Buchlady visits The Bay


As I mentioned in my last post that I have been visiting two of my children in the Bay Area and (of course) having a great time!   I asked my daughter to take me to the main branch of San Francisco’s library system when we were downtown one day. ( I’ve always enjoyed when bloggers in my PLN post photos of libraries and bookstores they visit so I thought I’d do that as well.)

The library has six floors and it’s spacious, open, and filled with light.

The spiral shape of the window in the dome is repeated as a motif throughout.

The Fisher Children’s Center was bright and roomy with lots of display space, computer stations, play area, comfortable seating, and this cute area for special programs:

I felt right at home seeing this and thinking about my school kiddos and hoping they’re accessing our local public library summer programs:

It was fun to see some children’s art work that featured this local landmark:

And it’s great knowing that there are kindred library spirits doing amazing work no matter where you go in this vast country of ours!


You Get What you Pay For

whats in your piggy bankphoto © 2009 Clare Bell | more info (via: Wylio)
Here’s something to smile about.  (At least it made my day!)  Last week we had a book fair–the first in several years–and several children literally brought their piggy banks in from home, emptying the contents to buy a coveted book, or to purchase a book as a gift for a sibling.  In these days of Cyber Monday deals and online shopping it was refreshing to see children meticulously counting out pennies (lots of pennies!) to buy books.  My guess is that those books will be treasured a bit more than other items simply because of the piggy bank factor.

More on the fair in another post soon…

30 Days Hath September

Photo credit: ppdigital from morguefile.com

Do you have a “September” folder?
A number of years ago I attended an excellent workshop through BER entitled Increasing the Effectiveness of your School Library Program. The presenter, Deborah Ford, had many tips for ensuring that we remain organized.  She recommended creating forms which could be used/tweaked in lots of situations.  One of her essential forms was for End-of-Year procedures.  Something you could pull out in June and make sure you didn’t forget to complete a particular task before closing up shop for the summer.  This proved very valuable to me, and I got thinking—what about a similar form for September?   The fabulous folks at elementarylibraryroutines.wikispaces.com have a sample you can use to tweak for yourself.  (That’s what I did!) Now my September “to-do list” is housed in my September folder on my hard drive, along with suggested read-alouds for the beginning of the year, signage, parent letters, volunteer sign-up sheet, behavior expectations, etc.  Make a pledge to create a list before this week is over, and you’ll be ahead of the game come next September!

Brownies and browsing and books, oh my!

First 6 Weeks: Part 3
One September activity that has gone a long way in building good will with my staff is to invite them in to see all the new books after we’ve processed them and before we circulate them to students. We set up Barnes & Noble style with distinct areas for certain genres and we provide brownies as a treat. We offer a morning slot and an afternoon slot to accommodate the specials schedule so everyone has a chance to drop by. We have clipboards out and a form teachers can fill out listing books (with call numbers) that they might want to sign out at some point. If I purchased a book with a particular teacher or team in mind I’m sure to put a sticky note on it and usher them right over to it. And of course I’m happy to recommend great read-alouds while I have a captive audience!

Watch out for crabs!

The days of summer are winding down, the in-service schedule and “to do” lists loom large. But there is something about going back that just feels great. I’ve had time to rest, to read for fun, to cook gourmet meals that don’t happen from September-June, to shop, to expand my PLN, learn new tools, visit with friends, watch hummingbirds as I sip tea on the patio, chat with my adult children in meaningful ways….

I have made a promise to myself to keep this story in mind as I navigate through this year’s library landscape. With all of its ups and downs and its school-year rhythms I am determined to stay positive and remember not to worry about the crabs and their buckets.

What are your favorite strategies for staying positive and putting your library’s best face forward?

Three Questions

A dear friend and colleague retired from my school a few weeks ago and I will miss her terribly.  In an email from her recently she told me about the books she’s been re-reading so far this summer, books that had an impact on her teaching, books that gave her pause, books that she and her students enjoyed together. One of them was Jon Muth’s The Three Questions, which is based on a story by Leo Tolstoy.

In that story Nikolai asks, “What is the best time to do things?  Who is the most important one?  What is the right thing to do?” and he receives answers steeped in the Zen tradition.  This has got me thinking.  Linda’s email was a reminder that the very best teachers take time for reflection.  They think about their goals, their practice, what worked, what didn’t, what they can do differently, what really matters.

So I’ve decided to ask myself these three questions periodically throughout the coming summer and school year.

What is the best time to do things? Right now—summer!  My head  feels like it will explode most days because I am catching up on (literally) hundreds of items in my Google Reader. I’ve made a new commitment to blogging, I’m reading “grown-up” books for pleasure along with YA novels, and I’m dedicating lots of time to investigating tools for tech integration.

Who is the most important one? Right now I am the most important one in my teaching journey.  I am away from the distractions and interruptions in the library, the requests from staff, the needs of students.  By taking time to do what I want to do and reflect on my work, I’ll be better able to make a smooth transition again to school mode in August.

What is the right thing to do? For me, it feels right to strike a balance between staying immersed and learning all that I can and taking the time to just “be.”  A bit easier in some ways now that my children are grown but still a challenge.  I always feel like I have to be doing something and get antsy if I’m not.  (Just ask my husband!)  I’m not a hobby person so the things I tend to do in the summer are related to my school work.  Maybe a few phone calls to friends are in order…

Here’s a question for you:  What are you doing to recharge and reflect this summer?