Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Day in the Life of a Children's Librarian

8:45a - Arrive at work, turn on lights and computers, put stuff away.

8:50a - Feed fish and frog.

8:55a - Refill book displays and straighten department.

9:00a-12:00p - On desk. Since the Summer Reading Club is wrapping up, we're getting lots of kids bringing in their logs to collect prizes.

9:10a - Print pull list and start looking for books.

9:25a - Woo! I've found all the books on the pull list. I take them over to Circ.

9:30a - Look for a few more books to fill the displays. This month (July) we have displays on the 4th of July, moon/astronauts, vacations, and National Parks. We're lucky enough to have room for several bays of display space. I like to have lots of face-out books on these displays. We generally change our displays at the beginning of the month. For the month of August we have displays on humor/funny books, adventure books, inventors, and back to school.

9:43a - Check email.

9:48a - Work on my book leveling project. A teacher in our school district requested resources for parents looking for books on certain guided reading levels. I've started compiling some book lists and we'll investigate our options as we get into the school year. (Does anyone have a leveled book section in your library? Pros & cons? Parents, teachers, what would be most helpful to you?)

While I'm on desk, I'm also answering questions. Here's a sampling:

Do you have Fancy Nancy books?
Yes, some in picture books and some in easy readers.

Can I sign up for the Summer Reading Club?
Of course!

Can you help me with this computer game? It's not working.

Where are Pippi Longstocking books?
In the chapter books under Lindgren.

(Of course, I always show patrons where the books are. I am a firm believer in Putting the Book in the Customer's Hand. Maybe because it was drilled into me when I worked at Barnes & Noble... hmm.. Still a good policy, I say!)

12:00p - Off desk, I check email.

12:15p-1:15p - Lunch time!

1:15p-2:00p - Look at some books that came in, deciding where they should go in our collection. Are they reference? Should they go in our Parents' Collection or our library professional reference collection? Hmm.

1:45p - Send out email to department about the computers and our upcoming meeting.

1:50p - Work on the agenda for the meeting.

2:00p-2:30p - I meet with Recorded Books rep. At my previous library we had a continuous order plan with Recorded Books, but my new library doesn't really have the budget for it at the current time. He shows me some of their new computer software for ESL.

2:30p - Back to work on evaluating that stack of books.

2:40p - Another phone call from someone trying to sell me something. Oy.

3:00p - Go up to the business office to ask a few budget-related questions and check the mail. Ooh, they have lifesavers and chocolates! Mmm. Afternoon snack.

3:30p - Back in my office, I continue with my stack of books.

4:00p - Check email and read PUBYAC digests.

4:45p - I need to get up from my desk, so I take a brief tour of the department to straighten and refill displays.

5:00p - Back to office, I clean up papers and shut down my computer.

5:15p - Time to go home!


Jennifer said...

Leveled readers - ooh, the pain! Our local school district and therefore our town uses Scholastic Reading Counts HEAVILY. They use to print the list of books with available quizzes (plus lexile and number of points) but then they purchased all the quizzes - thousands - so they don't do that any more. So, what we have is: I have stickered our easy reader section with red, green, blue, and black stickers. They roughly correspond to the reading levels (actually, they're mainly based on the dk readers which already have handy color coding). We have a list of lexiles for hundreds of books that was last printed out in 2007 (before the school bought the new quizzes) and the books our library owns are highlighted. Of course, that doesn't take into account missing, weeded, etc. materials. Just this year, I have started looking up the lexiles and SRC points for new books and keep a list in google sites that I print out periodically. It's a little time-consuming, but makes the parents happy. You can see the list if you go to our youth services blog,

Jazz said...

I used to work at Borders and I agree that putting the book in the customer's hands is the best method. The only times I didn't hand a person a book was when they specifically told me to point out the section they wanted because they could find it on their own.

Anonymous said...

Hi Abby, What an intersting insight into your work day. I have recently published a chilren's book ( and one of my goals is to try and get it into as many libraries as I can. Not just for the marketing aspect, but also because as a child the local library was my second home and gave me endless hours of pleasure. You obviously enjoy your work and I can remember the librarians were almost as important as the books.

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