Back in September and October, we hired 10 brand-new branch Children’s Librarians, and since then we’ve been training them — and training them — and training them!
I spent most of my career as a Children’s Librarian in various community branches, and when one is immersed in one’s job, it’s easy to lose sight of just how huge that job is. Now that I work in our Children’s Services coordinating office, one of my duties is to train our new librarians, and it has really hit home once again what an amazing and awe-inspiring group of professionals all you Children’s Librarians are.
Here are a few of the mandatory training workshops we offer to each new Children’s Librarian:
Orientation to Children’s Librarianship: A concentrated, once-over-lightly look at what it means to be a Children’s Librarian in our library system — all in 2.5 hours! Brains start to smoke gently, let me tell you.
Orientation to Collection Development: It takes an entire lifetime to hone this skill — in this half-day workshop, we try to start the process rolling in the right direction by discussing how, when, and why we purchase materials.
Collection Maintenance, Display, and Weeding: This could be called Collection Development, Part 2. In this one-on-one workshop, I meet with the new Children’s Librarian in his or her branch and we go through the whole collection section by section, discussing face-out displays, figuring out where the graphic novels should go, and of course weeding, weeding, weeding. Fun!
Service to Schools: How to work with teachers, how to make presentations to classes and faculty, and why you should never wear a short skirt to a Kindergarten class.
Grandparents and Books: An introduction to working with our beloved GAB Reading Volunteers.
Summer Reading Club: ‘Nuff said.
Programming: In this one-day workshop, we make a crazed attempt to cover every aspect of programming, from lapsit storytimes to puppet shows to storytelling to crafts, etc etc etc. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!
Bear in mind that these new Children’s Librarians are also receiving training on all sorts of other matters pertaining to their jobs, from reference interviews to employee benefits to where to find the copier key.
But are their heads spinning? Are their eyes glazed? Are they wondering what possessed them to take on such a demanding and complicated job?
No! After our last workshop, that whirlwind introduction to Programming, their eyes were shining and they couldn’t wait to get back to the branches and try out all the new things they’d learned. They were excited. They chattered about their favorite books, songs, and fingerplays as they headed out the door at the end of the day (leaving me and my fellow trainer slumped over like wrung-out washcloths — we don’t have quite as much pep as we used to).
In short, these new Children’s Librarians have the same enthusiasm and élan that seems to characterize most members of our profession. We work harder than just about anyone else (or so it feels) because we have the luck to love what we do. We get tired and bitter occasionally — but never for very long. We rejoice in our careers.
Happy Holidays and a blessed New Year to all you fabulous Children’s Librarians!