April 7 – 19

For the final two weeks of my practicum, most of my time was spent in preparation for the Local Artisan Fair.  On Monday, April 7th, Lindsey and I went to West Lowndes High to speak with some of the teens there who had been specially invited to come to the event.  We had worked with the teachers in order to provide homework passes for those students who attended.  Also in preparation for the fair, I searched for career and creative books to set up in a display in the meeting room.  I also spoke with the participating vendors and student groups, to remind them about the date and time of the library, and to be sure that they were still planning on coming.  Of those contacted, we did have two group just completely not show up.  We have been unable to get in contact with them, so we still aren’t sure what happened.  We did, however, have a good number of vendors.  We had a local musician, an aeronautical engineering student, a group of chemistry students, a local radio station, a local crafter, and a station set up with information about a cinematographer/photography with whom we were able to conduct an interview but who was unable to attend.

The musician, the husband of our VISTA, brought three guitars and taught the participants easy chords and rhythms on the guitar.  Those in attendance really enjoyed learning more about music and singing and playing guitar.  The aeronautical engineer brought small airplanes for the students to put together and fly.  He showed them the best way to throw them and explained why their techniques did or didn’t work.  The two chemistry students brought materials for students to make slime (borax and Elmer’s glue).  The slime was safe and easy to make, and the kids LOVED making it and playing with it.  So did the other vendors and volunteers.

The local radio station is actually fairly new in the community.  Their goal is to play public domain audiobooks from LibriVox, with three 8 hour loops a day.  They brought information about their organization, and brought recording equipment for the kids to record the station ID.  The local crafter brought crochet hooks and yarn and taught people who to crochet.  We are actually thinking of having her come back and teach a crochet class since there has been some interest in that lately.  Finally, we had a tattoo artist from a local shop.  She brought her portfolio and some transfer paper so she could draw temporary tattoos for the kids.

We had 13 attendees and 3 volunteers at the program.  Overall, I think it went really well.  I was surprised when a local news station arrived and interviewed me about the program. That interview can be found here.  They also interviewed me about the future summer programming, which I will be in charge of as I have been asked to essentially continue my practicum.

Some things I did in the past few weeks that did not involve the Artisan Fair were going through the library’s catalog and SIRSI to get reports of Teen/YA books to have a record, research for a future Makerspace in the library and registering for a Makerspace webinar, researching new books based on a list Lindsey provided for me from the Children’s Book Festival, reorganizing the Graphic Novel section and (finally) creating a sign for it, reshelving and moving 2013 books to put 2014 books on display, and  LOTS of shelving.

I think that this practicum has been a wonderful learning experience, and I’m excited to be continuing to work as Teen Specialist.  I’m looking forward to summer programming!