Every Thing On It by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein is my favorite author. I love all of his poems. My favorite one is NO! from Falling Up, so when I heard that Every Thing on It was coming out. I freaked out! When I saw it come into work, I was even more happy! It’s currently on my counter. I’ve read it, and it’s just as amazing. My favorite one so far is How Hungry is Polly?

“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse,”
Said Polly in the park.
Ol’ Dobbin, grazin’ nearby,
Overheard her rude remark.
He shook his mane and pawed the ground,
He raised his noble head,
He snorted and looked down at her,
And this is what he said:
“I’ve been ridden, I’ve been driven,
I’ve been raced around a track,
I’ve been photographed with little
Whiny kiddies on my back.
I’ve pulled wagons through the winter,
I’ve pulled sleighs and I’ve pulled sleds,
I’ve pulled plows in sticky summer
With flies buzzin’ ’round my head.
I’ve been whipped and I’ve been beaten,
I’ve been called a such-and-such—
But to think of being eaten,
Well, that is really too much!
And when I get insulted,
My appetite runs wild,
And now I feel so hungry,
I could eat a child.”

As a person who works with horses, I loved this. I shared this with my barn director. I also, love the one Every Thing On It, the poem that the book is named after!

I asked for a hot dog
With everything on it,
‘Cause it came with a parrot,
A wristwatch, a wrench, and a rake.
A flag, and a fiddle,
A frog, and a front porch swing,
And a mouse in a mask—-
That’s the last time I ask
For a hot dog with everything.

The first poem in the book is Years From Now, as I read this I thought of Shel, dead for 12 years. Read this poem, and tell me what you think.

Although I cannot see your face
As you flip these poems awhile,
Somewhere from some far-off place
I hear you laughing—and I smile.

The last poem is called When I am Gone. It is just as amazing as the first poem.
When I am gone what will you do?

Who will write and draw for you?
Someone smarter—someone new?
Someone better—-maybe YOU!

This is a wonderful book to add to your person library, or your public library stacks. Every Thing On It, is worth it, and you will bring smiles to your family, or your patrons, for many years to come!

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“We’re a public library, so we have a public bathroom”

“We’re a public library, so we have a public bathroom”

I heard this the other day while I was in a library, I heard it and immediately loved it. So many times we deal with the public and sometimes their questions actually do qualify as stupid questions.

I’ve had my fair share of stupid questions from the public and of course the outrageous questions. There have been days when I need to bite my tongue to prevent a sarcastic remark. One day a patron asked me if he could ask me a question. I of course said yes, but in my head I wanted to say you already did, do you have another one?

Working in the library, you meet and have to deal with many people. Some people you will love and will absolutely adore as they tell you about how they heard about the book or movie they’re checking out, then you’ll get the people who never walk in to the library and make the lovely comments like “Oh, I never knew you guys existed”, or you’ll get the town officials come in whom are trying to close you so you need to act pleasant, and then of course you’ll get the ones that are the usual and you ask how their day has been, and how everything is going. You’ll met the most amazing people in the library, and although you want to have a relationship with them, you always want to make sure it is kept professional.

There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule, but try for the most part to keep your relationship professional. And when you get a patron in who offends you or you frankly can’t stand. If you can’t hand the patron off to another librarian, simply grin and bear it. I’ve been told several times that you can’t annoy anyone, as long as you say it with a smile.”

I do have to state, if you are a very sarcastic person, like myself, you must keep your sarcasm out of the work place. Most people do not enjoy sarcasm, and it, in fact, offends them. And you wouldn’t want to lose a patron due to you trying to make a joke.

Another thing, and maybe the last thing, you want to keep your personal life out of the library. You don’t want to broadcast your personal life. If a close patron asks what you did for the weekend, sure you can answer, but if you say “Oh, I went on a vacation” or “It was a family emergency” and the patron continues to press, just simply tell the patron that you don’t feel comfortable sharing that information or that, that information is just family information.

So, all in all, you deal the public all the time, and the public’s eyes are constantly on you. And sure you’ll get patrons who will ask to use your bathrooms, and you will of course think of something like “We’re a public library, so we have a public bathroom”, but try to keep professional, calm, and overall happy.

What are some of your most memorable quotes or “stupid” questions? Do you have any hints dealing with patrons that annoy you?

Small Town Librarian

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We Want to Hear From Our Patrons? Do You?

With this past budget season, we were given more funding, so with the more funding we wanted to show the patrons thank you. Open up more hours, offer museum passes, and see what we could improve on. Well, instead of saying: “We’re going to be open on Saturday 9 – 2 and will be getting museum passes from Higgins Armory” a board member wrote up a questionnaire for all of the patrons, that asked what they wanted. We gave them two options for more hours. Longer hours on Thursday or being open on Saturdays. We also listed  a couple local museums in the area that we could get museum passes to. We then finished off the questionnaire with an open response. Asking what the patrons would like to see in the library, or what we could improve on. That question was optional, of course.

The questionnaire was posted on our Facebook, in the library, and did send a letter to the editor about it. We put the questionnaire out and asked that all responses were back a couple of weeks before July 1st, which is when the changes will be effective, because that’s when FY 2012 will begin.

If you have a questionnaire, I highly recommending asking every patron that comes in, because most won’t pick it up, and also don’t make it really long, because if you have a high teenage and parent population, they won’t have a lot of time to fill out a 20 minute survey, so make it short and easy for them.

The one thing that I stress to patrons when they ask me why we’re doing this. I tell them that this is their library, and we librarians are just here to help them along their way. We want them to feel at home at the library. We want to hear what works best for them, instead what works for us.

Working with the public can be very difficult some days, but it can also be very rewarding at the same time. Always make sure you have some type of, relationship with each and every patron to make them feel welcomed.

Small Town Librarian

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How to Help With Rebuilding a Town from a Tornado Without Phsyical Work

On June 1st, a tornado went through the town of Brimfield, Massachusetts. The town neighboring West Warren, where we’re from. It’s been several weeks, and most of the disaster relief centers don’t need anymore food donations, and we can’t don’t really know how to use chainsaws, and plus if we did our staff of 3 and library board members of 7ish aren’t open enough to get together on one day to drive over to Brimfield and help with the clean up.

So, we did the best thing, that will always help. Take monetary donations. A board member came into the library the other day with a container and asked if I would make sign for it. I said sure, why not! So, we started collecting monetary donations for the tornado victims of Brimfield.

Now, it’s only been up for a couple days, and we only have some donations, but it’s better than not doing anything at all! If your local community goes through a natural disaster, like Brimfield did, and you want to help in some way and know that your patrons want to help also. Try to find a local organization who is tkaing monetary donations, or ask for a needs list and organize a can drive, or something that could help out. If you’re taking monetary donations, then make sure you have some signs up and write something up on your website/facebook/blog to get the word out there. Becuase odds are that your patrons want to help as badly as you yourself want to help.

Small Town Librarian

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Tension Within Your Library Board

Every library has a board of trustees, or at least you should have a board of trustees or directors. Whatever you please to name them. Within this board, hopefully you have at least seven people on it, there will be a lot of different personality types. Some may compliment each other greatly, while other’s may not.

The goal of a library board is to work as a team, and a united front for the betterment of the library. They supervise the library director and the library, making sure that everything is going as planned. The library director watches over the staff and the day-to-day operations of the library, and answers to the library board.

When you’re working with your library board and you notice that there may be tension between specific members, I recommend trying to stop the board meeting, maybe pause it. Go for a time out. When you’re no longer taking the minutes and aren’t in the “official” board meeting, try to figure out what is stem of the problem. Why is this person reacting badly to this person? Is it just personalities? Did this person do something to that person? You’re going to act like a referee in a soccer game. You want to try to stay as impartial as possible when you’re in between two or more people.

While you’re talking to the whole board and trying to make everything come together, and see that a specific set of people are getting more and more angry, then pull them out of the group and have them talk it out together, in private. Maybe in the office, with the door closed, or somewhere where they can have privacy with talk to each other without worrying that the whole library board can hear their problems. If needed give them a couple of minutes, or several minutes, alone to work their problems out.

Hopefully with talking the problems out, and having a brief alone time and a time to cool down your board will be back up and functioning as one united front, and the tension will be gone for the time being.

Although it can be very hard at times to have a board with many people, many ideas, and many personalities you all have one common goal, and that is for the library to survive, serve the public, and to see how the library can improve its services.

Good luck on keeping your board of trustees strong!

Small Town Librarian

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Need Help Shelf Reading? There’s an App for That

How many hours, as a librarian, do you spend shelf reading? It’s a never-ending task. You get to the point where you cringe every time you watch a patron shelve their book in the wrong spot! I just recently finished shelf reading the Dewey decimal system, which took some time, because I would get going and get half way through the shelf and a patron would come in, so I was always jumping from the non-fiction section to the front desk.

Well, the folks at Miami University’s Augmented Reality Research Group has created an application to work on the Android cell phone, that will read a book shelf, that has a specific barcode on the spine of the book, and “flag” the book that is out-of-place and tell you where it’s supposed to go.

This app is supposed to be demoed at the Association of College and Resource Libraries 2011 Conference, next month.

Would this app save you time? Do you think that purchasing the app for your phone, would be worth it?

Small Town Librarian ♥

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Team Trivia Night For Your Library

Have you ever heard about a team trivia? It’s kind of like trivia pursuit with several teams battling for first place. The idea of having a team trivia night for the library was brought to our library board by a board member several months ago. The way he got this idea, was that he and his wife attended a team trivia night over at a church in the next town over. He and his wife both enjoyed it and thought it would be a great event for the library. Not a fundraiser, but a way to get our name out into the world.

So last Saturday we held our team trivia. We were worried that not many people would show, because we didn’t sell many tickets at the library, so we brought them to the door, trying to figure out if we would make money or lose money or just break even. We sold out. We were able to fit 50 people in the Scottish Meadows Golf Club, and teams, with enough food for everyone. When everyone was seated we started on the trivia. There were 12 rounds with one break half way through the night, right after round 6. We had 12 rounds, and each round had a subject that the questions were based off of. The 12 rounds were, geography, initials (Acronyms), millionare (multiple choice questions from Who Wants to Be a Millionare), birth places, child pictures of actresses, child pictures of actors, general, literature, music, New York, catch phrases, and the final round was Final Jepordy. We showed a picture of a bridge in Massachusetts, and you could wager all of your points! The whole evening was fun filled, and we even made some money off of it!

The questions were all made by a board member, and we had an MC ask the questions and two people score all of the sheets and update the scores. We also did a 50/50 raffle, that we announced during the break. We made about $80, in profit, just off of the 50/50!! The whole night was filled with laughter and confusing when questions came out when no one knew the answer. I highly reccommend doing a trivia night, for your library. I wouldn’t get your hopes up on making millions of dollars, but just a night to get your name out there, to break even, and to just have a great time with your patrons!

To get you started on the trivia, I’ll give you a couple questions.

Q: In the song, The Piano Man, what did the waitress practice?

A: Politics

Q: Who was the first president (of the USA) who was born in a hospital?

A: Jimmy Carter

Q: What does the initials of LSMFT mean?

A: Lucky Strike Means Fine Tobacco

Good luck at setting up your trivia night!

Small Town Librarian

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