Library Days

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I am so loving our library lately!

We have a wonderful, dynamic, organized, creative, helpful new Children's Librarian. I think she has been the driving force behind my new found excitement about the library.

A Little Background. For the last five or six years, I've encouraged the kids to participate in the summer programs the library offers. As Summer 2008 wrapped up, I honestly thought I had seen the last of our summer library days. The kids were tired of same ol' program formats and over-enthusiastic or uncommunicative staff.

Enter New Librarian. I must admit, I was not very impressed to find out our library had fired the children's librarian. For every personality trait the kids didn't like, there was something that endeared her to me. She greeted the kids by name. She suggested books to them that were generally bang-on hits. She ordered just about any book I mentioned to her that wasn't in the collection. She called my house to invite the kids to special events they might not otherwise have heard about. I grumbled unhappily for months (yes, months) before I met the new part-time children's librarian.

A Surprising Summer. Perhaps I was blindsided by the colourful array of new program advertising. Maybe it was just the idea of 'summer break' that was putting me in a better-than-average mood. It could have been the fact that I held no expectation that we would be spending time at the library over the summer. Whatever it was, when I met the new librarian 'Miss L.', I was blown away. The new summer programs looked great. Colourful. Interesting. Up-To-Date. Cool.

The kids were actually looking forward to summer library programs. There were movie afternoons. There was a drop-in hang-out time. There were themed programs that weren't 'stupid'. And the summer book club looked good too. It was like a breath of fresh air had invaded the library. I think we hit the library twice a week.

Lovin' The New Librarian. Now Miss L. greets the kids by name. She listens to their stories. She recommends books and asks them what they've been doing/reading/playing. She asks their opinion. She put together a phenomenal Library Orientation for the local homeschoolers as soon as school was back in. With scavenger hunt. On her day off. When the library was closed to the public. Who does that?! She followed up with a How To Research module for the older kids. I'm really looking forward to what she'll throw at us next.

Happy Homeschoolers. Every Friday we've been taking the majority of the kids' schoolwork to the library. We camp out in the children's section for a change of scenery. We read. The kids do their bookwork. The Girl practices her research skills. The Boy practices his diabolo (in the library and noone yells at him!) I have time between kids and supervising schoolwork to pull books for our next week's reading aloud, histories and science. I help the kids find books for their own library bags. I take the time to explore the CDs, DVDs, the magazines and the reference sections. It's relaxed and enjoyable and our work gets done - even the straggling, end-of-week stuff - because the kids won't whine and complain and I won't plead and yell in public.

Soon to come is a special night for a few of the homeschooling moms. We were so impressed by what the kids learned during their tours that we've arranged for a mom version of the same. I'm especially looking forward to learning about the various databases the library has access to. A night out, a Morebucks coffee and good company is nothing to shake a stick at either.

It will be interesting to see how our library time evolves this year. I hope we continue to get good use of the space and resources they have to offer. Now, I need to know: what do you get that special librarian in your life for Christmas?

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