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Category Archives: Blogging

Routines

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a policies and procedures type girl. There’s a reason that I’m a ISTJ also known as the duty fulfiller. So it won’t surprise anyone that I have routines. Not only to make me sane, but to make our household run smoothly, and work manageable. Here’s a basic outline of a typical day:2017-06-02 07.56.25

Clearly this isn’t everything and it shouldn’t be because life is isn’t always organized, but it sure makes it easier. In a separate post about my love of folders, I share an image with Martha Stewart’s quote that “life is too complicated not to be orderly.” This perhaps was my personality from birth and why I became a librarian. It’s also why I have baskets and bins around my home andboards on Pinterest that I continually re-organize. I’m also lucky enough to have married a man who also believes in organization, tidiness, and schedules. He was also born with it and probably why he joined the military and is self-employed: an intrinsic motivation for order and a get-it-done attitude that comes with it.

Likewise, it’s also why we have policies and procedures for everything in our HS library. Students know what to expect. My favorite line is “Miss, I know X, but…” to which my reply is “Yes, you know X, so…” Because we see between 20-60 kids or more each period, nine periods a day, plus before and after school, routines make it more manageable. Then, we can focus on the students and staff.

Maybe that’s why I find routines comforting and necessary. They allow me to take the thinking off of certain items and be able to really ponder the more important aspects of life. Routines are the opposite of making my life mundane, they enrich it by allowing me to focus on what matters.

 

 

 

The art of the booktalk

This post originally appeared on the Books Blog for the Times Union

The art of the booktalk. When a friend asks you about the book you’re reading or you’re sharing a recent fabulous read, how do you approach it? Do you ask a question? Perhaps have a pre-planned teaser or maybe you’d rather share an overview. Sometimes I’m so blinded by the emotion of absolutely loving a book that I clutch the book to my chest and whisper I love this book and then just hope that someone will take my word for it. Luckily I’ve got some street cred with this approach.

2017-03-30 15.40.02-1But, I was thinking about the art of the booktalk after spending two days in classrooms talking to tenth graders about choosing a classic book to read for their fourth quarter project. I had a lot of ground to cover and not all of the books I had read. Yet that is nothing new because I booktalk frequently on topics that I may only know slightly and I am a firm believer that you can booktalk a book you haven’t read. I organized the books into categories that helped channel the number that I was talking about and then prepared my cheat sheet (things like publication date, title characters, main ideas, themes or topics, or a relevant current topic that paired nicely). And while this is necessary, I generally don’t use it as much as occasionally reference it since Benjamin Franklin put it best when he said

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

It’s there if I need it, but the preparation solidifies my approach and then I don’t actually need it. Especially when I capitalize on others in the room who may have loved one of the books and ask them to share. When I talk about a book I may ask a hypothetical question or have a one-liner that intrigues someone, saying little more. And I learn from others. I facilitate a book group of local school librarians and everyone has a slightly different approach, all valuable in their own way. There are some I could listen to all day myself, admiring their vocabulary and word choice. I aspire to be better after each delivery and rework it until I hit booktalk gold. We only get better with practice.

So not only am I constantly honing my booktalking skills based on my audience, I also realized I have a lot of classic literature to read (or reread to refresh my memory). Maybe I can make this a monthly post to review a classic book as a way to kickstart this exploration. Which would you start with?

 

I’m booked

There’s work that includes the regular stuff and the presentations both for students and upcoming ones for colleagues and other professionals. Then there’s home stuff that includes my kids’ birthday and a very large home renovation project. So while there are days when I must stare longingly at the books sitting on my end table or diligently tote around my Nook waiting fora  spare few minute that never comes to read, I am busy when I can be reading. Mainly graphic novels and mainly because I’m excited to be part of the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services Association’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens committee.

While we’ve done nothing more than exchange emails, they’re already a pretty awesome group and I’m already diving deep into graphic novels of every shape and size. So, I want as many recommendations as possible. What are you loving, what are you liking? What new ones are you anticipating for 2017?

I’ll listen, maybe not to the lady at the grocery store talking about her cat, but I will listen to anyone who has suggestions about their favorite new releases. Otherwise, I’m booked!

readersbeadvised

 

Collecting as I go

quincyadams

Boy do I wish I knew then what I know now. When you’re fifteen and starting your first job, it’s hard to have the wherewithal to understand the criticism and compliments that a boss doles out. But certainly once you get it, however long that takes, this recognition is a vital step in your own development as a boss. I’m appreciative to have recognized this fairly early and as a high school student actually submitted an article to our local newspaper recognizing my fantastic first boss.

So, over the years I’ve been collecting and reflecting on the qualities in leaders that I’ve worked with and under as well as successes I’ve had as a leader.

  • Be someone who listens: Now this is a quality I am working on because I get so excited about a topic that I ramble… fast and I’m not actively hearing the other person.Slow down and be in the moment.
  • Be someone who makes a decision: I have had and still do have bosses that cannot make a decision. Rather, they want others to do it for them. One of the most respected administrators I’ve worked with took it one step further. Regardless of what her decision was, you knew that she had listened first and then made the best decision she knew how to make. And you felt fine with whatever it was because you knew that she heard you. And she took the responsibility for making the decision.
  • Be someone who is personable, but still keeps some distance: Being personable is necessary. Knowing about family, friends, interests, skills, and hobbies is important, but as a leader or talking with a leader also does not mean that we need to meet for drinks after work or that I need to hear about your recent family crisis in detail.
  • Be someone who inspires: Like the John Quincy Adams quote, I want to feel empowered. I want to be better because and for them. Educators talk about this regarding students: “it’s not filling a the bucket, but lighting a fire.” Educators should remember this around our colleagues too. I need all ten fingers and toes, plus some to count my colleagues who inspire me.
    • Additionally, be someone who compliments: Tell them that they inspire you. I am a firm believer in compliments. I like getting them and I love giving them. I try to compliment a colleague, mentor, or boss as often as possible.
  • Be someone who believes: I will never forget 2010 when I walked in to my administrator’s office to tell her about an opportunity that another librarian had presented about hosting an author visit (it would be a first for me and the building). Plus I was a big fan of this author’s work and so were our students. I didn’t say more than a few words and her response was “yes, whatever it is, yes.” She saw my passion and excitement and knew that I would see it through. It started by believing in someone or something.
  • Be someone who dresses the part: This doesn’t mean spending two hours getting ready in the morning nor does it mean having thousand-dollar suits, it means dressing how you want to be addressed.

Leadership is a work in progress, but if every experience is an opportunity to learn, then we are all better for it. It’s multi-faceted. It’s never perfect. But it’s a start.

 
 

Joining the #edublogsclub community

I’m excited to be embarking on expanding what I do with my blog both to encourage more readership as well as diversify the content to avoid straight book recommendations all of the time. Book recommendations and reviews came along as the theme for the blog simply because it was the easiest thing to start with and because I was blogging on other platforms which different target audiences and satiated that need to talk about something other than books I was reading there rather than incorporating it into mine.

So while I’m not a newbie, I’m also not a veteran either. I would consider a veteran someone who has honed in on their authentic voice, figured out exactly what they enjoy sharing, and what their followers like reading. This is exactly what I’d like to be able to ask of other bloggers- how have you built your audience and do you stick to what you want to share or “listen” and alter your content based on feedback? How do you solicit that feedback? My fear is that blogging is all for naught if I don’t start gaining some followers, though I like the medium and platform I use. My goal for 2017 is to find my voice, not specifically in my writing style, but in what I want to share and what’s important to me as a librarian. Essentially answer the question: what do I have to offer?

The creation of a blog was also born from a need to add another voice and give back to my community and colleagues who I follow, respect, and learn from daily. A few of my favorites include The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say Shhh!, Librarian Leaps, and YALSA’s The Hub. And I  confess that I limit my list based on those bloggers who offer an email subscription simply because I like my content delivered in an email when a new post is made so I can save it, share it out, or be able to go back and refer to it again. I need it neatly delivered to my inbox!

Here is to learning with the Edublogs community!

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2017 in Blogging, edublogsclub, Librarian Life

 

Check them out

ReadingOwlAs I mentioned in a previous post, I’m contributing to a blog for the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services arm. Here are the past few posts: