Monday, October 3, 2011

Things that Make Children's Librarians Cry

Andie Mandel at PaLA 2011
Yesterday I listened to Andrea Mandel of Marple Public Library talk about her PaLA Best Practices in Early Literacy award-winning program at the PaLA Annual Conference.  Grandma, Grandpa and Me is a Family Place program for grandparents and grandchildren designed to support grandparents that are the primary or part-time care-givers of the grandkids.  Mandel came up with the idea when she started seeing a lot of older faces bringing children to storytime and other programs.  investigating further, she discovered that the recent census data indicated that morw and more grandchildren are being raised by their parents' parents than ever before.  The program helps grandparents connect with other grandparents and professionals who can provide valuable sevices to the development, health and growth of their grandchildren.  As Ms. Mandel concluded her talk, she read a letter from a thankful grandparent and as she did, she soon began to cry and so did nearly all of us in attendance. Why? Because I really believe that successful librarians truly and deeply care about those whom they serve. They are always seeking the next area of service, the next need of their community, indeed, they are always trying to anticiapte those needs, and provide pro-active care and services.
I post this for two reasons. One, I'd love to know if any of you have thought about programs specifically for grandparents. I know Susan McClellan has done a great job with this, has anyone else? Would you be willing to share your story? And two, I wanted to just say how humbled and proud I am to be a small part of a community of caring service-oriented professionals like you, who are so dedicated to working for your patrons that you are, at times, brought to tears by the stories of lives being changed at the local library.