Session 2: Share your mantra

Hi @Caroline, I think it gets easier to be flexible too when you’re more experienced and confident. Then your plan can be looser, more like an outline to prompt you or remind you of options. But when it’s your first time it makes sense that you would feel most comfortable sticking to a plan.

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Hi @ada the link to the mantras seems to be broken.

@joem I appreciate your respecting your examples as much as you would a patron’s work.

On a related note, my daughter was attempting to draw along with another person last night, and she kept saying, “I’m a bad artist.” I kept asking her if she would say that to a friend who was attempting to draw something their first time and she said no that would be mean.

Sometimes we’re gentler to others than to ourselves.

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You’ve caught us! We’ve been secretly making changes on the website.

The current link on the email is correct. If you’re looking at an older email, here’s the updated link: https://plix.media.mit.edu/activities/fcl-2021/week-4/mantras

-Ada \(ᵔᵕᵔ)/

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Oh ok I clicked on the link in your original forum message.

Thanks for catching that! It’s fixed now.

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I love this, Julia! Working through these PLIX activities definitely challenged me to be intentional about documentation. As a bonus, it has been helpful in planning programs in the library that are not related to PLIX. I also really like what you shared about not needing to be the one with the “answer”. It can get heavy to have so many people rely on you.

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Oof that’s hard because you don’t want to insult the elderly woman by correcting her (especially in front of the kids) but you also want to protect the kids’ agency and not have their projects be overtaken by a grown-up who can be intimidating.

What if you tried giving all the grown-ups in the room big mittens? That would be a humorous way to prevent them from getting too involved, and a gentle reminder that the purpose is to let the kids play and explore the materials, not do things for them.

These were the three mantras that resonated with me:


Being persistent and resilient are two things I forget some children need help with. More and more we are becoming a society were perfection matters most. The children are picking up on that.
I also am guilty of not giving my young patrons prompts that open up possibilities. This gives me some goals to work towards.

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I just wanted to add some of my recent program experiences. This summer I held a STEAM Explorers program. One of my first sessions we made a cartesian diver. I gave my patrons the materials needed. I told them that it might take several tries to get it right. I explained the different science that was in play to explain the different modifications that might be needed. I also let them know it took me a lot of tries to get it to work. All the participants were able to get it to work.

This fall we made an cardboard automata. I gave them step by step instructions but also gave them extra pieces and parts and left the end product up to them. I told them they could use the instructions as a general guide. One of the participants said “this made my brain work but it was really fun!”

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@michelleb I love that you’re thinking so deeply about the context of children and society. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: It always helps, as you have already done, to model that adults also struggle and don’t just get it perfectly right away.

You said you are guilty about not giving your patrons prompts that open up possibilities. It’s great to see you’re approaching it with a growth mindset. You can do it, have done it, and we are here to cheer you on! :partying_face:

Thank you for sharing with us, and thank you for the supportive and inspiring programs you offer for your patrons.

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I’m excited to be joining in on the Self-Guided Mini Course! I noticed that the mantra cards I chose all related in some way to forming connections with and relating to kids. One of my favorite parts of being a public librarian is seeing the same kids across various programs and encouraging their learning and growth in a variety of ways!

I selected: “I make a safe space for taking risks and learning from failure,” “I get to know participants and let them get to know me,” and “I am open to changing plans when needed.” I’m early in my career so I’m excited to focus on these items I’ve chosen as I continue to grow right along side the kiddos I work with.

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Hi @Macy_Davis! Happy to have you here and taking the course! :tada:

It is remarkable watching the growth within younger patrons, not only during programs, but also as they age over time. I’ve encountered many families that would regularly visit the library for years and you can see little adults forming! I love your selection because one of the biggest things we can do is make a safe space for these young learners. By building a rapport with them and their families, we can let their creativity flourish!

Reach out if you have any questions or concerns! :wave:

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What great feedback! That’s so cute and wonderful that this kid is learning to associate making her brain work with fun!

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Welcome to the PLIX forums, Macy! I like all the mantras you selected (though they’re all good really!). The one about creating a safe space where kids feel comfortable taking risks is foundational. And the one about being open to changing plans will serve you well in public libraries, period!

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It was a great comment. Kids are so much smarter than we give them credit for.

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I chose two that relate to talking with participants about their projects (I ask questions to help other articulate their ideas) and (I frame prompts to open up possibilities), because even though I’ve done lots of training on that, I feel like I always have room for improvement! I chose “go with the flow” because I think it is important to enjoy the programs with the students and to be amenable to how it all comes out.

@Cacklers Welcome to the PLIX forum, Susan!

I love that you chose those two especially since you do all ages programming. It’s a treat getting to know people of different experiences, and librarians have such an amazing skill in speaking to different audiences. Thank you for sharing!

I would say the first two mantras are what I need to strive for to be the best facilitator I can be. While I think I am good at going with the flow and adjusting my game plan to accommodate the needs of the specific learners I’m working with, I tend to be overly focused on attaining the goal rather than letting the process itself be a positive outcome. That tends to lead to not being as detailed in my documentation for my own process, so that’s an area of improvement I can focus on. The last mantra is just a good reminder that I am also a learner in the process, and each time I do it, new growth can come out of it, especially if I have other learners to reflect with.