It's Tuesday, July 20 and the third day of the Oklahoma Library Association's Information Matrix Summer Camp. And it's been a busy one.
Shortly after breakfast we headed by shuttle and van to the Borders Bookstore on 21st Street at the Broken Arrow expressway. The campers were allowed to spend up to $10 on a book of their choice and they had the better part of an hour to spend finding just the right one.
The boys favored graphic novels. The girls preferred more traditional young adult books, only a few featuring vampires.
And where were the adults, you might ask? Why, soaking up caffeine in the coffee shop, where do you think!
Our next stop was The University of Tulsa's Child Development Center, which is run by KinderCare Learning Centers, where our campers spent almost an hour reading to the 3, 4 and 5 year-olds. The Tulsa City-County Library donated a large set of books for young children for the campers to have something to read. When they were finished, each child in the Center received one of those books to take home with them. (Thank you so much, TCCL! The little ones were really excited to get those books. "I want the one with the dinosaur! I want the one with the dinosaur!!!")
Here are a few photos to give you a feel for what it was like.
Just before leaving, we took the obligatory group photo.
And what did our library campers think of the visit and the chance to interact with the young children? Well, the consensus on the shuttle while driving to our next stop was that this was by far the most fun thing they had done so far in the camp. In fact, it was just about all they talked about on the 20-minute drive. (Okay, complete honesty here. It was the girls. The boys had their noses buried in their graphic novels and spoke not a word!)
We reached TCCL's Herman & Kate Kaiser Library at around 11:30 or so. David Morrison, Kaiser's Young Adult librarian, greeted the campers with video games and a great lunch provided by the generosity of the Tulsa City-County Library Trust. (Mea culpa. The Trust also provided last night's pasta dinner at Hardesty Library. My facts were wrong and my face is now red.) David discussed the various kinds of services that the library provides teens in the area, including the opportunity to come in and play video games a couple of times a week. The kids had quite a few questions for David, including wanting to know how to become a teen volunteer for TCCL!
David then divided the group in half and took one group on a tour of Kaiser Library while leaving the other to enjoy the games. Here David is describing the importance of what he called "shelf beautification" (not only keeping the books in their correct order but also looking neat, something of a challenge in the children's section).
He also showed off the library's sculpture garden, which has an "Alice in Wonderland" theme.
After the tour ended, David switched groups so that everyone got the chance to spend a few minutes playing games.
And, of course, before leaving everyone posed in the sculpture garden for the obligatory group photograph.
The next stop on the day's agenda gave the campers a chance to do some actual library research at TCCL's Genealogy Center. Genealogy Librarian Kathy Huber presented an excellent program on the basics of family history research and provided the campers with a number of tools to get them started. These included a family tree chart and a family group sheet for them to fill out, a checklist on how to begin their research and the kinds of records available, a list of major free websites that they can start using when they get home, and a list of genealogical terms.
We then once again divided the group in two. Kathy had pulled some reference materials related to surnames and left one group to work on those in the meeting room. The other group she took into the research area in order to give them a feel for the variety of materials the library makes available. After about 20 minutes or so the two groups traded spots with each other.
By about 3:30 we were ready to leave. This time Kathy joined the campers for the obligatory group photo.
Then it was back to McFarlin Library for computer time with Tiffany Benson. This afternoon Tiffany introduced a special guest, Jonathan Kimmitt, Director of Client Services for TU's Information Services. Jonathan's topic was Internet safety and security and he shared all kinds of tips and techniques for staying safe online.
Following dinner at the Reynolds Center, the campers gathered in the LaFortune Commons for a chance to meet TCCL's Laura Raphael.
Laura's topic for the evening was cataloging, specifically classification using the Dewey Decimal System. But there was nothing dry, boring or esoteric about Laura's presentation. We were treated to a special performance of her one-woman show "Oh, Dewey!" It was light-hearted and funny, not only teaching the campers the basics of Dewey but also skewering the stereotypical image of librarians. (One thing Laura asked the campers was to describe what they thought of when they heard the word "librarian". Their description: female, middle-aged or older, wearing glasses with her gray hair up in a bun and going "Ssshh" all the time. Of course, the actual librarians sitting at the back of the room could only laugh. As Leslie Langley pointed out, none of those kids had ever encountered such a person in real life. But the power of the cultural stereotype can be so strong it overcomes even your own personal experience.)
As entertaining as Laura's presentation was, I have to admit that toward the end the natives began to get a bit restless. Why? Because tonight was pool night and all thoughts were in the water. About 18 of the 24 campers decided they wanted to swim, so at 8:00 we trooped next door to the Mabee Gym. They seemed to have a really good time.
That brought the day to its end. I expect most of our campers are sleeping pretty good tonight.
Tomorrow morning we'll be spending time on the TU campus touring both McFarlin Library (including a stop in Special Collections) and the Mabee Legal Information Center (aka the TU Law Library). We'll also be visiting libraries at the Tulsa Historical Society and Phillips Theological Seminary. And Tiffany Benson is going to host a video game night, which should be a lot of fun.
They can rest when they go home.