Day in the Life: A Monday in the Library

What does a day in the life of a post-pandemic children’s librarian look like? Well every day is still a bit different, that’s for sure! At my library, I currently have 1-2 work from home days a week, with the rest of my days in the library. And of course, library work is much different post-pandemic. At this time, in my state, COVID vaccines will be opening up to essentially all adults around the end of March. We are still under many health orders and lots of special procedures for everyone’s safety. Some days (especially Saturdays), I may be on a public service desk for 7-8 hours out of a 9 hour day. On weekdays that is often a bit less, but the rest of that time is filled in with programs and work that can only be done in the library (department cleaning, filling subscription bundles, printing materials for future programs, etc.).

One Monday in the library, coming up!

8:50 am: Arrive at work. Return books checked out to me. For ideal social distancing, I’m currently working in the space that is regularly our Homework Help Center. Since I am headed straight to a customer service shift at 9 am, this turns into a quick dump of my brought-from-home programming supplies and moving to my first location of the day.

9 am: I’m starting my day with a greeter shift. The “Greeter” is the first person patrons see when they come into the library. We make sure that people entering the building are wearing face coverings (covering their nose and chin) and remind families to stay together. It’s a quiet morning, so I’m also able to catch up on some email.

10 am: I have the next two hours off desk, but there is plenty to do! We are at the end of our particularly busy two weeks a month of filling 25-40 subscription bundles a day. Today, we just have 26 bundles to fill. Families can fill out a form and request books for their kids each month, picked by librarians based on theme and age, and placed at the drive thru window for pickup. This services has been extremely popular at my library–with over 500 bundles to fill each month–and each bundle takes some time to curate. Keep an eye out for a post with more details on the bundle process.

10:50 am: After pulling and sorting books for about four similarly themed bundles (I’ve been focusing on same topic to try to make this process faster), I leave the books on a cart to process when I am on desk again (“process” means add titles of books to our shared bundle spreadsheet, place holds for the particular family for each of the books I’ve pulled, generate a hold slips for each bundle, and prepare the bundle to take over to the drive thru window for pickup). I pause for a quick email check and to review my Baby Storytime plans for the next day (shown above). I send links for all of my storytime activities to my coworker who will be greeting viewers in the comments.

11 am: Time off-desk in the library is limited, so soon I am on my way upstairs to the youth staff workroom. We’ve been cleaning the department in batches. Last week, I dumped a lot of the recyclables we used during baby or toddler play activities or for in-the-library craft programs that won’t be happening soon. This week, it was time to discuss some items that we simply don’t use frequently enough to keep (giant map of the U.S., record player, and more) and some items that were well-loved department play toys but aren’t easy to clean (lots of stuffed animals from our popular Imagination Station).

I’ve been cleaning in short batches of time, so this was a quick hour of doing another look around many of our cabinets to pull items to review onto a cart for everyone to look at. Plus a quick resorting of our paper area to make all of the various manila envelopes we use for distributing pick-up program kits fit on the shelves. Work on this will continue, but that was all I could manage before…

12 pm: Back on desk! Our teen room has been very quiet throughout reopening, so I bring the cart of books I pulled for subscription bundles into this space to take care of all of the computer work. That takes about the full hour, with a few more minutes to send some emails about those materials I pulled onto a cart for everyone in the youth department to review before we throw them away.

1 pm: Lunch!

2 pm: Back from lunch and working at the busier youth desk. I help with processing the last few bundles for the day before taking a look at other projects. I missed a last minute Equity & Diversity sub-committee meeting the week before, so I schedule a follow up with our E&D Specialist for Tuesday morning. I have a few more minutes to review the storytime schedule for April, in between directing families to various materials and answering questions about upcoming programs. Families REALLY want in-person storytimes back soon!

3 pm: Leaving desk, I take a few minutes to dive into Wizards & Wands planning. I chair the planning committee for this library-wide celebration of all things magic, and while we have no idea what 2021 will bring, we can start moving ahead on various projects. I update the presenters spreadsheet to include presenters we contacted (and then cancelled) in 2020 before emailing out reminders about Friday’s meeting, emailing a meeting agenda to my assistant chair, and continuing the conversation about décor plans with our Decorations Lead. There is always more work to be done here, but I need to stop because I have an afternoon storytime coming soon.

3:30 pm: Time to set up our recording studio for 4:30 pm’s Little People Big Dream’s program. This is the first time I have presented this series in the library, so it takes a little longer to setup and work through the camera frame (and it somehow still ended up at an angle–not sure what happened there). I also do a quick read through of the books I’m sharing and practice our song for getting the wiggles out.

4:30 pm: There was a little more time in there for email work, but soon it is time for storytime to begin! Learn more about this storytime in this post.

5 pm: Storytime wraps up by 5 pm, but I have to clean up and reset the storytime space so anyone filming next has a more familiar space.

5:20 pm: After about 20 minutes of cleanup, I head back over to the youth area. I help clean up some of the book displays, gather books for a future program, check out all of the books that came in for me over the weekend, and help pack up the department before the library closes at 6 pm.

Lots to share, but compared to many days, that was pretty calm! We are definitely kept busy with the multitude of activities, programs, and services we offer. Perhaps I’ll follow up next week with a work-from-home day in the life? Let me know if this look’s like your work day in the comments below.

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  1. Pingback: Day in the Life: A Tuesday Work from Home - Book Cart Queens

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