"If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales." Albert Einstein

24 October 2014

A Day in the Life of a Children's Librarian

This is a good example of what I do - I make displays and put them up and hope people look at them.

I've already posted about what a school librarian spends his/her day doing, but some people may wonder what a children's librarian does all day.  There are probably some well-meaning people who think my entire day is spent reading stories out loud to crowds of red-cheeked cherubs or paging through stacks of picture books and making cute crafts to post on my personal Pinterest page.

In reality, a lot of my day is fairly typical for any librarian:

  • Meetings.  I meet with my supervisor to check in on projects I've been working on, with the rest of the youth services department to update the calendar and plan story times or other programs, with a library committee to plan other events or ideas that we want to implement in the library
  • Desk Time.  I sit at either the reference desk or the children's desk for several hours each day. I can work on other things while I'm there, but my primary function at that time is to be a resource for patrons who have questions.
  • Planning. I plan programs - both programs like a story time and also passive programs like "stop by the library and build with LEGO this week."  Each of these programs needs to be added to a calendar, put on signage throughout the library, and of course someone has to set it up, clean it up, and run it.
  • Collection development. I help choose books to be added to our library's children's and young adult collections. I remove books that are old, dirty, ripped, or that just don't circulate. I make displays showcasing new books or award-winning books or books about a particular topic, like scary ghost stories for Halloween.
  • Outreach.  I visit local schools to talk about the library. I assist in open house events or other outreaches into the community so that people who don't use the library can see what we have to offer them.
  • Administrivia.  I answer emails. I fill out time sheets. I read updates and announcements for the library. I answer the phone. 
  • Professional Development. I read articles online and in School Library Journal, Library Journal, Booklist, the YALSA website, etc. I attend webinars when possible. I attend in-person workshops as well. I try to keep up on what's new in youth services librarianship.
Occasionally I do also flip through new picture books or other books that are added to our collection, but I don't get to sit around and read all day, and I definitely don't spend the whole day reading to groups of cherubs (although if you know someone who has a cherub, please send them to my library - I'd love to read to them!).  When I'm out in the library itself, among the public, I answer lots of questions - about how to do something on the computers or how to find a particular book or where the bathroom is. Like most people, children's librarians wear a lot of different hats throughout the day, the main difference being that most of our hats could be found on a Dr. Seuss character.

So, librarians out there, what is your favorite part of your job? 

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