Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tuesday Slice: Still a thrill

Five years ago, sometime in November, I placed my first book order as a librarian.  I am fortunate to work in a district that allocates a book budget for every school, based on population.  My first order came to thirty-five hundred dollars, about half of my budget.

Thirty-five hundred dollars for two hundred twelve books.  It was like Christmas to me, buying presents for my students on the district's dime.  As the boxes of books arrived, I squealed with delight and set up a special section on top of the shelves to highlight the new collection.  Then came the anticipation every gift-giver experiences--will they like the books?  Did I make the right choices?  After a few days, I would talk up the remaining books on the shelf, and a few more would go home with students.  There would always be two or three left, worrying me with their presence.

Yesterday, I placed my last big book orders for the school year, one hundred sixty-eight books in all.  Many of the books are replacements for worn out titles, continuations of series, students' favorite authors.  I started a new club--a student readers' advisory, which meets four times throughout the school year to review our collection and suggest new books.  Several of their recommendations are in this book order as well.  They will most likely arrive after our last checkout in mid-May, but that's okay; we will have brand-new books to display when the students return in August.   

My shopping carts are already filling up for fall.  Lucky me--I get to have Christmas whenever I want, just by opening up a box of books.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuesday Slice: A week at TLA

Last week, I posted from the pre-conference at our Texas Library Association's annual conference, already thinking of the busy week ahead.  

Tuesday was filled with Tech Camp breakout sessions, Speed Dating the Bluebonnets (meeting authors of next year's Bluebonnet Award nominees), and a lovely dinner hosted by one of my favorite jobbers.

Wednesday opened with inspiring thoughts from Rick Steves, sessions about our Armadillo Reading Program and inquiry-based teaching, and a little time on the vendor exhibit floor.  I capped it off with a brisk 5K walk with fellow librarians around Dallas City Hall and some yummy pork tacos at the President's Ball (in my sweaty workout clothes!).

Thursday started with an 0430 alarm and a large coffee purchased at the gift store in the hotel lobby.  I helped stuff goody totes for our Teacher Day @TLA breakfast and registered attendees.  Christopher Paul Curtis was our guest author with great stories to tell!  Two more breakout sessions on graphic novels and online databases, then the Bluebonnet Award Luncheon, some much needed downtime in my hotel room, and shopping and book signing in the exhibit hall.  I caught the ending comments from Junot Diaz's general sessions, cheered on our district's book cart drill team (the only entrants this year), then joined my Teacher Day colleagues for a celebratory dinner.

Friday began with a wonderful author session on teaching empathy with books.  I checked out of the hotel, took the last of the heavy bags of books to my car, and made one more sweep of the vendor floor.  I was glad I did--got a few free and below-cost books to add to our library!  By noon, the GPS was primed to navigate my way back to the highway and home.

Tomorrow, I'll post the to-do list prompted by my week at TLA.  So many great ideas....

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Tuesday Slice: I'm not alone

I am typing this from a conference table in a ballroom at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, surrounded by hundreds of fellow librarians who arrived a day early to attend Tech Camp. 

For the next three and a half days, thousands of school, public, and academic librarians from all over Texas (and beyond) will converge here to learn, collaborate, and visit with hundreds of vendors, all for the sole purpose of bettering our professional selves and our library programs.

This is daunting for my introverted self! Come Friday, I will be ready for my three hour solo road trip back to Austin, to decompress and reflect on what I have learned.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

SOLSC '18 Day Thirty-one: Fruition

I was already tucked in for the night when my husband entered the bedroom.  "Come look at the blue moon," he requested.  "I thought the full moon was set for tomorrow," I replied, but he insisted, based on the meteorologist's comments from the ten o'clock news.  So I got up, slipped into my scuffs, threw a jacket on over my pajamas, and grabbed the camera to follow him out the front door.


I think it's auspicious, ending this Slice of Life Story Challenge with a full moon.  It is a symbol of plans coming to fruition, a completion of a cycle.  The waning moon days to come are a time to reflect on our accomplishments and our struggles, eventually beginning a new project (with the next new moon, if you like to work by nature's cycles).

I began this year's challenge with a theme of looking up, flight, flying.  I am ending it by looking up to the beautiful full moon, in the Christian season of hope and renewal.  I will spend some time this weekend re-reading all of my posts to see what wisdom I can glean, what areas I need to improve.  I will also pencil in time to regularly check my WordPress and Blogger feeds, so I can keep up with all the fabulous writers I've encountered during this challenge.  And of course, I will continue Slicing on Tuesdays.

Thank you to all of my readers for walking--and writing--this journey with me!  Whoohoo-we made it!

Friday, March 30, 2018

SOLSC '18 Day Thirty: Looking down

I tried to set a theme of looking up for this blogging challenge, but yesterday, I realized that my students really need to start looking down in the library.

My hardworking assistant called me over to the fiction section in the middle of her inventory efforts.  She pulled some books from the bottom shelf forward, pointing out the visible dust resting on top of their pages.  She was worried about the dust; I was worried about the books not being read.

Later that day, I was replenishing our "Should I stay or should I go?" section.  I had asked our library systems coordinator to run reports on fiction and everybody (picture) books that hadn't been checked out in three or more years.  I expected maybe a hundred in each section; there were four hundred from each section!  Yes, some of the titles and pictures seemed dated, but some were great classics, had timely topics, and were written by well-known authors.  

Daunted by the numbers, I decided to pull a few dozen at a time to display.  As I collected the books yesterday, I realized that at least three-quarters of them came from bottom shelves; students just aren't looking down often.  The ones I pulled are now on top of shelves or off in a well-marked section, which we are advertising to our students. As one volunteer dad mentioned, "Product placement helps."  We've done a "check out from the bottom shelves only" week before; perhaps that needs to become an annual event.

I'll be weeding the library this summer, which will hopefully open up some shelving--perhaps enough to fit our entire collection on the top two shelves, and use the bottom for displaying books face forward.  That way, no great stories get overlooked. In the meantime, I'll be asking my students to look down when they are looking for a good book to read!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

SOLSC '18 Day Twenty-nine: The breakup

My original plan:

  • Leave work right at 330p.
  • Head to the post office to mail a package to a fellow Slicer
  • Get home by 430p to participate in an online committee meeting for our upcoming librarian conference
  • Enjoy the rest of my evening, to include a healthy salad for dinner
Then I realized that I might get stuck at the post office, so my plan changed:
  • Finish filling out the two hundred amusement park tickets (rewards for a reading program)
  • Leave by 400p to rush home and log in to participate in an online committee meeting for our upcoming librarian conference
  • Enjoy the rest of my evening, to include a healthy salad for dinner

Then patrons came in, and my plan changed to:

  • Assist the patrons with finding and checking out books
  • Finish filling out the two hundred amusement park tickets (rewards for a reading program) and delivering them to the teachers' mail cubbies
  • Turning out the lights, shutting down the circulation desk computers
  • Retreating to my cluttered office, where I closed the door and the blinds, logged on to the online meeting, and ate so many Reese's peanut butter cups in one hour that my trash can looked like Halloween aftermath.
By the time I got home at 600p, I was sick to my stomach.  I think I cured a candy addiction by the saturation method.  

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, I'm breaking up with you.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SOLSC '18 Day Twenty-eight: Rude awakening

The phone rang three minutes before my alarm this morning.  My first alarm is set for 0415.  

Thank goodness for caller ID; my worry over a sick (or worse) child/relative/friend quickly dissipated when I saw CODERED on the tiny screen.  Hitting the talk button, I started listening to the flash flood warning and hung up before the message finished.  We live outside of a flood zone, and fifteen more minutes of sleep was not going to change our status.

After emptying the dishwasher and making my coffee, I checked for news of road closures and school delays.  Nothing is noted within my commute, and there's no news from my school district.

Thanks for the rude awakening, Mother Nature.