Friday, November 24, 2017

10 Things We're Thankful For This Year

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! It is time for our annual post of three things everyone on staff is thankful for this year. (You can check out our list for 2015 and 2016).

Number 1: We're so thankful for our readers! 

It is not easy keeping up with a weekly blog, but it helps us stay dedicated knowing that you are all out there and reading our posts. It makes our day to get feedback in the comments (both here and on social media) and to see you sharing our content. Thank you for making this a worthwhile venture!

Jess B., 5minlib Founder and Chief Editor

Jess blogs about social media, marketing, technology, helpful librarian tips and tricks, and Teen Librarianship. She started this blog four years ago and will forever be grateful that Allie and Kat decided to join the blogging team.

1. Podcasts

I am a huge fan of podcasts. Every week, I instantly receive new content that downloads on my phone, so no thinking required. There are really great library podcasts (which we listed here) that helps me stay current in the library/book world while I walk the dogs, clean house, go on long drives, etc.

2. Facebook Events

If your library isn't utilizing Facebook Events, you might want to try it out. It is the number one way I find fun things to do with my family. Not only do I follow my library but my mom friends also find great events that (because they are going or interested) show up in my news feed. All I have to do is mark interested and I'll get an automatic reminder a few days beforehand. It is so easy to keep up with what's going on without over-scheduling myself.

3. Canva

We've done a few posts in the past about Canva, but I cannot imagine trying to create images with any other program right now. Not only do they offer a free Canva for Work for nonprofits, but they make it so easy to make templates. It was fun coming up with new designs to announce each post, but it was too time consuming. Now, we've settled on a template that works for both Facebook and Twitter (taking into account how they crop images), we can easily get one finished in a few minutes. Which is great since my free time is limited and I'd prefer to spend more time writing the articles than the image.

Kat E., Assistant Director/Youth Services Librarian

Kat blogs about marketing, databases, programming, hot library topics, and Children's and Teen Librarianship.

1. Hoopla Digital

I love Hoopla, from both a personal and professional standpoint. For those who haven't had the pleasure of using it, Hoopla is an ebook platform, that also has graphic novels, television shows, movies, music, and audiobooks. You can download a title or stream it online, and the best part is: there's no waiting! If 30 people want to read the same book at once, that's totally fine. It's the easiest database to sell to teens - I know they're using it and loving it. The company also sends me seasonal posters, and I often see little ones crowding around the Nickelodeon themed ones, or the holiday ones, telling me the names of each character they know, which makes their parents take notice, which makes them use it. WIN! It also had a bunch of books that teens needed for Summer Reading, and I was able to steer them to use Hoopla if our copies were checked out. I use it all the time for my personal use, too.

2. Good Coworkers and Colleagues

Having good coworkers makes a huge difference in life. When you've done something awesome and need to share the joy, or when life is overwhelming and patrons are difficult, or you're just out of ideas of what to do, you have people to turn to and share ideas, vent frustrations, and get excited about your job once again. This extends beyond people in your building and encompasses people you used to work with, people you wish you worked with, and members of your roundtables (and, in my case, book clubs). I also would include people I know from Twitter, some of whom I've run into at conferences and some of whom I know only via social media, who make me feel like I have friends across the country and people who cheer on my successes, and help me laugh at my failures. I am thankful for all of you.

3. Googly Eyes

Is your craft lack-luster? Does your book display lack pizzazz? Is nobody reading your event posters? Add googly eyes, and people will take notice! And talk about cheerful! Seriously, it's amazing how a few cents of plastic can turn your day around. Googly eyes for everyone!

Allie C., Head of Teen Services

Allie posts the monthly "Ready to Go" Book Lists, finding books for the three different age groups that librarians can display or order for their collection. 

1. Google Drive and Google Forms

I love Google Drive. I can access our Staff Schedule, work documents, and more from work, home or on the go. The shared feature is great so multiple co-workers can access the documents and update them as well. I particularly like Google Forms. I can create quick and fun looking surveys for patrons and staff. When results are in, I can read them individually or see the group results. They work great for a poll on our staff holiday party and to get feedback on our summer program.

2. Constant Contact

Our library has been using Constant Contact for over a year now and it's been great. We can set up different groups of people (General, Teen, Friends, etc.) and send emails to one or more groups. The templates are great. Each month I send out a newsletter to teen patrons about new items, programs and more. Using Constant Contact has made it easier to look more professional and is pretty easy to use.

3. My Boss and Coworkers

I'm extra thankful this year for my boss and coworkers. I'm pregnant with my first child and morning sickness has been overactive. They've been so helpful and understanding as I run to the bathroom or do some work from home. Having a great boss and group of coworkers really makes working so much easier.

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