Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Reflecting On 2019 & Looking Ahead To 2020

Time for my annual reflection on the past year and setting goals for the year ahead. I had no big changes this year, just continuing with school and getting more settled into the position I transferred to the year before. I have to say that while I liked my previous library positions and definitely learned a lot from them, I love my current position in the children's department of a busy suburban branch! I have great coworkers, and I love being in a diverse community that has a strong reading and library culture. I love that I get to do a little bit of everything, and after a year and a half, I've been able to build relationships with some of our regulars. If only it were a full-time professional position...

I was able to meet, or make progress toward, most of the goals I had set for 2019I completed four more courses toward my MLIS, which leaves me with just ONE class left! I was able to get experience with a wide variety of programs, including baby and toddler storytimes, school-age art programs, and family craft programs in addition to my regular family storytime and school-age STEM programming, and picked up a monthly outreach visit. I also helped with a few of our big party-type programs, and did some of the passive programs, displays, and bulletin boards.

I continue to work on developing my reader's advisory skills, and as much as I enjoy programming, planning is still sometimes a struggle. I had fully intended on attending the state conference, but after I saw the schedule I realized that there really weren't any sessions that would be worthwhile for me, so I decided to save my money and go to a bigger conference this year.

My goals for 2020 are mainly more of the same, except for one big change:
  • Complete the final course for my MLIS and graduate (finally!) in May!
  • Continue to gain as much experience as possible with different types of programs and youth librarianship in general.
  • Attend the national PLA conference in February.
  • Following graduation, work on regaining some work/life balance.
  • Get a full-time, professional children's librarian position (this is probably more of a 5-year goal).

That last one is going to be the most difficult by far, and is the least under my control since I have to wait around for something to open up before I can even apply, and I don't think the odds of that happening are very good. The really frustrating part is that during the time I was working on my MLIS no less than SIX children's librarian positions have come and gone, which is unheard of for my relatively small system of 6 libraries, but I could not apply for them because I hadn't completed my degree. I fear that after such a period of active turnover we are probably heading into a long dry spell, plus the current trend seems to be to eliminate vacated lower level positions to create more management positions.

There are several other libraries relatively close by in surrounding counties, but they are all very small and almost never have vacancies for librarian-level positions. So I will most likely have to eventually start looking at relocating, which means I'll have to start working on pinpointing areas I might want to move to, and convincing my significant other that we need to start putting money into fixing our house & yard up in preparation for putting it on the market in a couple of years.

I'm excited about finally graduating and being done with school and not having to waste so much of my time on ridiculous busywork, but I am already stressing about the job prospects. I knew going in the job market was rough, and I would most likely have to leave to find a full-time librarian position, but now that the time is fast approaching, I'm getting a little anxious about the whole thing. I really love my current job, and don't really want to leave, but the reality is I cannot afford to keep working part-time much longer.

Soooooooo..... If you know of any upcoming openings for children's librarians, let me know! 

Especially if they are in an area with mild winters, within an hour of the coast, low to moderate cost of living, and in a well-funded library with great staff, good management, and a supportive community. I know, I'm asking for a lot. But if I'm going to dream, might as well dream big!

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