Keeping kids interested

Today we talked about school holidays and what kids really enjoy doing. We talked about football in the library, broken windows, lack of space – and trying different things. We’ve been talking in recent months about ensuring we tie what we do into books in some way, and about getting the community involved in decorating for big events, and in delivering programmes. So. Much. Thinking. 

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So many tears

On the news tonight there was a story about African refugees being rescued and taken to safety in Italy. One man said something like “I want to go to England. In England they care more for human beings”. That made me cry (not just my normal news time weep) and I managed to choke out to Tony that “I hate to think what he’ll find, that’s just not true”.

I’ve been dealing with some tricky things at work and home so am more easily moved than usual. All the same – the plight of these people breaks my heart. And I can’t fix it. What I can do is ensure that refugees and migrants who come to South Taranaki are welcome on our libraries and that we provide a safe haven for them, and a place to connect with other people.

My tears might seem ‘soft’ but they remind me of what matters to me and encourage me to take action. If I ever lose my capacity to care it’ll be time to quit.


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Just do it

I have had three tasks sitting round for a week or more that I have been avoiding. Why? I had mentally put them in the too hard basket. This morning I decided to just get on with it. and you know what? I got two of the three things done in under an hour. I could have saved myself a lot of angsting! Only one to go, and sue it’s a bigger thing, but once I get started it’ll be ok. Are you a procrastinator? My new motto: just get on with it!


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Photo time: at my libraries

room 4

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The quiet zone

My office is right beside the main issues counter and staff workroom in our biggest library. I like being available to the staff and public, and seeing what’s going on, but there are times when I need a little peace and quiet to get things done. That’s when I close the door. I know a lot of librarians in management roles struggle with getting this balance right – being available versus getting ‘stuff’ done. I try to be as available as possible and hope the payoff is that when I am unavailable staff will realise I’ve got good reason. I wouldn’t be doing my job, or my boss any favours, if I got behind in my work for lack of privacy and quiet sometimes. How do *you* juggle your time?


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Connecting with people


A young man appeared in my office door, tablet in hand, and asked if he could leave it with me while he went down town. To keep it safe you mean? Yeah. Sure.

It was in a bright pink case and the glass screen was seriously broken to the point where the edges are sharp glass.

When he returned he knocked politely on my door. It’s had a hard time, I said, what happened? Games, you know, he said, making car driving motions with his hands. I laughed and said got too excited huh! Yeah; he grinned and was gone.

It was a small interaction, but positive – the kind we can have countless times a day if we try – but the difference it makes in how librarians, and libraries, are perceived is huge. Connect with people. If it’s exhausting for you, get time out too, but connect…

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If you are a leader

Some days your heart will feel like this:


and some days it will feel like this:


You need to learn to cope with both because not every day can be awesome, and not all decisions are easy.

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The paperless office?

I prefer a tidy desk; I don’t like having piles of paper around me. I like to have just the thing I’m working on in front of me, and the rest in a small pile off to one side. Otherwise I can be a bit too easily distracted, or constantly the tackle the easiest stuff.

Assuming the LTP is signed off tomorrow, we’ll be starting on a new civic centre including a library. I’ll need to keep lots of paper under control, and easily accessible. I’m thinking ring binder and a filing box. So it’s neat enough not to annoy me, but easy to get my hands on. (I love the filing system below but doubt the ratepayers would approve!) How do others tackle the paper war?Rotary_filing_system_zoom--00026942-01


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It’s #blogjune time

This is the second or third year I’ve done #blogjune. It’s a great way to get back into the habit of blogging regularly and, for me anyway, it’s a great way to think out a problem. I think by writing and am constantly scrawling stuff down in the 1B5 notebooks I haul around with me.

Thanks to Constance (@flexnib) for organising this again. It’ll also get me back into using which I found useful, but somehow forgot about… Are you inspired to #blogjune too?


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Kids need to know they matter to you

Over the years I’ve had some tricky conversations with ‘our’ kids – about why they annoy me, about why I am telling them to leave, about why I make sure we have the things I think they need/like. About the fact that I like them even when they drive me mad. About the fact they matter.

You Matter

I remember saying that to one girl “you matter to me”. Me? Really? “Yeah, you”.  OH! she said, and wandered off, smiling a little. How many people had even told her she mattered? I had just told her off for awful behaviour, by the way.

The other day I was in my office in Hawera when two Patea boys appeared in my office, shook my hand. One plonked down in a chair while the other leaned against the filing cabinet. They just wanted a quick chat and to tell me what they were up to. Do I like my new job? Yep. Why? Because now instead of doing stuff at two libraries I can make stuff happen at seven libraries. I can make sure that all our teens feel welcome and have the stuff they need, not just you guys. You guys, all the kids, matter to me. Us? Yeah, you – even though you pushed your luck and drove me mad W! Queue grins…

T would drift pass my desk, raise an eyebrow and ask S’up Cath?, W was more inclined to get into trouble. Now they are young men in good jobs, confident enough to drop in for a chat. They don’t hold it against me that I chucked them out, or told them off; they respect the fact that I demanded a reasonable level of behaviour from them. How cool is that? I hope they keep dropping in for a chat.

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