A Day in the Life of a Children’s Librarian

a-day-in-the3My name is Heidi, and I’m the Children’s Librarian at the Carleton Place Public Library. My days are quite busy, and usually very diverse, but always fun. I don’t think there is such a thing as a typical day for me, but it often covers tasks that deal with children, programming, and working with the general public. It’s a creative position that allows me to do a variety of things and always be challenged.

TYPICAL DAY

I usually start my day by following up on emails, social media posts, or phone messages. While this usually takes only a few minutes, sometimes it can require coordinating a meeting or class visit via phone call, which might take a little longer. After that, I might prep a blog post, set a program announcement to post on Facebook, and do an Instagram post. I usually spend about 30 – 45 minutes a day on posts, designing posters and following up on social media.

Since my workday begins at 9am, we aren’t open to the public. But that doesn’t mean I have nothing to do. When we’re not open, I’ll often do program preparation, work on artwork or crafts for storytime or a special event, visit schools or daycares to do special storytimes/or talk about upcoming reading programs, weed the children’s collection, or I might have a class visit here at the library. Did you know we have several schools that bring their classes to the library on a regular basis? I usually check their books in, read a chapter from a book to the group, help them search for new books, and then check the books out. There can be anywhere from 14 – 35 students here at one time, so it’s busy for that hour or so!

The last hour of the morning might be taken up with clean up or prep for a program. I run anywhere from 4 – 7 programs a week, so it requires some work, setting up supplies, chairs, and tables. Right now, I’m in the middle of running a six-week creativity course for adults, weekly storytime and babytime, a monthly Teen Book Club, and preparation for National Novel Writing Month with our library Writer’s group. If I have nothing to prepare for that day, I will work on new displays or bulletin boards, or plan for upcoming months.

After lunch, I might have a program to run. This is usually about 1 – 2 hours long, can involve children or adults, and might be a special event, or a regular, weekly session. After each program, there is clean up required, and then I’ll work on the front desk. I usually work the front desk anywhere from 1 – 3 hours a day. This involves checking in books, helping patrons to find things, checking out their materials, answering the phone, recommending books, photocopying, and booking computers. If you come to the front desk when we first open, you’ll probably see many of us bustling around–it’s a busy hour on the desk most days. And on a Saturday, the one staff member working a shift is on the desk the entire day, along with student pages. Desk work is a BIG part of all of our schedules.

While I work on the front desk, I always have a task to work on as well. It might be collecting statistics for the week/month, prepping crafts, setting up reports for volunteer students, preparing reports about programs that have finished, photocopying items, or working on blog posts. I might also be preparing for an upcoming meeting, organizing my to-do lists for the month ahead, or helping summer students or volunteers with their tasks. During October, I’m writing daily emails to go out to our writers for November, planning Christmas activities for the library, and I’m already working on programs that I won’t run until 2017. I’m usually about four to six months ahead all the time. (Yes, by the time Christmas rolls around, I’ve been working on Valentine’s Day and March Break activities for a few weeks already!)

The rest of the afternoon always requires flexibility. While I might sit at my desk to work on something, often a knock on the door next to me might mean I go out to help someone find a book, chat about a visit to a school, or talk up a program. Or a patron might require help printing something or connecting to the internet on their own device, which can take a few minutes or much longer. By the time I go home at the end of the day, I’m looking forward to some quiet time, and rest in order to do it all again the next day.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a post about one of our other staff members!

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