I often get asked by people if they should become a librarian. I literally have no idea if that risk (grad school and the subsequent leaving the workforce, taking on student debt etc) is right for everyone. I then offered to write down what a week in my life is like as a librarian. My title is Adult Services Supervisor at a city with about 45,000 people in Texas that is growing rapidly, as many cities in Texas are. There are ten full-time employees where I work, with four degreed librarians.
My position is a combination of regular adult services librarian and Circ supervisor. I am responsible for purchasing all Adult Fiction and Non-Fiction, Spanish, DVDs, and audiobooks as well as programming for Adults. In addition, I have spearheaded many new publicity initiatives such as creating a monthly calendar and newsletter and consistently posting to social media (facebook and instagram) as well as running ads for our programming. I am in charge of adult volunteers, but we have not had a ton since the pandemic (I was hired in Nov. 2020 for a librarian that was retiring.).
(note-since library positions are typically serving the public, we will often have hours outside of the normal 9-5 days, unless you are Admin or Tech Services. My library is open Mon-Sat and we rotate. We have two groups and they switch working Saturdays and one “late” night (8pm), so the week we work Saturday, we have another day that week off. I have every other Monday off so my schedule will be Monday – through Friday one week, and Tuesday through Saturday the next, giving me a three-day weekend and a one-day weekend)
This is a bit more stream of conscious than I originally thought it would be
Come in at 9AM grab coffee and print off the late notices (these are items that are a week, two weeks or three weeks late, we print a notice that we send via snail mail to patrons, I call people that are on their final notice)
Search for the new late notices that only have one item get those ready to go out in the mail as we open the door and talk to staff about our weekends. call people who are on their final late notice (3 weeks late) and ask them personally to bring in items
go to the back and make my to-do list for the day
Spent about an hour creating slides for a presentation I have to give about the library next week to a local group while my boss is out of town
spend 45 minutes driving around town putting up flyers for September programs (most likely Starbucks will not put it up on their community board only filled with Starbucks news, I have only seen something not Starbucks related once, and it was Shen Yun iykyk)
took a break and ate pipcorn and watched tiktoks
I have desk time for an hour before lunch; answered some computer questions, helped teach some people to print and issued three library cards
LUNCH at 2 – go home (four-minute commute) play with my pup, watch jeopardy, meditate
back from lunch – Pomodoro time!
spent about an hour cataloging books from a donation from a local bookstore and will give it to an assistant to finish processing
I go up to the front desk to give afternoon breaks (fun note; someone came in in spurs)
Time for a break and then read a little Ask A Manager
By the time I look up, it’s time to close the building. About 15 minutes before closing, I walk around and make sure everyone knows we’re closing, count the til and lock up.
I come in and open the building up for patrons. I get the til ready for the day and print and search the late notices. After making sure the front desk is set, I head to the back office, to look at my schedule and to do list.
Talked with my boss a little bit about an estate sale and city zoning laws. Then spent about an hour cataloging some donations books and then it’s time to be on the desk for two hours. Didn’t get my morning break but it’s pretty slow.
So while on the desk, I am trying to do a large DVD order because we are nearing the end of the fiscal year and I have been pretty stingy with my media budget. Because I am in a smaller city, DVDs still circ well here. I have to do this while hearing a toddler fussing in the kids area. I have shot the mom a mild scorning look and she doesn’t do anything. The holidays are coming up, so I am googling best Halloween and Christmas movies, seeing if they are in our catalog, and then checking to see if Midwest tape has them in stock so I can get them in the building before Oct. 1. I may resort to buying the Binge Boxes I have had my eye on. The toddler that has been crying this entire time has left the building. (with a parent, obviously)
I do end up ordering a lot of Binge Boxes that I wanted earlier in the year, but opt-out on some of the pricier Binge Boxes. I download the MARC records, upload them to our catalog and put in the order.
A creepy guy with a mask who looks like a proud boy runs in and nervously paces the back of the building. Then an attractive gentleman comes in to turn a book in. We start talking about the book and asks me for a recommendation. THIS NEVER HAPPENS and we immediately get busy as I was trying to recommend Severance. I see someone has taken Severance and hasn’t returned it and now I’m bummed again. I add another copy to an Ingram cart. The guy has wandered off as I grab a copy of Circe.
Then a lady calls and asks about the road construction happening around us. She literally talks for five minutes non-stop about this will inconvenience her going to her vet and doctor, but she has no question. Most people just want to be heard. I’m no psychic, so I am of no use to her as she wants to know how long the construction will last. This is my first hour on the desk. I do a lap around the inside of the building, my fitbit is happy.
Ok, attractive gentleman (AG) has come back to discuss Severance which I wanted to discuss before we got busy. As I was about to tell him about Severance being never returned, he said that he already looked it up and saw that and I love that so much because this person has gumption! I don’t see that often and it’s one of my favorite traits. He also says he didn’t want to bother me because we were busy. I suggested Circe and he said he already listened to the audiobook (as did I!) and we both agree that we loved it. We chat a little more and then I walk away awkwardly because I couldn’t find a way to end the conversation. I want to state again that THIS. NEVER. HAPPENS.
Made some social media posts. AG is still wandering the stacks.
AG comes back and asks for spooky recommendations. THIS NEVER HAPPENS. We talk a little, as he walks away, I look at his birthdate. Fifteen years younger than me. Damn. I hope he enjoys the Bachmann books I recommended.
Then a mom comes in and wants to find a book for her fifteen-year-old son. She is concerned about content so I point her to common sense media and realize all teen books are about suicide now and I am depressed. Most of the time, we are not recommending books to people. That’s not the majority of this job. I go to lunch.
I’m back on my BS from lunch and a large box of books has arrived from our supplier. I receive the ones that can go out now and separate the ones with street dates. I give the processing to someone out at the front desk to finish. Then I spent some time on a library forum explaining how to do a popular program. This took a little bit of time.
took a break
I like to end my day with something fun if I can so I did a deep dive into popular adult crafts that could be offered at the library. I have about twenty tabs open. leave early for the day
Come in early to make up for yesterday, have a little chat about some new policies with my boss. Coffee, notices open the drawer for the day. It’s like Groundhog Day. Right before opening we get a call from someone asking for a supervisor (she did this a few times last week) I repeat the same thing I said to her last week and when she asked, I let her know that she did not need a supervisor to get a card. She says for the fourth time that she will come in today, but I have heard that before.
Triage my to-do list, which got a couple of new things since talking to my boss.
Chatted with a coworker for a while about the forgotten Uniqlo Wake Up App and the film Singing in the Rain, then she helped me set up the meeting room and we went through my presentation.
Then I start going through a million tabs on adult crafts. I get taken away with a circulation problem that needs fixing but I spend about 30 minutes looking at crafts after.
Filled some book requests.
Took my break and went to get a skin cancer check sponsored by the City I work for. (This is more naked than I have been at work and definitely more naked than I planned to be for the day). Then I have to run to Wal Mart for iced tea for a program for next week. I have no idea what kind of tea to get so I hope everyone likes Gold Peak. I check their book section and tried to look for the game section, but I was running out of time, so I headed back to work.
I am on the desk from 11-1 Nothing too notable. It was quiet so I worked on a sign for our new drive-thru and talked with a volunteer about what we need from her.
Back from lunch and a coworker asks if I want to try pour painting since they still have it set up for a kid’s program. An hour and a half later, I have three paintings that I will hang in my bedroom.
I then go back to my cube to do some ordering and eat strawberries. I have a list of sites I have bookmarked that I check weekly for Collection Development and then I look at Ingram’s HINT list.
(This is honestly another day. I went on vacation for a bit. In fact, it’s a completely different fiscal year)
I come in and do the notices, but there is a problem with the printer, so I was out at the desk for MUCH longer than I expected helping a little with the printer. At the end of the ordeal, I asked my coworkers how many librarians does it take to print a page?
I had a program the night before and it ran to about 7:45 so we didn’t clean up last night because we closed at 8 and I was the only supervisor on that night. (The program was well-attended, but facebook made it seem like we would be inundated ((we have been before)), so I was not psyched to get only 15 people, but for an adult program, that’s pretty ok.) We had a different program in our meeting room at noon, so I had to clean up the meeting room with an assistant).
Then I spent the next hour sending in orders for the month of October (the beginning of the fiscal year!) My carts were pretty much ready to go but I have a list of things I go through so I just needed to send in the orders and keep track of my new budget year! I should be getting a ton of books soon.
Then I am on the desk for an hour. I sign up someone for a card but overall it’s a pretty uneventful hour. Off to lunch.
I’m back and have to make goody bags for next week’s program. An assistant helps me and we watch the movie we are showing next week. We’re ready to close up the library for the evening.
I again come in and do the notices but for some reason decide to start deep cleaning the meeting room. This literally took 3 and a half hours with a couple of helpers.
On the way back from lunch, I spend about an hour at the hellscape that is Walmart getting organizing bins, popcorn and a random assortment of weird stuff. Our amazon page suggestions are very strange. I am now looking for a commercial-grade popcorn popper at a reasonable price to replace our current one which was free.