Monday, October 18, 2010

October 19th - Day Two

Practicum Day Two
site: City Centre branch
hours worked: 7
hours to date: 14

Today I met with Annie who is the Teen librarian here. She assists in teen selection, a responsibility that few other people have because the preponderance of the purchasing for the 17 branches is done centrally. She also manages some of the content for the teen section of the website which includes teen written reviews. In her spare time she also serves on the council for Storylines, an organization that promotes literature to young people. They do a lot, for instance coordinating a weeklong celebration or writing and illustration that draws thousands. They also give awards for children's materials, as does the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa.

I attended storytime with Doreen who presented stories about Diwala, the upcoming Indian festival of lights. The library has coordinated a day that will involve performers and activities for children around this holiday next week. I observed Ben and Vivian read a story and lead a tour of four and five year olds in the library. Vivian was well practiced and presented library materials in a way that would encourage young children to return to see them again. The whole Community Outreach team seems adept at this. Erika has developed a slew of materials that children can use when they come to the library such a memory matching cards, word searches, and games that teach them how to find interesting or familiar topics in the dewey decimal system. Lin and I talked for a while about how the use of the library has shifted in the last few years, and how her team of eleven diverse, talented and motived staff members respond to that. Initially when it reopened the library was host to many university students. That is still mainly true, but there have been many young families making more use of the library. From the beginning, the library aimed to be not only a main branch but a community branch for the downtown area. More families are renting apartments downtown, and so there has been an increase in the services the Community Outreach team provides to children.
The library has had a long relationship with the nearby Auckland Art Gallery. Initially, this would take the form of displays and programs that complimented the theme of gallery shows, and this continues even though the gallery has had some slowdown for renovation. The school groups that use one often visit the other. The library itself hosts at least two school groups per week, not as a rule, but just to keep up with demand.

I'm starting to understand the idea of a Community Outreach team. The more I see, the more it seems that every library should have staff that specifically pay attention to the ways that the community want to use the library and provide those services. There is a dedicated Maori services librarian, and a Chinese services librarian. Even the parts of the collection that are considered to be reflective of specific parts of the community, such as the foreign language materials, are under the auspices of the CO team. This seems to work: ten percent of the magazine circulation is attributed to Chinese language magazines.

In the afternoon I was invited to a meeting of the children's librarians! Up for discussion were some changes taking place as a result of the impending almagamation of the seven councils into one, and the types of youth library cards and their various levels of borrowing rights (the rights related to number of materials, not types). We also discussed summer reading, which of course involved talks about parties, stickers, prizes and reading. Very fun. The librarians were also asked to share a recent favorite book. It was really wonderful to be part of an appreciative, animated and professional discussion of picture books.

in the staff room
hot chocolates drank: 2
hot chocolates to date: 3

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