A Tale of Two Library Staff Members

This has been my first holiday season as a librarian and this past week has been very enlightening. Many staff members are on vacation enjoying time with family and friends. In my library system we have library staff who "float", or work "on-call" at different locations, to fill in for people who are sick or vacationing. This holiday season was my opportunity to meet, and get to know several of these staff members for the first time.

The Setting - 3 regular staff members out and 1 on vacation which left the library with 2 regular staff members and the on-call staff member. The library doesn't open for 3 HOURS and I am prepping for a Mock Printz Event.

The Tale Part One
On-call comes in and is greeted by the other staff member and myself.
She is shown the break room, bathroom, and told to walk around the library and see where everything is located. She sits down in a chair and proceeds to ask about/comment on the following in a negative manner:
The small break room
Sharing the bathroom with the public
My preparation time in the schedule

When asked to remove the books from the book drop she becomes very angry. "I've never been to this library before and I don't know how to do book drop. I am not a shelver." (Whoa! We all do book drop.)
I show her where the book drop is located and tell her all she needs to do is remove the materials and place them on carts. At this point I return to my prep work in the back of the library and almost immediately hear yelling from up front.
"I don't like bending down! Why isn't SHE out here working?" I return to the front and ask my other coworker if everything is okay. The rest of the day with this particular visiting staff member remains tense and hostile.

The Tale Part Two
On-call comes in and is greeted by the other staff member and myself.
She is shown the break room, bathroom, and told to walk around the library and see where everything is located. She walks around, asks a few questions about the collection and the patrons then proceeds to file the holds without being asked. We work amiably the remainder of the day. She asks for help when needed AND shares tips and tricks she has learned from working at all of the other branches. She is polite to the patrons and very helpful. We have a good day and at closing tells me that she likes to do something nice for someone at least once a week. She then offers me a ride home and I accept.
I aspire to be like this woman. Professional. Helpful. Polite. Kind. Willing to learn.

I try to avoid librarian titles because there seems to be some sort of  caste-like system among some librarians where certain librarians are more important or better than others. (I have not yet learned how to navigate that system. I am not sure I want to learn. ) However, I do identify as a Reference Librarian (My MLIS is in reference and user services) I also identify as a Children and Youth Services Librarian because I primarily work with that demographic. More important to me than either of these titles are the titles of Feel Good Librarian and Social Justice Librarian. I've read both of these blogs over the years and they have helped shaped my vision of  who I want to be as a librarian. I want to thank my phenomenal former supervisor, wonderful on-call library staff members, and all of the other librarians in the world who work hard to make me proud to be a member of this profession.  I pray to be the kind of librarian who will make you proud to have me as a colleague.

Also, thanks again to #nerdlution for inspiring me to blog again.


What a Difference a Day Makes

What a week!This week has been one of the most challenging weeks for me as a person, a Friend, and a librarian. I love my library and I love the community that I serve. However, some days I consider working at a different library and for a different community. 

There was a shooting (the second in three months) steps outside the library. The "incident" left me feeling dejected to put it mildly. When I got home I soaked in the tub for hours and climbed into bed. I assured everyone that I was fine and cried through the night and into the next morning. I was tired, hurt, unbelievably sad, and a little frightened (for myself and for the people in the community). I was also determined to go to work, and serve that community.

The day after the shooting was also my day to do community outreach, visit children, and share books. I am so glad that I went to work! I am so glad that I didn't completely cave in to my feelings. The days following the shooting have been the most rewarding in my career to date. Below are pictures of some of the children I read to each week. After the weekly read aloud I was invited to a dress rehearsal for the holiday program.


This book was recommended to me by a dear Friend. After the shooting this week, I found myself reading and rereading the same passage repeatedly from the December 12th entry. " I AM TAKING CARE OF YOU. Feel the warmth and security of being enveloped in My loving Presence. Every detail of your life is under My control. Moreover, everything fits into a pattern for good, to those who love Me and are called according to My design and purpose." *
* Romans 8:28 AMP


'Tis The Season... to do my Happy Dance

This week in libraryland I received quite a bit of good news. This is not necessarily holiday related news, but it is the holiday season, sooooo 'tis the season for me to do my happy dance. Since I last posted on the blog I received this email

Dear Regina Renee Ward,
Congratulations! ******* ******** Branch Library has been selected as a library distribution site  for World Book Night that will take place on April 23, 2014. Thank you so much for agreeing to participate!

There was more to the letter, but I was too busy squealing to continue reading. I proceeded to call/email EVERYONE and squeal with delight while doing my happy dance. I sang. I danced. I pleaded with everyone to apply to be a Giver before January 5th AND to choose my library as their pickup location ( They chose my library. They chose my library.) 

Later that same day...
YALSA's 2014 Morris/Nonfiction Reading Challenge Begins Ok, so I love a reading challenge. This announcement totally made a great day phenomenal! Last year, I started the YALSA Hub Challenge late and didn't get to geek out for the allotted amount of time. This year is different; I started day 1 and began geeking out immediately. 10 Books in 7 Weeks? I got this! My plan is to read all five finalists for the Nonfiction Award before starting in on the finalists for the Morris Award.  I am very eager to read one book on this list in particular.


So, that was on Monday. What a great way to start the work week. 

I must say I am pleased to share that my work week also ended in fine fashion. I owe my thanks for a wonderful Friday evening to an 8 year old young man who invited me to his stage debut as the Best Frog EVER! Thank you Sir Leaps-A-Lot.

So, what makes you do your happy dance? Do you leap like a frog?


Heartwarming Thoughts for the Cold Weather Blues

Baby, it's COLD outside! For those of you who don't know me, I do NOT like cold weather. Now, I have been known to complain (well, start complaining, because I complain about the weather from about October-June) when the temperature dips below 70, but this time my complaints are legitimate. This past week the temperature has been between -13 and 10. Just for the record, 10 is not worthy of being named a high temperature for the day, and day, ever.

Ok, so this week's post may not seem very Friendly or very literary, but it will have both literary and Friendly components. We have established that it has been cold, and I do not like cold weather. So, you ask, what have been the highlights of the week that have made you forget about the cold for even the briefest moments of time? I am so glad you asked.

Living the Quaker Way: Timeless Wisdom For a Better Life Today
I am reading this one very slowly. I am a fast reader, but this one is one to be savored. It is one on which to reflect and ponder and pray. When reading a passage on simplicity, I stop fantasizing about a roaring fireplace and think about how blessed I am to be sleeping indoors with a warm blanket and socks.
Long Walk to FreedomNelson Mandela  
I cried and cried when I learned that Nelson Mandela had passed away. I cried even more when I went online and read what some mean-spirited people had to say about his passing. It has become a trite saying, often said in jest, but for me "never read the comments" are words to the wise. However, Nelson Mandela's own words were the words that made a difference to me on Fifth Day (Thursday)  "We can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference."  I was at work at the library and a display was quickly put together  including the two books pictured above. Thinking about Nelson Mandela's life and legacy left me feeling warm and hopeful.

Yesterday was Take Your Child To a Bookstore Day. Yes! It is actually a day. That is simply amazing and it made my day. I posted to Facebook and Twitter. I looked at all of my friends' posts and I smiled.#nerdlution for the win.
Now it is your turn. What has made you smile and forget the cold for a few brief moments this week?


World Book Night Application Process Part 2

First of all, I apologize. I thought I clicked publish on this post weeks ago, but apparently I did not.

As I mentioned in my previous posts, I am making aspects of my experience public this year to encourage others to participate in World Book Night 2014. Last year's experience was positive, and I would like others to take the opportunity to share the gift of reading.

The Book and the Potential Recipients
The contenders were as follows:
  • Catch - 22; Joseph Heller
  • The Dog Stars; Peter Heller
  • Pontoon;  Garrison Keillor
  • Same Difference;  Derek Kirk Kim
  • Bobcat and other Stories; Rebecca Lee
  • Tales of the City; Armistead Maupin
And the winner is

Tales of the City

I chose this book based on the potential recipients in my community. I had identified the following as potential recipients:
Potential Recipients:
  • Seniors living in an apartment building on a bus route near the public library where I work.
  • Adults at the Recreational Center across the street from the library where I work.
  • People who use a drop-in center in my neighborhood for women, children and transgender individuals who are experiencing homelessness and poverty.

A coworker who has not participated in World Book Night expressed interest in sharing books with the Seniors in our community. Dog Stars and Pontoon were my selections for those recipients.

Bobcat and Other Short Stories along with Same Difference were meant for the patrons of the recreation center because both titles could easily be read in short bursts of attention. However, when I visited the recreation center, most people had brought their own reading material or were "plugged in."

With four titles eliminated, I was down to Catch-22 and Tales of the City. I selected Tales of the City because I thought it would have more wide-spread appeal to the women, teens, and transgender individuals who would most likely receive the book.

With my personal selection process completed, I was ready to complete my application.

The Application
You must be 16 years of age or older. The application asks for standard information including your name, address, email address, and phone number. You select three books from the list and indicate whether or not you have read your first choice, complete the questions below, and voila application complete.
Where do you intend to give out the books?
To whom do you intend to give the books?
Why do you want to participate in World Book Night?
Now is when you wait to find out if you have been selected to be a book giver. Givers are notified in February 2014. You can also sign up to receive the newsletter and follow @wbnamerica on Twitter. You can follow me, too @FriendRsquared