Friday, February 26, 2016

Librarian Stress Dreams: 'Tis the Season

If you sometimes have stress dreams about your job, know that you are not alone! This season, when we're planning for but not yet in the middle of Summer Reading Club, is the absolutely worst for me in terms of stress. There are so many moving parts to keep track of: a summer schedule of programs to put together, plan, and purchase supplies for; prizes to order; an online tracker to set up; school visits to schedule; shirts and supplies to order; partners to connect with; performers to book... Adding to my stress this year is that I'm going to be gone for 2 weeks in April for my wedding and honeymoon, so I'm really trying to get as much taken care of before I leave as possible!

I always keep telling myself that it's not as big a deal as I am making it out to be. What will happen if our t-shirts don't come in on time? Or the online registration isn't ready the exact day we want it?  Those would be inconvenient, of course, but no one will be harmed! We'll fix it and move on! Or we don't visit every single school? Or we only do 9 summer programs instead of 10 (or whatever)? Actually, probably no one will care. It'll be fine.

But, still, the stress shows up in my dreams. Here are the stress dreams I have had this week (that I can remember; I feel like I have had one every night this week).

The Reference Desk is So Busy It's Crazy

I dreamed that I was working the Children's reference desk with one of my other librarians and it was so busy that we were answering questions nonstop. So busy that when I reached for our notebook to record the questions we were asked*, I couldn't even find the book because it was buried under a whole bunch of other materials.

* We keep a statistics notebook and write down just briefly what topics or titles we're asked about. It's helpful to compile end of the year stats that we report to the state and also to keep track of topics or titles we're getting asked about that we don't have. The old notebooks also make good training tools when we have new staff, for them to practice searching for and finding things that patrons are likely to ask about. We do NOT write down personal or private information. 

Getting Yelled at by a Patron

Long story, but I dreamed I was getting yelled at by a patron who was unhappy about a project I had been working on for him.

Toddler Time in Chaos

I dreamed I was covering our Toddler Time program and there were about 100 kids in our little program room. I knew there was a song I was supposed to sing to open the program and I had the words but I couldn't remember the tune. Once I did remember, there seemed to be infinity verses and we kept singing and singing until all the kids had lost interest and were devolving into chaos. At this point, a little girl in the back of the room fell and hurt herself and was bleeding, but there were too many people in the room for me to get to her, so I just kept on trying to do the storytime even though she was screaming and I was trying to be heard over her.

No Photographer at my Wedding

I dreamed that I was at my wedding, getting ready to walk down the aisle when we suddenly realized that the photographer had not shown up and we hadn't seen her all day. I was scrambling around trying to get people to take pictures with their phones.

Hah, yes, with my wedding coming up in about 6 weeks, I got a wedding stress dream thrown in there for good measure! Hey, it was kind of a nice change of pace.

Anyone else having stress dreams this time of year?

PS: This happens to me every year and I wrote about it on the ALSC Blog in 2012. So, seriously, if you are stressed, you are not alone!