A Day in the Life

Hi, my name’s Melissa, and I’m a Youth Services Librarian at the Arapahoe Library District, a public library in the south metro Denver area. I’ve worked here for 6 years, and my job has evolved over time from a front-line on-the-desk storytimes-and-programs librarian to…well, something else. I spend more of my time at my desk now, planning staff trainings, doing early literacy advocacy work with a state advisory group, and developing programs and services for the district. I spend some evening and weekend time on the floor and present 2 baby storytimes every week at one of our branches.

This is my day on Monday, July 27, 2009:

Get to work, set up for storytime: put out chairs, lamp, CD player, flannelboard, cushions, puppet, books, flannels. Print out and make copies of today’s storytime song sheet; place on chairs with this month’s early literacy handout. Decide final order of storytime today, and write a cheat sheet for myself. Here’s my storytime room!

CW Storytime room

All ready for storytime! Check email and Twitter, add to my to-do list for this afternoon. I also:
*Take a Doodle poll to plan meeting times for the IMLS grant I’m involved with as an advisor!
*Email a preschool teacher I’m working with to set a meeting for August–we’re going to collaborate on some play literacy and parent education events for her classroom this year.
*Read PUBYAC; I forwarded a message about gaming programs for 21+ year olds to our programming director.

Head to storytime room to greet parents!

First baby storytime…20 minutes of books, songs, and fun. The parents, grandparents, caregivers, babies and I hang out and play and talk for another 20-25 minutes after storytime is over.

Set up room for second storytime; record attendance in 2 different places, one paper, one electronic!

Second storytime! This is the same as the 9:30 show.

Record attendance for second storytime, clean room and pack up storytime. Twitter my early literacy tip for the day; check email. Someone has sent a stumper to all the librarians in the district via email, so I add my two cents. Head to home branch for the rest of the afternoon.

Stop on the way out to remind branch supervisor I won’t be back next week since we are heading into our August storytime break; we talk about possibly skipping the May storytime break next year.

I’m back at my desk at my home branch with a bowl of soup I grabbed from Panera on the way! This is the first time in several days I’ve seen the other Youth Services Librarian who works at my branch; we spend an hour chatting while I eat my soup, talking about books (she’s building a couple of YA book lists) and blogs (we’re both following the conversation about Justine Larbalestier’s book Liar and the cover controversy) and the meeting we are both going to tomorrow morning. Also, she gives me her advance copy of Fire, by Cashore; I give her a slice of the coffee cake I made for our call center team. Fair trade? Anyway, this is one of the best times of my day, touching base and sharing with her!

OK, back to work. I read my email and send notes to the other Youth Services Librarians from our meeting about our pilot After School program this past spring (for the second time; the first time I send an open-office doc instead of a MS Word doc, d’oh!) and set a meeting with our Literacy Librarian for tomorrow–we need to go over our notes for our all-day literacy-based storytime training next Tuesday. I probably also check Twitter.

Write and schedule three posts for this week for the in-house youth services blog I write for the district. All three of my ideas this week come from my Twitter network! I’m on Twitter @MelissaZD and LOVE it.

I take a call from our call center; someone needs a librarian to help him find all the major archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean. Since I spend so much of my time now in big-picture issues, training and advocacy, general adult reference questions are the hardest part of my job. I am not as quick as I used to be with searching the web, databases, or thinking of resources to try. Fortunately the other Youth Services Librarian comes up with a great link and saves the day!

I make sure I’m prepped for my 4 meetings and appointments tomorrow:
*refresh my memory of our new online training program for the meeting for all the staff who do staff training in my district (at branch 1);
*print out eval sheets for my storytime observation of a librarian doing baby storytimes (at branch 2), part of our ongoing training and mentoring of storytime providers;
*pull out training notes for LBS class for meeting with our Literacy Librarian (at branch 3);
*print map for the meeting (in downtown Denver) with other committee chairs of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy and another agency, about their possible participation in a grant proposal we want to write for next year’s LSTA grant cycle.

Now that I’m ready for tomorrow, I spend some time doing work for Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy. This is a group of librarians from all over the state who are working together to advocate for early literacy. I’m a co-chair of the Training Committee and have been running our steering committee meetings this year. I spend some time building our agenda for our next quarterly meeting, which is in a couple weeks. We’re hoping to launch a redesign of our website and I have a few tasks I need to do to help get ready for that. I send a short bio so I can be added to our next LSTA grant proposal. I start to map out what needs to happen between now and November, when we have a couple of things going on at the Colorado Association of Libraries annual conference.

I start to wrap up and get ready to go; check email and Twitter one last time, and head home.

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8 Responses to A Day in the Life

  1. Monica says:

    WELL, I don’t know about you, but I’m sure tired now! Nice work Mel. If I had realized all this day record keeping was going on today, I would have found some way to be obnoxious and get myself mentioned in your daily stream.

    So, for the record to anyone else reading this, some of Melissa’s days actually include me too. (usually just the fun ones though). She is a GREAT Youth Librarian and I am privileged to work with her and call her friend.


  2. Bobbi Newman says:

    Your story time area looks so nice! Very inviting!

  3. Melissa says:

    Thanks! I love it. We are all very comfortable in there!

  4. Melissa says:

    Monica, you’re the best, and my BEST days absolutely include you!

  5. sharon says:

    thanks for pointing me to this, melissa. I’m so glad I’m a children’s librarian, so many people doing this are academic librarians… that isn’t for me! I need puppets and other creative outlets!

  6. Melissa says:

    You’re welcome! I finally have some time tonight to sit down and read yours! I know what you mean about our job–I’m thrilled to be involved in state-wide advocacy, but I need my baby storytimes, too!

  7. Anne says:

    Your storytime area is so cute! We don’t have a program room at all at my library (le sigh!) but if we did, I imagine wishfully that it would look like yours! šŸ™‚

  8. Melissa says:

    Hi Anne! Some of our branches have a dedicated storytime room, and others don’t. I think this one is pretty sweet!

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