As June looms closer and all of our programs and prizes that fit the Summer Reading Program theme have been selected, ordered, and organized it can become easy to ignore the self-care needed to keep our spirits and energy high throughout our busiest season. This is my tenth summer working as a children’s services librarian and while it took a few years, my friends and family finally realize that May through July is my tax season. These are the months where I see the most patrons, do the most labor intensive programming, and host the most storytimes for a wide range of ages.
With this in mind, I have created a list of things we can do to ensure our self-care does not go by the wayside. For while our duties will be increased our energy is finite and we must plan accordingly.
If you are introverted:
- Have an honest discussion with your family or roommates about how much alone time you will need once you arrive home from work before casual conversations are welcomed.
- Bubble baths and any other beauty routines can provide a few moments of calm and relaxation that are missing from your work day.
- Have a stack of decidedly non-juvenile books for you to escape into.
- Order some coloring books and a brand new pack of colored pencils and get ready to go to town! Order extra supplies for any little ones in your house, but be sure you make it clear that yours are yours alone and are not for sharing.
If you are extroverted:
- Plan a few fun evenings with a friend that spending time with always leaves you feeling lighter.
- Start a board game night with some friends.
- Host a pot luck dinner. This is still a party, but less labor intensive since your guests are expected to bring a dish. Bonus if you can have the whole gathering outside, because that way you only really need to make sure the path from the backyard to the bathroom is clean!
- Create a playlist of songs that make you smile and go on evening walks.
- Be a little more forgiving with yourself about household chores. If you are burnt out both at work and home then nobody is winning.
- Ask for help, both from family members and co-workers. If you are sick of setting up for programs, one of your library support staff members might relish the change of pace in their workday.
- With both family members and co-workers make sure your need for help has been clearly communicated. Preferably in print so that it can be referred to later. Before Summer Challenge starts at our branch we always make sure every staff member has been trained on what the prizes are and the steps they need to take to record how many hours the children are reporting. We also keep a binder at the children’s desk with those same instructions printed on the front cover so that they can refer to it if they forget anything.
With enough preparation beforehand, you can enjoy working with your excited young patrons at the library and have a relaxing time when you get home from work. It is important that we are able to enjoy our work in the moment during summer reading, because once August rolls around we will start our preliminary planning for next June. For summer is coming…again.
(All photos courtesy of blogger)
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: Professionalism and Professional Development
Melissa Sokol, a Children’s Services Librarian for Dayton Metro Libraries, is writing this post on behalf of the Public Awareness Committee. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org