Guest Post: From Mess and Stress into Success

Youth Services Shout Out -

Guest Post: Dana Johnson, Youth Services Librarian, La Crosse Public Library
I’m a color-coder. I dabble in bullet journaling, and the office supply section of any store is my favorite place to window shop. I’ve always been a tidy person–until I became a children’s librarian. As I write this, I am surrounded by piles of books, egg shakers, weeding reports and a few hula hoops. Sometimes I do programs where I am surrounded in actual garbage.

Around last fall, I noticed that the mess and the constant go-go-go of my job were taking a toll on my productivity and stress level. Things were literally piling up, which was leading me to feel overwhelmed. I signed up for the ALSC mentoring program, and when the time came to set a goal for myself, I went for a not-so-glamorous choice: get organized.

I am so glad I made that choice. With the support of my manager and ALSC mentor, I’ve researched and tested a variety of methods for managing projects, minimizing distractions, and becoming more productive. I now use–to varying degrees of loyalty– five different tools and strategies. Here are my top three.

Strategy 1: One Big Thing
What does it solve?Have you ever tried to do all the things on your to do list at the same time and then accomplished none of it? This helps.How does it work?Pick one big thing to tackle each day. Then do it.Did it work?
Yes. Somedays I am more interested in the smaller tasks that pop up throughout the day and get distracted, but usually the guilt of seeing the One Big Thing still waiting to be done is enough to get me back on track.
Strategy 2: Tickler file 
       What does it solve?
It organizes those heaps of post-it note reminders and half-formed lists that otherwise litter your workspace.How does it works?Any paper that ends up on my desk–timesheets, weeding reports, my “One Big Thing” lists– go into the folder for the date or month it needs to get done. Each morning, I look at that day’s corresponding folder and tackle what’s inside.Did it work?
To an extent. This is great for keeping my desk tidy and setting aside non-urgent tasks. It is, however, a paper-centric strategy that doesn’t always play well with tasks assigned through email.  Strategy 3: Stephen Covey’s “Time Management Grid”
What does it solve?This is for when absolutely everything feels like it is a “top priority.”How does it work. I’ve printed off blank copies of Covey’s grid and put them in my tickler file’s month folders. Each month, I look at my calendar and what I need to accomplish. I then try to determine what is urgent, what’s important ,what is neither, and what it both. After laying everything out using Covey’s grid, I prioritize the important things.Did it work? Somewhat. I think this is a valuable exercise everyone should try at least once using their job description. In reality, I found this tool to be a bit idealistic. While I’d love to spend the bulk of my time in big picture planning mode, usually those urgent but unimportant things still win the day. On the bright side, at least I am now able to discern better between what is important and what really is not.
So with varying degrees of success, I’ve slowly been feeling like these tools are helping me get my messy world back in order. Just taking time at the start of each day, week, and month, to pause, tidy up, and prepare myself for what’s ahead has done wonders for my stress.

What are your favorite ways of managing tasks and getting organized? Have you tried any of the methods I’ve mentioned? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Importance of Wellness in the Workplace

Youth Services Shout Out -

American Library Association (ALA) President Loida Garcia-Febo and members of the ALA Workplace Wellness Advisory Committee announce the relaunch of ALA-Allied Professional Association’s (ALA-APA) Workplace Wellness website. The site now includes additional health resources that benefit library workers in all types of working environments. The website reboot is part of Garcia-Febo’s commitment to support staff wellness and is made possible by the ALA Workplace Wellness Advisory Committee. 

Individual and community well-being are inherently connected, so it is vitally important that workplaces be places of wellness for their employees.  The ALA-APA is an organization dedicated to promoting the mutual professional interests of librarians and other library workers, so it has a distinct interest in helping library workers address their own wellness and the wellness of their libraries.

Access the Workplace Wellness Website HERE

ICYMI: It's Lit! The Evolution of YA

Youth Services Shout Out -

Have you been keeping up with The Great American Read on PBS?  It's an eight-part series that explores and celebrates the power of reading.  

In addition to enjoying the episodes on PBS, folks can join a book club, share stories about their experiences with reading, vote for their favorite titles, engage on social media, and learn about books and literature through a fun series of video essays entitled It's Lit!
So far there are only 4 videos, but one of which discusses young adult literature.  SO!  In case you missed it...
It's Lit! The Evolution of YA
Another sweet offering from The Great American Read are these super rad downloadables!  There are posters, memes, book facts, and book quotes galore!  My personal favorites are the vintage travel posters based on famous novels.  *insert swooning and heart eyes here*

Book of the Week: Champion

CCBC Blog -

Champion: The Comeback Tale of the American Chestnut Treeby Sally M. Walker
Published by Henry Holt, 2018
144 pages
ISBN: 978-1-260-12623-1Age 11 and older
A fungus wiped out the majority of the majestic American chestnut trees in the first part of the 20th century. This fascinating account documents how the fungus was identified and three scientific programs to bring the American chestnut back from the brink. An inoculation program injects a weaker form of the fungus, found in Japanese and Chinese chestnuts, into infected trees. If it spreads it turns the deadly fungus into a milder form of blight the trees can survive. (A stand of trees near West Salem, Wisconsin, is one of the test sites). In the backcross breeding program, healthy American chestnuts are bred with blight-resistant Chinese chestnuts. Resistant offspring are crossed with another American chestnut until there is a blight-resistant sixth-generation tree that is mostly American chestnut. The first of these were planted in forests in 2009. The third effort is a high-tech: wheat genes that produce oxalate oxidase (OxO), which breaks down the oxalic acid that the killer fungus produces, are injected into American chestnut embryos in hopes the resulting trees will be healthy. Science is accessible and engaging in this real-world, problem-solving mystery. There is outstanding documentation and a treasure trove of intriguing back matter, from research into a Longfellow program to an account an American chestnut classroom science project to research involving squirrels. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Let's Go to School This Fall

Youth Services Shout Out -

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Ed Department is rocking out youth content in their online courses this fall. These courses are great for any youth staffer at any education level. You learn a ton from experts in the field to expand/refresh your knowledge. Plus you earn CEUs!

Here are the youth centered offerings (10% discount for early registration).

Babies in Libraries 
Sept 17-Oct 28 (6 weeks)
Brooke Newberry, a noted early literacy library specialist, guides you to best practices with service to babies and their grown-ups in this wildly popular and oft-repeated course. Learn about development, programs, collections, partnerships, spaces, and more!

Programming for Tweens
Sept 17- Oct 21 (5 weeks)
Amanda Struckmeyer, a noted Tween expert who has worked in both public and school libraries, brings her A game to help you create amazing programming for 8-12 year olds.

Youth Services 101 
Sept 24-Nov 18 (8 weeks)
Perfect for library associates, assistants or directors at small libraries who work with kids but want to know more about what's behind great service. The course content is based on what Master's degree students you'll be in the know. Taught by Marge Loch-Wouters

Coding Together, Learning Together: Starting a Coding Club at Your Library 
Oct 22- Nov 18 (4 weeks)
Casey Ineichen has got you covered on the coding front. No previous tech knowledge is necessary to discover all the ways you can do coding with kids!

And hey, remember, these are just the youth-focused courses! Stop here to check out the nine other fall 2018 courses offered and learn, learn, learn!!

WLA Conference Sessions Announced!

Youth Services Shout Out -

The wait is over! WLA Conference sessions are here!A schedule and description of sessions have been posted on the WLA website. Take a quick coffee break to scroll through and start planning your conference schedule. A few highlights include:
  • Hiring for Our Diverse Communities
  • Elder STEM: Boosting Curiosity and Engagement for Seniors, Right Where They Live
  • Building Relationships Between Your Public Library and Spanish-Speaking Populations
  • Is Anything Really Free On the Internet?
  • Never Neutral: Social Justice In Your Library
Plus, there are even details about some of the speakers and events, such as:
  • Mingle over a Beer with Matt Janzen at the Turtle Stack Brewery
  • YSS Escape Room Experience
  • Featured Speaker: Gretchen Caserotti, Library Journal 2010 Mover and Shaker
Pretty exciting, huh? Hotel and registration information is on its way, but until then, mark your calendar for October 23-26. See you in LaCrosse!~ WLA 2018 Conference Committee

What’s Early Lit for Kids Who Can’t See?

Youth Services Shout Out -

Over at the ALSC Blog earlier this month, Jill Rothstein addressed how to bring early literacy to children with low or no sight.  She highlights the importance of promoting early independent reading and writing in Braille, as well as considering pictures as spacial information to be decoded.

I found Rothstein's adapted activities for the 5 key practices (reading ,writing, singing, playing, talking) helpful in thinking about how to bring these practices into my library.  In particular, the information on obtaining or creating tactile books seems to be a budget-adaptable option to better serve children with low or no vision.

Read the full article HERE.

Teen Live Webinar

Youth Services Shout Out -

Join thousands of librarians on August 15 for our seventh annual SLJTeen Live! virtual conference without leaving the comfort of your home (or reference* desk).

This free, daylong event will feature high-profile and up-and-coming YA authors talking about their latest titles for teens. You’ll also have the chance to get advice from innovative librarians tackling timely issues relevant to your teens and services.

Read more and register HERE

Book of the Week: Give Me Some Truth

CCBC Blog -

Give Me Some Truthby Eric Gansworth
Published by Arthur A. Levine / Scholastic, 2018
432 pages
ISBN: 978-1-338-14354-6Age 13 and older
In 1980, Carson Mastick and his best friend, Lewis Blake, are high school seniors living on the Tuscarora Reservation in upstate New York. Maggi Bokoni, 15, has just moved back to the reservation with her older sister, Marie. Former honor student Lewis paid a heavy price at school for standing up to a white bully years before. His future uncertain, he works cleaning buses for the school district. Maggi also gets a job there and meets Jim, a white grounds supervisor in his early 30s, who seems to understand her desire to make art beyond traditional beadwork. Hopeful musician Carson forms a band with reluctant Lewis on bass and Maggi on water drum, intent on winning a competition that could lead to New York. And Marie is in love with one of her former high school teachers from the city. Their stories, individual, intertwined, unpredictable, play out over a series of months in which Carson also mounts a protest against “Custard’s Last Stand,” a restaurant glorifying General Custer that blatantly posts a “No Indians” sign. Though most from the Rez avoid the place, Carson, who can pass as white, wants to confront the racism directly. The nuances and intricacies of these smart, tender characters and their lives unfold in a novel that is consistently funny and righteous and illuminating. Songs of the Beatles and John Lennon and Yoko Ono provide chapter titles and touchpoints as the teens find solace and inspiration in both music and art. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Free Shakespeare in State Parks

Youth Services Shout Out -

The Summit Players, a group of young college and post college thespians, are touring Wisconsin State Parks over the next few months on weekends introducing adults and kids to the bard.

Each free show, this year featuring Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, has an interactive workshop for kids that begins 90 minutes before the 7pm Fri and Sat performances and 2:30 Sunday performances. There is also a discussion guide that can be downloaded.

Check out the schedule here.

And read more about this intrepid troupe here.