New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Libraries are Awesome!

by Chrissie Morrison, YSS President

There are days when I get really stressed out from juggling all the things that come with public librarianship.  Coordinating my collection development, continuing education, program planning, and reference desk duties sometimes feels impossible.  When we’re in the midst of summer reading and the computer system goes down – taking with it the ability to look up materials, make requests, or sign people up for much-anticipated summer reading events – I get so frustrated that I want to run from the building, screaming at the top of my lungs…  But, then there are the days that remind me of exactly why I love being a Youth Services Librarian in a public library; days when I feel like there is nothing else in the world for which I could be better suited.  On days like the former, I do my best to remember the latter.
Feeling appreciated is something that helps on those really difficult days.  After all, I *chose* this career path and don’t want to feel like I wasted all of my time, effort, and money working toward my degrees and my current position.  I want to believe that I deserve this job and to know that I am not the only one who thinks so.  A little appreciation goes a long way to this end.  When my boss or a coworker recognizes the hard work that went into a collection development project, a library program, or coordinating VolunTeens, it makes the extra bits of stress worthwhile.  

And, while I value opinions of other librarians and library workers, patron appreciation sometimes holds a little more weight.  After all, it’s their taxes that fund the library in which I work.  I like knowing that they think of the library as boon to their community, not a burden.  When a child excitedly shows me his/her new library card, I can’t wait to help him/her find that very first book to check out.  When a parent comes back to report that their kids loved the books I recommended, even though they “hated reading” before, I sometimes can’t help but cheer aloud.  And when a group of teens trusts me enough to add me as an administrator to their anti-bullying Facebook group, I feel honored.  It’s moments like these that make me feel truly blessed to have found a career where I can make a difference in the lives of so many people around me.

Regardless of the old-fashioned notion that libraries are quiet places, full of shushing librarians, where people come to study or borrow dusty books, I know that libraries are vibrant community centers.  Sure, we still have books, and they are sometimes a little dustier than we would like, but we have so much more to offer our patrons.  We have storytimes in which librarians model how parents can help their children develop early literacy skills – and in which we help kids develop an association between reading and fun.  We have karaoke nights where tweens and teens can make new friends over a slice and a song.  And we have materials and programming that provide access to education, enlightenment, and education for all, regardless of socioeconomic status.  Libraries, and all of the people who work in them, are truly awesome.

As you move forward and do your best to manage the daily chaos that comes with working in the library community, I would like to leave you with a reminder.  In the wise words of the almighty Vlogbrothers and Nerdfighters everywhere, “DFTBA!”  (i.e. Don’t Forget To Be Awesome!)