Reply To: Unit 10: Libraries Transform Communities/Communities Transform Libraries

Foyer Forums Rural Gateways Professional Development Discussions – B Unit 10: Libraries Transform Communities/Communities Transform Libraries Reply To: Unit 10: Libraries Transform Communities/Communities Transform Libraries


The view of my job and my role in the community Hmmmm … i’d say changed significantly.
Honestly this has been a bitter sweet program for me.

**Warning** I’m probably going to go on a long rant, so only if you have time read on …

Let’s start from the beginning, I moved to a VERY rural town from living in big cities. My family and I have always loved going to the library. Fun and Free! The library here is amazing for a small town it has potential. I got hired in the summer of 2015, after being a volunteer and board member since 2011. Small pay, but at least i’m not working for free. There are only 2 librarians me (the assistant) and the director. There are no programs except SRP and a weekly story hour that I feel some kids “have” to go.

Big dreamer that I am, wanted to try and start some programs.
I was told an adult program would fail, the newly appointed director was starting a teen program.
How about a senior program? I needed a grant to be able to try anything.
I was handed the STEM grant info. Do STEM and seniors mix? Bingo, Wheel of Fortune, Technology … many seniors do come in with technology questions. After thinking there is was NO WAY I could do STEM (I hate science) I went ahead and sent it in. It is the first and only grant I had ever done. Some money is better than nothing, I had to try it!

Got the STEM grant …. way cool, excited but now what?!?!
I was on my own so pushing the limits was my only help. There was no way I could see it going exactly like the videos but hopefully close enough. I had a good idea of what to do.

I start to mention STEM around town, to patrons, friends and yes my boss and my bosses boss, they had never even heard of STEM. I was totally gun ho at fist and had great plans, ideas, expectations and totally confident. Science partner is all in.

Science partner is a no show. Confidence gone.
My introduction night went in a whole different direction than I planned.
Recovered some how, but COMPLETELY ASTRAY from “pushing the limits” timeline.
Some people came thinking I was going to be teaching ‘Technology”, some for Science, some for the books and the others for the free food and door prizes.

I felt totally way in over my head!
Every program here has failed here so far, I know the expectations are low.
It soon felt like a teen vs STEM challenge. I was not supported by my coworker, city council or some of the board members. The people that are suppose to be advocates for the library already had it marked for failure. I almost felt guilty for even trying. I wasn’t confident or knowledgeable enough to explain what I was doing.

New science partner comes in and she is all about STEM so we came up with an activity to go along with the theme. Some liked it some didn’t. I went with no activity for a theme. Some liked it some different. I know I cant please everyone all the time but I really want this to work!

When it came to phase 2 I almost was going to see if I could opt out. I really didn’t know what I was doing. Was this a waste of time, energy, money. Small town, small cliches … some may go if others don’t blah blah blah. I wanted a program to be fun not stressful. I was also thinking it was not only the end of the phase but a good time to quit all together. I didn’t think I was making a difference.

I was wrong and it’s a good thing … I love my job!

STEM has made me the technology expert in my town. (Got to love seniors!)
I can answer any question that is asked about STEM or anything that may be related.
We even tried a technology Thursday, didn’t work though because it needs to be one on one.
I get knocks on my door, phone calls on my day off to ask me questions or see if I will go to a house and fix their computer.
I do feel needed and liked in my community, slightly underappreciated and definitely underpaid.

New paradigms take time, trial and error.
New year, new attempt.
I have new people interested, people that are going to be vocal and supportive. NOT just going to be there for the free food 🙂
It will be on January 29th. Tradition was a bomb, but I think it was because I chose the wrong book. We will be re-discussing tradition with those that read “Stations Eleven” .
Transformation with those that read “How Enlightenment Changes Your Brain” and my awesome science partner is bringing in a light bulb “activity”/’science project’ thing that she said will be a great demonstration of both themes and a wow factor.

I’ve had patrons for the first time ask for the book we are discussing. I have to be doing something right. I now not only want to continue, but it’s fun thinking and researching … I can fly on my own.

I have brainstormed Heritage and Motion ideas, I’m feeling confident in myself and know i will at least have some fum.
If all else fails I know I can continue with a small adult group/program.
Not too bad for my first grant experience.

As for helping seniors like originally planning … a lady who is trying to do a massive project for her 80 year old brother’s birthday is taking me to the Clark County Library in Las Vegas, NV. so I can help her go through some microfiche. Apparently, I’m the smartest person she knows.
On the way we will listen to some book samples and make the final title decisions.

Thanks for letting me get all this off my shoulders! Love the discussions!

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