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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Slice of Life, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Making Your Schedule Work for You in the New Year

We’re all in the same boat it seems—looming piles of professional reading that you’ll get to “someday,” schedules to create for staff and for upcoming programs—that sometimes it feels like there is too much to get done and not enough of you to go around!

Over the past decade in Children’s Services, especially when I’ve been managing a branch or a citywide program, I have definitely felt this way. So I would like to share two quick tips that I’ve found to be really helpful when I’ve felt like I’m on a treadmill going too fast that I can’t get off.

  1. The To Do List vs. Scheduling Appointments (spoiler alert—I’m pro scheduling appointments)
    We all have a to-do list, right? And there is always that one thing (or more than one thing) that somehow seems to always be on the list week after week. As much as I love procrastination, and sometimes the anxiety it gives me gets me over the hump of getting started, this is not a great way to live day to day. While I still have a small to-do list that consists of small, easily completed tasks or reminders, I’ve started scheduling appointments for the things I noticed I was putting off over and over. Professional reading?  There is an appointment on my calendar for 30 minutes of professional reading twice a week. This blog post?  I scheduled an appointment to write it. By creating an appointment instead of just having it on an open-ended to-do list, I’ve carved out a time I’m committed to it. Give it a try on something you are putting off, and let me know in the comments how it worked for you.
  1. Using Your Energy to Your Advantage (i.e., set yourself up to win)
    What does your energy level look like during the day? What time of day are you most productive? What times of day is it easier or harder for you to focus?  For myself, I find that I’m most able to tackle tasks that require mental focus and creativity early in the day. If I need to write a blog post, if I need to create a program outline, etc., I create an appointment for myself between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. By the end of the day—by say 3:00 p.m.-ish—I find that it’s harder for me to focus; something that would take me 20 minutes at 9:00 a.m. takes well over an hour in the afternoon. So I try to arrange my day with focused tasks that require creativity early in the day. That book-shifting project?  That’s definitely going to happen after 3:00 p.m., AND then there is the likelihood of kids and teens who want to help me. (Plus that is something I can easily go back to after being interrupted for homework help or finding just the right science project book). What about in your library?  When are your busy hours?  Early storytimes?  Afterschool hours?  When have you noticed that there is a block of uninterrupted time?  When are you more likely to be busy answering questions and finding books?  Try tracking the ebb and flow of your time for one week and see if you can identify patterns.

Those are two of the things I’ve learned over the years to help me not only be more productive, but that also help keep me sane when things get really busy. If you are interested in more tips from your ALSC colleagues, check out the upcoming webinars from the members of ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee, with topics like Communication, Scheduling, Managing Financials, and Supervising: www.ala.org/alsc/edcareeers/profdevelopment/alscweb/webinars.

Rachel Fryd

Image courtesy of the author.

Rachel Fryd is the Young Adult Materials Selector at the Free Library of Philadelphia. In the past she has managed citywide programs and partnerships as the Youth Services Coordinator and managed a neighborhood library in West Philadelphia. She is currently a member of ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee as well as YALSA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults Committee. She loves cheese, farmers markets, and pastries but hates broccoli.

The post Making Your Schedule Work for You in the New Year appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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2. Write. Share. Give.

Explore and learn. Just write.

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3. Picture books, the greatest gift

photo by the author

photo by the author

Last year I read over 500 picture books. I don’t think I’ve read quite that many this year, but I have kept up a steady pace. I certainly have changed the way I look at picture books. Spending a year on the Caldecott committee does that – I will never look at a picture book the same way again, and this is a good thing. For one, it has made it easier for me to share how to look at the art in these books. I have been working with our local school board to help teachers look more closely at picture books. I spent a week in early December with the Grade 1 teachers. I showed them what I saw in the books, and they shared what they saw. I was amazed that I was able to find something new in The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend. I consider all the books our committee chose as friends. I carry them in my car. They are lifelong companions. They are gifts.

Speaking of book gifts. This makes me so proud to be Canadian that I am shouting it from my virtual rooftops. IBBY Canada, Groundwood Books , Sydney Smith, and JonArno Lawson have banded together to give a gift to the Syrian refugees that are coming to our country. Along with a copy of Sidewalk Flowers, each book will contain a card inviting them to take a trip to their local public library. It makes my librarian heart melt, this does.

So whatever you are doing this day, be it celebrating with family, eating cookies, working, lounging by the fire, or just relaxing, enjoy a gift. Find a favourite picture book and read it aloud.

The post Picture books, the greatest gift appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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4. Write. Share. Give.

Take some advice from a third-grader, "Pick up a pencil and paper and get to writing."

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5. Write. Share. Give.

Need some inspiration? Try my word of the day!

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6. Write. Share. Give.

Come share your story today!

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7. On Feeling Overwhelmed


Photo by Bernard Goldbach, used under a Creative Commons license.

It’s been quite a year in the Children’s Room, and this is normally something I’d post on my personal blog, BUT I think it’s something we all need to hear from time to time.

Sometimes things are overwhelming.

  • This year, my director suddenly resigned in March. We still do not have a replacement.
  • Our budget was frozen from May to August (yup, right during the Summer Reading Club – fun!).
  • In June, we moved the teen area downstairs and combined Children’s and Teen into the Youth Services Department, which I am supervising (more staff to supervise!).
  • I bought a house with my fiance in August (and yes, I’m planning a wedding, too).
  • In, I don’t know, September or something we shifted the pages from being supervised by Circulation staff to being supervised by Reference and Youth Services (more staff to supervise!).

And throughout all of this, of course we’re keeping up with our regular, intense schedule of programs. We’re having monthly department meetings and reader’s advisory training. And December is the month to do employee evaluations, an end-of-year report for the Board, and start thinking about stats for the annual report to the state.

I don’t say all this to make you feel sorry for me or to complain about my job – I love my job! But it gets overwhelming sometimes. And we ALL feel that way sometimes. When I am feeling stressed out, here are the blog posts I turn to so I know I’m not alone:

  • Kendra Jones’s Self Care Sundays posts remind me that I need to take time for myself and do non-library things that I enjoy.
  • Rebecca’s posts about when things have gotten crazy at her library remind me that 1) this happens to everyone sometimes and 2) this, too, shall pass.
  • Melissa Depper’s posts about saying no remind me that I can take steps to manage future stress by saying no, even when opportunities sound like so much fun or great professional steps. Opportunities will come around again (unless you overextend yourself and do a terrible job).
  • Bryce’s post about feelings being valid, even if they’re not positive feelings. Even if summer (or whatever) is stressed you out and someone tells you it should not stress you out.

I thank the blogosphere and Twitter and ALSC and ALA for helping me create an awesome Personal Learning Network, which also sometimes becomes a Personal Leaning Network as I lean on my librarian friends for support during these times.

What do you do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? How do you manage stress from a job you LOVE (but that is also definitely stressful sometimes)?

— Abby Johnson, Youth Services Manager
New Albany-Floyd County Public Library
New Albany, IN

The post On Feeling Overwhelmed appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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8. It’s Tuesday! Write. Share. Give

Come join the slicing community and share your story today.

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9. Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now?

ALA Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now?

Way back in June of 2007, I had the honor of representing TWU’s School of Library and Information Science at ALA Annual in Washington, DC.  I was a member of TWU SLIS-buttonALA’s StudeALA Annualnt-to-Staff (S2S) Program, with assignment to the ALSC Division.  If you’ve never heard of the S2S program, you can read about it here.  There are 56 active ALA Student Chapter Groups at accredited graduate schools.  Each is entitled to submit one name for consideration for the program.  Schools have varying criteria. My school chose the student – me :) based on an essay contest.  Others have different criteria, but the end result is that 40 promising students receive a free trip to ALA Annual in exchange for working with  ALA staff during the week.  I was able to choose with whom I wanted to work. An aspiring children’s librarian, naturally, I chose ALSC.

It was my first connection with the national community of librarians.  It was during my week as an ALA S2S er, that I first met ALSC’s own Aimee Strittmatter, Laura Schulte-Cooper, and Marsha Burgess, and I began my continuing association with the division. I wrote a piece about my experience for  ALSConnect, now called ALSC Matters. (I am no less bright-eyed and bushy-tailed now.)

If you know someone in grad school right now, do them a favor and let them know about the S2S program.  If you participated in the S2S program, give a shout out!  Did you work for ALSC at the conference?  When or where did you attend?  How wonderful was it?

(The Student-to-Staff Program was established in 1973. There should be a lot of us out there!)


The post Student-to-Staffers: Where are you now? appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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10. Favorite Bits

Creative commons wiki image - free use.

Creative commons wiki image – free use.

Let’s face it…we all have favorites. Favorite authors, favorite bits of curriculum, (favorite patrons…shhh!).  I am at a favorite point of teaching with my second graders right now.

We have been embarking on an American Tall Tale Study. I use Mary Pope Osborne’s American Tall Tales, as well as several stand alone picture books, including Osborne’s New York’s Bravest, and Isaacs’ Swamp Angel with the children.  We talk about geographical truths and wild exaggerations. We talk about humor and fear. We talk about who tells the stories and who is represented.

At the end of our study, I ask the children to create their own tall tale character who would fit into the world of Paul Bunyan.  Fun, right?

Turns out, in the past, it has been super hard for some students, and I figured out that I wasn’t being clear enough about world building.  7 and 8 year olds are sometimes a bit contrary, and the moment I tell them they get to create a tall tale character, the hands shoot up and inevitably I get asked, “Stacy! Can I make a character who is 5 inches tall?“, “Stacy! Can my character be from outer space?“, “Wait…does it have to be human?“.  This year, I really set the scene talking about setting, place and similarities with my students.  We spoke about the realities of the time period, as well as the fact that the characters don’t have super powers like we know super powers…rather they tend to have exaggerated human abilities (though of course there are exceptions).

When it came time to start designing their characters, the students had to think about things like age, gender and size.  But this year they thought more carefully about naming their character, and about where their character would live based on the special abilities they wanted the character to have.  One student even said, “I think my character would be better friends with Paul Bunyan than Davy Crockett because he’s a hard worker — not a bragger”. 

Sometimes it’s hard to remember we have to slow down and really set the scene for young readers.  When we do, the outcomes are often head and shoulders above what have come before.

The post Favorite Bits appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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11. Gratuitous information (#librarylife)

Humor me by reading this, and I’ll return the favor.  :)

A few weeks ago, I was lamenting the fact that I hadn’t seen a favorite patron in months – a chatty, precocious boy who, since a very young age, had been allowed by his mother to come alone to the library and read whatever he wished.  He would request every book in a nonfiction series about baseball, basketball, football, or whatever struck his fancy.  Never shy about seeking assistance, he once came to me inquiring why we did not have a book about the Seattle Seahawks (we’re in NJ).  I explained that unless the team has superstar players or has won the Super Bowl, there aren’t always current books available about them.  The day after the Seahawks won their only Super Bowl, he came in to place his hold.

In any case, I was thrilled when he popped in on a quiet Thursday night.  With his mother’s usual trust, he was carrying her driver’s license for identification.  He needed to print some items for homework. We had a nice little chat.  I told him that I’d missed him and how nice it was to see him. I asked about school.

When his homework was finished, he came to the reference desk to pay for his prints.  The cost was eighty cents.  He gave me a dollar and I gave him his change, commenting that I hoped to see him again soon.  He distractedly began scanning the surface of the reference desk.  “What do you need?” I said. “Tape? Paper clip? Stapler?”

“No, ” he replied, still clutching his two dimes. “Where’s the tip jar?”







Image credit:

By Tomwsulcer (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons


The post Gratuitous information (#librarylife) appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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Share your Slice today with the Two Writing Teachers community. Just do it.

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13. It’s Tuesday! Write. Share. Give. #TWTBlog

It's Tuesday! Write. Share. Give.

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It's Tuesday! Write, Share, Give.

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15. WRITE. SHARE. GIVE. SOL Tuesday on #TWTBlog

It's Tuesday! Join us!

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WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.

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17. How PBS Inadvertently Prepared Me for Librarianship

[Author dressed as Ms. Frizzle for Halloween in 2013. Photo courtesy of the author.]

[Author dressed as Ms. Frizzle for Halloween in 2013. Photo courtesy of the author.]

This post has been percolating in my brain since I heard Ms. Frizzle’s voice fly out of my mouth during a session of “Little Hands Art” (art class for 2-4 year olds) this summer. We were painting with ping pong balls and one of the kids put her hand in the paint. She immediately wanted to wash her hands and I challenged her to see what she could do with the paint on her hand. Without thought, the words “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” came spilling out of my mouth. While my young patron didn’t know where my words came from, they gave her the courage to use her fingers to spread the paint that day.

I grew up in a golden age of PBS. And fortunately for me, I held on to PBS for far longer than my peers thanks to my little sister and my younger cousins. Though I do not have a reason to watch PBS now, I smile every time a patron asks for “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” or “Martha Speaks!” since I know these shows are just as beloved to them as mine were to me.

A brief list of small thank yous:

  • Sesame Street: for giving me Big Bird and preparing me for the questions that my preschool patrons constantly ask.
  • Mister Rodgers’ Neighborhood: for teaching me how cool cardigans are and for showing me *how* things happen. I still remember that crayon factory!
  • Kidsongs: for singing to me the multitude of silly songs that I use constantly. Who knew that Michael Finnegan would stick around this long?
  • Ghostwriter: for learning about the importance of teamwork and that words/letters/stories have great meaning.
  • Wishbone: for sharing the great stories in an accessible way. You sure taught me how to spin a tale/tail!
  • Zoom: for teaching me how to do activities and experiments with kids. I practiced on my “patron” — sister and cousins — all the way back in high school!

And of course…Arthur for showing me that having fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card!

When I’m buying DVDs for our collection, I’m always happy to add the latest PBS show. Who knows what kind of job I’m preparing kids for today!

Do you have favorite PBS shows/memories that help you in daily library life? Are you shocked and appalled that I never watched Reading Rainbow? Let me know in the comments!

– Katie Salo
Early Literacy Librarian
Indian Prairie Public Library

The post How PBS Inadvertently Prepared Me for Librarianship appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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18. Tips when Changing Jobs (in the Library Profession and Beyond)

Creator: Live Life Happy, © 2013, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0

Creator: Live Life Happy, © 2013, Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0

I’ve recently changed jobs, moving from one public library to another 25 miles east. The new-to-me position is in a different city, with different coworkers, different policies and procedures, and a different organizational culture. It’s the same kind of job that I did previously, but in a different setting.

Changing jobs is frequently included in the lists of most stressful life changes. This most recent move has me thinking about compiling a list of tips for myself and others who may change positions, either within their current organization, or shifting to a role at a different institution. I’ll start with several that are somewhat specific to Youth Services, and we’ll see what you think too in the comments.

My list of things to consider for Youth Services Librarians (ok, and others) when changing jobs:

  1. Compile favorite program ideas (e.g. story time themes and extenders, past successful elementary and family events, and teen programming ideas that you don’t want to forget). Also while working on the programming idea list, save bookmarks of favorite places to visit online when creating new programs, so they available and ready when needed.
  2. Save work-related contacts to be imported into the new e-mail system – especially the local performer and vendor contact information if you’re not moving far. Also get the personal contact information for your colleagues if you want to keep in touch. (I forgot to do that last bit when I changed jobs most recently.)
  3. Purge the documents and files that you’ve been saving – you know which ones I’m talking about. Changing jobs is a good time to declutter.
  4. Put things in writing for the person who will be taking on your responsibilities – best practices, your planning notes, even a To-Do list. (I’ve written about this before.) Make the task delegation easy for your supervisor by creating a list of your current responsibilities.
  5. Be ready, willing and open to see new ways of conducting library services. You have your way of doing things (and you might think it’s the best way), but it’s not the only way to be successful.
  6. Remember that there will be things left undone at the previous job – that’s just how it goes.

Have you changed jobs recently? What are other things to consider? This could also be addressed from the perspective of a team that is taking on a new member. What are good tips to help new coworkers feel welcome?


Claudia Wayland is the Youth Services Manager at the Allen Public Library in Allen, TX and Adjunct Professor at the University of North Texas College of Information. She was a participant in this year’s TLA TALL Texans Leadership Institute, and is a member of the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

The post Tips when Changing Jobs (in the Library Profession and Beyond) appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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19. Sweetness and Lightning Review

Title: Sweetness and Lightning (Amaama to Inazuma) Genre: Slice of Life, Food Publisher: Kodansha (JP), Crunchyroll (US) Artist/Writer: Gido Amagakure Serialized in: good! Afternoon Original Release Date: July 15, 2015 Crunchyroll is on a roll lately with their manga releases; this series came out in the same wave that gave us The Morose Mononokean (Kiri Wazawa) and Princess Jellyfish (Akiko Higashimura) so ... Read more

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20. Write. Share. Give.

WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.

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21. Harry is alive

I’m on vacation as I write this. On September 1, students returned to Hogwarts, boarding that scarlet train from Platform 9 3/4.  They’d been to Diagon Alley for new robes, cauldrons, chocolate frogs, and spellbooks. The professors were probably already at the castle, getting ready for another school year.

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

The Harry Shelf (photo by A. Reynolds)

Lest you think I’ve lost my mind, please note. I. Am. On. Vacation. And I am re-reading all the Harry Potter books, because that is my summer book tradition. They are like mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Comfort food. Yes, I am a 50-something Potterhead. I am admitting it here in a public forum. But, look, folks, I am not the only one. I have at least one Twitter friend that is re-reading Harry Potter this summer, and she’s a responsible adult. I know of two Harry Potter parties that happened in the last few days. Several friends are now reading Harry aloud to their children (they’ve been waiting for their kids to get old enough for this). Harry Potter is alive and well in the hearts and minds of so many of us.

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

Sybill & Sirius (photo by A. Reynolds)

How many of you celebrated on July 31? Who watches the Harry Potter movies when you are feeling a little sad or have the flu? Do you have pets (or maybe even children) named for characters in the books? How many of you are planning to take extra vacation days before or after the ALA Conference next summer and make the pilgrimage? Raise your hand if you, too, relish days off, in the most comfy spot in your house, or at the beach, with a Harry Potter book tucked firmly in hand. And now, I need to return to Hogwarts. The Goblet of Fire is calling.

The post Harry is alive appeared first on ALSC Blog.

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22. Inari Konkon Review

Title: Inari Konkon Genre: Slice of Life, Magical Girl, Romance Publisher: Kodokawa Shoten (JP, US) Artist/Writer: Morohe Yoshida Translation: Andrew Gibler & Jenn Forsyth Serialized in: Young Ace Review copy provided by the publisher. I was a big fan of the Inari Kon Kon anime in 2014 and I always hoped that the manga would be licensed as well since ... Read more

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It’s Tuesday, let’s write!

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It’s Tuesday, let’s write! WRITE a slice of life story on your own blog. SHARE a link to your post in the comments section. GIVE comments to at least three other SOLS bloggers.

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Jane Kenyon, on writing: Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by… Continue reading

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