What’s In a Name?

It’s been years (!) since I wrote about Punk Rock Book Jockeys, and I still love that title and the movement that it began. The only down side to it is that it really hasn’t done anything to change the public’s understanding of what a librarian is or should be. To the majority of people, it’s still “if you work in a library, then you’re a librarian.”

For decades, our profession has been working hard to educate the public about librarianship, and from what I’ve seen, it hasn’t been effective. Furthermore, it has left out the thoughts and feelings of the thousands of library workers who work alone in their small community’s libraries. They are, and will forever be, librarians to everyone in their towns.

One of the most persistent arguments that I’ve heard throughout the years from librarians goes something like this: “You wouldn’t go to a hospital to have a nurse perform a complicated surgery on you – and that’s how it should be in libraries. You wouldn’t want a paraprofessional handling information for you.” I bring this up in order to return to it in just a bit, since this argument helped me get to the entire point of this post.

I think that it’s safe to say that most of us know that there should be a change. But what I’m trying to say is that we could be going about it in a much more compelling way. It’s hard to make people change something ingrained in them by arguing that a large segment of workers they have known, and who have touched their lives, are unqualified.

So, here’s my proposal: change the name of what a librarian with a master’s degree is called. After all, to go back to the hospital analogy, there have always been different terms for hospital employees (doctors, nurses, etc.) – those workers have never been called “hospitalarians.” The medical field has differentiated the job titles since hospitals came into existence – so the analogy doesn’t quite hold, but it sure got me to thinking.

And while working on a presentation about paraprofessionals and librarians working together, I had a lightning bolt realization of what I thought we should consider calling librarians with MILSes. Are you ready? Here it is:

Master Librarians.

Boom. It says what it is, and is what it says. It would be a conversation-starter with anyone who hears it. Libraries everywhere have librarians, but not all libraries have Master Librarians. I think that many people would be incredibly proud to be called a Master Librarian after putting in all the blood, sweat, tears, and money (oh so much money) that it takes to earn a master’s degree.

Really take a moment to consider what could happen.

What if, in a sweeping motion, the American Library Association declared that “all who work in libraries are librarians.” To those outside of our profession, it may seem like they’re stating the obvious, but to us insiders? It would be epic. I believe that the ALA would seem more welcoming and worth the investment to all the library workers who were made to feel less-than.

And if the ALA took it a step further and gave a new name to librarians with master’s degrees? That would both honor and elevate those who have dedicated a great deal of their lives to our profession. Plus, people might begin to truly grasp the importance of librarianship. I know that my community would be incredibly proud that their library has two Master Librarians serving them.

Think about it, and then share – with me, with coworkers, with mentors – with anyone who will listen. These conversations could potentially lead to a healthy revolution within our profession, and that’s an exciting possibility.

Side note: you can click on this post’s lone image to get a super-big high-res version of it to use however you’d like! Enjoy!

Get Your Sticker On!

 

I know, I know – you’re here for the free stuffs, and lately it’s been mostly costing stuffs. Unfortunately, that’s how things are for me currently, and how things are for a lot of library employees in smaller cities. So yes, I would love to get back to posting free resources, and that truly is a hope of mine, and I’ll totally have a dance party when that day comes – I just don’t know when that’ll be.

Okay. That’s covered.

Now onto something that will only cost you about $1: a downloadable sticker template for library scavenger hunts! More specifically, it’s a good generic printable that you could use for any library scavenger hunt! Yay!

Here’s the sample sheet:

These work with AVERY brand round labels 5293. Like this:

Once we print out a sheet, we then cut out each sticker. Depending on how busy we are, we’ll either put out a few for a child to choose from, or give them a sticker to help things keep moving. Here’s our little sticker bowl:

And that’s really it! Simple ‘n good. You can purchase this instant download from my Etsy shop.

As always, don’t hesitate to ask me any questions – either in the comments, or on my Facebook page, or through email at Hafuboti@gmail.com.

Library Date Due Slip Palooza!!!

I am excited to share with y’all my latest creations for sale at my Etsy shop: dozens of high-res library date due slips! And they’re only $2 per collection!! And I have 7 collections for you to choose from!!!

SHUT UP AND TAKE ME THERE NOW.

For those of  you who didn’t immediately click on the above link to check it out, here’s the whys and hows of this project.

Basically, I’ve been hoarding every date due slip I could get my hands on from my library – whether it be from weeding old books, or finding them in donated books – even my team members knew to keep a look out and put any of those slips on my desk.

Then, one day as I was scanning some in as a collage in order to craft with the printouts, I was like, “Huh. Others might like having access to these, too…”

That was about a year ago. Since then I have been slowly working on this project. It takes a while because I have to sort through the slips and find ones in decent condition/worth scanning, then scan them, and then do some photoshopping on them so that they’d be big, beautiful .pngs. I tried to keep the photoshopping to a minimum, but I still had to do a lot of work on them.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about, from the Gaylord collection:

So after I had a large number completed, I realized that I needed a way to sort them out since Etsy only allows a certain amount of file space per upload, and only five uploads per posting. I decided on splitting them up by publisher (or lack thereof). Then with the very substantial number of Library Store slips, I broke those up by number of columns, and then a set A and B for the 2-columned ones.

I had briefly toyed with the thought of listing all the dates included in the set. Briefly. It took one large slip to confirm that it would be an enormous task.

To sort of balance the scales, for each listing I made a collage of all the slips that were included within that listing. I hope that this helps anyone looking for a specific date, or a specific style of a date due slip.

Here’s an example from the Odd Variety collection:

Besides crafting with these, I have used them at work in a fun way. In our Main Library’s back office (which is visible to anyone at the circulation desk), there are a ridiculous number of thumbtack holes and other damages to the back wall. I printed out large versions of some of these, cut them out and placed them over the damage. It looks all purposeful and artsy-like.

I hope that you have fun finding ways to use these great files. I love that they’re a reminder of earlier library days, and especially that they’re physical proof that a) libraries have been here for decades, and b) we’ll continue to adjust and remain relevant.

Library Date Due Slips on Etsy

The Joy of Arting

tl;dr for naturally artistic-types: posterize smaller images you want to use and then use a large window as a big ol’ lightbox.

This is a post that I have wanted to write since 2015, and I am delighted to finally be sharing this with y’all. Basically, I want to show you how to do this:

Don’t panic!!! I believe that you can do this.

What I’ll be sharing with you is something that my husband Bruce introduced me to: lightboxes.

Here’s a picture of the lightbox that Bruce used as a child:

Nowadays you can search “tracing lightbox” to see more examples of sleeker versions that many different types of artists use.

Okay. Here’s the cool thing: you already have free lightboxes at work and at home – your windows! I know that many of you will read this and think, “I have a projector which basically does the same thing.” True. But usually you need to be in a dimly lit room, and your hand can get in the way of what you’re wanting to trace. My technique can be done during work hours in full view of the public, and both parents and kids get a kick out of learning about what you’re doing.

Without further ado, here’s a step-by-step on how I created the above window display (and how you can, too!):

Find an image that you’d like to enlarge. Once you find something, then you can use whatever computer program you have that can print a “poster.” You’ll have options on sizes, so pick whichever will work best in your space. I opted to do a four-page poster using ledger paper.

After printing it out, you could simply cut and tape the paper together and hang it up that way, but it could look so much better. Like, people might think that you hired a professional artist to create your art.

The most likely limitation you may experience is having large enough paper available to cover your posterized image. Fortunately for me, the large roll of white paper that we use to cover our activity tables happens to be the perfect size.

Once you have your poster taped up onto a window so that it doesn’t move around, then you can cut a larger single sheet of paper to go over what you just taped up. Again, use enough tape to make sure that your top paper doesn’t shift while you work on it.

It’s tough to see in this picture, but I have all four corners of the big sheet taped down.

Next you do a heckuva lotta tracing.

highly recommend using Sharpie Brush pens – they don’t bleed as much as regular Sharpies, and they easily let you flow from thicker to thinner lines (or vice-versa). And for the larger black areas, I recommend the Sharpie Magnum – it’s a great time-saver.

Now you have the option to complete the entire tracing on the window, or once you get the outlines done, you can take it down and finish up the lines on a flat surface.

If the image is going on a non-transparent surface like a wall, then you’re done! But if it’s going in a window, then you’ll want to flip the paper over. You can either take down your taped-together poster and flip your sheet backwards (taping it up again) in the window to trace the same image, OR if the marker bled through enough, then you can trace it on a flat surface.

Cut out the completed artwork however you’d like. I left a bit of white around the edges to give a nice buffer between the image and the comic book paper. That’s what’s filling out the window: randomly torn up pieces from leftover Free Comic Book Day comics stuck up with many, many small cut-up pieces of packing tape. Many.

And there you have it: an attainable way to make yourself look like an artiste extraordinaire!

Summer Reading Booklets: The Rebookleting

I can hardly believe that the last time I wrote about our Summer Reading Program booklets was five summers ago. That’s utterly unreal to me. Since then I’ve heard from librarians across the country who have been interested in our program – and some who actually have done it with great success! Yay!!!

Over the years we have made some significant changes to the program that have made our program both easier and more popular than ever. Seriously. We have had people coming from the large city next door signing up for our program since they had heard about how great it is. And yeah, I’m totally beaming with pride while typing that.

Anywho.

Here are the highlights of our changes:

GOOGLE SHEETS

This is our main sheet. Librarians use the four columns on the left, although I’m just now realizing that this does not show the checkboxes within the Booklet Picked Up, 2nd, or Reminder Given columns. The five columns on the right are for my back office use. About three weeks into the program I will either email or call preregistered households of those who have yet to pick up their booklet(s).

This is a tab on our main sheet that we use for “walk-ins” i.e. anyone and everyone who didn’t preregister. Since we’re filling out the info and handing out the booklets right as we give the booklets out, then we only need a checkbox column for the Replacements.

I’m putting the bestest-best change here at the top. When our Children’s Librarian Jennifer suggested that we use Google Sheets for tracking booklets, I almost fell out of my chair – it was one of those things where I was like “WHY DID IT TAKE US SO LONG TO THINK OF THIS?!” And I’m a bit red-in-the-face because this realization happened just this year. Three weeks into the program. Heh.

But Jennifer’s idea was so fabulous that I made time (along with a fabulous Teen Intern named Jayden) to convert our old paper Excel sheets system into a Google Sheet. We did this for Pre-Registrants along with our Walk-ins. And the change was immediately felt and loved by everyone on our team. It also de-cluttered our small circulation desk.

The best part is that now we can hand out our booklets at both of our library locations (it’s a long story). Previously we limited booklet pick-ups to the Children’s Library, but next year we’ll be able to make our booklets even easier for our patrons to get.

INCENTIVE FOR HELPING US

To try and increase the number of people who preregister for the booklets, we make sure to let people know that they’ll get a bonus coupon if they 1. preregister, and 2. pick up their booklets within the first two weeks of the program. This is more of a bribe for the parents/caregivers. We do this because it helps us know how many booklets to print as well as helps get kids into reading mode sooner rather than later. We want this to be an active and fun memory-making experience, and the longer kids wait to get going, the less of an all-summer experience it is for them.

STAMPS STAMPS STAMPS

We know that stamps are always popular with the kids, but they are totally popular with us, too.

When we started out, we used a self-inking stamp. Eventually it gave up and became more of a pain to try and use. So we broke apart the unit and created hand-stamps using LEGO bricks and kragle.

And then, Jennifer came up with a wonderful idea: get some permanent stamps for use at our library, and then she could take the LEGO’d one to her off-site programs. And we have a lot of those because our site is teeeeny-tiny.

Aren’t they pretty?! I went through this Etsy seller and had a wonderful experience. Pricey? Yes. But worth every penny.

And we also made it an option for businesses who participate in our program to get a new small self-inking stamp. We drop them off when we drop off an example booklet to each business.

BOOST EVENT ATTENDANCE

Several years back, Jennifer hit upon the perfect bonus activity: attending library events. Need I say more?

COLLATE


Here’s another “bang your head on the desk it’s sooooo obvious” idea that Jennifer had a few years back. It has made creating the actual booklets a bajillion times easier:

Print out a master copy of the inner pages, and then use that to print out your booklets using the beautiful collate option. Since we use cardstock for the cover, then we have to do those by hand since our copy machine can’t handle automatically printing on both sides of thick paper.

TA-DA!!!

And I think that about covers all of the adjustments we’ve made over the years.

Finally, I want to do something that I didn’t do on my first post, and that’s to share our editable files for our booklets! Click on the image below to instantly get a zip file containing all of our Publisher files for our booklet! Enjoy!!!