Blogger Kirsten Caldwell

Avoiding Summer Burnout Before Summer Starts

Summer is youth librarians’ busiest (and most exciting) time of the year. We spend MONTHS planning for it, it happens, and then we start planning again. So how do we avoid getting summer burnout before the summer program even starts?

I have been focusing on summer nonstop for weeks. Of course, I have other things to be working on. Presentations to create, and committees to run, but summer programming absorbs most of my time (even my dreams). My brain is tired of planning and my hands are tired of cutting so here are some ways I have found work for me to avoid getting burned out before summer starts.

  1. Take walks! I am lucky enough to have my library sit on a gorgeous outdoor trail. When I desperately need a break, I can take a 15-minute walk on the trail and clear my head for a bit.
  2. Switch tasks. If I get majorly sick of cutting (I even lost feeling in my thumb for two days straight-seriously, I didn’t know this job would involve so much cutting!), I switch to a different task like creating a graphic for the reading records. Youth librarians always have about a gazillion things to work on so switching it up throughout the day can be a lifesaver.
  3. COFFEE! Or whatever other beverage you drink if you aren’t addicted to coffee like I am.
  4. Nourishment. Healthy foods give you the energy to keep on going and keep your mind clear! Even treating yourself to an unhealthy snack now and again can motivate you to get even more done.
  5. From the advice that Elisabeth wrote on the ALSC blog a few years ago, ask for help. I was getting to the point where I had so much prep work to do I didn’t know if I would finish in time. My boss and I asked the clerks for help with some tasks and they CRUSHED IT! I was so thankful and all I had to do was ask for help.
  6. Finally, my personal favorite: make a list. I LOVE lists! Crossing off the items as you finish them is so satisfying. Put the lists in order of what needs to be done first and get started. Lists help you organize your thoughts and help you not forget anything.

Summer is a super busy time and people outside of the profession may not realize how tough summer prep is. What do you do to avoid burnout?

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