Posted in libraries

National Library Week and Why I’m Proud to be a Librarian


This past weekend, I was asked by the Public Information Director at our library if I’d like to participate in a social media campaign for #NationalLibraryWeek. This campaign involved taking a photo holding a specific word. Each staff member who volunteered received a different word and these words and photos were assembled to create a collage. I thought this was a great idea, and I submitted a photo of me holding the word “for” in front of my black cat, Harry. Two other members featured pets in their photos and two featured one of their kids.


After seeing this wonderful, creative tribute to the faces behind our library, I wanted to get involved in another way to promote National Library Week. I read an email by NYLA (New York Library Association) that offered some suggestions. One of them was for librarians to create and post a video on social media about why they became a librarian. It took some thinking and several attempts before I recorded something suitable with my iPhone. Since I had to keep it short, a maximum of one minute, I couldn’t say all the things I wanted to, so I figured I’d write a blog post that would share the video and also my additional feelings about being a librarian and how proud I am of how my library and others across the country are dealing with the Coronavirus pandemic and finding alternate ways to serve patrons.

My library already offered many online services, but if you check the website, you’ll see that we have ramped these up. As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic that caused us to temporarily close our physical doors to the public, we have opened virtual ones by adding links to information about Coronavirus and our free digital resources that include research databases, downloadable ebooks and audiobooks through Overdrive; downloadable magazines through RB Digital; downloadable movies through Kanopy; online classes through Gale Courses, and more. We have also made it simple for patrons to obtain digital library cards, so they can use our online services. Another new addition is a chat line manned Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. by a reference librarian. As a notary public, I will also soon be offering e-notarizations. Further details will be posted on our website.

Checking our Facebook page, you will find listings of many of our regular programs that are now being offered remotely through Zoom and taught by some of the regular instructors. This page also lists other online resources and articles as well as staff picks book reviews, all of which are available free through Overdrive.

Since I work full-time at the library and am also a Hicksville patron, I’ve been happy to contribute to as well as take advantage of these online offerings that I normally couldn’t during my regular work hours. For instance, I recently attended Fran Cohen’s wonderful book discussion on Where the Crawdads Sing. It was a nice coincidence that I had read this book as an ebook I’d downloaded from Overdrive during my time home and submitted a staff pick for it. I also hope to attend Linda Cafiero’s Virtual Meditation program on Friday, May 1.

I know that other libraries across the country are doing many of the same things as mine, and it makes me even more proud of being a librarian. When I graduated from the Palmer School of Library and Information Science in 1989, the Internet was in its infancy. There were no smart phones or programs such as Zoom or Skype where people could see one another when they connected. Library Indexes were huge volumes that took up precious space. We’ve come a long way and even though we are all suffering during this pandemic, we are blessed with the technology that affords us the ability to keep in touch with one another and with the world. We applaud the frontline health workers who are dealing with this crisis by risking their lives, but librarians are on a front line of a different kind by their responsibility to provide information and resources to help people cope with the challenges that the Coronavirus has posed – the feelings of isolation, boredom, and fear.

We hope to be serving patrons in person again soon when the country opens up and things are safe. For now, we will use the new tools of our profession to keep our virtual doors open.

Posted in libraries

Summer Library Tour Recap

As many of you know, I’m a librarian as well as an author. My library system, the Nassau Library System in Nassau County, New York, recently hosted a summer library tour. The tour started on July 1st and ran through August 31st. Prizes were awarded to patrons who visited 5, 15, 30, or 45 of the participating libraries. There was also a scavenger hunt item hidden at each library that visitors could search for, as well as a guest book that could be signed. Some staff members wore a special shirt with the library tour insignia that I loved because it featured two cats.

I thought it would be fun to participate myself, but I only managed to visit 8 libraries including my own. Even so, I met many great fellow librarians and learned of the myriad services different libraries provide. I hope to visit more next summer, although I don’t need a tour to drop by any time during the year.

The first library I visited, of course, was my own, the Hicksville Public Library, where I signed the guest book in the Children’s Department and received my map for recording, via yellow stickers, the libraries I visited.

The first library I visited after mine was the Bethpage Public Library. It featured the lunar module as the scavenger hunt item. I found two copies of the first book of my series, A Stone’s Throw, on their shelf.

The next library I visited was the Oyster Bay Public Library. I went there on my vacation, so I could also spend some time in the pretty, North Shore town that is home to Planting Fields Arboretum, Sagamore Hill, and Theodore Roosevelt Park and Beach. There are also some nice shops and restaurants in the area. They had a cute set up for the library tour near the scavenger hunt item which was a poster of the village. I also located two of my books on their shelves.

I visited the third library, Valley Stream Public Library, also known as the Henry Waldinger Memorial Library, after a book signing at their cozy coffee shop, Sip This. Their scavenger Hunt item was a 3D printed book.

After Valley Stream, I went to the Farmingdale Public Library and met Rachel and Dana, two pleasant librarians who pointed me toward a beautiful aquarium that contained their scavenger hunt item, a shipwreck. I also located the first two books of my Cobble Cove mystery series on their shelves.

Next on my list was the Syosset Public Library. I had previously participated in a local author fair there, and the first and third books of my series, A Stone’s Throw, and Written in Stone, were on their shelf with a “local author” sticker. I spoke with a nice man, Ed, the Head of Reference, and located their scavenger hunt item, a cut-out cyclops in honor of their upcoming Sy-Con event on September 13 and 14.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was pleasantly surprised at my visit to the Seaford Public Library when I was able to say hello to Director Frank McKenna, the husband of Donna McKenna, who had worked previously with me at Hicksville. I also met librarians Eric and Kristen who were friendly and welcoming. I loved the sign outside their door that said “Seaford Public Library: Your Doorway to the Past, the Present, The Future.” I was also happy to note that they also had the first two books of my series. Their scavenger hunt item was a map of their town.

The last but not least library I toured was Wantagh Public Library. I hate to admit that I missed the scavenger hunt item which was listed on the website as a “Wantagh Yesterday” painting. I will just have to go back to view it which won’t be a hardship because I met two nice librarians there, Jack and Ian, who were even kind enough to re-shelve my books that were split into two different areas. In addition to the first two books of my series, they also owned my standalone mystery/thriller, Reason to Die.

Although I didn’t complete my tour of all the Nassau Libraries, I was happy to have met fellow librarians and seen what other libraries offer in the way of services, collection displays, and library design. I was also able to view these places through the eyes of a patron.