Monthly Archives: January 2015

My Mom Superpower: Knots

My Mom Superpower.

yoyos tangled

yoyos fixed



Well, The Boy was impressed!

Librarians Managing Class Visits Alone

The question of how to manage class visits to the library when you are the sole librarian comes up in forums for new school librarians.

I’m not a school librarian, but we’re a community library directly across the street from an under-funded school with an outdated library. Part of my mission is to get those kids access to a library, so I work hard to make class visits a fun, productive reality for those kids.

Here’s my routine for a smooth library class visit, including reading a book to the students.

I work alone & do class visits of 20-32 kids in 25 minutes. Here’s my system (it’s a little wordy written out this way, but I hope it’s helpful).

  • The kids all drop their books in a box on my desk, as they file in.
  • I greet them, standing where I will read to them, book in hand.
  • I ask them about their week & introduce the book while they settle around me.
  • I read the chosen book (5-7 minutes). TIP: Read books aloud to yourself at some point, before reading them to your class. Man alive, some books are LONG once you commit to them!
  • At the end of the book I ask a couple short questions & then very purposefully say “Those of you that BROUGHT BOOKS BACK this week may go pick out new books. I just got in some exciting XYZ books, they are here.”
  • I head straight to the computer & check in the returned books.
  • I put all returned books on a table, because often the kids want books their friends just had (also saves me from having to shelve some of the books, haha).
  • As soon as the books are checked-in, I start answering their questions for special requests & have the kids line up to check their books out. They don’t bring cards, so I look each kid up by name (gets easier as you go along, promise!).

I do NOT talk to kids about late books individually in this time allotment. I pull a list of overdue books when I don’t have classes present & email it to the teacher for her to discuss with the kids.

Having a chunk of exciting, timely books spread out on a table when they get there, to direct them to when I’m busy checking in books, is a real help (& alleviates the thing where they won’t take books from a display, because they are afraid to mess it up).

I’m sure there are smoother ways to solve the problem of trying to do it all for a class visit, if you’re actually in a school library. For instance, teachers may help the librarian check in books, or representatives from the class may drop the books off earlier in the day. These aren’t options for me (non-employees can not access the database, etc.) but they may be helpful for you! Keep looking for what works for you.

And the last tip?

Embrace the barely controlled chaos! 😉

Do you have tips & tricks for a smooth class visit to the library?

Delayed Response

Things had so quickly taken over my train of thoughts after I had calmly parked the car a block away, making sure I didn’t lock my keys in the car in this strange town, double-checking that I had grabbed all of the important papers for the interview, looking up the street to see how far I had to walk, that the near miss had gone completely out of my head.

It wasn’t until I curled up in bed, appreciating the warmth of the bed & the softness of the new sheets & sleep began to over-take me, that the details came rushing back to me. The way the winter sun, breaking out of the thick clouds for the first time in weeks, hit the little boy’s curls & lit them up like golden fire. The father, grabbing at his son’s shirt, stretching the shirt out until the striped fabric thins & slips from his fingers. The red, white & blue rubber playground ball bouncing & then rolling to a stop in front of my car. My breaks screaming and startling sparrows out from under a car parked to my right.

The father had fallen off balance when his son slipped out of his hands. The boy, running gleefully, headstrong & oblivious, to reclaim his ball, disappeared entirely as he bent over in front of my car, so small he was completely obscured by the hood.

In another flash, the man was at the child, picking him up, spanking him. His slaps on the butt were fueled by his own fear and the desire to protect his son from future pain. The boy sobbing and kicking, scaring the tiny sparrows up into the air again, now from under a car parked to my left.

The ball falls from the toddler’s hands and rolls under a car, sticking underneath, in the exact place that’s most impossible to reach without wallowing on the ground. Too bombarded with his inner thoughts, the father doesn’t notice a change in his son’s cries, or has had enough of that patriotic rubber ball & walks away, not even slowing down for a second to consider retrieving it.

It all happened in a flash and left my thoughts in a flash, not 5 minutes later. But the temporarily-buried memory came back, bringing with it a pounding heart, goosebumps on my arms, the flush that grows from my chest to my face when I’m embarrassed or panicked. Safe, snuggled into my bed, my husband at my side and no ability to hurt that curly-haired toddler or break his father’s heart, I experience the fear that should have hit me, 8 hours earlier. The paralyzing “what ifs”, the cyclical thoughts of a young life lost beat inside my chests until it was hard to draw breath.

As I fought to get my heart rate back under control, I hoped the father was sleeping better than I was, putting the experience behind him immediately after promising himself he would keep a better hold on his son, when he walks down that busy road in the future. I was positive the little boy was just oblivious to the danger he escaped as he had been earlier that day, in the suddenly bright winter’s sun.