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Summer R and R for #KidLit Champions

By: Deborah B. Ford | June 16, 2017 | Shelf Life

A Little R and R For teachers and school librarians, June may mean no school. But even if you have a summer job or if you’re like me—you work all year long—you still need to give yourself a mental and emotional break. As educators and book evangelists, helping is what we do. It’s our nature. Yet you can’t give and give without refilling your own cup. Here are a double baker’s dozen self-care ideas to help you take a mental mini-vacation: Turn your work email off. O-F-F. Turn off all alarms and sleep in for a change. Go out to lunch or brunch. Have an adult beverage if you like. Stay as long as you want—no lunch duty for you. Go outside. Sit in the sunshine. (But remember to wear sunscreen.) Have a dinner/cocktail/cookout party and socialize with adults. Stay up late any night you want. Watch a late show or binge-watch movies. Cook. Try a new recipe that takes time to prepare instead of microwaving in minutes. Exercise. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Go swimming. Get that heartbeat up! Read your falling-over pile of magazines. Reading a winter magazine may help you feel cooler. And it helps you plan ahead! Time for some check-ups! They aren’t really fun, but you’ll feel better knowing you’re taking care of your body. Work on your bucket list.  Set a goal to do something major, even if it's planning for next year. Explore your own city. Shop at small businesses. Try a new café or bistro. Get a mani-pedi. Show those toes—just because you can. If you must do work-related activities, try the following to shake up your normal routine. Put a tiny umbrella in your drink while you do! Evaluate your school year. What worked? What didn’t? How can you improve/maintain? Plan for the future. Write some goals for your library or classroom. What do you want to accomplish? Check out The Horn Book’s Summer Reading List. These not-to-be-missed new titles are sure to be some of the greatest hits of 2017. Watch recorded PD. JLG archives our webcasts. Listen to a Horn Book podcast or an SLJ event or webcast. Read a Big People book. Check out JLG’s Adult Crossover categories of Adult Crossover High Plus, Adult Crossover Thrillers, and Adult Crossover Nonfiction . Read the books that are releasing as fall movies. (Or reread them—I know you’ve all read Wonder.) Participate in SLJ’s Teen Live, an online day with authors you’ll love. Update your work Pinterest boards. If you don’t have a school/library account, sign up for a free business account which will help separate your work and personal lives. You’ll also get statistics and marketing tips you can use. Consider your audience. What kind of boards can you curate for them? Are you following The Horn Book, School Library Journal, Library Journal and Junior Library Guild? JLG’s most popular boards are Book Creativity Maker Movement Displays JLG Booktalks to Go Bring Them Back: Overdue Material Retrieval Visit other libraries. What are they doing that you could implement? My local library has so many inspiring ideas that taking a busman’s holiday is a treat. Experiment with technology. Try out a new website or database. Add some apps to your device. Use AASL’s Best Websites and Apps to get you started. New winners will be announced at ALA Annual Conference in June. Develop a new orientation tool with your new technology knowledge. Create a scavenger hunt. Make a movie. Design an infographic. Organize your notes from  conferences and workshops you attended. What will you implement? Who do you need to contact as a follow up? Plan staff development activities to share what you learned. Regardless of the amount of time you have off in the next few months, it’s always important to take care of yourself. Perhaps one of the most important items on your to do list is this: Remind yourself that what you do matters. Read those cards and letters written to you by your readers. Look at all the photos you've taken. Re-read the comments on social media. Even if you don't see it every day, you are touching the lives of everyone who walks through your door. You can encourage, motivate, inspire, and challenge your community while you work. Recharge your battery so that your heart and mind are up to the task that matters most.



Deborah B. Ford

Director of Library Outreach
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