Thursday, April 27, 2023

A Day In the Life of a Youth Services Manager


I've been meaning to start doing this every since I got my first full-time, professional position, but for some reason kept forgetting. I thought it would be helpful for a few reasons: (1) so those considering a future as a children's librarian can see what they're getting into, (2) so other children's librarians can see they aren't the only ones juggling a million priorities, and (3) to remind myself that even on the days I may not feel I accomplished much, I am really doing a lot.

While all children's and youth librarians have similar jobs and are all very busy, we don't all have exactly the same job or the same duties, so I'll start by describing my situation. My official title is "Youth & Family Services Manager", and I am the sole children's/youth librarian in a smaller library serving a somewhat rural community of about 10,000 in town, and 23,000 county-wide. I am responsible for all collections, programs, and services for birth through 18. 

I do most of the programming for birth through 11 myself, the bulk of the collection development and maintenance, limited outreach, and plan and execute the summer program each year. I currently supervise three part-time staff, two who are primarily responsible for teen and tween programming, and one who is primarily responsible for customer service and assisting me with programs and routine tasks in the children's department. I've only been in this role for a little over a year, so I'm still figuring things out and don't have everything organized, or a nice neat schedule of when to work on this or that. So, it's a bit of a hot mess ;)

I'll start with a Monday. I do not do any programs on Monday, and use that as a planning & prep, "get ready for the week ahead" day. On this particular day, my assistant was working a different schedule than normal, which meant I had to cover the desk in the morning.

  • 9:00am - Arrive at work, clock in, check e-mail, check-in with other staff
  • 9:30am to 1:15pm - cover children's service desk, during which time I also:
    • changed out the display
    • photographed entries for Peeps Diorama contest and posted on Facebook
    • made ballots and set up voting box for Peeps Diorama "Peeples Choice"
    • gave summer reading brochure draft a final look then gave to marketing specialist to "pretty up" (play around with formatting, fonts, colors, graphics, etc.)
  • 1:15pm-2:15pm - Lunch 
  • 2:15pm-4:00pm  
    • worked on flyer for summer reading promotion to hand out at community event this weekend
    • checked purchase requests and put in Baker & Taylor cart to go in next order
    • looked for ideas for summer programs for elementary ages
    • made a simple program planning form
    • checked for any comments/reactions on YS-related Facebook posts
  • 4:00-4:30pm - Met with part-time teen assistant and teen specialist, who are both brand new, to semi-finalize slate of teen/tween programs for summer, give them planning form to help them plan, and reminded of May 15th purchasing deadline for all supplies
  • 4:30-5:15pm 
    • Talked with Asst. Director about scheduling
    • reviewed plan for the next morning's storytime
    • straightened things up
    • checked email
    • checked in with assistant who was preparing for a D&D program that evening
  • 5:15 - clocked out & left for the day
And I'm sure I've left out lots of little things here and there I've forgotten about. 

I always have multiple things that need to be done, and sometimes it's hard to prioritize or concentrate on one thing, and I frequently get interrupted or distracted by some of the other million things that need to be done. We really need to have a children's librarian and teen librarian in addition to me as YS manager so I could delegate more of the programming, outreach, weeding, and selection, but the administration will never see it that way, or pay enough to attract anyone that is qualified.

Next time I'll do a Tuesday, which is a storytime day, then continue to work through the days of the week.


  1. Yeah, our populations are similar but I have a full-time teen services associate, part-time youth services associate, and school colleague who does two storytimes a week (plus other programming)

    1. I'm down to one barely full-time teen specialist (30 hours) that I also have to share with circ, and a part-time assistant, both of which are new and neither of whom has any experience. I will also have a part-time summer intern, but again, no experience. It's going to be a rough summer, and I don't see how I'll ever be able to do as much outreach as needs to be done, or properly manage the college the way it really should be done.