Thursday, September 14, 2017

Dwarfs of WrocLove

So I posted about my work experience, now on to my adventure experience. 

One of my all time favorite things about Wroclaw were the dwarfs. There are over 300 little guys located around the city. And the only way to see them is by looking down and around (although sometimes also at eye level). Nothing brought a squeal from my lips and a pounding in my chest quite like these little guys did. Most of them stand about a foot high.

Now for a little history from the Telegraph

"The first dwarf to call Wroclaw home was "Papa Dwarf", placed on Swidnicka street in 2001. This father of the dwarves is slightly larger than the others, with a different style of construction, precedes his brethren by a few years, and carries a graver history and meaning. 

Papa was placed on this main street into the city as it was here that the Orange Alternative, an anti-communist underground movement that claimed the dwarf as its symbol, used to meet in the Eighties to protest against the authoritarianism of Poland's Soviet masters. 

By adopting the imagery of the dwarf, often in graffiti over government slogans, while maintaining a non-violent stance, the group brought a lightness and hope to the struggle against communism.

And so, in 2001, a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, of which Poland was a puppet state, Papa Dwarf took his place at the crossroads with Kazimierza Wielkiego."

The city claims over 300 of these marvelous little guys!

Without further ado, I introduce the dwarfs I had the pleasure of losing my ish over!

(water fountain dwarf)

(Rolling in Gold Coins)

(Construction time)


(Drukarz Kacper - OMG ITS A PRINTING PRESS) 

(Afternoon tea and people watching)

(Japanese Tea! Found this guy outside a very small door that led to a Japanese Tea house, upon further exploring found an ENTIRE MARKET inside the building on the other side!)

(Bankomatki - Lets rob an ATM)

(Mirror, mirror, in my palm. Whose the cutest dwarf of all)

(Come a little closer honey)

(I don't know)

(Trash dwarf!)

(Florianek - I have no idea what he's doing but what still excited to see him)

(The amazing mail-dwarf!)

(who made sure all my postcards arrived to their destinations!)

(Paper dwarf)

(Saturday Night)

(Tourist - AKA ME)

(Gluchak, Slepak and W-Skers - Bringing awareness to the city's handicapped citizens)

(Syzyfki - Lets do this)

(Capgeminiusz Programista - Lazy Sunday afternoons)

(Picture time!)

(SO full!)

(Paintings on the wall)

(Life. Liberty. And the pursuit of books!)


(First responders)

(Spioch - Guardian of the Armory)


(WrocLovek - That's my heart in his hand)




I truly mean it when I say they were one of my favorite parts of Wroclaw! If WrocLove, Poland isnt on your list, I highly recommend it gets there asap!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Jumping Oceans

Attending the IFLA 2017 conference is one of my most favorite experiences. IFLA is the International Federation Library Association and this years conference took place in Wroclaw, Poland. 

I packed my bags, headed down to JFK and boarded a flight headed to Iceland. Unfortunately, I didnt get to do more then just walking about while there as my layover wasnt that long.

Here are some pictures:

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(The end of the Earth. The start of the Sea)

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(How can you deny what you see?)

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(Leftover paint)

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(Icelandic colors)

Shortly after, I jumped on another plane and found myself dragging luggage out of the airport at 1:00 in the morning. I got an uber, checked into my hotel and found my alarm blaring before I got a decent nights rest. 

There were two main things I was going to the conference for. The first, I was a volunteer for IFLA and my group were the IFLA headquarters assistants. I spent time shadowing the Secretary General, President and President Elect.   

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(Centennial Hall)

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(all of the volunteers)

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(IFLA headquarters crew)

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(Me. President-elect now the current President Gloria. 
Paulina and Alina two of my fellow volunteers)

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(opening session by the Wroclaw acrobats)

The second part of my conference involved a poster session. My poster was on millennial programming and what I am doing at my job. The poster was a hit and I spoke to many librarians from around the world. Even though I was the one presenting the poster I learned so much from the librarians I spoke with. It was very interesting to see how librarians were approaching things in their part of the world as well as what was working for them and what wasnt. 

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I was so nervous about this since I have never presented a poster before. But once I got into the groove, I was on a roll! 

If you want to see my poster up close and personal check out: 

Truly one of my most favorite work experiences!

Now, my actual travel touristy experiences with TONS of pictures. Will be posting that soon!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Better (a month and a half late) Than Never!

Quite a bit of time has passed since my last posting.

The end of June found me in Chicago for ALA Annual. This conference found me chasing myself day in and day out. To start it off, I was fasting (for Ramadan) so my energy levels were rather low. I arrived on Friday in time to attend a get together hosted by the President-Elect for those of us that will be on committees. I will be interning for the Committee on Diversity for the next two years.

(The view from the hotel suite that the reception was held)

Saturday found me once again fasting. I had a meeting with the Europe Committee, a committee that I will also be volunteering with for two years. I also received more information about the session I would be moderating. Having never moderated a session, I was extremely nervous. Later that day, I attended a session being moderated by a colleague on the committee in order to get a better idea of what would be expected of me.

Sunday found me rather tense and extremely nervous. It was Eid (the Islamic Holiday that comes after Ramadan) and I found myself racing to find a mosque for prayers before jetting to meetings. In the morning I attended a meeting for PLA Continuing Advisory committee. I guess I didnt realize how much I was taking on until I found myself running from one thing to another and missing out on the Exhibit hall which is one of my favorite parts of ALA conferences. Later that day, I arrived to the room in which I would be moderating. The session was titled "Serving Refugees: Experiences from German Libraries". I was able to get my nerves under control and was floored by the presenters. Even though I was there to moderate, it was such an interesting discussion, I found myself, along with many others in the room, completely wrapped up in the topic.

(Here I am with the presenters from the session I was moderating)

Monday I was able to enjoy myself on the exhibit floor. Overall, it was a very enjoyable conference and I had a complete blast. I learned so much from others, from myself, and from my constantly shifting situations.

(On last day I took this photo of my awesome husband who was forever patient as I stressed all over the place and helped keep my head on my shoulders)

Friday, June 2, 2017

Prayer in a Public Library

Earlier this week, I attended a day long seminar. During my lunch break, I began walking around the building looking for a quiet place that I could duck into and pray (for those who dont know, I am Muslim). I ended up walking around the full building 3 times, covering both the downstairs and the upstairs hoping that there was a corner I missed. There wasn't.

Feeling quite a bit of despair I slowly dragged my feet back to the conference room. That is when a thought came to me. I remembered reading in passing that some libraries will have a secluded area for patrons to pray. I glanced over at the library next door. I stood staring at it for a good five minutes. Figured I had nothing to lose by asking and slipped inside.

I approached the circulation desk and asked if they had a quiet corner out of the way of patrons that I could pray in. They shook their heads at me, I said thank you and turned to go. I heard someone ask me to wait, and watched as the staff discussed among themselves the new policy changes their library had recently made.

They turned to me with a huge smile on their faces and one of the librarians told me they had just recently made a change, and if I wanted, I could use their study room to do my prayer. I was ecstatic, to say the least. I quickly followed, did my prayer, said my thanks, and headed back to my seminar.

I found myself in good spirits throughout the day. It really made my heart swell that I was able to go to a library, and find that I was able to pray alone in a quiet place. Not only was I not disturbing patrons, they were not disturbing me. (Trying to focus on your prayer with people walking past can be a tad bit difficult.)

Libraries are such amazing places that often do not get the credit they deserve. Many of them work hard to make sure that members of their community feel welcome no matter what. They are there to serve and to better the lives of their patrons. Yes, that includes allowing them a place to pray.

When I approached the circulation desk, I was rather hesitant and to be honest a bit uncomfortable. I was unsure how my question would be perceived. Yes, I work in a library. Yes, I have read articles and heard stories about libraries allowing space for patrons to pray in. However, it is not something I myself have come across. Nor do I know anyone personally who has gone through the experience. I am grateful that I did ask, that the answer was yes, that I did not allow my hesitation get in the way. Am I more likely to check in a library when I need to pray and cant find one? You bet!

I am often asked why I chose the field that I did. At first, my answer was that I was always surrounded by books. Now? Its because of everything it has to offer while allowing you to continue to grow as a human being.

By the way, the library in question?
Upper Merion Township Public Library

Monday, March 13, 2017

Programming for Millennials

I decided to start programming for millennials back in 2012. I had all these grand ideas about how I would take off running and millennials would love it, and they would all come to my programs. A handful did. But most of them didn't.

I started off strong, for the first two years I was hosting all sorts of programs.

Multicultural Food Nights
Better Than Therapy Book Group
Cupcake Decorating Classes
Movie Nights
Craft Night
Pumpkin Carvings

Just to name a few. And it started off great, LOADS of signups.

And slowly but surely it started tapering off.

People weren't coming. I was lucky if five people signed up, but only one person showed up.

It became frustrating, annoying, and to be honest, completely exhausting. The amount of planning and prep work going into the programs was insane.

And so I cut down on programming quite a bit. Like a lot. I was tired of putting in so much effort and having no one show up.

One thing that remained a constant though was book group. That was my only program that continued to have at least an attendance of 4 people.

Fast forward. I'm getting back into programming. I am getting excited about programming. I have a lot of programming planned for my targeted age group.

Home Organizing and Decluttering
Budget and Debt Management: How to Work With What You Have
Electronic Recycling (while not a program per say, still an initiative I have started at my library)
Money Movie

Programs I am currently working on
3 month gardening series. Topics will include:
1) Container Gardening
2) Cacti and Succulents and
3) Indoor Plant Upkeeping

I am also working on a yoga series. But trying to figure out how I will manage with space.

What programs are a hit at your library? Which programs have failed?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Take me to Atlanta... but don't leave me there

I attended ALA Mid-Winter in Atlanta on Jan 20 - Jan 23. It was a little something different this time since I am not part of two committees. I am part of the IFLA Europe committee and the PLA Continuing Education Advisory committee.

Saturday morning I awoke and in a frenzy rushed to attend my first committee meeting. I had to check out of my hotel (horrible experience, don't go to the Ramada). I sped off to the conference center, remembered that I should be at the Hyatt, quickly drove over only to find out that that was my second meeting and that my first meeting was back at the conference center. SO, by the time I sped back it was near over.

I did get to meet everyone on the IFLA Europe committee and put names to faces from emails. I was also given a summary of what I had missed as well as what would be expected of me. The meeting went a little over time, then I had to wait for the shuttle before rushing back to the Hyatt for the PLA meeting. I was a hot mess that Saturday morning.

I did hit the exhibit hall and got a ton of loot before having to rush off for me 'Money Smart Week' program. This was important to me because I had hosted a 'money smart' program last year and wanted more information. Learn more on the website here to get started on your own 'Money Smart Week.

Sunday was a whole other feat all together. I woke on Sunday had breakfast at our new hotel (Red Lion) and they had the coolest silverware/woodware for eating! So awesome how recycle friendly they were.

I quickly headed downtown with the promise of free picture books and a session I was interested in attending. Only to be hit with five blocks of traffic in every direction. They were having their 5k/10k hot chocolate run. And not only that, the NFL football game was happening. The Falcons against the Packers. 

Long story short, two hours later, lots of frustration and tears, a call to the cops, a 20 minute walk to the convention, missing both our free picture books and my session, we made me. It was a pretty exhausting day.

Finally, Monday arrived with a storm in tow. We were able to stay until 2 p.m. before we booked it to Walmart to purchase two more luggage, before racing off to the airport and our delayed flight. And even with all the delayed time, we made it to the gate as the last people being checked in. Atlanta was a wild ride from start to finish.

My husband came and picked us up from the airport and had flowers as a surprise for me. It was a nice ending to a exhausting yet exciting conference . 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Group with a Twist

Here is the thing. Millennials have so much going on. And I feel like it's getting harder and harder getting them in the library. Forget offering multiple programs a month. My stats end up going down the more programs I offer. Almost like the more I offer, the more options they have, the more they can't make up their mind which program to come to, so they don't come at all.

It has been such a struggle!

So for 2017 I thought I would try something new. My highest attended program (with its ups and downs) is my Better Than Therapy Book Group. We meet the first Thursday of every month. And more often than not, we end up getting side tracked and talking about stuff other than the book.

For January, we pick a cookie cookbook and people could choose a recipe they wanted to make.

Here is my cookie that I made. Not really a cookie. But still. I made Rocky Road Brownie Bites.

Other members brought cookies as well and someone brought milk. All in all, I say it was a hit.

For February, we are going to be reading 'I Wrote This For You' by Ian Thomas (PleaseFindThis). A rather well known online writer. I also encouraged members to bring poetry they have enjoyed over the years to share with the group. I am very excited about this. Especially since I have been working on building our Modern Verse book section at my library. 

(one of my favorite pieces)

And for March, I figured we could read 'The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up' by Marie Kondo. Seeing how March is our entry into Spring and that is usually the time people get started on their spring cleaning. 

(couldn't agree more!)

I am excited to see how these few changes will affect people coming to book group. Whether the number will go up or down, and whether people will prefer it over continuous reading of fiction books!

Are you offering any programs you are excited about? Care to share?