I walked into work this morning, and there was a sign on our library door “Storytime cancelled today due to illness.” When I asked “how come?” I learned that Vickie, our most excellent children’s storytime leader, had been at the hospital ER last night and was too ill to come in today. She had tried her regular subs and found no one available, thus storytime had to be cancelled.
Well, as the new Director, I thought — disappointing children and their parents is not a good thing to happen on my watch. So I walked through the library and offices, asking who wanted to take me up on the “opportunity” to read for storytime. No takers!
So, as my grandma would say, “the best place to find a helping hand is at the end of your arm.” I started out my career as a teacher, so this was not foreign to me. What was difficult was pulling together a storytime in a short time — but I was told the well-prepared Vickie had the lesson plan, complete with books, finger-plays, songs, and a video, all neatly piled on a cart. As encouragement, Carla said that she’d be right there for me guiding me through as my technical assistant.
So, just prior to 10:00 I went to the children’s area to greet the kids, who kept coming and coming. The floor seating area was covered with attentive little ones, and still they kept coming. We lost count after 50; they don’t stay still to be counted.
Well, aided by Carla we went through the planned program, moving from finger plays (put your hands in your lap), to stories about marsupials (it was Australian animals day), to picture puzzles (the kids assured me I draw good). Somewhere in the middle of the get your wiggles out song, I discovered we were ALL having a wonderful time.
Meanwhile, downstairs in the office, I had temporarily foisted my 10:00 appointment off on my able assistant director and technology staff. The appointment was with a network security guy, who was gathering information on our needs to prepare a proposal. Pretty heavy stuff compared to storytime.
But what is really important? Planning for secure computer networks to serve the growing technology demands or literacy training for 50+ pre-schoolers and their parents/grandparents/care givers.
Such is the life of the public library. Constant demands for a wide range of programs and services by a diverse clientele. Not enough time or resources, but somehow we get it done.
And the kids left with big smiles on their faces. And the computer network guy got all the information he needed. And although I was late to get to the start of the state library association meeting, I know I did what I’m called to do — and I had a very good day!