Love Your Library: A Valentine's Day Library Event
|The Information Bar of Kirby Library Post-Valentine's Day|
For me, an obvious day was Valentine's Day. February 14th is designated "Love Your Library" day at Wyoming Seminary's Upper School (yes, we wear pink or red at the desk). If students, faculty or staff want to come over to the library and fill out a heart about what they love best, the library thanks them by giving them a fresh-baked cookie (mostly chocolate chip, but I do make a batch of oatmeal craisin for the people who don't like chocolate or are allergic).
|My kitchen prior to beginning - 200 cookies were made in 3 hours|
which you can view for yourself on my Google Docs). Just using pale pink and lavender paper, I printed out simple hearts with a question: "Why do you love the library?" (Important note: be sure you only print as many hearts as there are cookies - that way the end of valentines directly correlates with no more cookies and you don't run out.)
This could seem like asking the kids to jump through a hoop to just get a cookie, but we actually collect these and use them as data to take an informal read on our program. My golden retriever usually wins the most mentions, paws down (you can see one of our student's rendition of him looking up at me reading a book, something I never get to do in the library) but usually my fellow librarian and I are a close second (and we don't have big egos, so the dog being ahead of us is fine).
Points I noticed this year that seemed unusual from other years where the notice of the "ambiance" of the library or the "warmth" of the library and I'm thinking this was related to more adjectives to describe our professional staff ("helpful librarians" or "friendly librarians").
The "friends" part is of particular interest - this came up on a few valentine's or "the great people who hang out here" was listed as the reason the person loved the library. And that begs a point I'd like to make about creating a welcoming library environment. If a library space becomes identified with one group of students, it can become exclusionary as students who do not include themselves in that category decide the library isn't for them. Several valentines mentioned the "ambiance" or "stress-free environment" of the library as the main reason why they loved.
|The blizzard of valentines on our Center Classroom glass|
A few administrators stopped by (actually to schedule classes) so it was nice for them to see the reasons students gave for loving our program. While it's a lot of work to crank out all those cookies, I think making our students feel great about using the library and having a recognition party where all participants are thinking about why the library is so terrific, makes the sweat and tears well worth it.