NYLA Day #2 – Kids ROCK Your Library!

My second day at NYLA was much more low-key, but possibly better than the first day!

Myself and my two fellow librarians-to-be went to the 8am session of “Kids ROCK Your Library!” The Weedsport Junior Friends of the Library presented. Both the co-advisors and three of the junior officers (all sixth graders) were fantastic. I loved when the kids talked about their experiences, you could really feel how attached they were to not only their library, but to the group as a whole.

The Weedsport Junior Friends of the Library is quite a success story. Started about 10 years (give or take) ago, this group has expanded wildly. The group travels to the Washington D.C. National Book Festival every year (the kids even get to go to the press tent and interview authors), they’ve gone on trips to NYC to Scholastic and the New York Public Library, they’ve had many author visits, they’ve fundraised, helped keep their library clean, and even put on plays for the Red Hat Society (perhaps my favorite part of this story).

This is all accomplished by the kids. The advisors are literally that, advisors. They aren’t the organizers, the ones out stomping the streets, they show the kids how to do things and then let them out in the world. These kids raise all their own money ($350) to go to the National Book Fest, they do community service throughout their area to help not only their library but anyone who may call upon them, and they do this all of their own accord.

This group gave me so many good ideas that I hope to use some day. I mean, putting the power into a group of 3rd-8th graders may seem risky, but the Junior Friends are very realistic about what they expect out of each kid, and what happens if that kid cannot meet their expectations. That is, seemingly, the key to their success. I can’t wait to talk to Kori (Manlius Children’s Librarian) and give her the information I received from this session. Hopefully we may be able to use some of it to the benefit of the Manlius Children’s Library.

We then checked out the Saratoga Springs Public Library (seemed appropriate). They have a beautifully constructed Children’s and Teen Space. I loved their bookshelves and wished I could run out of their with about a dozen of them. They had taken some magazine bookshelves and used them to display their new picture books. I loved, also, how they had books on top of their shelves so that kids could see the pictures on the book covers, not just the spines.

I, also, “worked” the SU booth. I had a lot of fun talking to fellow students and those who organized SU’s presence at NYLA this year. I love how, whenever you are with SU personnel, you really do feel like you are accepted no matter who you are. The iSchool has a terrific group of people working for it to the benefit of both students and alumni.

Before we left I was able to do some minor sightseeing of Saratoga Springs as well. Myself and another of my fellow librarians-in-training took a windy walk through the Central Park and checked out the Carousel and the park in general. I wish that I felt safe doing that through parts of Syracuse, because there are so many parks that I would love to revisit and see again, but I would never dare walk alone in them or even in them period.

After another 2 1/2 hour journey home, I was so happy to see Megan. But, I have to say, I can’t wait for my next Conference. I learned so much from this experience and I can’t tell you how much I feel honored to be in a profession with the people who I met at NYLA 2011.

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