Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Notes from the Field

We have something special for this month’s glimpse into the Davis Library. Library staff are often asked what we do to keep up with the latest information and how we keep growing as professionals in the field.  Teen Librarian Felicia Minard recently presented and attended a conference specifically aimed at kids. The Kids Are Customers, Too! conference is an opportunity for library staff working with children in public libraries to learn the latest information and share fresh idea and practical tips that can be applied directly to day-to-day programming and services. Below you will find the takeaways that Felicia brought back to the Davis Library so that we may continue to implement and provide the best resources, services, and programs to our community.

Teen librarian FeliciaMirrors, windows and bridges: A day at the Kids Are Customers, Too! conference 

The 2018 Maryland Library Association’s Kids Are Customers, Too! conference was a whirlwind of helpful tips, interesting information, and creative program ideas. As a teen librarian and first-time attendee, it was a privilege to learn from my colleagues' experiences and share my own as a speaker on teen programming.

The top two takeaways I found from this exciting day include:

#1 - Our collections should reflect our customers’ experiences as well as introduce them to experiences that are different from their own. In the keynote session, Books as Bridges, children’s book author and illustrator Anne Sibley-O'Brien gave the audience a renewed appreciation of the importance of diversity of identity and experience in our collections. 

Sibley-O’Brien shared her experience moving to and growing up in South Korea and reflected on the transition from living as a member of the majority (a white child living in New Hampshire) to the minority (a white American living in South Korea). She said that, as a child, she never thought about her race or culture, but once she was living in South Korea, it was constantly pointed out to her and was at the front of her mind at all times.

Sibley-O'Brien encouraged attendees to think of books as mirrors and windows. Through this metaphor, she emphasized the importance of a collection representing as many races and cultures as possible. (And I would extend this to include all non-majority life experiences, such as being a member of the LGBTQ community, different abilities, neurodiversity, and gender expression.) This ensures that readers see themselves reflected positively in books and encourages everyone to become more skilled at interacting with different types of people.

Additionally, there was discussion on using books as tools to introduce different races and cultures to children at an early age. Research Sibley-O’Brien participated in found that positive depictions of children of different races and cultures interacting in books leads to reduced prejudice and racial bias. Considering these findings, the vital need to have non-dominant cultures represented in more children’s literature is notably clear.

Make a teen craft pumpkin decorating kits#2 - Don't be afraid to try new things. In the breakout sessions I attended, librarians from other counties in Maryland shared their experiences programming for teens including escape rooms, activities in the library “after dark” (after the library is closed), and fun ideas for system-wide creative contests like writing and film. I think everyone came away from these sessions with ideas for some new programs. So be on the lookout in the near future, teens!

And, speaking of teens at the library, Felicia recently set up an activity in which our younger customers could decorate a mini pumpkin at home! She provided bags containing a mini pumpkin, glitter glue pens, small washable paint pots, paintbrushes, pipe cleaners, eyeball stickers, ribbon, and adhesive rhinestones. This take-home craft idea was extremely popular with our community and supplies did not last long as there were many eager customers that couldn’t wait to get home and start decorating this terrific teen craft.

Display of Halloween related booksAs Halloween is upon us, our librarians do like to turn it into a special day for our customers who visit. Not only do our librarians like to dress the part, but displays are also important as they highlight our great collection of materials.

Outside of Halloween, the end of October also provides a great program for our customers, Food for Fines, which concluded October 30. This October marked the fourth year where our customers could reduce their fines by one dollar with every non-perishable item or canned good brought to the library. This program also witnesses a large amount of generosity as many customers like to donate to the cause even when they do not have fines to pay. The Davis Library staff is so appreciative of our customers who recognize that their contribution will help those in need. All food items were be donated to the Manna Food Center.

Two Davis Library staff in costume

Again, thanks for your support and we will be back next month with another blog installment highlighting the activities at the Davis Library.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

We Have a Couple of New Faces at Davis

Welcome back to the Davis blog! We have a couple of new faces at Davis.

Davis Branch Manager Steve Warrick
Steve Warrick
Steve Warrick recently accepted the branch manager position at the library and is so glad he did! He had heard a lot about the Davis community and their love for the library and reading. In his short time at the branch, he can honestly say that it shows.

Steve joined MCPL in 2013 after working as a librarian in West Virginia. Since 2014, he has been the branch manager at Maggie Nightingale. Steve had the pleasure of being part of some significant events with MCPL, including the reopening of Olney, the 25th anniversary of the Poolesville Library, and the renaming of Poolesville to the Maggie Nightingale Library in honor of its biggest advocate. Steve recently became the manager at Davis. Prior to MCPL, he spent his time on some of the bays and backwaters of the East Coast, along the Ohio River in Kentucky, and within Central and Western Maryland conducting oral histories and folklore fieldwork. Outside of the library, he enjoys being outdoors and walking his dog. Of course, Steve enjoys reading. His current interest is debut novels.

The other new face at Davis is Meghan Ebbitt. Her story began in Michigan where she was born and raised (Go Blue!). After graduating from the University of Michigan and Wayne State University, Meghan worked in several different public libraries in the Wolverine State before moving to the DMV in 2012. She started with MCPL in 2014 at Long Branch Library, and has also worked at Germantown and most recently the Noyes Library for Young Children before transferring to Davis in August. As the Head of Children's Services, Meghan is most looking forward to sharing storytime and other programs with the families of Davis. She would like everyone to keep an eye out for some changes in the children's section, as we look to make things easier to find, and even more kid friendly. When Meghan is not at the library, she likes to watch movies, check out museums and listen to audiobooks.

Please stop by the desk and say hello to Steve and Meghan the next time you are in the library.

There are few other changes taking place at the library. Our storytimes are now weekly. We added storytime every week to give our customers more opportunities to come together with us to share stories, rhymes, songs and more. When children, their grownups, and librarians bring our unique energies and spirits together, we are creating a special environment to foster children's love of reading, singing, talking, and playing - the foundations of learning.

In addition to storytime, we will host a program provided by Pandas Karate on Saturday, October 6 at 1 PM. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and the Pandas Karate program uses comedy and storytelling to teach kids how to respond to bullying without using their fists. This program is for elementary school-aged children and is generously sponsored by the FOL, Davis Chapter.

Davis Library Children's New Book Section
What's New for Kids
Another change to the children’s area of the library is the new book section. As soon as you enter this area you will see the “What’s New for Kids” display with all of the most recent additions to the library. Keep your eye on this display as it will be constantly updated with all of the new children’s books that we receive at the library. If you can’t find the book you are looking for, let us know at the information desk.

Speaking of displays, the Davis staff always have something ready for our avid readers. Directly across from the information and circulations desks are books that have been hand-selected for our customers' reading needs. These displays range from librarians' personal favorites choice to seasonal themes to current events that our happening in the world around us.

For those of you not in the know, Batman Day was September 15.
Batman Day Display
Batman Day Display
Now in its fifth-year, Batman Day began in 2014 to celebrate the seventy-fifth year of Gotham City’s hero debut in the comics. The Davis Library celebrated the Dark Knight with a book display and it was well-received by customers of all ages. Thanks to Meghan, Lisa Navidi, Librarian II, and Pat Meyer, Library Assistant Supervisor, for their work with the display. Also, thanks to Dyanne Tsai, Library Desk Assistant and comic enthusiast, for sending out the bat signal to the Davis staff and community.

The next time you visit the Davis Library, be sure to stop by and check out our exhibit case near the Democracy Boulevard entrance. The new exhibit features the art of Martina Sestakova. Martina is a textile designer, teaching artist and abstract watercolorist and some of her beautiful scarves and a few of her wonderful watercolors will be on view through October. For more information about her art, check out her website.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Waking Up the Davis Library Gardens!

As visitors to Davis Library know, we are fortunate to have a wide expanse of lawn and garden area. For many of us, our gardens have been lying dormant over the winter. However now that the days begin to draw out, temperatures begin to rise, and trees, plants, and flowers start blooming. It's time to prepare our Davis garden for warmer weather.

A recent cloudy and chilly day in late March saw three members of the Bethesda Community Garden Club: Margaret Edison, Jeanne Weiss, and Kay Hager, working hard in the Davis garden, cleaning up from winter and getting ready for spring. While Montgomery County is responsible for cutting the grass, and some garden maintenance, members of the club work on tasks such as clearing beds, weeding, pruning, and planting.

Yellow Flowers in Front of Davis Library

Taking a break while tending to a Yucca plant, Margaret noted that the garden is "a work in always is, but we always enjoy working in this garden and maintaining a public space. People notice and appreciate the garden."

Various Plants in Front of Davis Library

Spring also sees the resumption of the weekly plant clinics staffed again by members of the Bethesda Community Garden Club. So if you have any questions about plants and gardening, do drop into the library on Saturday mornings from 10 AM - 1 PM now through September. If possible bring the plant with you.

Sign advertising the plant clinic at Davis Library

With a selection of gardening books currently on display we are all ready to help you wake up your garden too. Let's hope it is a good summer for the garden!

Display of Gardening Books at Davis Library

David Payne
Branch Manager
Davis Library

Monday, February 12, 2018

Looking Forward...and Back

It's February, and so far, rather cold, wet, and icy. But the staff at Davis Library is looking ahead to warmer times and already planning a great variety of programming for all ages in the spring and summer. Stay tuned for more information, but in the meantime, we have some exciting events coming up soon.

In March, we will begin a series of 6 STEM Smart programs. The series begins March 3 and continues every second Saturday until May 12. These workshops will feature hands on experiments in subjects such as strawberry DNA, kitchen chemistry, buoyancy and liquids, crime scene investigations, chocolate, and electronics. What a great selection of topics! These free workshops are for ages 10-14 and require registration. Participants can register for each STEM Smart workshop individually.

Please be sure to check out our entire events calendar. Among the many programs coming up we have a special Mo Willems storytime on February 17, a visit from Baba Jamal Koram, The Storyman, on March 10, and a special event for Financial Literacy Month.

As we look forward, however, we also had a chance recently to look back, when a customer showed us the very first MCPL library card he received, in 1967.

Front of MCPL Library Card from 1967

Back of Old Library Card

As we take part in Library Lovers Month, it's worth reflecting perhaps that while the library card has changed somewhat over those 50 years, the role of the public library in the community remains as vital today as it was back then!

David Payne
Davis Library Branch Manager

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

12 Months On... What a Difference a Year Makes!

As we come to the end of 2017 we look back on a great year for the Davis Library since its reopening on April 8, 2017.

As I write, our staff is putting together an exciting lineup of events for all ages in the New Year and our January 2018 blog will contain more details on those, so stay tuned!

If you need some inspiration and ideas for the holiday season, do take a look at two of our current displays. "A Very Crafty Holiday" offers plenty of books and ideas on decorating for the season (and after). Our very popular "Winter Reading" display features some great reading selections for this time of year, when the days get shorter and winter arrives.

Star Wars fans, get your light sabers ready for Thursday, December 14th  and our Star Wars Day, between 3-6 PM. Get ready to revisit a galaxy, far, far away and have fun with Star Wars games and crafts while you're doing so. The program is geared for ages 5 and up, and all ages are welcome!

From Star Wars we then move to a Marshmallow Challenge for ages 6-11 on Wednesday December 27. If you are wondering quite what the marshmallow challenge is about, let me explain. It will be a group activity where the participants will try to build the tallest tower they can out of spaghetti, string, tape, marshmallow. Not only is this a challenge in engineering, it also challenges the participants to think differently. A marshmallow is so light, but a piece of spaghetti won't hold it by itself! Please note that registration is required for this event, and this can be done in person at the library, by phone or through the MCPL website.

The following day, Thursday, December 28th, from 1-3 PM, we invite you to take a break from your winter break with our Winter Break Craft Special. There will be crafts, games, and activities for all ages and no registration is needed.

On behalf of all the Davis staff, we wish you a happy holiday season and thank you for all your support in 2017!

David Payne
Branch Manager