starting to work on stuff together. Mostly because we found out we both like Chinese food, Chihiro Iwasaki, and talking about children's books in general.

  2. The system doesn't realize how much money could be saved if they didn't have to pay mileage home>Central>HQ>home instead of just home>Central>home. (Not that I ever get a penny of mileage on my bike...)

    LAPL is like a humongous pipe organ. All the librarians are the pipes, and things are much more harmonious when we are all in the same room. (Except when we used to have snacks at order meeting, and certain people would fight for the jalapeno bagel...that wasn't very harmonious. You know who you are.)