Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Have Allison - Will Travel

       If you see a long white van on the road that has a red broad racing stripe and big blue lettering spelling LIBRARY OUTREACH SERVICES, chances are that you are going to see the smiling face of Allison Long, the Outreach Librarian for the Haltom City Public Library.  Give her a big wave and I guarantee she’ll wave back.  She’ll probably be heading to the Senior Center or to the home of one of the 30 or so people that she brings books, music CD’s, and DVD’s to as part of the library’s Homebound Services.  You might call her the “Librarian on Wheels” providing services for those who physically cannot come to the library.  She’ll even bring her laptop to assist a homebound patron with a quick research for a book or topic if requested.  If you know of an individual who is temporarily or permanently physically homebound, please give them the gift of reading by calling Allison at 817-222-0068. 
       Allison could also be traveling to the Sara Lee facility located in Haltom City where she helped set up a twig library branch which they have named Corndog Corner Library or to the Richland Hills Library and three day care centers for children’s reading sessions. 
       A couple of weeks ago I wrote that librarians are amazing folks.  I was not paid to write that.  (In fact, I’m not paid to write this blog and I’ve been meaning to talk to someone about that!)  It isn’t just the amount of education they have to obtain or their love of books and reading that make them so amazing; it’s the passion they have for their patrons and their community.  I’ve gotten to know most of the librarians at the Haltom City Public Library and I can honestly say that they are a unique bunch of folks, each contributing their own field of specialty to the library and their community.  As different as they are, (and they are!  lol) they all share the same dedication and passion.  Since I don’t want to show favoritism (I still haven’t paid that fine yet), I plan on writing about each one of them and their field of expertise before my reign of blogging is over. 
       Have a reading good week.......  your library blog mistress

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Sale Coming Up

Woo hoo! The Friends of the Haltom City Public Library’s book sale is next week, April 28 through April 30th!  I will be waiting in line for the sale to start so that I can buy a stack of books at a ridiculously low price to replace the ones that I donated to the Friends of the Haltom City Public Library for their book sale.  A bookshelf without books isn’t a bookshelf, now is it?
I was raised in a house full of books and whenever I was bored or lonely, I reached for a book.  When I wanted to take a trip to an exotic place outside of my small town or learn something new, I reached for a book.  When I wanted to go back in time or time travel to the future, I read a book.  It was a good way to grow up.  It’s the way I tried to raise my family.  Apparently I did a pretty good job if I managed to get even Shelby, my Chihuahua,  interested in books.  So, if you see any good books for dogs at the book sale, would you please set them aside for me? 

And if you aren’t reading right now, I hope that you are writing!  Remember the Library’s Annual Writing Contest deadline is May 31, 2011.  Information and rules about the writing contest are on the City’s website.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Librarians Are Amazing Folks

In honor of National Library Week, April 10 - April 16, I decided to do a little research on what makes up a librarian.  I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, way back when, librarians were scary folks.  They usually were old, but then when one is 8 or 9 what adult doesn’t seem old?  They were keepers of the books and knew the secret code of books called the Dewey Decimal System.  Talking in libraries then was a no-no and I seldom heard the librarians say anything more than “ssh”, “tsk, tsk” or “I’m going to call your mother!” 
They're no longer stern or scary. Libraries have changed over the years since I was a child and so have librarians.  While still keeper of the books their roles and their qualifications have grown and expanded just as libraries have.
So why does someone want to become a librarian?  I've always assumed that they must love books and love to read.  So do I.  But I wanted to be a writer when I grew up, not a librarian.  Becoming a librarian is serious stuff requiring a Master’s Degree in Library Science.  The MLS (Master of Library Science) is a 36-credit-hour program accredited by the American Library Association that introduces students to the roles and functions of libraries in contemporary society so that they can become familiar with key policy issues and technological trends and how these issues and trends affect libraries and information centers of all kinds.  Wow.  Now that’s what I call scary!
A librarian is taught to:
·         Assist and educate users of Libraries and Information Centers
·         Develop and Manage Library Collections
·         Organize and Represent Information Resources
·         Apply Management and Leadership Skills
·         Conduct and Analyze Research
·         Demonstrate Basic Technical Expertise
·         Approach Professional Issues with Understanding

But there is so more to being a librarian.  They have children’s reading programs to plan and coordinate; puppet shows to entertain and educate, special events and classes to arrange, books and magazines to select and prepare, staff and volunteers to schedule, outreach programs to manage, grants to write, budgets to manage, statistics to compile, and…. a desire to serve their community.
The list is never ending it seems and I can’t help from wondering if a librarian ever has the energy or time to read the books they love.  Regardless, they greet us with a hostess or host’s warm smile and graciousness whenever we enter their world of books and information.  Yep.  Librarians are amazing folks who love books and love to serve their community.  I'm so glad I got to know them.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

I was only going to be at the library for a minute, I told myself.  I’m going to just dash in, pay the fine that I owe for some overdue books, and then head straight home.  Forty-five minutes later, I was finally on my way home.  So where did all the time go?
Well, first I stopped to watch artist and teacher, Bennie Johnson Wood, teach a room of children how to create masterpieces of art with only crayons.  They were all having so much fun that I wished I’d brought my box of crayons so I could join them. 
Then I stopped for a minute or two to admire a few of the bronze sculptures.   And, of course, I had to look at the new books displayed on a book carousel for a couple of more minutes.  I was almost to the counter to pay my fine when I saw the photographs. Hundreds of photos posted on a wall that seemed to be a mile long.  I had forgotten that the library was displaying all the photo entries for the Haltom City Photo Contest.  Well, I certainly wasn’t leaving without looking at each and every one of them!  They all looked like winners to me. Vipha N. Guerrero won Best of Show as well as first place winner for the newest category “A City of Readers” created in honor of the library’s 50th anniversary. Congrats Vipha!
The library staff stay busy but they somehow always manage to be so friendly and helpful that I’m sure I probably spent a few minutes saying “hi” and “how are you doing?” with two or three of them before I glanced my watch and saw what time it was.  “Oops, gotta go.  Bye.” 
It’s easy for us to spend forty-five minutes or an hour or two in a library.  We browse through the books, magazines, DVD’s, the art displays, spend time on the computers, or sit and read in a comfortable chair or attend a class.  But have you ever wondered what a librarian does all day in the library?  Now’s your chance to not only find out, but catch them in the act with your camera. 
National Library Week is April 10-16 and as part of “create your own story at your library”, Wednesday, April 13, 2011 is Library Snapshot Day at the Haltom City Public Library.  This event is an ALA, American Library Association, planned event to provide a way for libraries to show their communities what a typical day for librarians and staff entails.  I think we will all be amazed at just how much they do and the variety of services they provide.
Oh, by the way, did I mention that when I arrived home this evening, I realized that I had forgotten to pay my library fine?  Oh well, another excuse to visit my favorite library and librarians.