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…

Uncategorized

From the Other Side: Things to Remember When Getting a New Manager

Starting a new job can be tough. You’re often overwhelmed by floods of information, meeting new people, and learning a community you may not have known before. But getting a new manager when you’re already established comes with a learning curve of its own, too! Here are some things to remember: Keep an open mind. Far easier said than done, but remember that suggestions about doing things differently, or trying something new, are probably not intended as a slight against your current practice, just an alternate way of considering things! Staff that are quick to say “no” right off the bat can end up like the boy who cried wolf: their constant objections dilute the strength of their opinions when they actually feel strongly about something. This doesn’t mean you have to go along with everything your new manager says, but if your immediate reaction is to shoot something down,…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Advocacy? Me?

kid holding books

At a recent state library association conference, I attended a great session on Everyday Advocacy. What’s that, you ask? I wondered the same thing myself before the presentation, and just 45 minutes later, I left feeling a little more knowledgeable, and a little more confident. Everyday Advocacy is the idea that we are all advocates for our profession, our libraries, and ourselves each and every day. It’s also an ALSC initiative working to equip us with the tools we need to be everyday advocates. As we build relationships, strengthen our communities, and connect with families, sometimes it’s hard to know how to talk about those things in ways that get attention. How can we empower ourselves, our colleagues, and our staff to feel prepared to engage in advocacy? One of the big take-aways from the session I attended was crafting your elevator speech. We’re all probably familiar with the idea of an…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

We Don’t Need to be Superheroes!

As we become seasoned youth services librarians, it’s natural for our professional confidence and expertise around things like child development, children’s books, and summer learning to grow. At some point, we may feel like we’ve arrived! We are now ready to dole out ALL the brilliant advice! (I don’t know about you, but I can be an insufferable advice-giver. Just ask my family!) A Deficits-Based Approach And isn’t advice-giving sort of built into our jobs as librarians? When we work on the reference desk or the public service floor, we are there under the assumption that people will have problems for us to fix. Small problems (not finding the right book) and monumental problems (food and housing insecurity among a family of regulars) cross our paths daily. No fear! We have tools in our Super Librarian belts and resources to share! But if we position ourselves as superheroes, doesn’t it…