Thursday, June 19, 2014

Behind the scenes of the Children's Department

My library is closed all this week for a local festival. Instead of a regular work week, staff come in to clean and get other "behind the scenes" tasks done. I know I've met people who think being a librarian is mainly working the desk, answering questions, etc, so this may come as a surprise.

There is actually a lot more to a Children's Librarian's job than that. A day in the life of a librarian is varied and there is a lot that gets done that the public doesn't see. Here are just a few important "behind the scenes" tasks we do.
  • Collection development: A fancy term for managing all the materials at the library. Materials include books, CDs, magazines and anything else we lend out. To do this we need to buy new materials, remove out of date ones, and make sure that what we have meets our patrons' needs.

  • Program planning: We need to plan events that will get children into the library so they can check out all our great materials. These programs need to be engaging, educational and age appropriate. 

  • Program preparation: All programs are promoted through various means so people know about them. Other preparations depend on the program itself. For instance a craft program requires preparation of craft materials.

  • Decorating: Decorations add fun to the Children's Room and make it a warm and inviting space. This encourages children to feel comfortable at the library. At my library I have 3 bulletin boards I decorate regularly. I also decorate around our circulation desk and put out any seasonal decorations we may have.

  • Book displays: These are done for patron convenience and can be based on almost anything you can think of. Librarians must choose their theme, pick books and refill the display as needed.

  • Professional Development: When we aren't doing all these things we need to work to become better at our jobs. Librarians need to keep on top of trends in the field. They need to get new ideas. One way to do this is through professional reading (professional publications, librarian blogs, etc.). Attending conferences is another great way we learn and improve at what we do.
Fellow librarians do you have any other "behind the scenes" tasks you do regularly? Please share in the comments!


  1. publicity, marketing, management stuff including scheduling, and I'd also include outreach - the kids and teachers see you, but not all the "regular" patrons. A sweet grandmother once said to me, as I trudged through the parking lot hauling 3 cartons of books from my 7:30am visit to the middle school to see 200+ kids "isn't it nice that you have a break from storytime so you can sleep in and have a little vacation!" uh...sure. Add in any passive/stealth programs and exciting stuff like meetings, plunging the toilets, dealing with vendors, and, I know this will be a surprise to many patrons, but we actually get the occasional day off!

    1. Great additions! Thanks so much for sharing :)