Tuesday, 3 June 2008

My story. Let me tell it to you.

Since I started working in public libraries four years ago (almost to the day - June 14th 2004 was my first day), I've been doing pretty much the same thing: online stuff.

I started with some vague responsibility for the People's Network, which became the management of bookmarks on the public (and staff) PCs, then metamorphosed into the creation of an intranet page. Then came Signpost, followed by Explore Online, while I maintained the list of usernames and passwords for our online subscriptions. I was involved in a corporate electronic records management project, and I've made contributions to the development of a new OPAC.

So, like I said: online stuff. And lots of it.

When I'm not doing this stuff I work at the reference desk or in a roving Customer Support capacity (more on that another time. Possibly.), playing at being a librarian.

But I've never done any children's stuff. At least, not until this afternoon...

A group of us traipsed over to Castle Hill to learn about storytelling. Each of us had to take a book to practice with, and we discussed various issues:

  • It's OK to ad-lib. You can point out how sad the cat's face is, or where the alligator's footprints are.
  • Don't worry about parents in the audience. They won't think you're stupid. They're probably having a really good time.
  • Props - puppets, telescopes, teddy bears dressed as pirates - are cool.
  • Don't ignore the girl in the audience with her hand in the air. Maybe she's about to throw up. On the rest of the audience. Yuck.
  • The ruder the better, especially for older kids.
  • Have fun. That's what it's all about. If you have fun, so will everyone else in the room.

I'll get to put this theory into practice on June 19th at Washacre Family Centre. I won't be flying solo - I'll be with another, experienced colleague - and I'm looking forward to it. I've never done anything like it before, and at the moment, I'm all about trying new things. I'd like to have a go at as broad a spectrum of library things as possible.

The book I took was Flabby Tabby. It's a little close to home - my 7kg cat had an operation a few weeks ago (here's his somewhat gruesome scar, now pretty much faded) - but I like the story, and I hope that comes across when I read it in front of a real audience in a couple of weeks' time. I'll let you know how I get on.