Friday, June 05, 2009

En absentia

All of my free time of late has been taken up by my Friends of the Library activities.

Let me count the ways:
  • I planned and organized Story Hour (ages 4-8) for the Summer Reading Programs at our library. It was terribly disorganized before - completely fly by the seat of their pants, and worse, required a sign-up sheet. If only one child signed up, it was cancelled for the week. And the book selection! Gak. I couldn't hack that for another summer, so I took charge. The theme is "Get Creative @ Your Library"; the instruction manual gave plenty of book recommendations, but I took this opportunity to order some quality selections to add to the collection. We had our first Story Hour this past Wednesday, with 5 kids. Not too shabby. I am also facilitating the introduction, wiggle/song-time, and the crafts after the reading volunteer has finished.
  • I have written the Library News column for the local paper for the past two weeks (due on Thursdays). I normally only have the first week of the month, but someone moved.
  • I write the agenda for our monthly meetings, the second Monday of each month.
  • I'm researching incorporating as a 501c3 (non-profit).
  • We average one fundraiser per month. Last month, it was a Book and Rummage Sale during the city-wide rummage sales. We made $284. Next month, it is a food stand and water wagon during the town's annual parade.

The library has seen HUGE improvements since the formation of the Friends last November. It is so encouraging. The librarian was barely keeping her nose above water before the Friends - she only worked 20 hours a week with no help, and runs a part-time business on the side. No wonder why there were so many piles behind her desk.

Since the Friends formed, we have:

  • Added 3 regular volunteers to the library "staff".
  • Raised $1,400
  • Bought 2 large double-sided wooden bookshelves and one smaller wooden bookshelf for the children's section.
  • Added comfortable seating to the library landscape.
  • Write a weekly column for the local newspaper called, "Library News", to keep the community informed of our activities, promote the library and its features, and instill a greater recognition/appreciation for the role of the library in the community [in my opinion, libraries are one of the most important cultural institutions].
  • Started a petition/resolution for community members to sign, showing their support for the activities and goals of the Friends (library improvement, and ultimately...a new building) - to show the City Council that we have community backing.
  • Averaged one fundraiser per month - from sit-down meals to food stands to rummage and book sales.
  • Upped community book donations (to add to the collection, or save for future book sales).
  • Near-distant future goal: expand library hours with a militia of volunteers (we are currently open M, W, F and 1/2 Sat...can you imagine?? And that is comparatively GOOD).

It has been thrilling, to say the least. There has been a big lift to the general look of the library, the collection itself (though meager), and the librarian is feeling optimistic again. She is starting implement the change that she never had the time or the means to do so, and I think having the support of a group has been instrumental. I'm so proud!

* * * * *

Other than the extensive Friends activity, I/we:

  • Spend almost every night outside, working in our various gardens (vegetable, herb, flower) until 9:00-ish - come inside, eat, relax a little, and go to bed.
  • Went to the local prairie preserve last weekend with a Friend we had in town. Lovely. I feel much more connected to this area and the general landscape when I see it intact and as it was/is meant to be. Rolling hills, waving grasses, and beautiful prairie flowers to seek out like a treasure hunt. No weeds, no miles of tilled land, no clumps of odd-looking tree stands.
  • Am reading French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano, of all the things. I've seen it referenced before and when I ran into it at the Friends' book sale I couldn't resist picking it up. I'm enjoying reading about open markets, seasonal eating, and a plain-and-simply approach to a trim, womanly figure: whole foods, made at home. Yep!
  • Have had a great few weeks with the boys, particularly Diego. I want to highlight that, because I'm usually posting "Wahhhhh!" and "Why???", so it feels really good to be able to say that we are in a groove - there is an understanding amongst us - the scales are balanced. That feels so good, especially after days or weeks where it seems like we do nothing more than spin our wheels. I know this is overly general, but I would think parents of little ones probably get the gist. It is so refreshing to feel positive, instead of spiraling in the "same old crap".


Ashley said...

You go girl! I love how much change there has been since your first post about how discouraging the library was. Awesome! Way to go! Glad things are going to smoothly with Diego. I am so excited to see you guys in a couple months! Only problem is I have to get a passport STAT... or I may not be able to make it. How horrifying would that be?

ms said...

library goodness! nice work!
PTL for change in relationship/perspecitive with the kiddos!
i love that you are in the garden every night - love it! can't wait to see it!!

Eric said...

I am so proud of you Shawna! That's such an accomplishment and something to be SO proud of!