Seasons of Change: My Changing Role as a Children’s Services Manager

When I originally committed to writing the December blog post for ALSC’s Managing Children’s Services Committee, I was three years into a position in a public library, serving as the Children’s Services Coordinator. The “managing” portion of my job included managing an entire department’s budget, managing the collection (ordering and weeding), hiring, scheduling, managing many full-time and part-time employees, scheduling and executing all children’s programs, and managing all children’s outreach services and programs. I was surrounded by, working closely with, and idea-sharing with other librarians daily.

When a Google alert notified me that I had an ALSC blog deadline pending earlier this month, I found myself in a new position for a new employer, and while I still manage a children’s library, I was at a loss on what to write. You see, I am now employed as an elementary school librarian, which was not as lateral of a move as I had expected. The “management” aspects of my current position still include managing the budget, collection, and programs (or now – “lessons”), but the only other people in the building that I “oversee” are children. I am now employed in a library of one. When taking the position, a large part of my decision was based on being able to work with students. I love being in direct interaction with the kids: after all, that is why I became a CHILDREN’s librarian. And I am surrounded by young patrons all day: I serve a school of 394 students and see each student twice weekly as a class, plus many times a week before or after school during open check-out.

Interacting directly with patrons from the start of my day to the very end, this next statement may come as a shock: my new position has left me feeling completely isolated. I see hundreds of beautiful, smiling readers everyday: but not one of the highly qualified, enthusiastic professionals in my building completely understands when I’m elated over my first successful upload of MARC records into a new-to-me system OR when I’m completely a wreck over a malfunction in the ILS prohibiting off-campus access to the catalog.

I am not writing this blog post to complain. I am making this (somewhat embarrassing) confession of professional loneliness to really emphasize how important our professional community is to the success of all librarians. While I have been an active member of ALSC for a few years now, I have never relied as heavily on my online cohorts as I do now. You, ALSC members I have never met in person, are my friends, my coworkers, my confidants, my fellow literacy warriors. In this season of thankfulness and in this season in my career, I am thankful for YOU! Remember that reaching out and lifting up others in our profession ensures not only that we all become better information professionals, but also it also ensures the resilience of this great vocation that we chose. Happy Holidays, ALSC!

Today’s blog post was written by Amanda Yother, the librarian at Park View Elementary School in Cookeville, TN on behalf of the ALSC Managing Children’s Services Committee.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

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