Thanks for visiting my blog. Here you will learn about my weekly practicum tasks at the Newhall Library located in Santa Clarita, California. I am working with Children's Librarian Christina Baker.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Last Week in the Library...

I cannot believe that my last week of my practicum has already come! This semester has blown by so fast, I do not know where all the time went! Since my last day on the job was spent just finishing up a few hours that I had left, I did not do too much different or new tasks. I was able to help order some more Pirate books for the up coming story time. We received most of the ones we ordered through inter-library loan, however, they were either too long or not age appropriate. I also went through the stacks in our branch and pulled some more pirate themed books as well. I am however a little surprised at the lack pirate books we have in both our story time collection and our regular collection.

This week I also helped with the Space themed story time. I read a book to the children during both the Tuesday story times. I also helped the children with the craft afterwards, which consisted of painted the rockets which I made and assembled the past week. And, I was right, the children were so excited to paint them! I do think though they were just mostly excited to paint!

Through out this practicum I learned so many things that could not have been taught within the classroom. I am very grateful for this experience because of that. Confidence, children's reference, readers advisory are just some of the things that are best learned on the floor. I was so incredibly nervous to create and participate in my first story time; by the time it came to my last day and I read a story, I was not nervous at all! That is one HUGE thing I am grateful for. As I continue on in my career and aim my career goals towards becoming a children's librarian, these elements are extremely important and essential to tasks I will have to complete in the professional world. Christina allowed me to help with collection development, weeding, projects, and activities. Not only to I owe her huge thanks, but she helped me to realize what I really would like to do with my career.

Monday, April 30, 2012

15th Week at the Library

This week at the library has been a very busy one. I was extremely busy preparing for two future story times as well as helping with the usual children's reference desk needs. The children's area has been rather slow the past few days, so the reference questions were very few and far between. With those circumstances, I was able to help collect and order books for the story time two weeks in advance. The theme for that week will be pirates, which I think is a fantastic theme. However, the amount of pirate books available is rather limited which surprised me. There are several, but they are either too long for a story time or too involved. I was able to order several though, so when they arrive, hopefully this week, we can evaluate them and determine if we can use them.

In addition to helping with those tasks, most of my time this week was dedicated to building four story time rocket ships! This coming week's theme is space, so Christina and I decided that for our craft we would build rocket ships that children could paint or color afterwards and we could display them within the libraries, both the Canyon Country and Newhall branches, afterwards. Boy, this was a real work out! Christina helped me to build the rockets and then I covered them in white butcher paper myself, so that the children can paint them. It took a very long time, several hours, to construct and prepare them for the children. Even with all the hard work, I think that all four rockets were definitely worth it! I am very excited to see how they turn out as well!

Here are two of the four rocket ships! 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Week 14 at the Library...

Another busy week has gone by! This past week was extremely crazy with programs within the library. The city of Santa Clarita hosts a cowboy festival every year around this time and the libraries planned special activities, which were cowboy themed, to coincide with the festival. This year, we had a local author, Janet Squires, come into the library and read one of her children's books during the regularly scheduled Elementary story times. For Canyon Country, I was the delegated point person so that meant I had to set everything up, talk with the author before she presented, oversee the activity afterwards, and then finally clean up.

The picture above shows the children's area at the Canyon Country branch all set-up and ready for our author to come and visit. 

We had over 45 people show up to our story time to hear Mrs. Squires read her book, "Gingerbread Cowboy". Patrons also had the opportunity to purchase or bring in their own copy of the book for Mrs. Squires to sign. Not only did she read her book, but she also talked about her experience getting it published, what inspired her to write the story, as well as a little bit about her life. After the discussion, the children were able to draw their own gingerbread cowboy on a piece of paper. I admit, we have had more exciting activities before, and I think the children were not impressed by this one.

Earlier in the week I helped with the preschool age story time. Again, this weeks theme was cowboys, so all our books were themed with cowboys as well. However, after the books this week the craft was very cute and all the children loved it! We had printed out large sheriff's badges which the children were able to color, put their name on, and attach to a string so they could wear it around their neck. I really liked this craft and so did they!

Here is a picture of the sheriff's badge that I made! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

13th Week

Nearly all of my hours have been completed after this week. Just a few more to go! And wow, have I helped with a variety of different projects as well as answered some very different questions at the reference desk. For my hours this week I help with story-time again. This week our topic was hats. It was local election time in our city, so some of the elections were held at the library during our story-time hour in our story-time room. Since this situation was out of our control we were unable to hold the usual story-time which is put on weekly at the branch. Instead, Christina read one book in the children's area Bridget's Beret. Most of the children were really happy and enjoyed listening to the story. Afterwards, we had set up tables for the children to color on large pieces of paper. Once this was completed, we showed them how to fold their piece into a hat! I don't think we have done a craft yet where I have seen the children so excited. It was very cute and so far one of my favorite memories of this practicum experience.

In addition to assisting with the story-time I also had to fill in for another employee who was sick and I had to host Anime Club. I had hosted once before in the past, so I have had some previous experience but not too much since only one participant had shown up. This week I had the participants watch two episodes of a manga. There were only 3 people who showed up for the club and they all had to leave early for various different reasons. Because of this we did not stay the full hour that the club is set-up to take.

This week I also helped with passive programing inside of the library. Each week we put games out for children to play with one another and typically a library staff member or a volunteer oversees them. This week I was there. The children played Uno and Sequence, and they seemed to have a very enjoyable time. Most of the participants are regulars who come on a weekly basis. Because of this they have learned how to participate in a group setting and to keep their voices down to an appropriate library level.

Photo Copyright:www.tomlichtenheld.com

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Week 12 @ Canyon Country Library

It is only Wednesday and I was already able to finish up my hours for this week! The children's area has been extremely busy due to all the local school children being on Spring Break. This week I was in charge of one activity, helped with a after story time craft, and helped with another library activity. On the first monday of every month, the library hosts what is called "Crafty Kids". During this time children are invited to come into the library and participate in a craft. This week we had the children paint. I was in charge of the activity and I had a volunteer help me set up, clean up, and keep an eye on the children. We had taken paper grocery bags and cut them out into pieces, large enough to paint on, and passed them out to the children. Most everyone enjoyed the activity. We told them they could either take their artwork home with them or if they left it then we would hang it up around the library. Almost every child left their art! I am excited to hang them up or to see them hung up! 

Yesterday's story time was themed "Bugs". Christina read the children the book and I was outside in the children's area setting up. We gave the children large coffee filters and markers. They were told to color their coffee filter and then we sprayed them with water to let the ink from the markers run. After they had dried a little, we took pipe cleaners and made the filter into butterflies!  The children were so excited and loved this craft. There were two groups, each with over 40 children in them. I was very envious of these cute little butterflies everyone was taking home. They all turned out so well, each one was just a little bit different than the next. 

In addition to helping with the crafts, I also helped with a more passive programing. While Library Gaming is not completely passive it is very fun and the children love it. This week the group was small; typically there are over ten children in attendance, yesterday we had 6. We allow the children to play games such as Sequence, Uno, CandyLand, and a few other games. The children really like it but we constantly have to remind them to use their "library voices". I think it is interesting to have a game afternoon in the library, a place were books are typically read. But, these types of games can teach children many other skills they can't always get from reading. Sharing, logic, and a different type of thinking are all important strategies when playing games. 

11th Week in the Library

Last week was a very busy week for me in the library. I was invited to the youth services meeting, which is a meeting with all the branch managers, children's librarians, and assistants who help with the children's department. I was very pleased with not only being invited, but the results of the meeting. Most of the discussion was about the upcoming Summer Reading Program, which will start in June for us. The theme has already been picked, so much of the discussion and topics of conversation were about the website, buttons versus stickers, and prizes. I really enjoyed listening to the meeting as well as giving my input, even though it was very little!

In addition to discussing SRP, the topic of story time was also a decent size discussion within our meeting. Each branch discussed the three different stories times they put on and how it is has been going lately. In addition, each of us in attendance, nine total, did a small book talk about a book we are reading or have recently read.

The meeting last for several hours and it was a little overwhelming. However, I really enjoyed going. During my other hours I also worked at the children's reference desk for several hours. During these hours I have helped several children locate books for school, books for enjoyment, and for other reasons.

Monday, March 26, 2012

10th Week!

Wow, this past week within the library has been a very, very busy one. I was able to help prepare for upcoming story times this week by going through our collection and pulling specific books that Christina had written down. She had gone through her notes from previous story times and she had also used the help of a website to come up with new songs and to get book ideas. Locating the books was not difficult, however, not all of the books she had requested were there! Because of this, I had to place hold requests on items to be sent to our library from another branch. This activity helped me to realize that planning ahead as a children's librarian is a good thing. Not all the books that a librarian might want or need will be there, so knowing ahead of time what you need is essential.

In addition to helping with the future story time preparation I also met with our BWI representative, Michael. When working with Christina I have helped and have seen her using BWI to purchase new materials for our collection and the collection of two other nearby branches. In the meeting with him, he discussed a little bit of new books which are going to be published as well as helped to teach Christina faster and simpler methods of using the BWI website. I have always found it a little confusing, at least in certain parts, and Michael was able to help clear that confusion up for both of us, which was nice. Also, a BWI account was set up for myself to help Christina with her purchases. Now, when I am not working on another project I can sit down and add items to my cart to help Christina with collection development. She will look at the items I have placed in my cart and give me feedback to which ones are a good addition and which was are not. I think this will be a very beneficial aspect of my practicum because collection development is a task most librarians will do within their library careers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

9th Week...

This week in the library went by super quick! I cannot believe yet another week of the semester has past. Christina kept me very busy this week and assigned me a horrifying task: I had to run story-time all on my own, twice! And, in addition to hosting it two times within the library I also accompanied her to a nearby preschool where we repeated the story-time as well as the activity to two different classrooms.

I really enjoyed each presentation I gave, especially after I began. I was extremely nervous in the beginning , more so because of the parents than the children. However, once I started I became more relaxed and had a great time. I decided to focus my attention on the children rather than look at their parents or adults and it made it so much easier. The theme this week was Dinosaurs. I had helped select the books I was reading and I had been practicing for several days both the books and the songs. Everything went so great, so much better than I had expected. Also, I felt so happy the children enjoyed it. They responded and interacted and they behaved so very well.

In addition to preparing and presenting the Dinosaur Story-time this week I also mentioned that we presented in front of two preschool classrooms, which was very enjoyable. They too were also very well behaved. However, it was a very different group than the ones we see within the library.

Children's reference was another aspect of my practicum hours this week. I was able to answer several questions as well as help children locate books for school projects, AR quizzes, and just for enjoyment. I always was interested in children's librarianship but I never thought I would find it so rewarding. I am very happy I decided to focus on this aspect of library service for my practicum!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Week 8 at the Library...

Yet again, it was another busy week at the library. Filled with many different tasks, I had my hands full. I started my week off by helping with story-time at the Valencia branch. Due to illness, each branch has been short handed so I was asked to help with baby-toddler story time. Since this is the largest and most popular branch out of the three in the valley, there can be up to 80 participants every week! My roll in these story times was not great, but I helped to set-up and supervise.

In addition to helping with the story time I also helped plan next week's. The theme is dinosaurs, so I was in charge of locating dinosaur books within the collection and finding songs for the children to sing. This was my first time doing this, and I really had a lot of fun. There is so much that goes into reading and picking out the books and the actual planning and preparation than I previously thought.

This week I also read a story to the school age story time group. After I read the story, I helped the children with a small arts and crafts project. Since this age group is the oldest of all the story times the library offers, the librarians who plan it try to read a variety of stories and try to encourage children to write their own stories. The craft project we provided tonight required the children to write a short story and draw four to five pictures to represent their stories.

I cannot wait for next week! I am going to help with the first Dinosaur story time and by the end of the week I will be doing the whole thing myself!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Library Week 7

Wow! Has the time been flying by! This week was my 7th week working on my internship and I had a great week! Since several schools in my area were celebrating the life of Dr. Seuss this week, the library did as well. I was fortunate enough to help with a story time geared towards elementary school children. I helped set up a display full of popular Dr. Seuss books, stuffed animal characters, and other books written in the same type of style that Dr. Seuss used.

For this event, we read the children some fun facts about Ted Geisel, had them talk a little about their favorite Dr. Seuss books, and read some stories along with similar titles. I was able to read "There's a Wocket in my Pocket". I also help some of the activities we hand out which included a matching game, a maze, a guess the character worksheet, and an activity having to do with "The Cat in the Hat". I am not sure who had more fun, the children or myself!

In addition to being involved in the story time this week, I also helped prepare it as well as a future story time. In a few weeks the topic will be dinosaurs. I was in charge of using a story time website to find ideas, songs, and book titles. I was then entrusted with the task of locating books within our branch's collection to use for the story time. I am looking forward to helping with this one when the time comes!

Here is a picture of myself standing in front of the Dr. Seuss display table!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

6th Week

Again, for another week during my practicum not too many exciting things happened. I helped again with reference questions and AR questions as well. Several families have come into the library looking for books to fulfill their AR needs. However, our library is set up by authors last name or the Dewey number. Many patrons, especially this past week, have become very upset that our juvenile books are not in order by their AR level; mostly the parents are guilty of this.

In addition to helping with reference I worked a little bit more with collection development. There are several boxes of books which have been in storage. My task has been to unbox the books and place them on back shelves in a spare room (used for storage) for my boss to sort through them. However, I have been given permission to discard any books which are in bad condition or out dated. This task has been useful because it has widened by skills and my eye for relevance within the collection.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Week 5

This week was not filled with exciting adventures like the past few weeks. Again, I helped with reference at the Children's Reference desk as well as shelving books in the children's area. One special event which was hosted at all three of the library branches this week was called "Love Your Library." Occurring on Monday, this event was for patrons of all ages and included activities, entertainment, and giveaways for everyone. We hosted a craft for children to work on within the children's area. Reasons why each child loved their library were listed and hung about in the children's area. Also, a craft where animals were made out of papers cut into the shapes of hearts were made. It seemed the kids really had a great time!

Our story-time this week was also very special. The city's mayor came in and read two stories instead of the usual librarian. While it was not as "smooth" as it usually is, it was definitely a lot of fun for both children and parents to watch and listen to.

With the "Love your Library"event and other things this week, there was not a whole lot of new things or projects for me to work on unfortunately. It did give me a feel for the regular and sometimes less fun aspects of a children librarian's job. Reference, straightening up displays and picking up books, helping find AR books, and other tasks are daily things one must be familiar with when working in the particular area of the library field. It is good to have both practice and experience with all these tasks.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Week 4 at the Library....

This week, the activities at the library were a little slower than normal. For my hours this week I worked answering children's reference questions and I hosted an event. Many of the questions were about locating biographies. Apparently a majority of the elementary schools in my area are having their students read biographies and work on a project or a report. Many of the students I helped were in the third grade. What was different was the subject of the book. Since February is Black History Month some students needed to find a book on African American individuals. Other kids just needed biographies on any person of their interest. I have worked with children before and answered reference questions, however, this week I really realized how different the reference interview is with children versus adults. While both require similar questions, the responses from children differ greatly than those typically given by adults.

In addition to children's reference, I hosted event this week. A co-worker of mine hurt his leg this week so he was out sick. Due to this, I unexpectedly had to host Anime Club this afternoon. Normally, an episode or two of a Manga episode is shown. Unfortunately our projector is out of service this week. So, I had to scramble to find an activity for the participants. After speaking with my mentor, Christina, we decided to have the children draw their own manga cartoon. We provided them with several books from the collection on how to draw manga and cartoons as well as snacks and treats. The picture below is of the room and the tables I set up for this event. Overall I think it went well. I do think it would have been much better if I had had more time to prepare. It did teach me though that I can create an event last minute! Which can be a good skill to have!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Week 3

Wow! This week has been a very busy week for me during my praticum hours. First, several people were sick again this week so that left me to take over. Monday I co-hosted a story-time for pre-school aged children. I sang and read to them, which I was horribly nervous about. I could have done better but I was not awful! After the story-time there was a little art activity for the children and their parents to work on together. This week the theme was trains. All the songs and stories we read and talked about dealt with trains, so, for the activity the children colored in trains and then pasted them onto large pieces of construction paper. Here is an example I made for the children to look at:

In addition to the Monday story-time, I also co-hosted to Baby & Toddler story-times on Tuesday. This was much easier since I had helped in the one on Monday, but I was still nervous. The theme again was still trains but there were different books and songs and no activity since the children were younger. We had over 50 people show up! 

In addition to helping with the story times, I also worked on labeling new books for the children's collection. Several juvenile paperbacks had been ordered and are in the process of being added to the collection. This week it has been my task to label each book with a sticker that says "Santa Clarita Library Canyon Country Branch". 

Today at the library we hosted another event, called "Read to a Dog". For this event, three service dogs from the local community come in and young children are able to pick out one to two books and they sit next to the dogs and read to them. Not only does this help to build their confidence, but it helps them with their reading skills and can even teach them to feel more comfortable around dogs. For this event, I signed up children to participate as well as oversaw everything to make sure everything ran smoothly. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Week 2 at the Newhall Library

For this weeks internship hours, I worked on a few different tasks within the Newhall Library. My first assignment was to make flyers for two events the library is holding. The first flyer dealt with Science Club. The Newhall Library is promoting a weekly event for young children to come into the library to learn and participate in fun and educational activities. The second flyer I made was to promote Read to a Dog Program. Each of the three library branches promotes this activity. Young children are able to choose any book from the library; they get 15 minutes to read to a dog. Four to five dogs are brought into the library by volunteers for the children to read too. These animals are service animals, typically for individuals who are blind or are therapy dogs. This activity helps to promote reading as well as familiarize young children with dogs.

In addition to working on flyers, I also observed as well as participated in Baby & Toddler Story-time. I was very nervous, but once the program was over I felt much better. I assisted a different children's librarian, Kelly, because Christina was out sick. I helped to sing songs such as the "Itsy Bitsy Spider" and I read "Goodnight Moon."While singing, I wore a spider hand puppet and the children seemed to love it. This was definitely something different and nothing I am used to. It was a good experience however; I was able to slowly ease into it. I hope, before this experience is over, to complete a whole story-time on my own.

In addition to these two assignments, I also worked at the children's reference desk and helped several kids locate books, both for school and for fun.

This is a picture of part of the children's area in the Newhall Library.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

First Week

My first week working on my practicum was very busy and productive! Since I work in a public library, for this practicum experience I am working at another library branch and working on projects, tasks, and assignments I do not work on during a normal work day. I am completing my hours for this practicum on my own time; not while on the clock and with the children's librarian.

My first task this week was to help weed and remove some materials from the children's collection. In class I have learned the logic and some methods behind weeding, however I have never seen it implemented. For this task, I looked at the condition of the book, its age, and the content. Books with topics of science, space, and health were examined carefully. I found a few items stating that Pluto was still a planet. Items such as these I removed from the collection. I worked closely with Christina, who explained to me here reasoning between pulling other materials. In addition to pulling the books, I also withdrew the items from the catalog. This way, the items which we are discarding will not show up in the catalog anymore.

In addition to weeding, I was assigned the task of taking a set of children's reference encyclopedias from 2011 and changing them within the catalog to circulating. I also relabeled the items and moved them to a different shelf. The library ordered a current set of encyclopedias, so the past editions are now able to circulate outside of the library. This task was interesting because I had to change the catalog record for each item; something I had never done before. Not only did it give me a new skill, but I was able to look at the cataloging records and see some of the information I had learned in the cataloging course put into place.

The last task I worked on this week was helping host a children's activity. This afternoon, the library hosted a "Valentines for Veterans" event. We had children of all ages come into the library and make Valentines Day cards for our troops overseas. A young Marine, currently enlisted, came in and spoke to the children and thanked them for their thoughtfulness and expressed great appreciation for the cards. The library supplied all the materials including the cards, lollipops, stickers, hearts, markers, glue, and other supplies. I helped to set up the tables, put out the supplies, supervise, and help the children make their cards. Since this was the first activity I had ever supervised at the library it turned out great! There was a huge turn out and the children made adorable cards. Considered "passive" programming, the children were able to use their imaginations to create anything they wanted on their cards.

Here is a photograph of the Newhall Library

                                                               Courtesy of Santaclaritapubliclibrary.com