Friday, March 8, 2013

Meet Your YSS Board: Amanda Struckmeyer

Superhero Readers, Amanda and Spidey

 Amanda Struckmeyer has been the Head of Youth Services at the Middleton Public Library for four years.  She was on the 2009 Newbery Award committee, and is the co-author of the eminently useful DIY Programming and Book Displays:  How to Stretch Your Programming without Stretching Your Budget and Staff.

I know you’ve been very involved in ALSC, and have even written a book. What made you decide to get involved in YSS?

Wisconsin is a treasure trove of talented YS librarians! YSS does a great job of fostering connections between librarians, and by being involved, I hope to support this in some small way. When we share ideas and resources, everyone benefits!

What are a few of your favorite tween programs?

We've had great success with magic workshops. I teach a few simple magic tricks (which I get from books), and the kids create the materials needed to do the tricks, practice them, and take them home to amaze their friends and families. American Girl programs have also been popular; we typically discuss a book and do an activity related to the time period. We also host a Monday night book club once a month called Read It and Eat. We talk about a book, share supper, and explore a project related to the book.

Before you were at the Middleton Library, what are some of the things you’ve done for work, and how have they helped shape your work in Middleton?

I was an elementary school teacher before going to library school, and then I worked as a school librarian for 3 years before joining the team at the Middleton Public Library. Having worked in schools definitely gives me an appreciation of all of the hard work teachers do! Also, lesson planning is a lot like program planning, so that has been a natural fit.

What are your go-to blogs, or other sources for library-related inspiration?

Carissa Christner's Library Makers blog is a great resource for innovative programming ideas. Right now, I'm using the Design Squad site and other online sources to develop STEM-based programs for 'tweens for the summer.

When you aren’t at the library, what do you love to do?

I can often be found knitting, camping, riding my bike, and reading. My husband and I have a little garden in the summer, and I love to preserve what we grow so we can enjoy it all year long!

 If you had an unlimited budget at your library, what’s the first thing you’d do?

I would buy an ipad lab! We could use them to run an e-reader book club, stop-motion animation workshops, app-based early literacy programs, and much more!

Tell us about a really memorable interaction you’ve had with a young person.

Our 'tween knitting club has been more powerful than I ever could have imagined. Most of the kids come to us as absolute beginners, and many walk into the room not knowing a soul. Quickly, they learn a tricky craft and make friends. Witnessing the kids persevere, challenge themselves, and support one another continues to amaze me.

What’s a book you’ve read or listened to recently that you really enjoyed?

I'm currently reading Poison by Bridget Zinn, and loving every word!

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