Get to Know A… School Services Librarian



Rachel Reinwald


Please describe your position. Your title, duties, an average day in your work life.


I am a youth services librarian but am in charge of the school services. So I do the regular storytimes, desk work, ordering and RA, etc… but also teacher-y stuff. For school services, I do teacher resource bags, handle the teacher school cards, research and present CE workshops for teachers, team teach, host school field trips, create a teacher newsletter, etc. For YS services, I do baby storytime for 3-15 months, family storytime, 2-K, and 4-K storytime. I did the Kid Coders program for 4th-6th grade, Appy Hour for teachers, and Battle of the Books for 4th-8th graders. So, there is a lot of lesson planning, tech geekery, and research.


What attracted you to your current position? Was it an intentional move, a gut feeling, a happy accident, or a matter of convenience?


I was looking for school services positions because I just got off the teaching track. I like working with students and helping them research and learn, but I didn’t like all the school drama and bureaucracy. I like to get stuff done. My aunt teaches 1st grade in the area and she told me about it because she worked with my predecessor. It’s nice to have an insider giving you advice, like,  “[name] did this last year and this is what the teachers thought of it, so you should do this.”


What things give you the most joy in your position?


I love working with teachers and students in the schools. It’s nice to form a great relationship with them and then be able to give them supplemental materials and team teach with them right when they get into a unit. They’re like, “You read my mind! I would love a text features lesson on landform books!” (Sounds intriguing, right?) I also love baby storytime. I want to eat them up. I also like geeking out and doing readers’ advisory. The kid usually has a stack of 10 books and is slowly backing away from me while I jump up and down.


What’s most challenging for you?


I get things done pretty fast, so I don’t like waiting around on big projects that have to go through multiple people. It makes me jumpy. I usually multi-task to distract myself from the waiting. Like, waiting for your song handouts to get back from graphics? Make nametags.


If this is not your last career move, where would you like to go from here?


Eventually, I would like to be a department head. I am an INFJ (go Meier’s Briggs!) and sometimes it frustrates me when I see good things a library can be and they’re not trying to be there yet. I have a strong vision of libraries and I want to help people make the most of the library so the community can benefit. People shouldn’t just go to the library to get a book, it should become part of the community itself. I also want to get more involved in professional development. I love it. I do CPDU workshops for our local teachers, I host SU’s local Chicago social chapter, I present at conferences, I’m writing lesson plans for the Library of Congress. I’m trying to convince RAILS and ISLMA to do cool professional development with me. It’s fun. It’s like teaching, but without all the parent phone calls.


Pretend I’m a brand new library professional, eager to figure out how to get your job. What’s the advice you’d give me?


You have to work on your own professional development. I am a school services librarian but I do all youth services tasks. It helps that I have a couple of teaching certificates, so I have the education background to know lesson planning, curriculum development, all the many standards, etc…  so that I know what teachers are talking about and they are confident that I understand them. Make a feed of library blogs that help you. Do the Storytime Underground University if you do storytimes (which I’m assuming you do, because you are reading this blog). Go to conferences. Submit conference proposals. And resubmit them. Meet people at conferences or Storytime Underground Local Chapters (wink wink Chicago). Take webinars.

If you are doing school services, there is a great site, that has free webinars on education topics (early literacy, team teaching, leadership, Common Core, Next Gen, etc…) and they give CEs for educators. I’m a geek, so I do a lot of research and tinker around with lesson plans.

Read a lot. You don’t have to, and obviously can’t, read every book in the library, but the more you do, the more you’ll get a feel for the different genres, reading levels, appeals and what’s popular to recommend to kids (I love Novelist’s Appeals Chart). Ask to write reviews and/or articles for professional journals. Right now, I’m in Library Sparks and Booklist (come on School Library Journal!).

Keep a blog for yourself on what you do. You want to share your abilities with others so they can hire you and learn from you, but you also want to reflect and learn from your past programs and other library activities. It helps make you better at your job. You could also take my ALSC Online Course, It’s Mutual: School & Public Library Collaboration J.



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Sunday Storytime Challenge!

Every other week, we will post a Sunday Storytime Challenge. The goal is to encourage the SU community to try new things and share out those adventures. Challenges will vary widely and can include craftiness, elevator speeches, networking, professional development and beyond!


So here is this week’s challenge!




Hopefully we are all striving to make connections with our Storytimers. I often wonder if what I do is making the leap home. This week, let’s try and do something about it! Whether you can give your caregivers something physical to take home, are able to plan new outreach events, or find a clever way to get those early literacy messages into the car ride home, get on it!


Don’t know where to start? Here is some inspiration to get your motor running:


Storytime Katie posted some great take home ideas and her thoughts on handouts on the ALSC blog.


Kim at Literary Commentary shared her early literacy focused handouts.


I have always wanted to try a caregiver program similar to the one Amy helped organize.


Now that you have your inspiration, get out there and connect! Then make sure to come back and share with us. There are so many ways you can share:


  • Simply comment to this post!
  • Email us at
  • Tweet it out using #storytimechallenge
  • Do you have a kick-ass blog? Share your challenge story there and send us the link!


There is no concrete timeline for you to complete the challenges and they will always remain open.


We can’t wait to see what you can accomplish!


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Resolve to Rock Roundup!

At the beginning of January, we challenged you all to Resolve to Rock in 2016. And boy did you! Here’s the round up of all your rockin’ resolutions!

Resolve to Rock meme image

Edited to add:

  • Erin resolves to be positive and be herself (so important!) and get rid of that darn imposter syndrome. Go Erin go!

Check out our original post for even more resolutions in the comments!

Did we miss you? Still want to resolve to rock? Share your resolutions in the comments and we’ll add you in!

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Motivational Monday: The Ready for Anything Playlist

Some days are big. And when I say big, I mean drinking-all-the-coffee, arriving-early-staying-late, planning-all-the-things, taking-the-show-on-the-road, omg-is-that-the-entire-school BIG. Amiright?


Some days, I can’t even see the top of the mountain I have to climb. I know it’s up there in a swirling cloud of wind and snow, but I’m way down in my covers and too warm to get out and put on my boots.


This is music for those kinds of days. There’s some funk, some whimsy, some feel-good, and some serious attitude. Listen, feel amazing, and then add your own motivational favorites because it’s collaborative!


Just a heads up, this playlist is not safe for the public desk.


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Babies Need Words Every Day: the blog tour


Today I am SO THRILLED to be hopping on board the Babies Need Words Every Day blog tour! Do you know about Babies Need Words Every Day? This awesome work by the ALSC Early Childhood Programs and Services Committee highlights the importance of early literacy to help bridge the 30 Million Word Gap by providing a whole bunch of FREE resources for parents, librarians, caregivers…basically anyone who has every looked at a child. These beautiful posters are perfect for hanging up in your library and sharing with your community.


This week, the BNWED blog tour has highlighted four incredibly important early literacy skills: READ, SING, TALK, and PLAY, and a whole host (get it?) of fantabulous librarians have shared how they are using the BNWED posters in their libraries to encourage reading, singing, talking, and playing.


Go ahead, take a look. The blog posts shared on this tour offer a ton of really great new ideas and suggestions for ways to use the posters, ways to encourage early literacy skills in storytime and in the library, and even ideas to get the resources out into the community.


I printed all the posters on pretty much the first day they were available, and learned a TON from going back and looking at all the other resources now on the site. (Right? They weren’t all there from day one, were they? Am I blind? Maybe I should just stop talking…) After reading about my wonderful colleagues’ displays and suggestions, I am bursting with new things to try. How about sending posters to the pediatric department at your local clinic or hospital! Why not bring some along to hand out at your next outreach visits! Give them out in storytime! To your board members! On street corners!


So dear ninjas, go forth and conquer! Read up on the resources. Catch up on the blog tour and borrow ideas. Then print off some posters and booklists and start sharing! Let us know how YOU are using these resources below in the comments!


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