Saturday, June 15, 2024

A Day in the Life of a Children's Librarian


a day as a children's librarian
We are now in the thick of summer reading, when kids and family programming doubles and we have increased foot traffic. It is very busy and exhausting, but luckily only for two months; I'd never be able to sustain this amount of programming year-round without additional programming staff.

This was a day when we had a performer coming in, which you would think would give me a break, but though I don't have to plan a program I still spend a lot of time and energy on set-up and take-down of the meeting room and interacting with people. In addition, I had not one, but two, meetings. Although every day is different, I'd say this was a fairly typical day during summer reading. So here's how it went:

    • 9:00a-9:15a - Arrive to work, clock-in, check e-mail, check schedules.
    • 9:15a-10:00a - Lower thermostats in meeting rooms, clear out all the tables and set up chairs. Make a few adjustments after performer arrives at their request. (Fortunately, a co-worker who arrived earlier had already started this for me and another arrived to help when she had to return to the desk; without help this would have taken much longer.)
    • 10:00a-10:15a - Check both service desks and info table to see if they are sufficiently stocked with summer reading brochures and reading challenge sheets; get clicker-counter and performer's check from office, refill water.
    • 10:15a-10:30a - Return to meeting room, give performer check, and open doors for audience to enter and be seated, count attendees.
    • 10:30a-11:15a - Make opening announcements, then stay in room for show to monitor.
    • 11:15a-12:00p - Rush to meeting with reps from science center (who were 45 minutes early!) about traveling exhibit we are to host in the fall.
    • 12:00p-1:00p - Looked over books assistant had pulled for me for consideration for next week's storytime, covered children's service desk, re-filled displays and summer reading info, asked another staff member to put tables back in meeting rooms and return to normal arrangement, checked e-mail, recorded program attendance stats, assisted patrons.
    • 1:00p-2:00p - Lunch
    • 2:00p-3:00p - Checked in with staff member who was just beginning shift at children's desk, discussed scheduling off-desk time for them to participate in webinar the following day, various administrative tasks, prepared for upcoming meeting, prepared books to be dropped off at daycare next day.
    • 3:00p-4:00p - Management team meeting, discussed changes in purchasing, program planning, and marketing, upcoming performance reviews, and departmental updates.
    • 4:00p-5:00p - Reviewed plans & preparations for next morning's elementary program and re-arranged tables & chairs in program room to be ready, put away materials left from previous programs, general tidying. Pulled a few more books for displays, checked in with various staff, checked-email, checked library's social media.
    • 5:00p - Clock out & go home.
That's most of it, anyway. I am sure there are things I have forgotten, as well as multiple quick conversations with co-workers and patrons while passing through, trips to the printer, short breaks for the restroom, water, or a snack, etc. It's all kind of a blur by the end of the day.

This was one of those days where I am busy non-stop, going from one thing to the next with very little downtime in between. I enjoy those days because they go by quickly, I'm too busy to get tired, and I'm usually interacting with a lot of people, but I am glad that every day is not like that or I would never have time for planning, collection work, and professional development. Plus, being a true introvert, I need some down-time with less interaction to recharge. 

I enjoy the busy-ness of summer reading, though I wish I was not the sole person responsible for planning ALL kids and family programs. Maybe by next summer one of our new youth services staff will be ready and willing to taking on some programming themselves. I'd still be there to help and guide, but it would be nice to have someone else be able to take lead on a few things and genuinely participate in overall planning. I find the *planning* of summer reading to be incredibly stressful! By the time it's actually here, it's a relief and just busy rather than overly stressful.

1 comment:

  1. I feel like I could have written this , it is so much like my days as well ! I do have some part time help in our Children's department and I appreciate them so much ! I think people on the outside world of the library think we just sit around and read all day ! Take care and have a great summer !