Biblioblog

My First Six Months as a Librarian
Jan. 16, 2024

Six months ago, I realized my dream of becoming a public librarian. Ten years ago, I started my first library job as an on-call substitute library support worker. Since then, I’ve worked in four branches in different communities. I spent some time in technical services and two years as a supervisor. Each role taught me something new, and I enjoyed them all in their own way. Yet, around six years into my library career, I realized I wanted more. I wanted to play a more significant part in building community and creating the library I wanted to see. It took three long years of working full-time and earning my MLIS online to get there finally.
 As usual, I have impeccable timing, stepping into my first librarian job when librarians are at the center of what many call a “culture war.” Book challenges have sky-rocketed since the pandemic, and even in my backyard, librarians are subject to verbal harassment at board meetings. Library support staff struggle to pay the bills and grapple with safety concerns. Even with all these challenges, I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be than in the library every day.
I wanted to take some time to document the projects I’ve worked on since becoming an adult public services librarian:
June – September 2023:
I put on my first library program as a librarian! I put together a silent dance party using library resources like Hoopla and Freegal.
I joined a fellow librarian from our district operations center to work at a local community resource fair. We gave out many library cards and information about free services available at the library.
I also started working with two local nonprofits to teach basic computer classes. It was a six-week series, and initially, my role was to provide the computers and to help set up the classroom. As the class continued, I took a more active role in assisting the instructor. I also had the opportunity to demonstrate learning resources available through the library.
I recognized a colleague for his work by nominating him for an employee recognition award. He won an honorable mention for developing a cheat sheet that staff across our library district can use.
I took over the art committee and display committees at my branch.
Art Team work: 
  • Recruited five artists for the 2024 season.
  • I met with the marketing department to get the ball rolling on a flyer that will entice artists to show their work at the library and lead classes or workshops in the future.
Display Committee work:
  • The Display Committee received great feedback on a horror-themed display in our atrium, “a patron came up to accounts and told us that they’ve been shopping the horror display next to the desk every time they come in and that they’ve checked out a few each time. They said they were books they never would have checked out independently. The patron was shocked to find out that they like horror books after all!
  • We welcomed five new members to the Display Committee and were able to plan out our displays for the next two months. The four remaining members of the Display Committee will take an active role in mentoring the newcomers.
October- December 2023:
I did a bit of outreach in October. Here’s a rundown of the events:
I continued as a facilitator for the computer basics class that started in September. I worked with a small but dedicated crew of women who began at varying experience levels. By the end, all of them had a success story to share. One woman said, “My husband was watching me practice on my computer, and he said, “Wow, you know what you’re doing now!”
I went to a resource fair at a local retirement community with a colleague from the operations center. We met many enthusiastic library users and mostly spent our time informing them about some of our lesser-known services, like passes to local museums and parks.
One of my favorite outreach events was a local Dia de Muertos/ Day of the Dead celebration that I attended with two fellow librarians. We gave out over a hundred free bilingual books and helped children create a skeleton craft. Seeing many Spanish speakers in attendance was especially great, and the children seemed to connect with the craft. At times, there was a line of kids patiently waiting for their turn to make a skeleton.
I also had the pleasure of attending the first community event by a new nonprofit organization aimed at helping adults transition out of the carceral system and keep kids out of the school-to-prison pipeline. This event had free food and gave away free Halloween costumes for kids. My colleague and I gave out candy and books while helping kids create a little monster craft. This was a fantastic event, and I hope this is the beginning of a beautiful new partnership with this group.
I worked with the Free Comic Book Day committee to solicit speakers for our Free Comic Book Day event next year.
I met with a representative from a local nonprofit that works with Latino business owners. The library has worked with this group in the past. Still, this meeting was about finding new ways to collaborate with this community organization. I invited them to attend our Community Resource Fair and recently learned they will be attending.
I attended the open house for a local community group focusing on equity work. I’m hopeful that my library will join this group.
I also confirmed three guest speakers for the upcoming Free Comic Book Day/May the Fourth Be With You program. All three are working in the local comics industry.
Art Team work:
  • The marketing department completed our Call for Artists brochure, and we have begun distributing it to art organizations and artists.
  • We have also booked all of our two-dimensional artists for 2024.
  • We have also begun incorporating the third floor into our gallery space, emphasizing art for and by children.