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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Am I Still a Children's Librarian?



I posted awhile back about changes in my career and since then we've been busy transitioning at my library. We're managing a lot of changes all at once, which has been stressful, but I'm excited about where all these changes are taking us.

I knew that transitioning into a new role wouldn't be easy, but to be honest it's been harder than I thought. Part of that is my own tendencies toward stress and anxiety. As I've started taking on some of the tasks of my new position but also remained doing some of the tasks of my old position (necessary since we're in the process of moving things around), I've tried to remind myself that no one expects me to do two full jobs at once. I've gotten the time-sensitive stuff done and everything else has had to wait until I'm more fully into my new position.

And that's had me thinking a lot about my old position as Youth Services Manager and not being that anymore. I've got the skills and knowledge to put on a children's program, to do storytime, to cover the Children's or Teen reference desks... but that's not going to be my job anymore. So am I still a children's librarian?

Being a children's librarian will always be part of who I am. I've offered to be a sub any time they need me. But to be really fair to my new position and to do justice to the part of my new job that's concerned with the needs of adult patrons, I'm starting to think of myself as a collection development librarian. I have to - it's my new job and one I'm really excited about.

But "children's librarian" has been my label for so long that it's hard to let it go. It's really bittersweet to think about my last (regular) baby storytime coming up in a couple of months or that I've worked at possibly my last teen after-hours program. I won't be part of our Thursday night crew anymore (lovingly called the Thursday Night Dream Team) and I will probably only rarely need to use the hashtag #SaturdayLibrarian.

As I've been winding down my time in youth services, I've realized how much that type of work took it out of me. I have loved what I do, but it's also always stressful for me to run a children's program or to work a public service desk. These are jobs where you have to be "on" even more than when you're working with your library colleagues in a more "behind the scenes" fashion. And while I will still want to jump in on the public service desks sometimes to give me a sense of how people are using our collection, it's a relief that it won't be part of my everyday work life any more.

I don't think I really have a point here... I'm just exploring what this transition has meant for me and what I've been thinking about lately as I make this change. I'm still really excited about my new position, even as I'm feeling nostalgic (already!) for the job I haven't quite left yet.

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