This weekend I am transitioning from working as a Youth Services Consultant for Suffolk Libraries to my new role as the director at the Cutchogue New Suffolk Free Library. It’s been a pleasure working directly with all the youth services librarians in the county, and I greatly appreciate the gift I received at our last meeting: a copy of my favorite book of 2011, Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. It is signed by those who were at the meeting, and it brings a smile every time I look at it.

I will continue blogging about public libraries from my new perspective as an administrator. Many people have told me over the last few weeks that you can take the librarian out of the children’s room, but you can’t take the children’s room out of the director. I am sure that is true on many levels. I plan on remaining active in ALSC, YALSA, YSS, CLASC and YASD, and I am continuing to read children’s literature (right now I am reading Batchelder Award winner Soldier Bear for my next book club meeting.) I do, however, look forward to the new perspective serving as a director will offer me as the experience can only offer depth to my view of librarianship.

What should I rename this blog? Any suggestions are welcome! I will be thinking about it as I fill out my Civil Service exams this weekend.

An Opportunity Too Good to Pass Up

The USBBY Bridge to Understanding Award Committee seeks to identify and honor innovative programs that use children’s literature as a way to promote international understanding, and libraries are eligible for this award. Does your library program promote “reading as a way to expand a child’s world”?

To learn more about the award, view information about past winners, and to access entry, criteria, and application forms, please visit the USBBY website. Or, you can contact Suffolk’s own Doris Gebel, president of USBBY, at the Northport-East Northport Library.

The award carries a monetary prize of $1000 and a certificate. The submission deadline for the next award is January 31, 2012.

What is LAPC?

While some children’s librarians in Suffolk County have been throwing around the acronym LAPC (pronounced “laps”) since 1982, others may be mystified about what this group is all about. LAPC stands for Librarians’ Alliance for Parents and Children. According to their informatative blog, LAPC is “a coalition formed for librarians who conduct Parent-Toddler Workshops.  LAPC began in the fall of 1982 with a group of six librarians who saw the need for a network to share ideas and materials which relate to Parent-Toddler Workshops.”

The group meets quarterly. Three meetings are held at pre-determined Suffolk County library, and the spring joint meeting with the Nassau County LAPC rotates between the counties. The next hosting library is usually determined at the LAPC meeting, and then a point person makes arrangments for the meeting room and publicizes the date on the LAPC listserv.

If you think this group would be helpful for you, I encourage you to join the LAPC listserv. Speak to your colleagues if you are unsure whether anyone from your library already attends the meetings. If you have LAPC-related information that you would like posted on the LAPC blog, please contact Michelle at Brookhaven or Audrey at Huntington.

Find a Grave in Cutchogue

The Find a Grave Project offers the opportunity for people to request photos of headstones in cemeteries throughout the United States. Requests come from family and friends who don’t live near the cemetery and from genealogy researchers. 

On Saturday, October 15th, a Find a Grave Project event was conducted by the Cutchogue New Suffolk Library at the Old Burying Ground in Cutchogue. Children’s Librarian Bev Christianson led a group of four young people and two adults to photograph headstones from the late 1700s and early 1800s to fulfill photo requests. 

“I was especially interested in doing this project with young people because it involved local history, community service, research skills, photography, and technology,” Bev said. “The two adults that accompanied us were just as interested and involved as the children.”

Pictured here is one young patron photographing the headstone of Charlotte Goldsmith, who was born in 1792 and died in 1828 at the age of thirty-six.

For more information about the Find a Grave project, visit or contact Bev at the Cutchogue New Suffolk Library.

Placing a Hold on a Die Cut

Here are complete instructions for placing a hold on a die cut:

  1. Go to the Staff Catalog
  2. Type scls dies into the search bar (Keyword or Title)
  3. Choose the record and place a hold (request the item)
    1. A-B
    2. C-F
    3. G-L
    4. M-P
    5. Q-Z
    6. Alphabet and Numbers
  4. Use your library’s staff card or the department’s staff card.  Please check with circulation and make sure your card has a 0 p type.
  5. Place a specific hold on the die you would like to request
  6. Choose your Pickup location
  7. If requesting more than 1 die, repeat process for each

Screen Free Week

The Early Years Institute is participating in Screen Free Week during April 18th – 24th, and they invite you, your library, and the families in your community to participate as well. Jessica Wyatt, coordinator of Screen Free Week at EYI, reports that there is still time for your library to register a “screen free” activity to be included in the Screen Alternatives Guide.

For more information, activity registration forms, posters, and more, visit The Early Years Institute.

Fran Romer Memorial Booktalk Workshop

YASD reports that there are still spots to register for the 2011 Fran Romer Memorial Booktalk Workshop on Friday, April 8, 2011 at 9:00am-12:30pm at Harborfields Public Library. The topic is Truth is Stranger than Fiction: Non-fiction for Teens. The keynote speaker is Marc Aronson.

Good news for latecomers: anyone who registers between now and April 8, 2011 will be entered to win a book of their choice to be signed by Marc Aronson on the day of the event! To register, visit YASD online and download the registration form.

Managing Stage Fright

Librarians certainly spend a lot of time on stage. We speak in front of audiences when we’re introducing a performer, working with a Teen Advisory Board or presenting at a PTA meeting. When the weekend rolls around many of us are in the spotlight in our civic groups, churches, music halls, choir pits, art shows, comedy clubs (you know who you are), ball fields…the list goes on. But have we overcome the stage fright many of us feel before standing up in front of parents, teachers, teens, colleagues, bosses, even friends? I certainly haven’t. All I have are two tips that I’ve been putting to frequent use: know your space and remember to breathe. Here’s my take on why these two remedies for the stomach butterflies work so well.

Ever notice that when you’re on your own turf you feel more confident in front of a crowd? There’s something about feeling familiar with your space that can lend support. If you need to speak before an audience, try to visit your venue ahead of time. Not only will knowing your route and where to park give you one less thing to worry about, but you’ll also get a sense of the room. If you need to present about the Summer Reading Program at a school you’ve never been to, ask to see the facilities ahead of time. How are the acoustics in the room? Should you use a microphone? Where is the good lighting? What distractions will be competing with you? Will the students have eaten lunch before you get there?

Once you learn about all the interesting challenges you’ll face as you speak in front of your audience, remember to practice your new breathing technique: breathing like a cat. A cat breathes deeply and fully into the lungs, and so do people when they’re relaxed. Nervous people (and cats, I’m sure) breathe shallowly into their chest. The more nervous we are, the less air we take in, which only aggravates our nerves and impedes the projection of our voice. So remember a resting cat and make pauses in your speech for these deep breaths (which can take place quickly.) Plan your breaths if you need to, and practice.

If you’ll be at the performer’s showcase today, think about how the presenters are managing their own nerves while you take in their performance. And please share your tips if you have any of your own!