Tis the season for antsy children who can’t wait to get out of school, grandparents who feel nostalgic for quiet libraries filled with story hours, exhausted parents, nannies who don’t want to comply with food rules, and children’s library staff who are DONE.
I can’t help but ironically sing “These are a few of my favorite things…” as I try to manage these seasonal horrors and support my staff through these times.
It’s been a hard year to be working with the public, and many of us also are dealing with family stress, trauma, the pandemic, seasonal blues, and many other stresses. It’s a lot just getting into work some days.
I have no answers. Just that let’s just gift each other with some tenderness. Give yourself permission to walk away. I like to joke with my staff that the desk isn’t the Titanic, they don’t have to go down with the ship. If you are at your limit with a patron, the desk, the day, etc… let someone know and take a break. I hope you have staff and management that support this.
When I lamented to my trusted colleague that I had a weird moment of stress with one of my staff, she left me with the following advice, “The holidays are hard.” And, I laughed and said, “Yeah, they are, but….” and so she repeated herself. “The holidays are hard.” I let the words sink in for a moment and thought about my own stress and how I have been feeling since Thanksgiving, and then tried to imagine all the stress my staff are experiencing (the parts I know about) and yeah, I get it. This is a hard time, wrapped in the pandemic blanket of doom, tied together with political stress, vaccine drama, etc; and yeah, just not the time for feeling at your best.
So swap out that blanket of doom for something fleece lined, and take a breath when you can. You got this!