ALA Annual 2014

Children’s Librarians in the Lead #alaac14

As anyone who has ever worked as a children’s librarian or teen librarian knows, youth services librarians are basically superheroes. Many of us do a little bit of everything in the library, even though it is probably not included in our job descriptions. This great panel session featuring three successful ladies who have risen through the ranks from children’s librarians exhibited how we can use the many facets of youth librarianship to become leaders, managers and even directors. The hour long session was absolutely packed with awesome advice but a few points especially stood out to me.

Remember that you have to give up stuff. You want to move up to a management position, great! If you are at a larger library, don’t expect to be able to keep doing that storytime program you love or order the juvenile fiction every month. You will have to take on more responsibilities and give up others that you may cherish. Think seriously before accepting a management position if programming is important to you.

Get away from the idea of “fake it till you make it”! You are awesome and you were hired for a reason. Be confident in your leadership or management position. And don’t wait to be put into a position of leadership, you can be a leader in your library everyday without being in a management position.

Children’s librarians already have many important leadership and administration qualities. We have plenty of experience with public relations, positive attitudes about our work, we manage complex events regularly (summer reading or storytime scheduling anyone?), we are creative, flexible, have good senses of humor and provide multi-generational service daily.

Finally, create and participate in a culture of innovation. Don’t be afraid of change or failing at something. Trust in your own talent and instead of asking permission to try something new, perhaps you should contemplate how you will ask for forgiveness after you try it.

Nicole Martin, Children’s Librarian, Grafton-Midview Public Library, Grafton, Ohio

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