Thursday, May 31, 2012
As a kid, I loved to play “Office.” I wanted to have a job where I would use lots of different colored pens, some stamps, and where I would fill in a lot of forms. Also, I wanted to be a ballerina. When I started to college, I wanted to be an astronomer. Turned out I’m not so wild about physics. Then I was going to be a freelance writer. Then a freelance web designer. Turns out, I need a bit more structure in my life. As I tried all these different Dream Jobs, I always either worked with kids or in a library. I babysat. I worked in daycare centers. I had an eight year run in an academic library, and I loved that because of the people I worked with and the beautiful campus I worked on. The whole time I was there, though, I never LOVED the work I did. Then Nathan got a GREAT job. His move inspired me to try something new. I got a job in a public library, and within the first month, I knew I wanted to go to library school, get my MLIS, and be a youth librarian. And so I did.
Now, I’m the Teen Librarian at the Los Gatos Library. I work in a beautiful, brand new building (after six years in an old, basementy building.) I have coworkers who are my friends, and a fantastic boss. I work a 30 hour work week, giving me two weekdays each week to do all the Mama Work that needs doing in our house. I have my own little library kingdom to run, without any concerns about managing other staff people. Every day my job is different, but there are pockets of routine that I find soothing as well. There is both plenty of flexibility and a fair bit of structure. As Goldilocks would say, it’s Just Right.
In the course of my Library work week, I will lead at least two storytime programs, select fiction and nonfiction titles for teens, work on the children’s reference desk, plan library programs, and who knows what else. Since we opened our new building, the presence of teens in our library has exploded. We’ve implemented Teen Reference Desk hours every school day afternoon. This is my chance to work with the teens in our town. I find it a little intimidating, a little exciting, and really rewarding.
We’re just about to launch our Summer Reading program. Our theme is “Own the Night,” which is fantastic for our new building and for the paranormal craze in teen literature. I’m inspired to hook new teens who may not have participated in Summer Reading before. Lure them in with pizza and prizes, keep them as life-long readers. That’s my thinking.
Probably my favorite part of the job is getting to know the families that visit the library regularly. I love going for lunch downtown and having kids whisper “It’s the library lady!” I like helping teens find their new favorite book. Just this week, I got to take a picture of one of our regular storytime moms and her brand new baby, on that baby’s very first visit to the library.I love that I get to be a part of the reading life of so many people in this town.