Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Me? A librarian????

What, you may ask, is a "volunteer librarian"? Well, I happen to be the dad of a first grader at a public elementary school that just started this year. I became head of the "library committee" before I knew that there was no budget to stock a library, nor was there going to be money for a librarian. It was gonna be volunteers or nothing... and I decided early on that even though the system would let us open our school without a library, we would NOT do that.

My qualifications for being a librarian? Professionally, I have none. However, I happen to be a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), and I have a huge passion for picture books and children's poetry. I know the words Dewey Decimal. And I'm a good readaloud guy, if I say so myself. But it turns out that there were two things that enabled me to spearhead this project: enthusiasm and my ability to be a massive pest.

When I started working on the library in late April, we had 50 books gathered from two fund-raising yard sales. By December, we topped 9,000 volumes, fully cataloged and shelved by Dewey (hooray for the software from readerware.com!), with a few hundred books in circulation all the time. The goal I always had was to make the library as much fun as possible, not a dull place with no sense of joy. We may be entirely volunteer run and staffed, but we're a hit: kids at our school WANT to come into the library. This is not only testament to a lot of hard work on our end but also to the incredible power of all the amazing books written for children.

The library is the best project I've worked on in my life. This blog will be an attempt to share what I've learned there and in my own writing/web surfing/reading all as it relates (sometimes loosely!) to the world of children's literature. I have no desire to speak of the changes needed to the education system (though it needs changes), nor will I ever type long entries on the intricacies of the Dewey Decimal system (not just cuz that'd be dull but more because I just don't know any). Other than that, though, I make no promises.

Ahh, the first entry... and late at night, no less. Yup... I think blogging's gonna be alright. So I'll catch you all soon, but for now I gotta book.

8 comments:

tem2 said...

This is an inspiring story. Our community has a long-established and well-funded library, which I think most of us take for granted, but it must have also started with volunteers and contributors working hard like you have.

Keep up the good work!

Gregory K. said...

I think it's easy to take libraries for granted. I know I did... unitl this project made me realize the sheer work that goes into one, the amount of money one really requires (which we don't have!) and, of course, the incredible impact a library can have. It's the latter that's kept me so involved... far more so than I ever, ever planned or expected.

Thanks for the note!

Anonymous said...

Hey, man, I was hoping for more about the Dewey Decimal system. Ha! Seriously...congrats, Greg, on the new blog site.

Les

Stephen Aitken said...

NO lies in this lie-brary. ALL RIGHT ON!
Atta go Greg.
Steve

deb said...

Sittin' at work, surrounded by all things Dewey, so decided to check our your blog! It's is going to be a treat to read...congrats on setting it up.

Deb

p.s. Now speaking of good ol' Dewey...could there not be a poem on the subject?

janee said...

Hey! Didn't I see you on T.V.?!?! :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,

When I got to the comments page my computer let me know that I was expected to comment. I didn't even know I had an account.

I need to find the wherewithal to write in my blog, if I have one, or start one if I don't. I have some many projects started that I am sure I have a couple blogs started somewhere. Maybe this site is one of them. They'll probably never get worked on, let alone finished.

I have 28 chapters of a novel. I am afraid I lost my way back about chapter 10. I need to scrap those 18 chapters, return and reread up to chapter 10 and continue with it. Probably never happen.

It's fun to dream, though.

My name transposes into Nomad Aliens. My middle name transposes into my profession. Coincidence?

It's 5:17 a.m. I am going to try to go back to bed.

-----

P.S. When I tried to post as a blogger, it didn't recognize my nom or password or something. Maybe I don't have an account and was just tricked in to leaving a comment.

Crafty things, these computers.

Lady S said...

I just found you (not that you haven't been everywhere I read lately), so I am starting at the beginning.

I am so glad you did this for your kid's school. My best friend at the school where I work is the librarian. I think some days I might like to go back to school to do that.

I think there are ways you can get free books for schools. Good luck growing.