I’m not entirely sure how I first found Jbrary. Twitter, probably. I don’t remember. All I know is, my baby and toddler storytimes have improved 1000-fold since I started frequenting their site. From their bajillion YouTube videos featuring songs on every topic ever (their videos recently surpassed 1 million views! Crazy!), to their general posts about programming, Dana and Lindsey provide invaluable resources for youth librarians. I am a better librarian for having “discovered” Jbrary. If you’re a librarian working with children, especially those under the age of five, I high recommend getting familiar with the bloggy gift that is Jbrary.
Dana and Lindsey, whom I called Dimples and Glasses respectively, before taking the time to actually learn their names, were nice enough to answer some of my questions. I just want everyone to be as pumped about these two as I am. They really represent and embody that “spirit of sharing” vibe I really appreciate about youth librarians.
Jbrary? I salute you, the dynamic duo of children’s librarianship.
And now, the interview:
- How did you two meet? Did you know that you’d work well together from the beginning?
Dana (Dimples): We first met while doing our MLIS at the University of British Columbia (UBC). I think we bonded over the general craziness of school which blossomed into a friendship as we discovered our shared passion for all things youth services. I know I had a healthy respect for Lindsey as I watched her present in class and I relished any opportunity to work with her. The fact that I could pour my heart out to her over breakfast may also have had a role in cementing our friendship :) When Jbrary started I don’t think either of us knew what it would turn into and just how well we’d work together. Lindsey, did you have any idea?!
Lindsey (Glasses): I had hopes and dreams! When I started my MLIS at UBC I had just moved to the city and had zero friends in Vancouver. Dana had an enthusiasm I absolutely loved, so I knew I wanted to become friends if I could convince her I was cool enough. I knew from class projects that we’d work well together. Our personalities are a very natural fit.
- What inspired you to create Jbrary?
L: In one of my MLIS courses I was asked to create and present a storytime. I kept trying to find songs I could listen to because I wasn’t familiar with many of the “tunes” people listed on their blogs. And the way I learn songs and rhymes is by hearing them, not reading the lyrics. I did find the King County Library System’s Tell Me a Story song and rhyme database, but it wasn’t organized on YouTube. I guess I just thought, “I’m running into this information need. A lot of other people are running into this information need. A free video platform exists that could fill this information need.” Initially I had a very narrow audience in mind – just children’s librarians – which was too narrow really. I’m proud of all the different people who use it now.
D: I’ll second that frustration while trying to learn new songs and rhymes. It felt horribly old fashioned to read the rhyme and have to track down someone who knew it, especially in this day and age! Lindsey (being the kickass librarian she is!) took it one step further though and started recording videos on her own. When we found ourselves in the same Social Media class and seeking a final project Lindsey pitched expanding her idea and I could not have been more excited to join her.