Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Smile! Here Comes Summer Reading!

Summer Reading is almost here and for some who are reading this, it has already started! The last couple weeks before kick off day are often chaotic and filled with the stress of preparing for big events, numerous programs, decorating the department and organizing materials for all the check ins. Many children’s librarians are feeling lost in this mountain of work amidst doing numerous outreach visits. Here are some ideas and inspiration collected by the Managing Children’s Services Committee to get you and your staff to your kick off day …with a smile.


What I Wish I Knew When I Became a Manager

Nearly a year ago, I became a children’s services department head. Of course, I’ve always had a manager, so I thought I knew what I was in for when I became one. And I wasn’t totally off, but there were things I definitely did not know or expect when I started. I knew how to balance a budget, I knew how to design a schedule, but did I know exactly how hard it would be to spend out a budget or how many conflicts can possibly arise in just one week? I definitely did not.  When going from a librarian to a department head, I knew my day to day work would increase. I came in knowing I had to delegate, had to prioritize and had to effectively manage my time. But the amount of work at  times seemed, and sometimes still does, crippling. Here and there I would stay…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Time Management: Practice Strategic Underachievement

Do you nurture your work self by experimenting with new ways to meet the library’s mission? Are you known for your clever new programs? If so, like most youth services folks, you’re an idea person. We like variety. We stay current on kid trends. We keep it fresh. There’s a downside to being an idea person, though: the alluring possibilities always exceed the time to try them. “There are never enough hours to get everything done,” we might bemoan to coworkers. We feel caught between what we need to do – like scheduling – and what we want to do: projects that move the library closer to our youth services vision. This dissonance may cause us to feel perpetually behind. Or to struggle with uncertainty about whether we’re doing the “right” things. Each diminishes our energy and equilibrium, and affects our job satisfaction. What’s to be done? Let me tell…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

It’s Kindness Month!

Have you been spreading random acts of kindness this month? A small gesture of kindness can create a happy, creative, and productive work environment. Youth Services is a busy place filled with hard-working staff. A perfect place to surprise someone with a kind gesture! There is still a week left in the month. (You even have an extra leap day!) Take a few minutes to express kindness and gratitude for having each staff member on the Youth Services team. Try one of these simple ideas:

Administrative and Management Skills

Leadership and Management Reading List

While the librarian stereotype is that we spend our days reading, we all know the truth as to how busy our workdays truly are. It usually takes intention to carve out time to develop and improve our skills. A couple of books and resources that I have loved over my career include: How to Lead When You’re Not In Charge: Leveraging Influence When You Lack Authority by Clay Scroggins What I love about this title is that it is written for anyone interested in leadership. Every good organization needs leaders as they are your coworkers who inspire and motivate, but leaders aren’t always managers and many don’t have titles. Scroggins highlights various leadership lessons, such as building a support network and being a problem solver. The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhou Julie was the V.P. of Design at Facebook and…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Winter Fun for All

“It’s never too early to plan for next year!” It’s a phrase often said in libraries, and while some of us cringe at the thought of “next year,” the holiday season is a great time to reflect. For nine years, we held a blow-out Christmas event. It drew 1,500 patrons to the library on a chilly night in December for trolley rides, letters to Santa, and even Santa himself. It was an event that families looked forward to every year; something that became a holiday tradition alongside cookie making and caroling. So we kept it going, right? An annual event for 1,500 people! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But the problem was, it was broken.

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

“I Have Glitter in My Hair, and You’re Telling Me I Have to ‘Network?'”

When I started my first full-time youth services position back in the beginning of 2019, a word came up in those first conversations with my new coworkers that completely terrified me: networking. I had come from the world of teaching, and networking seemed like a very intimidating, corporate concept that seemed to have little to do with my job of planning story time themes and creating fun children’s area displays. I wasn’t even quite sure how the process worked– my mind could only conjure up images of a fancy cocktail party where everyone tried to get the ear of the “big guy” (whoever that was). Fast forward almost five years, and my idea of networking in the library is very, very different from what it was. While in 2019 I had thought about it as an unquantifiable ability that I would need in order to “get ahead,” today I think…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Developing Social Skills . . . in Your Staff

How are your social skills post-pandemic? Not your party repartee; no doubt you still sparkle there! We’re talking about your ability to listen and to communicate clearly, respectfully, and often as you lead your team at work. And about that team . . . how effective are your staff’s social skills?