Many months ago I was chatting with the wonderful Miss Meg from Miss Meg’s Storytime. We were chatting on Facebook where I was bemoaning the discovery of a sign that one of my team members had made. I give that teammate HUGE kudos for taking the initiative in trying to fix a perceived problem. However, the sign sent out an unwelcoming vibe – and it featured this symbol:
And when I spoke with that team member – she totally got it and we took down the sign.
But here’s the issue that led to that sign’s creation: kids wandering back behind our circulation desk.
I’m actually incredibly grateful that the sign had been made and posted because it was the jolt that I needed to really think about this situation. I mean, what was the problem with kids being behind the desk with us? Yes, rules are important, but why wouldn’t we foster kids’ curiosity and ownership of their library?
So, that’s what Meg and I chatted about – and what happened as a result was nothing short of magic. Together we came up with the Mini-Master’s in Library Science!
We were incredibly excited about the thought of this and how it could be used. I mean, what if we welcomed kids behind the desk and share with them the joy that we have with our jobs? Both kids and parents would learn more about librarianship and the importance of education within it. But most important, both the children and the librarians would be making incredibly special memories. Squeeeee!!!
Meg ran with it right away and created her certificate. A storytime fan of hers had asked if she could have her 9th birthday party at the library with Meg (I mean, how awesome is that in and of itself?!). Well, Meg presented the attendees with certificates and frames to put them in! The local newspaper covered it.
I hope that Meg will write about the experience on her blog sometime, because there were some very special moments during that event. Like, at least one got me ultra misty eyed. I’ll be sure to add a link here if and when she does.
2022 UPDATE: Meg’s blog is no more mainly since she’s no longer in the library world 🙁
For me, it took me months and months to finally get ours going, but going we got it!
It’s a Microsoft Publisher file – so you’ll need to reach out and email me at email@example.com and I’ll send that file to you. If you don’t have Publisher, then still ask! I can take the certificate and try to convert it to whatever program that you have.
The debut of our Mini-Master’s program happened just a few weeks ago:
C.J., on the far left, had told me a week before that he wanted to be a librarian when he grew up. ::melts:: So I asked his dad if I could take his boys on a library tour the following week. It happened and it was just as amazing as I’d hoped. I looked forward to it all week, and those boys just ate up all the “behind the scenes” stuff. And after they presented me with books that they’d recommend (a Frankenstein board book and a Thomas book), I presented them with their degrees!
I shared the above photo that their dad took for me on our library’s Facebook page (after getting the dad’s permission) and it was an enormous hit!
::intones à la Oprah:: ADVOCACYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!
Even better? One of the local papers was there covering another story (our therapy dog storytime) and took some shots and published it the following week.
And now the boys have permission to come around the desk and check out their own books as long as we’re not too busy. They took advantage of that the other day – and though it was a wee bit chaotic (getting the younger brother Mitchell to take turns is a lesson in and of itself), I could tell that it meant the world to C.J. He would practically burst with pride whenever he perfectly scanned a bar code on the first try.
I hope that you take a look at possibly incorporating a Mini-Master’s degree into your library’s programming. It’s a joyous experience for everyone involved. And I even asked a girl yesterday if she’d like to have a special library tour on her next visit (we were closing in a few minutes and couldn’t fit one in at the time) – and the glowing grin she had while nodding? Pure. Magic.
I can hardly wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I thought that y’all might be interested in how this program changed as well as some other bits of information.
We eventually had to revoke the reward of going behind the desk – there was just too much chance of there being an accident. Many times we have décor work-in-progress back there – including sharp tools.
The pandemic really sealed the deal on this, and now we have a thick line of painter’s tape to show kids the line they shouldn’t cross.
And as of several weeks ago, new stop signs went up due to the chance of getting a “First Amendment Audit.” They clearly indicate where Staff Only areas are. I try not to waste energy on anger, so I’m more sad than angry about these signs’ necessity.
Julie of Tales for the Tiny did her own version of this program – and I cannot recommend her program enough.
The Buckeye Librarian also did a variation using the best parts of Meg/my and Julie’s programs.
Finally, the School Library Journal did a writeup about Julie’s program, where they left out any credit to either Meg or myself. Which is sort of jaw-dropping as Julie gave us credit in the very first paragraph of her post. Ahem.