There is a Children’s Department mascot at the SPL and his name is Mr. Bear. Mr. Bear is just that, a three foot tall black bear that stands by the entrance when you walk in. He has been a staple for quite a few years. Kids say hello and goodbye to Mr. Bear, he get’s hugs, he even scares some kids; he’s kind of a big deal.
Over the summer, we introduced Mr. Flat Bear. Mr. Flat Bear was created in the same vein as Flat Stanley, meaning he’s small, portable, and wants to go on adventures with you. He was checked out over the summer and brought on family vacations all over the U.S. He got to go to some great places–the beach, D.C, Disney. The idea was to put up his adventures on our facebook page and promote this new item, while also sharing the vacations of friends and neighbors in town.
And while Mr. Flat Bear was frequently checked out, we weren’t given many of the corresponding pictures from the families that took him. Sadly, Mr. Flat Bear had tons of adventures, but no one knew about them, which brings up a philosophical question: If a bear goes on adventures, but no one knows about said adventures, has he still gone on them?
I didn’t want Mr. Flat Bear to have to deal with this intense dilemma, so I’ve taken upon myself to bring Mr. Flat Bear with me when I do interesting things.
So far, Mr. Flat Bear and I have participated in a Tough Mudder in New Hampshire where we finished in 3 1/2 hours, and he’s going with me to be Principal for a Day at one of our local elementary schools.
And then this happened:
That’s right, we went sky diving.
It was awesome.
Part of the reason I am so big into bringing Mr. Flat Bear with me is to show the kids that you shouldn’t let any one tell you that you can’t do something just because it’s impractical. I mean, who would think Mr. Bear, or a human for that matter, would ever fly, or more accurately fall and lad safely? I also want to ensure that I break the boring librarian stereotype with my kids. I don’t want them to think all we do is read books and learn awesome information. I want to show them that we put that information into practice.
Since I run a science program for the older kids in our town, I am in the process of developing a class that discusses and tests the physics of skydiving, where I can show them the video I have of my jump, so we can talk all about it and perform a related experiment. It’s that combination of having first hand experience, the knowledge of where to bolster that experience with facts, and the ability to present that information in an easily digestible way that makes science and learning in general fun for kids.
Seriously, being a librarian is amazing.