Administrative and Management Skills

How to look ahead…

We are in a historical moment. A pandemic. We can’t do what we have always done, and maybe that’s a good thing. I hope that our systems, our peers, and ourselves take a second or eighth look at what we have always done and see the potential to do more or rediscover what we could do. As numbers increase across the country, and more uncertainty looms with the flu season upon us, it’s getting kind of hard to go work. Even if you love it. And so many of us really do. This is a difficult time to work in the public, and it’s a difficult time to manage those who do. Psst. I don’t actually have any answers. I keep going because it’s my job, and I want to serve my community and support my staff. So, to go on… I practice safety at work. I wash my hands…

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Fire Prevention Month

October is Fire Prevention Month. If we were in more normal times, this is usually the time of year that libraries would partner with fire stations to give out helpful reminders for all ages about how to stay safe at home. Instead, we are all home, and hopefully safe! If you choose to virtually showcase some fire prevention tips this month, here are book ideas to help. I am also including a song and a felt rhyme. If you are focusing on curbside service only, consider making a firefighter bundle of books! “Five little firefighters” felt rhyme from Read, Rhyme, and Sing Note- I love felt stories because you have some creative license. You can make your firefighters look exactly as you want! This one didn’t take me too much time and I had a lot of fun thinking about how I could reflect my community back in little felt…

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

(Emotional) PPEs that aren’t supplied…

I cringe with this title, because, hopefully, the majority of these readers work somewhere that is supplying gloves, masks, and face shields in this public health crisis. But, I know better to hope for basic essentials. Instead, I wanted to talk about the PPE that lives in each and every one of us and is currently required for doing library work in a pandemic. It’s our emotional self and reserve that we need to use daily, sometimes hourly, to protect ourselves from the wear and tear of this job. P- People skills: Knowing how and when to defuse escalating situations. Giving service with a smile. (Even when it’s a snark hidden under a mask) Using a touch of humor to connect with patrons. Remembering that you can still safely connect with patrons through your sanitation shields. Meeting different users where they are- whether from 6 feet away or a screen…

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

LESS is BEST with Reopening

As the weeks and months of library closure add up… and our move back dates get pushed back for the health and safety of our locations, I think there is a lot to reimagine in how our services, buildings, spaces, and lives will be changed in that aftermath. I’ve been sheltering in place since my library closed on March 15th, and sharing an apartment with my boyfriend who still works his 8 hour days in our spare bedroom. I haven’t seen any friends during this time, sparing a drive-by to a friend’s house for her birthday in early April. When we go out, we wear masks and gloves and wash our hands compulsively after– I typically forget why I am counting and end up counting until 44 before I realize that I could have stopped at 20. We head to Costco once a month and a farmer’s market on a…

Blogger Amy Steinbauer

Balancing Low Staff and High Program Needs

Ever since I transitioned from children’s librarian to a branch manager– I have been way more obsessed with the staffing needs that is required to run a children’s department, well. Depending on your branch, location, system, or building– children’s departments probably average anywhere from 3-15 programs a week. And while it might look to some managers or admin or even patrons, that those programs just appear magically– I know all the hard work that it takes to prepare, craft, present, and manage those programs– and all the staff needed to make those dreams possible.

ALA Midwinter 2020

Exploring Philly at #alamw20

If you can manage to leave the convention center– (which with this nice weather, you should!) there is so much to eat in Philly! In the last 24 hours– I have trekked to Big Gay Ice Cream for a Salty Pimp– vanilla soft-serve cone with salt and dulce de leche sauce dipped in chocolate! If you love ice cream and the Golden Girls– check this place out! On the way to get some ice cream– you may pass a big wheel of fortune! It’s an Atlas of Tomorrow— think of an open-ended situation/problem in your life– spin the wheel and see what fortune there is to discover. When I spun the wheel, I tried to think about my career path– and I got the result of “The Streetlight” about being a beacon to others– which is how I like to think of my library work. Give it a whirl, and…

ALA Midwinter 2020

Community at #alamw20

What a day! It may have rained all day– I didn’t step outside until 5 pm- and that was just for a donut run! (Keep track readers- I grabbed three today), but things were full steam ahead at the conference! I spent the day running through the convention center and getting my usual amount of lost, while still attending some cool presentations about stress management, ALSC leadership, and of course grabbing a million books. What stuck out to me today was all the community of ALA! Everywhere you looked were people hugging and screaming and being so happy to see each other again. I loved seeing that! Through my conference years, I have met lots of conference friends– and when you don’t bring coworkers or grad school friends with you– it’s nice to know that there is community everywhere. It makes the conference seem a bit less lonely and overwhelming!…