International Librarians Network – Professional Pen Pals!

As a new librarian, I am always trying to connect with more experienced librarians so that I can learn from them and grow as a professional.

Several weeks ago I saw a posting on Facebook promoting the International Librarians Network, an online facilitated peer mentoring program that virtually connects librarians from around the world. Librarians are matched with participants in other countries in a four month formally supported partnership, allowing information professionals to network, connect and share information on a global scale.This year’s cycle includes 762 participants representing 78 countries!

Given my passion for mentoring, travel and intercultural communication, I applied in a heart beat. This week I was provided with the contact information for my international partner, a public librarian in Bulgaria! I must admit this is not a country I am very familiar with or know that much about, so I am very excited to learn more about public libraries in Bulgaria, and the ways in which they serve their communities.

bu-map

Image Source – CIA World Factbook

The program seems very professional and supportive – to help build connections and stimulate conversations, participants are provided with different questions and discussion starters every week. I sent my answers to the first weekly questions off to my new partner, and I can’t wait to hear what she has to say.

Professional development is a critical part of any profession, and development can take many forms and be found in surprising places. Sometimes you just need to think outside the box!

— UPDATE —

I just got my first email from my international partner, and it was lovely! We have so much in common, despite the miles between us, and I’m excited to continue this unique mentoring program.

Baby Story Time – February 26, 2015

A very small group for this story time, only 12 in all, but what a sweet, friendly, welcoming group. They made easing back into story times so lovely!

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Eyes nose cheeky cheeky chin
  • Two little eyes
  • Peter Pickle pumpernickel
  • Head and shoulders

Book 1: If You See a Kitten /  John Butler

kitten

Songs/Bounces

  • A smooth road
  • You be the lemon
  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • The grand old duke of york

Book Two: Monkey and Me /  Emily Gravett

monkey

Movement Songs

  • London Bridge is falling down
  • My bonnie lies over the ocean
  • Zoom zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • Rain is falling down
  • You are my sunshine

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

Family Story Time – February 26, 2015

While I am still not fully recovered enough to tackle my own story times yet (heart broken), I was able to cover a smaller story time at a neighboring branch while their librarian visited a school.

The branch is quite small, but very sweet, and I enjoyed the experience a lot. It was so nice to be able to do a story time at all, and this was a perfect was to get my feet wet again. The group was very small, only about 24 people, which allowed for an intimate experience that didn’t strain my weakened lungs.

Here’s what we did for this gentle family story time.

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends

Book 1: Bark, George!

bark george

Hand Rhymes

  • I wake up my hands
  • Open-shut them
  • Roly poly

Book 2: Monkey and Me

monkey

Action Songs

  • Zoom zoom
  • Head and shoulders
  • If you’re happy and you know it
  • The elevator song

Goodbye Song: Goodbye, Friends!

It made my heart so happy to be doing another story time, after missing over a month of my own story times (six in total, I think, which is just mind-bogglingly upsetting). Still, I am progressing, ever so slowly, and I am hoping (or trying to hope…) that I’ll be able to do my story times again soon. Keep your fingers crossed for me, I’d really appreciate the good vibes!!

Library Haul – February 24, 2015

groupdvd

Since I have a bit of time of my hands while I recover slowly (slowly, very slowly), I’ve been watching a lot of TV. As part of my recovery process I’ve also been dragging myself out of the house on slow walks around the neighborhood, and with a library only two blocks from my house, there have been a lot of library visits (BPL – if you’re wondering why there’s been a sudden spike in your circulation stats this month, you’re welcome).

Today I filled my basket with nonfiction DVDs, which are pretty much my favourite genre. I love documentaries, and I grew up watching Nature, Nova and National Geographic (I’m humming the National Geographic theme song as I type). Here are the DVDs I have waiting to be watched this week.

Resurrecting Richard III

richard

In 2011, a group of amateur historians made an incredible archaeological find: the bones of King Richard III, hunchbacked, with an arrow through the spine. Now, scientists are testing the bones to find out more about the king and also conducting fascinating experiments to determine whether Richard could have fought so ferociously in battle with such a severe deformity.

I love the Secrets of the Dead series (which isn’t nearly as morbid as it sounds), so I’m always excited to find a new episode. History was always my favourite subject in school (side note: in grade 12, my entire purpose for living was to win the school award for top student in history, which I did), and I majored in history in university, so it’s a subject area I am still very passionate about. I never understood people who thought history boring – history teachers, perhaps, but never history. Being of English extraction (in case the name hadn’t given it away), I was steeped in English history as a child, and I haven’t outgrown my fascination with it.

Evolve

evolve

For man, beast and nature, it’s been a constant battlefield of change. Some strategic advances were anatomical while others were behavioral. While the bald eagle developed telescopic vision capable of spotting a hare a mile away, the shark evolved the act of sex as we humans know it. Discover what has propelled creatures large and small to survive. Trace the history and importance of these adaptations from their earliest beginnings to today.

This is a four-disc set, so we’ll see how far into I get before it’s due back. While history is my first love, I also have soft spots for science, particularly biology. This series is a bit older, so we’ll see how the effects hold up, but I’m certainly intrigued. Evolution amazes and confounds me, and I’m always interested in learning more.

Honey Badgers

honey

This is one the most fearless animals in the world, renowned for its ability to confront grown lions, castrate charging buffalo, and shrug off the toxic defenses of stinging bees, scorpions, and snakes. Our film will follow a team of researchers in South Africa who are searching for the truth behind the honey badger.

I’ll be honest, being sick for so long has left me feeling a bit despondent and in need of some cheering up and motivating. I saw this disc at the library and thought, why not? We all need to call upon our inner honey badger badness from time to time!

Collapse

collapse

Over the 20th and 21st centuries, the rise of this civilization has seemed unstoppable. But could modern, industrialized civilization fall apart? Three hundred years from now, will scientists find evidence that this civilization followed a recipe for disaster like that of the Maya or the Romans? Imagine it has already happened. National Geographic reveals a look into the future to descendants in the year 2210 as they set out on a scientific expedition to figure out what happened.

This National Geographic special was based on the book of the same name by Jared Diamond. I haven’t read Collapse yet, but I have read Guns, Germs and Steel and The Third Chimpanzee by the same author, so I am very curious to see this adaptation.  

Egyptian Secrets of the Afterlife

Egypt

New excavations are revealing more than we’ve ever known about what the Egyptians knew they’d encounter on their afterlife journey. Today, Dr. Zahi Hawass is excavating a mysterious tunnel at the very bottom of Seti’s tomb, a perilous tunnel dug far below the surface of the Earth. On a true Indiana Jones-style quest, Dr. Hawass will put his own life in jeopardy for the sake of discovery.

I love anything to do with ancient Egypt. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of Dr. Hawass, who sometimes seems to be in it as much for the fame as for the research (and who, according to some reports, has an ego large enough to rival the Great Pyramid itself), but I just couldn’t resist this National Geographic special.

So, there you have it – my library haul! Have you borrowed any good DVDs from the library recently?

Baby Story Time – February 20, 2015

A story time! Over a month after my last story time, I survived a story time! After bailing on the bigger, more rambunctious family story time, I decided to try my hand at the quieter, smaller, gentler baby time. I survived, and I enjoyed every beautiful minute of it, but let me tell you, it was rough. It was very rough, and I actually had to lie down afterwards and rest, because I was so worn out!

But you know what made it so amazing? After I explained to the families that I was recovering from an extended illness and still didn’t have my full strength back, everyone supported me in the most wonderful ways. Caregivers sang their hearts out so I could rest my voice, and even helped me read the stories! I was welcomed back with open arms, and I can’t wait for next week, when I should will be back in action again!

Because I was still feeling so fragile, I decided to stick with the classics, and only pick songs and rhymes I was sure everyone would know and be able to help with. I made sure to bring the smiles and the laughs, so that everyone would know how happy I was to be with them again – even if my body isn’t quite there yet, my spirit is still strong! :)

Welcome Song: Hello, Friends!

Touching Rhymes/Tickles

  • Eyes nose cheeky cheeky chin
  • Two little eyes
  • Roly poly
  • Head and shoulders

Book 1: If You See a Kitten /  John Butler

kitten

Songs/Bounces

  • A smooth road
  • You be the lemon
  • A hippopotamus got on a city bus
  • The grand old duke of york

Book Two: Monkey and Me /  Emily Gravett

monkey

Movement Songs

  • What shall we do with lazy Katie?
  • Zoom zoom
  • The elevator song

Soothing Songs

  • Rain is falling down
  • You are my sunshine

Goodbye song: Goodbye, Friends!

So, friends, what are some of your favourite books for babies? I have my favourites, but I’m always looking for new titles to add to my collection!

Putting the kids first

After missing so many story times due to illness, all I wanted to do today was get out there and sing my little heart out with my kiddies. I’d been thinking about it for ages, missing it, planning for it, practicing for it, preparing for it.

I got to work, I made a cup of tea, I pulled out my materials, I looked at the meeting room, and I realized that I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t do it. I was still coughing like a coal miner, and there was no way my reedy voice was going to fill that crowded space.

Despite my best intentions, I had to accept that I still wasn’t fully recovered. The kids deserved the best story time program they could get, whether it was from myself or from someone else. I had to accept that, and I had to put the kids first.

So I did. Though it nearly made me cry with disappointment, I asked a colleague to cover my story time for me. It may sound dramatic, but I was gutted. To still be sick, after over a month, was just so frustrating, and I just wanted to scream (but I was in a library, so I “shhh’d” myself).

The most important thing for a children’s librarian is to provide the best possible service for the families in his or her community, and the best way I could do that was by accepting my limitations and swallowing my pride.

It hurt, I won’t lie, but it was for the best. Now I just need to focus on a complete recovery so I can get back to doing the things I love most.

Back in the saddle again….

After an extended absence due to illness, I made my first foray back into the library today for a half-shift. I survived, and my spirits have been lifted to no small degree.

Part of what made my first mini day back such an uplifting experience was this little surprise, left for me by one of the children in my story times (who have missed me for a month, though they’ve been in very good hands).

IMG_20150219_150009

This beautiful little heart is now proudly displayed beside my desk. It’s the little things in life that make it worth living, like knowing that you’ve made a positive impression on a child, and played at least a little role in their development. Pretty powerful stuff!