The Easy Reader Fiasco

Sometimes things happen at the library that I don’t necessarily agree with. The easy reader fiasco is a lesson I learned about listening to my gut and being more confident in my own abilities.

About a year ago I noticed some Mr Putter and Tabby books in the J novel section that I really thought were more suited to be in the dot book/easy reader section. I showed my boss, I filled out a request to change paperwork asking for them to become green dots which are 2nd grade level. (Levels and AR are a topic for another day) They came back a few days later saying sorry green dots dot exist anymore so they went back into the J novels.

Time passes and we get some Princess in Black, DC Superpets, DC Heroes, Lego stuff etc and it is all coming through to J novels it doesn’t feel right to me but I forget about it until one day when I scan a book and see that every other library has it in the easy reader section but us. I grabbed a cart and pulled every single one of the books I had suspicions about and all but two were listed as easy readers in our other libraries. I don’t know why ours aren’t but now we are manually taking each one and changing them and making new spine labels.

My lesson here is if you don’t want to change a few hundred books all at once you should listen to your gut when you think something isn’t right!

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Book Thoughts – The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a nominee for the Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award in the grades 3-5 category.

the wild robot cover

Welcome to unpopular opinion time starring your host….me! I have a history of having very unpopular book opinions. Hate is a bit of a strong word, but I very much dislike a lot of the most popular picture books. I will pass on Mo Willems and Eric Carle for pretty much anything else. So I guess it should be no surprise that while everyone else loves The Wild Robot I wasn’t really impressed.

Basically a robot washes ashore an uninhabited island when the ship transporting robots is wrecked at sea. Some otters accidentally activate Roz and then she works really hard to learn the language of the animals on the island and be accepted by them even going so far as to be a surrogate goose mother.

If you happen to care about spoilers you should stop reading about now.

WildRobot4.jpg

So you know how a person who is into something can easily tell a knockoff? This feels like a faux studio ghibli movie. Oh humans are messing up the climate….but it never goes anywhere. Characters die and there is no drama with the death. Roz accidentally kills a goose family but saves an egg and the goose never has any conflicted feelings about it. Apparently humans are still pretty awful but robots are programmed not to do violence but also have no self defense. Also while the art is okay I didn’t think it was spectacular.

Meh. If Harry Potter doesn’t win this category on name recognition I suppose this will because everyone seems to love it.

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers

I am on vacation! Actually I don’t know how good that is. I accidentally left my computer at work and I miss the routine of going to work.

What Happened This Week?

Monday:

  • Book Commercials – This was amazing, but I can’t really share much from it so no blog post on it.

Wednesday:

  • Vacation

Thursday:

  • Vacation

Saturday:

  • Vacation

What did patrons want?

I don’t know because I was on vacation. I wish I got to do more reader’s advisory but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Outside of work I forced my mom to read Wonder.

 

Book Thoughts – The Ninjabread Man by C.J. Leigh

The Ninjabread Man by C.J. Leigh is a nominee for the Buckeye Children’s & Teen Book Award in the K-2 category.


I actually finished this book a while ago and misplaced it. I had wanted to do in depth reviews for all the buckeye nominees but honestly this is a rehash of The Gingerbread Man. I didn’t like the art or the text and there just isn’t much to say about this. Maybe I would recommend it if you are doing a unit on fairytales and have kids who love ninja warriors.

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers

Well I’m hoping this is a good thing, but I got an email saying we would be having a meeting about STEAM in the library at the end of the month. We are supposed to bring all of  our ideas so now I am scrambling to get everything from my head to paper. I recognize the director and maybe 2 other names in the group of 8 people so I am hoping we will be able to be very focused, but I don’t know what to expect at this point.

What Happened This Week?

Monday:

  • Family Movie Night
  • Put all summer events and reminders into my calendar
  • More weeding J books not in the catalog
  • Prepping music for Disney Trivia Night

Wednesday:

  • 3 people off today
  • More new books arrived, I think they all look good so I hope they circ.
  • Worked on decorations for summer reading Build a Better World theme. Gear flowers should be cool right?

Thursday:

  • Steam focus group email sent me scrambling to get all of my STEAM stuff together
  • More weeding

Friday:

  • Printers down for a few hours
  • Short one person and another left early so pretty busy
  • STEAM reading
  • Unconference directly after work

What did patrons want?
I actually don’t remember anything very interesting that was requested this week. I got a kid to take home a book I recommended.

 

STEAM Materials Requested

Here is the list of the items I requested for the STEAM program. Amazon is the easiest website for me to use so that is why everything listed can be found on amazon. Prices do fluctuate but I have listed what it was at the time I first requested the item.

Dominoes $9.90
Snap Circuits Jr $20.99
Makey Makey Kit $49.95
Tangrams $7.28
Spirograph $11.24
LEGO Space Needle $54.79
K’nex Bridges Kit $29.98
Amazin Marbles $28.06
Code & Go Mouse $40.68
Modeling Clay $2.81 & Tools $4.99
Geoboards $12.68
Geoworld Preserved Bugs $28.67
Gears! $18.52
Doodle Robot $10.40
Magnetic MightyMind $23.40
Magnet Science $13.48
Magic Penny $20.01

I tried to pick the highest reviewed, cheapest, and most practical to request for the STEAM program. I did not consider 3D printers or other large machines with what I imagine is a large learning curve.

I submitted my original material request to my boss via email and after a verbal okay I have now printed and filled out the paperwork for each individual item.

Book Thoughts: Real Friends by Shannon Hale

Book Thoughts are something new. As I flip through quite a few books weekly I don’t really have the time or desire to write up long book reviews for everything, but sometimes I also want to talk about a book just a little bit. Think of Book Thoughts like mini reviews that might contain spoilers, ranting or some really out there comparisons.

real friends hale cover

Real Friends by Shannon Hale has been making the book blog rounds with rave reviews. My boss and I both read it and ended up in tears, though I think she had a harder time with it as she dealt with more bullying in school than me. I was a bit nervous to read this because she had such a strong reaction and I was imagining really awful bullying and a really depressing book so I was pleasantly surprised.

Real Friends is like the baby sister of Fun Home by Alison Bechdel meets Anne of Green Gables. Shannon has the red hair, strong emotions, and fanciful imagination of Anne. Instead of exploring the woods for dryads and fairies she talks her friends into spy games and Charlie’s angels. The OCD and anxiety problems and family issues are similar to those explored in Fun Home.

I will admit the spy stuff is lost on me but I would say to pick up Real Friends if for no other reason than for the art and the exploration of the relationship with Shannon and her sister.

 

 

 

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers
I got a really nice compliment from the boss on Monday. I am apparently really good at what I do and am the best programmer in the library- better than the real librarians.

What Happened This Week?

Monday:

Wednesday:

  • Wrote out requests for STEAMSPACE materials. It is the most convoluted process possible.
  • Helped coworker set up their (work issued) fitbit
  • The chapter books I wanted to be changed to easy readers came back with a note saying we were supposed to be doing that. No one seems to have been aware of this, but until the librarian position is filled I will be inspecting books as they come in.
  • Put up a staff picks display to go with the book commercials program that is coming up soon.
  • Worked on the booklet and badges for STEAMSPACE
  • Coworker makes the sign say “READ A BOOK” which I think looks bad.

Thursday:

  • Boss had a school visit and accidentally double-booked herself. Someone made a comment about her being pregnant when she is very much not pregnant. My face is super dry and scaly and makeup won’t hide it all. Not a great start to the morning
  • Coworker complains a lot about re-cataloging the chapter books as easy readers. I should have pulled all of the books when I saw them a year ago, but I wasn’t confident enough in my judgement.
  • Ran a report to identify picture books that have not gone out in several years.

Saturday:

  • Saturday 3/3 – Getting closer to vacation!
  • I grabbed a few shelves of picture books to weed “my way”. I think I did 4 shelves and found 6-7 books that were not in the catalog.
  • Some of the books I petitioned for are starting to arrive. Tornadoes, volcanoes, weather, and science books all came through and looked pretty good.
  • Our copy of Shannon Hale’s Real Friends came in and the boss and I were both weepy after reading it.

What did patrons want?
Diagrams of the fuel injector in a car from ALLDATA, which I have never used. I saw a kid checking out books about flying horses and sent him home with a copy of  The Secret Horses of Briar Hill.

 

Mommy & Me Tea Party

I honestly thought the mommy and me tea party would fill up quickly but it actually took a long time reach 45 attendees which ended up being 46 because the registration system does weird things. It feels like enthusiasm for all programs is a bit down lately which is a bit weird to me but we are very near the end of the school year and maybe this is just a thing to expect.

I thought the tea program was fine. I didn’t love it or hate it. I made little peanut butter sandwiches cut into squares which almost no one took so that was a bit of a waste of time. Next time I will know to look at cookies or veggies or something along those lines.

I started by having everyone color a butterfly template I cobbled together to make some cute decorations that went in the teacups. The coloring and cutting took a bit longer than I thought.

Then I did a little toast with pink lemonade in the teacups and  I think it was just a few rhyming lines as I am not huge on most priory and I didn’t want to do a big speech.  After the toast I let everyone come and get their sandwiches and cupcakes.

While everyone was eating I set out some questionnaires for the kids to fill out with stuff like my favorite memory is ________. My mom likes to __________. I also set out some cute paper flowers with topics like favorite book, best ice cream flavor, dreams, etc. to encourage all the participants to actually just sit and talk.

When it looked like most people were done we started working on some waterfall cards. The pages flip when you pull on the tab and I thought they came out pretty cute.
I did learn that apparently all of the blue sticks are dry and I need to order more.

Registered: 46
Attendance: 34
Activity: butterfly cup decorations
Activity: toast and tea
Activity: questionnaire
Activity: conversation flowers
Activity: waterfall card

This Was My Week

Cheers and Jeers
What a weird week. Emergency PTO for me and funky weather meant when it was slow it was s-l-o-w. But when we were busy we were pretty busy.

Outside of work I was social and met people for dinner and had 2 hours of lovely conversation and good food.

What Happened This Week?

Monday:

  • Emergency PTO and I missed a few hours of work in the morning.
  • We had dinosaur mini golf which went well.
  • I made a sign for the book commercial program coming up.
  • A patron requested non-fantasy YA romance books and I had to struggle to think of something we had on the shelf. We might have to get some more YA romance if we get more room.

Wednesday:

  • Prepped stuff for Mother’s Day tea party.
  • There is a new librarian position open but I don’t qualify as I don’t have the degree so my hours will change but no chance of me moving up to a higher position.
  • Spent way too long trying to pin down when the solar eclipse will be visible to us and converting UT to local time. I didn’t think about the date but it will happen during our remodel so probably no eclipse party for us.

Thursday:

  • Weeded J novels
  • Hunt for mis-catalogued easy readers and found 3 boxes worth.

Saturday:

  • Subbing for a coworker in vacation so 2 of 3 Saturdays in a row
  • Discarding the J novels approved by the boss.
  • Dogs from the kennel club came. Probably 10 or so. One was so excited to be pet he pooped on the carpet.
  • A kid claimed someone threatened them with a BB gun but not actually at the library.

What did patrons want?

Anything Jack the Ripper
Coyotes for an animal project
5 Caldecott winners for a school assignment.