August 21, 2018

TinyCat features RSSAA Library Program

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This article was posted by TinyCat, an online catalog service for small libraries like ours.

TinyCat Post: Back to School Edition

Welcome to the August 2018 "Back to School" edition of the TinyCat Post. Our Library of the Month, highlights, and Store sales are honoring schools and classrooms this month, but don't worry—all libraries are included! Read on.

...You can also read it online. Our TinyCat Post archive lives here.

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Library of the Month: The Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor Library Program
As our special "Back to School" Library of the Month, I had the pleasure of interviewing a great team* of staff and volunteers at the Rudolf Steiner School of Ann Arbor (RSSAA) Library Program. Library volunteer Eileen Ho spearheaded our questions this month:
*RSSAA Librarians: Program Director Karen Totten, Andrea Basso, Cora Allen, Jim Johnston, volunteer Eileen Ho
First, what is your library, and what is your mission—your "raison d'être"?
The RSSAA Library Program is a Waldorf program run by a team of part-time staff and volunteers. The Program serves preschool through 12th grade, with the main library collection held within the Ellie Klopp Memorial Library (named after our first school librarian Eleanor Klopp, 1917-1996). Lower school students visit the main library each week to check out our collection of over 6,000 books including picture books, Early Readers, fiction books and series, and a general collection of literature and non-fiction.
The RSSAA Library Program aims to inspire a lifelong love of learning by providing resources which inspire imagination and wonder in our young readers. Readers learn about themselves and the world in a joyful and engaging school environment that fosters clear thinking, innovation, open-mindedness, and compassion.
Tell us some interesting ways you support your community.
We support teachers in their curricular work with resources for main lesson blocks and reading projects. We engage our school community through outreach programs like Poetry Month (April), with our Poet Tree bulletin board, and weekly newsletter announcements.
We also open our collections to parents and caregivers. The Parent Library is a lovely classroom collection of books and periodicals focusing on parenting, child development, and Waldorf education such as festivals, crafts, stories and songs, curriculum subjects, and works of Rudolf Steiner (Austrian scientist, philosopher, and founder of the first Waldorf school, 1861-1925).
What are some of your favorite items in your collection?
We often feature some of our favorite authors and titles on our Library Blog or in our weekly announcements, and share links to our online catalog. When our patrons visit the school library, we have seasonal or featured theme books on display and they can also search for a book in our collection by looking in the traditional card catalog (yes, we still have and use one with author, title, and subject cards for every book!).
What's a particular challenge you experience, as a small library?
So many books, so little time and space. Like many school libraries, while we are lovingly supported by our school and families, "Small but mighty!" is our motto for maintaining and developing our collections within a limited budget and space. "How many more books need to be entered into LibraryThing and when is that going to happen?" (We have over 5000 entered so far, with the help of CueCat and many librarian hours!) "Where do we put the new stack of book donations and purchases?" (Let's organize the closet!) Browsing library furniture catalogs in our free time...
We also think of TinyCat as "small but mighty", what a great fit! That said, what's your favorite thing about TinyCat? What's something you'd love to add?
Favorite librarian activity at the computer: click on that cute cat icon and pull up pretty pictures and bountiful information about a book, without having to write everything down on a catalog card or wrestle with a jammed office printer to share book love with our patrons.
We do like to show students how to use the physical card catalog and write on book borrower pocket cards to check out books, reinforcing basic search and writing skills in our daily routine. However, with over 3,000 books in circulation during the last school year, that's a lot of cards! So can we use TinyCat/LT to help us print book cards? We are interested in finding ways to integrate traditional and digital catalog and circulation methods in order to utilize all the functionality that TinyCat can provide.
There isn't a built-in way for you to print book cards, but you can export your books and run a Mail Merge to make your own book cards! (Great idea, by the way.)
Want to learn more about the RSSAA Library Program? Follow their library blog, Read On!, or find their library on TinyCat.

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