For the most part, working at the library is enjoyable. We get to see people that we really like on a regular basis and meet new people. I love learning new things, and when a patron comes in with a question where I don't know the answer, it's great fun learning along with the person.
However, not everything is fun and games. We've had a problem at the library lately that upsets me greatly. Someone has discovered that the library is good pickings for breaking into cars and stealing purses. We've had several break-ins lately and they've gotten some good money.
Please, please, don't leave your purse or valuables in the car, even if you are just running into the library for a couple of minutes. The last break-in occurred in just 10 minutes.
The patron came in for less than 10 minutes and when she came out, her window was broken and her purse, which she had hidden under the seat, was gone. I'm wondering if someone is sitting there watching people (especially women) go into the library without their purse for something easy to steal.
Now on to something more fun. It's getting to be science fair project time, so I wanted to give you some guidelines on helping your child pick out a fun, interesting project. For instance, pick something your child is already interested in. If your child likes insects or animals, try figuring out a project that involves animals.
Also, make sure and label clearly (and have) all the parts of the experiment.
Showing which paper towel is the strongest or which oil is the best is a demonstration, not an experiment. An experiment has to have a change or changes. You have your "control" (the thing that doesn't change) and your changes to see what happens or doesn't happen.
When you do the experiment, do it at least three different times. It's OK if you come up with three different results and if some of the trials don't work. Finding out what works and what doesn't is what makes it an experiment.
Have your child do the experiment and if you need to help, fine, but if you do the experiment to make it work, it's not your child's experiment. It's yours and your child doesn't learn anything. Believe me, most science fair judges can spot a "parent project" a mile away.
Have your child practice answering questions. Most of the judges will ask a few questions about the project. Also, give your child time to do the experiment. Waiting until the last day to do an experiment doesn't usually work very well.
The library has lots of books with ideas for experiments. I will have a cart in the children's area with the books on it for easy use. Have fun and enjoy your experiment.
Jean Meadors is the children's librarian for the Northwest Branch Library. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.