Today, I have Becky from Disney in my Day here guest posting. I met Becky when we participated for a swap. Becky is a librarian, and if you know my love for books, you’ll know that I was super interested to hear how it’s like working as a librarian. Today, she’s here to share a day in her life as a librarian.
When people hear that I’m a librarian, I’m often asked, “Oh, so do you sit around and read all day?” or “do you have the Dewey Decimal system memorized?” (The answers are no, definitely not, and not completely though I know popular topics like the fact that dinosaurs are 567.9). So what exactly does a librarian do all day? Well, I’m happy to share a peek into my day with you!
I work in the children’s department of a medium sized public library. I am a certified librarian, meaning that I had to get my master’s degree in library and information science. My official job title is “circulation and technical services,” though I really do a little bit of everything. The one thing I don’t do often is reference, which is the librarian that sits at the desk and is available to help you find things and answer questions.
Typically my day starts out with two hours on the circulation desk in the morning. This is where you go to check in and check out. We have a separate desk for the children’s department to do this. Most of my time is spent checking in – we don’t get busier til later in the day, but there are plenty of returns that have piled up from the night before, or “in-transit” stuff that has been sent back from other libraries through our inter-library loan system. If I have time while I’m out there I try to get some other things done. I tend to be the “problem solver” for my department, so anything that people don’t know what to do about they leave for me. I deal with things like DVDs that won’t play, books with ripped pages, patrons who don’t want to pay fines, etc.
Once my desk duty is done I get to go back to my office in the back and tackle some of the projects back there. I have many different things I’m responsible for. Some of the major ones include ordering books and other materials, cataloging, dealing with billing (people who are charged for books because they haven’t returned them in months), answering emails, etc.
Then it’s time for lunch! My afternoon looks different every day. Sometimes I meet up with my co-worker and see if there’s anything we need to work on. We have a number of projects, including creating displays, rearranging books that no longer fit on the shelves, and weeding. Weeding is one of my favorite things to do – it’s basically when you go through and get rid of any old books that aren’t circulating anymore. There are some crazy things that you find! Certain days I have meetings as well. I go to monthly meetings for the children’s department and county wide meetings for the heads of circulation and cataloging. We’ve also already started preparing for summer reading, which takes a lot of time! We are switching to an online recording system this year and I’ve kind of been put in charge of making sure everything works, so that’s a big job as well.
There are other special events that happen too. On Thursday mornings I do a family storytime. Wednesday evenings I lead a math club for grades 3-5. And during the summer I host a middle school book discussion and library jeopardy game on Monday nights.
Like any job, being a librarian can be frustrating at times – but there are so many things I enjoy, and my day always looks different so it’s certainly never boring. And being surrounded by books and people who love books is pretty great too! As a librarian I always get asked for book recommendations, so here’s a few I have to share with you:
Picture books: There are two I’m loving right now. The first is called Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast, by Josh Funk. It’s hilarious! And if you’re looking for a great read-aloud, check out The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak.
Elementary school: If you haven’t heard of the “Who Was” series, they are super popular with kids right now. They’re actually non-fiction biographies but kids at my library are eating them up! They enjoy the writing so much they don’t even care who the book is about, which is actually a great way to get them learning about people they might not have learned about otherwise. You’ll find books on everyone from George Washington to Walt Disney to Dolly Parton.
Middle grade: First of all, I’m a big fan of middle grade books that are appealing to adults too (so I recommend you read them even if you’re not in middle school!). This is my favorite type of book so I have a bunch I’d recommend: Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead for a realistic look at middle school life, pretty much anything by Gary D. Schmidt (though I absolutely loved Okay for Now), and The Girl Who Could Not Dream by Sarah Beth Durst if you’re looking for a fun, crazy fantasy.
Young Adult: My library’s children’s department really only goes up to 8th grade, so my young adult knowledge is not quite as vast. But a few that I absolutely loved are The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (be prepared for tears), and How to Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo.
Adult: Though it’s not typically my genre, I’m absolutely loving the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith (actually the pen name of J.K. Rowling). Some really good mystery/detective stuff. And if you’re a book lover, check out the Storied Life of A.J. Fickry by Gabrielle Zevin, about the life of a small bookstore owner.