Internship Day 16

 Next Monday is Halloween. In honor of the holiday, the youth services department throws a special preschool Halloween party complete with story time, songs, crafts, and trick-or-treating. I will be helping with the party as part of my internship: reading the book and running one of the craft tables before taking a group of trick-or-treaters around to different desks and offices in the library for candy and treats. So I went into the library today to practice with Karen for the story time. We thought it would be fun to read the book but also have props that show what’s going on. The book is titled Halloween Night and it’s by Elizabeth Hatch.

After deciding on the logistics of the story time, I set myself up at one of the work computers and began trying to transfer my hand drawn ideas for decorating the kit bags into Adobe Illustrator. I did a pretty good job on the illustration for the back, I think. But as I was finishing the front, I hit undo one too many times and the program crashed before I could save. So I lost all the work I had done on the front and got completely frustrated. I have to go back and try again next week.

(YS internship hours completed: 41 of 75)


Internship Day 15

Today I actually started a shopping cart on Baker and Taylor for the board books Karen has approved on my list. It was pretty exciting. Heather logged me in and I went through and added 23 board books to the cart. I hope to add some more next Wednesday after Karen has a chance to look at the copies of some of the other titles I checked out of the library to evaluate. Ordering the music is going to be a little more complicated since the library’s usual supplier doesn’t carry some of the albums I picked. Karen also gave me some suggestions for other board books in the categories we are using, so I placed several more holds.

At the reference desk I worked on the reference book evaluation project Monica gave me. There are some very fine but very old books in the collection. Today I evaluated two titles (each 3 volumes long) on the birds and the wildflowers of central new york. Two of the  Birds of Central New York volumes contained detailed descriptions of the birds, their habits, feeding patterns, etc. The third volume was all colored illustrations of the birds. The wildflower books were similar, one volume of illustrations and two volumes of descriptions. My recommendation is to weed them from the collection since we have much more recent bird and wildflower books that contain color photographs. Not to mention the great web resources I found.

(reference internship hours completed: 36 of 75)
(YS internship hours completed: 37 of 75)

Internship Day 14

I spent the first part of the morning doing some more board book evaluations (thanks to Heather’s guidelines), and looking for board books about baby sign language and bath time to fill in some gaps. When Storytime was over I shared with Karen all of the things I had done for the two weeks she was gone and she liked my ideas for the bag designs. I then sat down with Heather for a few minutes to find out about getting a set of bibliographic records from the cataloging office downtown so we could re-catalog our existing early literacy kits and have a record ready when the baby kits are done.

I had time for a little more board book research before a Youth Services meeting. I learned about some more programs coming up at the library. Penny took us around the children’s room after the meeting to show us what she and Heather had come up with for rearranging the children’s room. There’s going to be a board book corner, a nicely shaped picture books area, and some new technology like a DVD screening room and a listening station for CDs.

Then I joined Monica on the reference desk for two hours where I finished the last three pages of the continuing purchases list. I explained some of my recommendations to keep or cut titles and she said she’d use my suggestions! Then we had just enough time for Monica to explain what she wants me to do with the next set of titles. I’m going to be looking at each and every book in the library reference collection starting with the oldest. I’m going to be examining each title to determine if the information is dated, available online, and if the book is in a good condition. I will then be making suggestions for weeding. This is gonna be fun!

I am such a nerd.

(reference internship hours completed: 34 of 75)
(YS internship hours completed: 31 of 75)

Internship Day 13

Today I was on the front reference desk with Heather again. While the reference desk was slow, she was teaching me about her methods of collection development. Heather is the librarian in charge of the children’s picture books. She is probably the only librarian in the library who actually has the chance to read all of the books she is considering for the collection before she adds them. Picture books are much shorter than most other books, after all.

She begins by reading reviews of picture books in several places: BWI Books, Amazon, Hennepin County Library, Baker and Taylor’s Growing Minds Collection catalog, and Barnes and Noble just to name a few. Amazon and Barnes and Noble are good resources to find out what the public is buying, because that’s usually what they want to read. Heather then compiles a list of possible titles and searches the county catalog to see if other libraries in the area have the book. She then borrows the books from the other libraries and reads them. When choosing a book to add to the collection she evaluates the story, the art, early literacy skill development, entertainment, readability, and ease of language (because if you can’t read it aloud fluidly, then it’s probably not using good language).

I also learned that it’s ok to think of books as ‘for boys’ or ‘for girls’ because there is an actual biological difference in the learning process for boys and girls. So it’s really good to buy books that are targeted for boys!

Some of the things I’ve learned from Heather today, I’m going to apply to the board books I’ve chose for the early literacy kits. I will reevaluate my choices using her criteria.

I also had a short half hour meeting with Susan Considine, the Executive Director of the Fayetteville Free Library, about my internship. She didn’t know a lot about what I’ve been doing, so I got to explain what I have done and what the final goals are. I think she’s glad I’m so excited about what I’m doing. But really, reading board books and drawing pictures is probably the best homework I’ve had since kindergarden. How could I not be enjoying myself!? When I told her I was also working with Karen and Leah on revamping the early literacy webpage, she was impressed. We concluded the meeting by scheduling another one in November for me to teach her the basics of social media since it came out that I was really interested in using social media in libraries. Yay!!

(reference internship hours completed: 32 of 75)

Internship Day 12

I started off the morning by reviewing the music I had picked out last week and doing some more searching until I had at least one album for each category. Some categories have several to choose from. I then did some research and comparison for rewriting the early literacy page of the the Fayetteville Free Library webpage. I then spent some time thinking of the design for the early literacy kits. The packages will be the same as the current collection, but I want to make them identifiable as a different type. So I’ve come up with designs for both the front and the back of the bag. The back will have a stencil and the front will have a label with the kit category and contents. I’ll post those designs later when I’ve had some time to fancy them up a bit.

Then, it was reference project time with Monica! There are only about three pages left in my current list. I will be able to finish next time!

(reference internship hours completed: 28 of 75)
(YS internship hours completed: 25.5 of 75)

Internship Day 11

The Fayetteville Free Library has two reference desks, one in the front by the circulation desk and the adult collections and one in the back near the teen space and children’s area. Tonight was my first chance to shadow a librarian at the back reference desk. My librarian was Lauren, the Transliteracy Development Director. Lauren is the newest librarian to join the ranks at the FFL. I already knew Lauren pretty well from when she used to work on the circulation desk with me, but this was my first opportunity to learn about her new position.

First of all, what is transliteracy? Usually, people understand literacy as the ability to read and write. In order to learn, one had to be able to read, write, and think critically about printed text. Think of literacy as the means of encoding and decoding information. To transmit information by print, we must be able to transform information into letters (encode). To understand the information, we must be able to take the letters and draw from them the original information (decode). But then people began to develop new ways to communicate, new platforms for conversation and new ways to transmit information. These new technologies require a new set of skills beyond those of traditional literacy. Transliteracy is “the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks,” (from

So, transliteracy is the ability to communicate information effectively through a range of means. Lauren made the point that Disney has been doing this for years. Take Alice in Wonderland, for example. You can read the original story, you can read the graphic novel, you can watch the animated movie, you can watch the live action movie, you can color the coloring book, you can listen to the music, you can play the video game, and you can go to Disney World and meet Alice. In all of these media, the same information is being transmitted.

In order to promote transliteracy in our area, Lauren is building a Fab Lab at the FFL. A fab lab, short for fabrication laboratory, is intended to empower the average person to evolve from an information consumer to an information creator. The FFL Fab Lab will have a 3D printer, computer stations, etc. Patrons will be able to take an idea and make it a reality learning new transliteracy skills along the way. For more info about fab labs, check out MIT’s Fab Central. For more information about transliteracy, check out the libraries and transliteracy blog.

When I wasn’t learning about transliteracy and the fab lab, I got to help Lauren with a tech-time appointment. That’s an appointment for a patron to get one-on-one help with technology. In this case, I got to answer a question about the maps app on the iPhone. I even taught Lauren a little. Oh yeah!

I can’t believe I’m almost a third of the way through my internship (47 of 150 hours)!

(reference internship hours completed: 26 of 75)

Internship Day 10

It was another full day at the library. For about three hours I researched children’s music to put in each early literacy kit. Normally, I’m not a fan of children’s music. Especially the kind that has children singing. But I had a lot of fun looking for good kids music that wouldn’t be annoying for parents. First I searched around on CDBaby, which despite the name is not just music for babies. They have independent music for all ages. I really liked listening to the previews for the albums, it gives you an opportunity to decide if the music is catchy, age-appropriate, and entertaining. I found myself making a mental list of music I can send to my almost one-year old niece along with the music for the literacy kits. I especially liked Sing Along! by Caspar Babypants. I also did some searching in the iTunes catalog for some ideas since you can usually preview the songs in iTunes as well. I really liked all three volumes of Music Is Awesome from the TV show Yo Gabba Gabba.

Then I had a few meetings before joining Monica at the Reference desk again to work on the reference and nonfiction collection project. I got through a few more pages of continuous orders (books we automatically order when there is a new one out). It took a little while to compare all of the Walt Disney World travel guides, but I now know which one I would want to take with me if I go back again. I am also making recommendations for which titles to continue and which to cancel. It’s more difficult than you might think. I’m comparing the catalog of how many copies of a certain title are in the county system, how often they circulate, how much they cost, how they compare to our databases and free web-based information sources, with how many other titles we have on the same topic. SO many variables. But it is interesting, I get drawn into the comparisons and am really getting to know the collection well.

(reference internship hours completed: 22 of 75)
(YS internship hours completed: 21 of 75)