Summer is upon us, hordes of children and their grown-ups are descending upon our library, circulation is going through the roof, and some days can be challenging, but the children’s staff is absolutely invigorated by all the hustle and bustle!
- Little Keeshon has lost his dad? No problem; a staffperson takes his hand and together they find dad two bookcases away.
- The storytime room is almost filled to over-capacity with toddlers and their grown-ups? No problem; the librarian presenter simply adapts and everyone – kids and adults – falls in love with her and with the books & rhymes she shares.
- An increasingly large line of families is eagerly queuing up to register for the Summer Reading Program, and a parent at the front of the line protests that her 2nd grade child is gifted and should be allowed to participate in the young adult program instead of the children’s program? No problem; the staffperson calmly tells the parent that it’s between her and her child what the child reads. If they choose to use the YA books instead of the books in the children’s section that’s fine. Crisis averted.
- Isabella is crying because she doesn’t want to leave the Library? No problem; we silently applaud mom as she calmly gets down on one knee, looks the child in the eye, and explains with a smile that they will come back another day.
- Someone has had a potty accident in the Early Learning Center? No problem; we assure the chagrined mom “we know that accidents happen” as we work to get the area cleaned up.
- There are six people waiting at the children’s “Ask Here” desk, the phone is ringing, and there are only two librarians? No problem; with a smile, a librarian makes eye contact with the waiting line and assures them that they will be helped as quickly as possible.
- A dead fish is discovered in the fish tank? No problem; a staffperson simply explains (in developmentally appropriate terms) about the cycle of life.
Several years ago, a group of librarians from many departments at my Library got together and talked about why we come to work, and more importantly, why we LIKE coming to work. The result of our discussion was a simple statement :
This is why I come to work every day:
I am passionate about what I do. I am privileged to be a steward of the public trust. I am proud to serve the community as a whole and the person in front of me now. I respect the individuality and individual needs of the people I serve. I believe the library is for everyone. I serve the needs of my community now, and serve now to benefit future generations.
I keep this note by the door of my office so I can see it every time I go out to work with the public. Some days can be challenging, but having this reminder helps. And having a great group of people to work with who share the belief that what we are doing is important is priceless.