On Sunday a colleague and I represented the library at a “Healthy Kids Day” information fair at the local YMCA.
We set up a booth filled with informational brochures and pamphlets, as well as a display showcasing some of the many free events and activities put on by the city library.
With the start of Summer Reading Club only a few weeks away, this event was a good opportunity to bust out the ever-popular button machine and whip up some SRC buttons!
To streamline the process a little bit we cut the button images in batches, and only had a few images for children to choose from. We then helped the children make their own buttons, which is always a thrilling experience for them. We also made some buttons ahead of time that families could just grab if they were in a hurry.
I somehow managed to fit another button on my colourful lanyard, which is always a great conversation starter when working with curious children.
I love working at special events – I’m naturally pretty outgoing and I enjoy working with people, so I thrive in these sorts of environments.
Still, special event work is not for the faint of heart. The atmosphere at festivals and other events can be hectic and even chaotic, with people coming at you from every direction, often at the same time. Even the best-planned events will inevitably hit snags, and you really must be comfortable thinking on your feet and adapting to changing circumstances. Flexibility is key!
It also helps to be comfortable putting yourself out there. At some events people will find your booth with ease, but at others you might have to go searching for visitors. You might have to attract them to your table, particularly if you’re competing with a number of other booths. In these sort of situations it helps to be comfortable waving at strangers, starting up conversations with random people, attracting attention to yourself and potentially making a little bit of a fool of yourself. Not taking yourself too seriously is key!
Practice makes perfect, and with each event I attend I become more comfortable and more confident in my role. Being a children’s librarian really helps – if you’re comfortable making animal noises and dancing like a robot in front of a large crowd of 100+ people at story times, there’s very little that can phase you. 🙂