First Month: Here We Go
Less than a week after moving to Chattanooga (with a rendezvous family wedding in Michigan miraculously pulled off in between) I started my first day of work. It was a Monday. My husband drove me to work with both kids in the back. It was my first time going back to work since having Mira, so I was feeling a bit sad about leaving them and also excited for everything the day held. “Here we go!”I said more to myself than anyone as I hopped out of the car and kissed my family goodbye. That morning, I was asked if I would help host a maker party for the mayor in celebration of National Maker Day on The 4th Floor on Wednesday.
And that happened.
My first week pretty much sums up what it’s been like working at Chattanooga Public Library this past month.
A lot happens. Fast.
The next week, I opened up the shades as wide as the would go in the Kids Room and looked at the space with fresh eyes. I’ve been talking with the people who visit and doing my best at digesting everything that comes my way. Justin, my manager, is my translator and cheerleader.
As a way to introduce and immerse myself, I started doing Spontaneous Storytime. When I have a spare moment, I wear a sign around that says, “Ask me to read you a story!” The moments have been sporadic with so much going on lately, but every time I wear the sign a child or caregiver takes me up on the offer. To be continued.
Sure I have times I miss my friends. I doubt myself. I miss being home with my kids. I feel like THIS on occasion.
But then I have days that I feel confident and gutsy and more at ease in my new library home.
Our End of Summer Party, wrapping up CPL’s Make.Play.Read.Learn program, was a hit. Hundreds of patrons came out to visit the Downtown Library’s 2nd Floor. On the tween/teen side, there was a full out “Fancore Finale” with cosplay, My Little Pony, Disney, Tim Burton… All the good things run by Megan and Jessie. The Kids Room had science experiments, games, a dance party disco with the Frozen soundtrack on repeat, a “Make a Thingamajig” table with various recycle items, among many other fun and engaging activities.
I organized a “Spin Art” station, which included record player art (an idea I borrowed from my daughter’s former preschool in Lawrence) and salad spinner art (a tried and true favorite project).
With summer in the rear view mirror I’m finally able to start digging into the programming goals I hope to implement. The other day I covered for my coworker’s Lego Club at the last minute. I started having the kids dictate their stories of what they were making to me. I have done this with my daughter for awhile now and my co-conspirator and library soul sister, the brilliant Cate Levinson (Storytiming) has been doing something similar in her library. As I wrote down these imaginative narrations, magic happened. The kids who were playing individually, started playing as one, blending their stories into one. In that moment, I felt connected to my young patrons and full of possibility. A librarian I very much look up to said something I think about every day at work. She said, “Start with the community and their points of need and let that guide the agenda.”
Here we go.