Why do I love the Library? When I worked in Public Library world, we capitalized on the celebrations around Valentine’s Day and gave our patrons paper hearts to answer a prompt on and hang up. The prompt was always, “I love the Library because….” Lately, I’ve been asking myself, why do I love the Library so much?
Last year, on a whim, I applied for the ALSC Mentoring program. When I applied, I knew in the back of my head that I was considering leaving public librarianship to work in a school. I wanted someone who knew how to transfer the skills from “public library world” to “school world”, while also still being committed to ALSC, ALA and librarianship.
In August, I started a new job as a School Librarian at an innovative private school for urban youth in Trenton, NJ called Christina Seix Academy. I love it! I work with a wonderful team of people and have the privilege of building a library for our community: teachers, parents, and most importantly, students ranging from PreK 3- 8th grade. Our calendar is a little different from your average school, so by the time I started the kids had already been in class for 2 weeks, but everyone has made me feel welcomed, and the excitement that building around the new space is truly palpable.
About a two months ago now, I left my job at the Boston Public Library and moved to Pennsylvania. One of my favorite things to do while working at the BPL- and one of my favorite things about being a librarian, actually- was reader’s advisory. When it comes to Reader’s Advisory (RA), I’m like a Dr. Seuss book. I would do RA with a mouse, in a house, with a goat or on a boat. I am grateful that it is one of those things that has always come naturally to me. It’s also why I always loved purchasing books for my branches, because it allowed me to keep an eye out for books that could appeal to my most voracious, yet picky readers.
This past November, I turned 30, and a month and a half ago, my little brother turned 3. I’ll let you do the math. One of the first things that my Dad explained to my stepmom was that she would never need to buy a single book, as I, the overprotective and book-neurotic librarian sister would have it under control. Which, I think I do. Unfortunately, we are separated by distance, and while I would love nothing more than to read him a book everyday in person, it’s just not possible. Luckily, we have technology.
May 3rd will be my last day at the Boston Public Library before moving to Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I’m sad to leave Boston and my patrons, but am excited for my family’s new adventure! As I’ve been finishing my time at my branch, I’ve tried to take steps that will help my Branch Librarian and whomever my replacement is. Since at some point, we all leave our jobs, I thought I would share some things I’ve done, that may help you get the ball rolling. I should also share that this shouldn’t necessarily be done in a vacuum. If you are comfortable communicating with them, ask your Branch Librarian what would be helpful to them. I also included the Head of Youth Services in this conversation. Compile a list of performers, community partners, outreach sites, and schools you have worked with. Share their contact information, the cost of the program…
As Children’s Librarians, we are often “on”. Facing the public and helping others, even on the days that we aren’t even feeling that great ourselves. It seems that on our quest to help others and inspire their love of reading, we put ourselves and our needs on the back burner.
For the past two school years, I’ve been leading a book club at the local school. Funded by a grant geared specifically towards religious and parochial schools, the book club gives me the opportunity to connect with 5th, 6th and 7th graders in a way I normally wouldn’t.