Friday, July 18, 2008
What do you do?
I seem to be getting this question posed to me quite often lately, so I've decided (there I go deciding again) to do my best to explain. I work at the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County. Yes, we have one of the longest names of any library in the country. My title is Program Specialist. Of course my old boss called me Program Specialist Extraordinaire, which I quite prefer. I work in the Youth & Outreach Services department where we...can you guess? Do outreach in the community and also work closely with youth services.
So what does this mean for me? I am a woman of many hats. Would anyone like one because I will gladly sell. Don't get me wrong, I do love it!
I provide programs. I typically go to the branches and offer programs that are new, different and exciting. I've offered programs like Webkinz, Family Portrait Day, Picture Book Clubs, and Noisy Storytime. I do go out in the community at times and offer storytimes, gaming programs, and festivals.
Another major part of my job is working on Large Literacy Initiatives.
We offered a great program back in the winter/spring called Paint the Town Read. It was quite the adventure to encourage families, single adults, children, and teens to have 5 reading experiences. What is a reading experience, you ask? Well, pretty much anything you read can be an experience! We ended the program the last day of National Library Week which happened to be April 18th this year. Our Red/Read Party was a hit! It was a fun program, but man am I glad it's over :)
Right now we are in the midst of Summer Reading. This is our biggest literacy initiative we offer all year, especially for children. We have great incentives for reading and offer many programs in 21 of our branches. Check it out! For my part, I order all of our prizes, make sure each branch has what they need, make sure our publicity is correct and the information on the website is accurate. This started last November with the wording of our reading records and deciding on the graphics we wanted to use.
The last large initiative that I hold high responsibilities for is the children's portion of Novello. Each year we invite about 10 different children's authors and/or illustrators to come to our library. They visit our schools for two days and then we culminate the week with our Book Brunch and Wordplay Saturday. Book Brunch allows children, parents, and teachers to ask our panel of authors and illustrators questions about their work and what they do. Wordplay Saturday is brought to you by your local library branches! We hire performers and use our own talents, as well, to fill the streets of uptown Charlotte with literacy, activities and fun! This is a wonderful part of my job. It takes a lot of work and preparation, but the outcomes are a sight to see. :) Our children's authors and illustrators this year are Deborah Gregory, Charles Smith, Jr., Margaret Haddix, Frank Remkiewicz, Lucia Gonzalez, Cynthia Kadohata, Jay Asher, AM Jenkins, Josh Elder, Gabrielle Zevin, and Ellen Hopkins.
So, that's a basic start to what I do! I have to say that working in the library is far more exciting and contagious than I ever thought it would be. And this is coming from a girl who thought, "I love kids and I love books, so maybe I should work in a library?" And that's what I do.