Guest Blogger

A Day in the Life of a Children’s Librarian

Greetings from Marybeth and Taylor, two children’s librarians at public libraries in New York State. Paired though ALSC’s Mentoring Program (Marybeth, Mentor; Taylor, Mentee) we thought our core duties would be pretty similar, both being children’s librarians from the same state. Boy, were we wrong.

We decided it would be an interesting learning exercise to chart a “day in the life” of a librarian from a large (80K residents) suburban library with a children’s department staff of 15 – Marybeth –  compared with the day of a librarian from a small (12K residents) in a rural library where she- Taylor- is a youth services department of one!

Read on and please add your comments at blog’s end.

9:00 – 10:00 AM

Taylor: As soon as I get in I quickly check my email and respond to anything pressing. My general rule is that if I can answer in two minutes or less, I’ll do it right away. Otherwise, I’ll save more detailed replies for after my morning programs. This morning, I reply to a teacher about the details of an upcoming school. Afterwards, I set up for my 10:00 storytime.
Marybeth: I check my individual work email and the department’s general contact email first thing, then our librarians schedule to see if I’m on the reference desk. As of yesterday I wasn’t, but things change quickly, so it’s best to check it every morning. Run outside to take a few photos of children in a program to use on our library’s website, then off to meet with co-worker Tracy, who handles library publicity materials, for a tutorial on editing the photos with Corel.

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(Photos by Marybeth Kozikowski, Sachem Public Library)

10:00 – 11:30

Taylor: I clean up quickly after my toddler story time and set up and get ready to greet my preschool group.
Marybeth: I cover breaks for librarians on the reference desk, especially needed this morning because of two elementary school visits, bringing 150+ children into the Children’s Room. Summer-level chaos and noise.

11:30 – 12:30

Taylor: After storytimes, I clean up the community room and take lunch. I try my best not to work during lunch, but sometimes I will go through emails or catch up on the blogs I follow.
Marybeth: Checked ALSC listerv, only one response to my post asking if any libraries in ALSC-land owned or circulated a C-Pen Reader Pen. At a patron request, my department purchased one. Now to figure out how to package, promote and circulate it.

2:00 – 3:00 PM

Taylor: I start setting up for my after school program that starts at 3:45. After I set up, I settle in at my desk until the kids start arriving. I use this time to reply to those more detailed emails, check that a stack of new books was cataloged correctly, and edit my Junior Library Guild selections before they ship.
Marybeth: Library Director asked me to handle our application to host an ALA traveling exhibit, “Thinking Money For Kids.” Sounds intriguing and I’m happy for the challenge. Application deadline is three weeks away- plenty of time, I thought. Then downloaded the application to read through before starting: 15 pages. Yikes, better get moving! But for right now, it’s off to the reference desk to offer afternoon breaks to librarians out there.

3:30 – 5:00

Taylor: I have about 10 kids who come regularly to this STEM based program, and today we’re making 3D bubble wands using pipe cleaners and straws. I show the kids some examples I found online, and they get to work. Once everyone has built a wand, we test them out and see who can blow the best bubbles. By the time the program ends at 4:30, the floor and tables are covered in bubble juice and there are straw and pipe cleaner bits everywhere. I’m lucky to have one parent who is persistent about helping me clean. She wipes down the tables while I grab a mop for the floor. By 4:50, we’re done cleaning and I’m packing up to go home. I’m stopped with a readers’ advisory question, so I pull some titles I think she’ll like and I’m out the door by 5:06. I get in my car, take a deep breath and try to think about how tomorrow is a prep day, no programs!
Marybeth: Scrutinize our department’s spring program brochure, now in its final stages. Email department head with list of supplies needed for my spring programs. I’m especially looking forward to making a mug cookie with 3rd-6th graders while talking about how recipe ingredients work together like a delicious science experiment. Yum. Suddenly, the 5:00 whistle blows!

What was your day like? We’d love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below.


Today’s guest bloggers are Taylor Domenick and Marybeth Kozikowski.

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Taylor is a Children’s Librarian at the Marlboro Free Library (NY) where she works with kids of all ages. She spends way too much time on Pinterest and at craft stores. Sometimes it’s work related, usually it’s not.

Marybeth works as a Librarian II in Children’s Services at Sachem Public Library in Holbrook, NY. Along with being an ALSC Mentor, she is currently serving on the Quicklists Consulting Committee.

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

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at alscblog@gmail.com.

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