Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Glad I'm Not the Only One

I've been a procrastinator all my life. So I smiled when I noticed that my Thanksgiving draw and tell story has gotten the most hits today. Considering that there is only today and tomorrow left for Thanksgiving programs, this makes me think that I'm not the only one who does things at the last minute. I'm so glad that I am not the only procrastinator in a profession that is full of super-organized folk!

Friday, November 8, 2013

At Grandma's House

There are two similiar draw and tell turkey stories that are popular. One is "Turkey Lake" found in Stories to Play With by Hiroko Fujita and the other is "Turkey Tale" found in Twenty Tellable Tales by Margaret Read MacDonald. Even though it has already been done, I chose to draw a turkey because it is a Thanksgiving symbol that is easily recognized by young children.

At Grandma's House: A Thanksgiving Draw and Tell Story
by Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
November 8, 2013

George and his sister Lisa were visiting their grandmother for the long Thanksgiving weekend. George and Lisa lived in the city but their grandmother lived in the country. George and Lisa loved to explore around Grandma's house. As they were going by Grandma's garden they saw that there was still one large pumpkin left. (Draw #1) The sun was shining brightly in the sky (Draw #2). George and Lisa looked up and saw birds flying south for the winter (Draw #3). Then they decided to explore the woods behind Grandma's house (Draw #4). It was dark in the woods because of all the tall trees (Draw #5). George and Lisa each found a stick (Draw #6). They used their sticks to probe among the fallen leaves. Lisa found a pinecone (Draw #7) and George found a worm (Draw #8). Suddenly they heard a noise. Something was running through the woods. What did George and Lisa see?

Drawing sequence:
1. Draw pumpkin.

2. Draw sun.
3. Draw birds.
4. Draw woods.
5. Draw trees.
6. Draw sticks.
7. Draw pinecone.
8. Draw worm.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Tracey at 1234 More Storytimes.

Monday, November 4, 2013

On Burnout

The main focus of this blog is to be a storytelling resource. I firmly believe that what busy children's librarians need is information and ideas that will help them do their job. I have enjoyed sharing my original storytime ideas as well as those I have learned from others. This will continue to be the main reason for this blog. However, occasionally I will be writing posts like this one, offering my opinions as well as some unsolicited advice. You have been warned.

This will probably be my last year as a working librarian. I plan to be retired by this time next year. I will leave the job but not the profession. I hope to continue participating in Flannel Friday and to keep telling stories.

I have worked in libraries since 1971 with an eleven year break to be a stay-at-home mom. I have seen many changes since I started out as a trainee. The fact that I am at the end of my career has made think about my younger colleagues and the challenges they face. First, I would like to say that the future of youth librarianship is in good hands. Through social media (especially Twitter), I have gotten to know several dedicated, enthusiastic, and creative youth librarians. They are so dedicated that they talk shop on their own time - a lot. They spend personal time on work-related projects. The internet has made it easy to bring work home and the smart phone has made it easy to bring work with you wherever you go. I'm not sure this is a good thing. In the olden days (pre-internet), I brought work home but there was a limit to what I could do. Now there seems to be more pressure to get things done - now.

This pressure to get all the things done right away has me worried. I want these people to continue in the profession (because they are so good) and to continue to love what they do (so they will continue to innovate and create) and not burn out. Management is very good at piling on projects all the while citing budget woes so there will be no additional help. A personal drive to provide great service with limited resources also adds to the pressure. Increasing that pressure is a trend that I have seen lately which is the need to stand out in the profession and to do so early in one's career. (I'm assuming the tight job market is contributing to this need to make a name for oneself.) I admire those who want to quickly advance their career but I worry about them as well. Despite the public's perception (and that of some adult services staff), being a children's librarian is not an easy job. It is particularly challenging for those who are a department of one. All this pressure can lead to burnout.

The mediocre do not face burnout. Those that strive for excellence do. For this reason I am now going to offer some unsolicited advice:
1. Find a balance. Do not let work negatively affect your personal life. (Family has always been my priority though that did not stop me from drafting my daughters as summer volunteers when I needed them.)
2. Every library is different. What works for one library, may not work for another. It is up to each library to determine what works best for both staff and patrons. Libraries exist for their patrons but do them no service if the staff is stressed and disengaged.
3. Be realistic about your goals. Yes, you should strive for excellence but do not berate yourself for not being superlibrarian.
4. Slow down. Being older I have a different perspective. I didn't become a children's librarian until I was forty. I didn't feel like I was at the top of my game until I was well past fifty. For those of you in your twenties and thirties, you have plenty of time to develop your career.
5. Don't choose a path because you feel you should but choose it because you really want to. Decide if you want to spend the energy needed to become a name in the library world. If you do want to be a power in the library world, please try to make it an enjoyable goal, not one to stress about. Do not feel badly if you don't have that goal. I found this wonderful quote in More magazine (October 2013, p.25) - "I reject the notion that the job you excel at is somehow not enough to aspire to." - Lisa Fischer, back-up singer who has accompanied Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones, and other music legends. Even once you choose a path, you can always change your mind and go in a different direction.
6. Never stop learning. Just a reminder, we children's librarians already know that.
7. Focus on the children. They are the reason our jobs exist!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Halloween Preschool Storytime

October 31, 2013, 10:00 a.m., Attendance - 14 lively preschoolers

Books: What's in the Witch's Kitchen? by Nick Sharret
            The Spooky Box by Mark Gonyer
            Silly Skeletons by Janet Lawler

Board Stories: "Snacks for Ghosts"
                        "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything"
Rhyme: "Flap, Flap, Flap Go the Wings of the Bat..." by Katie Ahearn Fitzgerald

Rhyme with Prop: "Five Little Ghosts"

Magic Envelope: In went parts, out came a Jack O'Lantern

Game: Find the Bat Under the Witch's Hat

Craft: Paper plate Jack O'Lantern (Craft from Oriental Trading)

Notes: This group was ready to celebrate! Most came in costume. We played a trick on them for I switched with the librarian who usually does the preschool storytime. We started with a cryer (evidently this was not unusual for him) which caused me to change my plan a bit. I had wanted to start with a book but instead started with "Snacks for Ghosts" which caught every one's attention. From then on we had a great time and could have gone well beyond our thirty minutes.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Rooster Looses His Magic Feather

I found the story this is based on while searching for stories for my Worms Family Storytime which took place last summer. I used it even though the worm is a secondary character. There are other versions such as the one found here.

Rooster Looses His Magic Feather
Adapted from a Chinese Folktale
Linda Meuse
Notes from the Story Room
November 1, 2013
Long ago Rooster was the most important animal on the farm. He not only kept the chickens safe but all the other animals as well. He could fly around the farm scaring off foxes and dogs and even sneaky cats so the chickens could roam freely. No animal could get past Rooster for he could easily fly from rooftop to rooftop making sure that all was well around the farm.

One day Dragon and his friend Worm spied Rooster flying around the farm. In those days dragons could not fly. Dragon was curious. He wanted to learn how Rooster could fly all over the farm. Dragon would love to be able to fly like that.

Dragon went up to Rooster and said, "You certainly are very good at flying. I am most impressed. How do you do it?" Rooster was pleased with the compliment so he boasted, "I am very good a flying because of my magic feather. I am the only one who has this magic feather." "I would love to be able to fly like you. Could I borrow your feather for just a little while? I will bring it right back." Rooster wasn't sure he could trust dragon. Just then Worm spoke up, "Don't worry, Dragon will bring it back." Reluctantly, Rooster handed his feather to Dragon. "Thank you!" said Dragon with a big smile as he flew high in the sky. Soon he was so high up that Rooster and Worm could no longer see him.

Rooster waited all day long but Dragon did not come back. "Don't worry," said Worm. "He'll come back tomorrow." But Dragon did not come back the next day even after Rooster called for him all day long. "Don't worry," said Worm. "He'll come back tomorrow." Dragon was still not back the next day. Rooster called for Dragon to come back all that day too. "Don't worry," said Worm. "He'll come back tomorrow." The next day Rooster waited and called but still no Dragon. "When is Dragon coming back with my magic feather?" he asked Worm. Worm laughed and said, "Dragon fooled you. He has your feather and he's not coming back." This made Rooster very angry and he ran after Worm who quickly hid in a hole in the ground.

From that day on Rooster calls for Dragon every morning when he wakes up and then spends the day pecking at the ground looking for Worm.

I used Microsoft Publisher clip art for the figures and the feather is from our craft supplies. I just stuck it on each figure as needed.

This week's Flannel Friday Round-Up is hosted by Lisa of Thrive After Three.