This Week’s Challenges–and it’s only Tuesday!


I have to take a look and see if there’s a full moon coming because this week has already thrown me for a loop and it’s only Tuesday!

1. A boy last night was doing a one minute talk and needed research about how carpenters were like in New Jersey during Colonial era and could only use Internet resources. After I found out he could eventually use books and we looked at our “career” books from the Colonial section and while it had information, it didn’t have information about New Jersey and he felt very strongly that he also needed New Jersey carpenter information. This is where I failed as a librarian. I was able to give him books that talked about the middle colonies and books about carpenters, but not the two combined. Did I mention that this was for a very short piece?? When I told him “Wow, this is some very specific information you’re looking for” he very seriously replied that “I have Mrs. So-and-s0 and she is VERY particular.” No kidding. He waved hi to me today and said he was back for more research so I hope the project was going okay.

2. I had a mom with a small baby ask “For the book, I can’t remember the author, called Red Hat Green Hat.” I searched for that book, different variations, asked questions about the plot (was there other clothing involved?)–then grabbed my coworker when she came back to the desk and asked her if it sounds familiar. “Oh that’s the book by So-and-so.” WHAT? She walked to show the lady the section. I didn’t get a chance to follow up with my coworker about what that book exactly was, but you can bet I’m going to do that when I next see her.

3. I had a mom ask me if I thought there were any value to comics. As the person who orders graphic novels I take that section extremely seriously and don’t like when people look down at the collection–and the way she phrased her question indicated what her preconceptions were. Luckily, I had some info to back up my point and showed her some of my favorites. I think she walked away feeling better about the collection. Some of them she was really impressed by the artwork so that was a plus! What could have become a very uncomfortable situation ended up all right in the end–but it was a little uneasy there for a bit.

4. Today was our first Book Blitz program (which I wrote about two weeks ago). Unfortunately, no teens showed up. My coworker, our amazing Teen Librarian, and I sat through and got a chance to practice what we would have done (which was helpful). So time to assess–what went wrong? Weather could have been a factor. It was storming/raining in the afternoon. When I came down to our youth internet computers at 5:20 when it’s normally very busy and noisy there were only 5 kids. Maybe something was happening at school that day keeping kids away? Was it the time? 4-5 might interfere with after school activities. Maybe they didn’t like the theme–horror books aren’t for everyone. The lack of food could have been a factor. We offer food at our other teen programs. I had the idea of turning it to a later program with decaf coffee and deserts but maybe I’ll start small with serving hot chocolate. I know once we get them here they’ll see how awesome it is and keep coming back on their own.

Needless to say, I’m disappointed with the lack of turnout for today. We’ll keep the same schedule for the program next month and hope tweens and teens show. Sigh.

Some weeks are just like this. You feel like a mass of obstacles has been placed in front of you and you have so far to go. Here’s to hoping that the rest of the week goes better, that next month’s program is a hit, and I figure out what carpenters did in New Jersey in colonial times. But first, I think I’m going to have an adult beverage.


2 responses »

  1. this post is such a great snapshot at what being a public librarian is all about. Thanks for the inside look. It sounds like you and the teen librarian were smart about using the time even though you didnt get the turn out you hoped for. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just the day’s weather, especially if a lot of your teen patrons get to the library by foot. Is there a way to use a book display to help promote the event or maybe even connecting with a youth club/organization in town to help set the topic for the next month?
    Good luck on your next book blitz! It sounds like a fun program.

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