The path to here

On Monday, November 14, 2016, I started my third position at the York County Library. I first came on in 2012 as a part time circulation assistant, and then worked three years in the Outreach department as a bookmobile assistant. August 2016 I left for a new non-library job that promised more pay and opportunity to grow…

And now I’m back at the library! This time I will be a part time reference assistant, working on the second floor instead of the central circulation desk or tucked in the back near the garage/ on a large 28-foot long converted Bluebird named Camilla.

During my time as a bookmobile assistant, I applied for the MLIS program at USC Columbia. Outreach work inspired me to pursue a career in the library field for a few reasons:

  1. Let’s be honest up front, with an MLIS you can command a higher salary. If this is where I want to work, I’m going to need to make more money over time without relying solely on seniority. And during the time I do serve as a librarian…
  2. I want to be able to affect change in service and policy. I came into the position without formal training and many of my coworkers had years of experience, but no degree. On the job, I sought out the reasoning behind our services, why we did what we did, and, always, how can we improve staff and patron experiences. Graduate school seemed to be the answer.
  3. Knowing me, this would help me solidify my identity. People say “do what you love”. But when you battle with bouts of depression and anxiety on a regular basis, it can be difficult to remember who you are. When the activities and aspects of life that once defined you lose their luster or seem like burdens, it is difficult to remember who you are, why you started, or why any of this matters. For me, working in a library has been a defining moment that hasn’t lost its purpose or place in my life. I want to keep that feeling alive and investing effort into my studies sustains that energy and, therefore, me.

Okay, deep breath, that last paragraph was a doozy, right?

Onward, this blog will be personal observations of how my work and school studies overlap, lists of materials I have consumed, and a collection of amusing photographs/comics/antics.


Cardboard Box Portable Puppet Stage

Maybe it is because I am taking a class on programming for children or maybe it is because I am a fan of Portlandia, but when I saw the carnage left over after assembling my new office chair I knew something needed to be done with it.

I thought it would be fairly simple to create a portable puppet stage that I could sit cross legged behind. The box’s width would fit perfectly with the inner aisle of the Bookmobile. It could potentially add a spooky story time to Halloween or a silly version of the wide mouthed frog.

I didn’t do any research before starting this project. Jumping into it, I removed one of the larger sides, the one that included where the two ends of the cardboard had been joined with staples

At this point, I sat where my dachshund Peanut is standing now and knew that it was a little short for me to be concealed while using my hands for puppets.

puppet stage 4

Paperclip method was no bueno.

This might be okay if I want to include my head in the production, but I want this to be portable and versatile. My first attempt at creating a locking system for the flaps on top was with paperclips and duct tape. One paperclip was attached with a loop side facing out while the other was partially unraveled to form a hook. This was okay, but not secure enough for the occasional, unintentional bump.

I hopped on the internet for some inspiration and watched this video of a man making a much more impressive puppet stage. In his video he secured portions of the structure inserting cut out tabs into gaps in the cardboard. This inspired me to construct a similar system. I cut a thin section off the sides of the top flap, leaving an inch reinforced by duct tape. This remaining nub was used to mark how long and where the cut in the opposite flaps would be placed. Once I made the cut in the opposite flap, I reinforced with duct tape as well.

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I did this on both sides of the top flap and set it up to test it out.

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I folded it up and found it a little cumbersome. Thanks to a large binder clip I happened to have, I can secure it on the side by clamping onto a side flap and the middle panel. The panels also fold out wider so the size of the set varies.

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I’m excited to figure out how to decorate it and plan a puppet story time for the bookmobile. But for now, it is time to kick back and relax.


Time to take it easy.

All Hallow’s Read

I’m not the biggest Neil Gaiman fan. That is not saying I do not enjoy his books or graphic novels or children’s books! *braces as a few rotten tomatoes make contact*

I say that because I JUST found out about All Hallow’s Read today!

Simply put on the newly minted tradition’s FAQ page:

All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.

Halloween being my favorite holiday, the inclusion of books in the mix is a major plus.

Oh Neil! You love us librarians!

Weekend Reflections 10/3/2015

What I have enjoyed this week in story time is taking the time to slow down and let the children speak. Story time is not time for prim and proper behavior.

One child during a story time raised her hand. I told her she didn’t need to do that, that she could just tell me what she wanted. She told me how someone she knew, who looked like me, told her that when she felt happy she needed to write in her happy journal and when she was sad she needed to write in her sad journal. I could have told her I wanted to start story time and couldn’t take questions. I could have lost that connection.

Flipside, you get moments when a child says “My daddy said what the heck!”

Both are valued in different ways by myself, but both children got an equal message:

I want to hear your voice.

Image from Goodwill Librarian on Facebook.