Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Thank you and grateful for Public Libraries

Over 20 years ago I was new to America. Everything was new. I left behind my family and friends in India. I was fortunate that even before I learned to drive, I was introduced to the Public Library. I was not used to Public Libraries as we do not have them in India. I was used to school, college and university libraries, circulating libraries run out of garages or special libraries to which we had to purchase membership.

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Rock Your Next Interview!

Getting an interview for a position you are interested in is super exciting, but also can be pretty scary because many times you only have one chance to make a great impression. After 8 years of hiring for youth services positions at all levels, here are some of my tips for rocking your job interview. Be prepared to share your experience and successes. This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the amount of candidates I’ve interviewed that struggled with effectively sharing their qualifications. Before the interview, review your resume and think about how your previous experience has prepared you to succeed at this position. What are the highlights you want to be sure you share? Are there any programs, partnerships, or initiatives you helped to develop, implement, or improve? If there are any specific qualifications or skills that this position calls for, like understanding childhood development,…

Administrative and Management Skills

2019 Summer Learning on Leadership and Management

Looking over the ALSC Blog archives, I was inspired by 2017’s Summer Reading for Managers list, which included a number of stellar titles (go read them already!) As part of my own professional summer reading and podcast listening, I’ve been focusing on the topics of time management and habit change, both of which help prevent burn-out by allowing us to play the long game. Currently, I’ve been inhaling Laura Vanderkam’s work, re-reading 168 Hours, I Know How She Does It and Off the Clock. I appreciate that Vanderkam starts from an abundance mindset, instead of one of scarcity. All of us have the same 168 hours in a week, which over the course of a month provides plenty of time both for obligations and the hobbies or causes that we are passionate about. Vanderkam is a big proponent of time tracking to pinpoint when we are spending our time on…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Health Programs in the Children’s Department

Does your library put health and wellness as a priority in public programming? With the evolving role of libraries in our communities, the aspect of connecting patrons to quality health information as a goal to help them lead healthier lives is becoming more prominent in the public libraries. Frequently, conversations of health programming is confined within adult services departments or those specifically serving seniors; however, health programs are just as important in the children’s department. I recently began a job at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine where I work with public libraries on building capacity of providing health programs, information, and services around the All of Us Research Program including topics of genetics, environment, and lifestyle. In this role I’ve become more aware of the health-focused programs and services already in place and the vast possibilities of providing these topics in a public library setting. It is important…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

A Manager’s Role in Staff Self-Care

Compassion fatigue  has been a term that has been mentioned a lot recently. Compassion fatigue is “the emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events”(1). Put more simply, it can be emotionally and mentally draining to perform work, like librarianship, that requires the constant care of others in difficult situations. While helping people is a major motivating factor that I hear from library staff about why they got into the profession and why they love it so much (including myself) the experience of compassion fatigue can quickly lead to personal burnout and health problems. A good way to combat this is to engage in self-care techniques and by practicing a healthy work-life balance. However, being able to strike that emotional balance of being immersed and devoted to our work and taking time to relax and center ourselves can be tricky. In…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Summer Reading for Managers

Many of us working with kids and teens spend our reading time catching up on the books we’re excited to recommend to our readers. We encourage our patrons to continue reading and learning all through the summer so they can start the school year ready to grow. What if we did the same for ourselves? What if we carved out a little time over the summer (and all year round!) to educate ourselves on improving management skills? Here are a couple titles to start your reading journey. Please leave your suggestions for great management reading in the comments!   Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg               Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath                 Lean In: Women, Work, and the…

Professional Development

Support Your Leaders

What do you think about when you hear the phrase “support your leaders”? No matter who your mind finds, that person is likely in a position above yours, right? Maybe a director, supervisor, or even a mentor. But what about the leaders that don’t have positional authority? What about the great people on your staff, or those looking to build up their own leadership skills in your organization? Supporting future leaders, empowering them to strengthen their abilities and take on new challenges is one of the most important things a manager can do. As you think about ways to encourage the leadership skills in your staff, consider the following: Meet with your staff regularly: One-on-one meetings provide an opportunity to get to know each other, talk about your employee’s work, share feedback, ask questions, and mentor. This is a critical part of being a supportive manager and encouraging leadership. Help staff think…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Managers: Not Just for People

Being a manager or supervisor comes with a host of responsibilities, and one I’ve been thinking about lately is managing physical space. Whether it’s ensuring communal work spaces are staying organized, or paying attention to the cleanliness of your shelves and room, managers need to remember that they’re the leaders of the place in addition to the people. This doesn’t mean you should take it upon yourself to clean up a messy staff workroom every Friday, but you should set expectations about levels of organization. For example, does your staff take several weeks to return program materials (markers, crayons, tablecloths) back where they belong? If so, it’s time to ask that items be put away no more than a few days after a program. Do you notice that a bin labeled “glue sticks” or “scissors” seems to have also accumulated yarn or stickers? Make it clear that materials should go…