The Not so Glamorous Life of a Librarian

This is a bit of a downer post, but definitely some thought provoking pieces!

I’m Not a Superhero: The Stress of Library Work

“Not only are libraries tasked with providing more services for their communities using continually shrinking budgets, but librarians are being asked to take on responsibilities that far outweigh “Other Duties as Assigned.”

This is part of larger debate that I find fascinating. I went to an opioid epidemic webinar and the discussion surrounding the library’s role is very interesting. Like the author says, this is an extreme example. However, more than once I have found myself feeling like a book bartender or free therapist. I always thought “other duties as assigned” meant cleaning up vomit in storytime, not conducting homeless shelter assessments (I actually haven’t done this, but I guess my library used to do this). It’s a slippery slope because we want (and need) to stay an important figure in the community, but at what point do we stretch ourselves too thin.

Sunday Reflections: That Delicate Balance Between Quality Patron Services and Employee Personal Boundaries

“Friendliness and approachability are not the same thing as we must be social workers and counselors and personal truth tellers. In truth, most staff members don’t have the training and knowledge they need to be those things and their attempts to do so can put the library itself in a capricious position.”

At work the other day a coworker mentioned an article about the emotional toll librarianship can take on librarians and those that work in libraries. We have a few patrons who are experiencing homelessness and I know we all bring home thoughts about those people and want to help, but we also don’t have the kind of training as teachers and social workers. I was expecting the article to deal with those issues. It does (in a round about way), and it certainly discusses other important issues surrounding those that work in libraries, like sexual harassment and mental exhaustion, making it a worthy read.


ACT Prep

As chair of my library system’s Teen Team, I created and led an ACT Prep class at my library a few Saturdays ago. One of our goals as a team is to encourage work and college readiness, in addition to encourage reading etc. Lucky for me, there is a great resource called Learning Express, and it actually has study guides, practice tests, flashcards, and breaks down the various parts of the test.

I showed attendees how to create an account and we clicked through the study resources in the website. They then took practice quizzes (you can take the full practice ACT Test or practice quizzes, and since we had 1.5 hours and not 3+ we did practice quizzes), and took notes on what they needed to practice. The other great thing about this resource, is everything is saved in your account. So if one of my attendees didn’t finish the science quiz, he or she could go home and log in (or go into the library after the program and log in) and finish the quiz, and they could do that as many times as needed!

I then went over some testing guidelines from the ACT website, like what calculators are allowed and where in our area the test is offered. While I can’t say the kids had fun at the program, it certainly was informative!

Worth Reading (round 4) and Listening

More things that are worth your while exploring in the land of books and libraries!

Male authors use female(ish) pseudonyms 

In the most recent Book Riot Podcast Jeff and Amanda (Identity Squatting) and Jeff and Rebecca (Don’t @ Me) talk more in depth about men using initials or pseudonyms to attract female readership. While women have done this for many years (see J.K. Rowling and the Bronte Sisters), it feels weird and wrong for men to do it now. Especially since white men are still more likely to get published. Listen to the podcasts because the Book Riot people are much more eloquent than I ever hope to be.


Millennials are Keeping Libraries Alive!

“According to a new analysis of Pew Research Center data on US library attendance, millennials more than other generations appear to have a use for physical libraries. They may not always come for the books, but the country’s youngest adults show up.” I’m glad this article mentioned that millennials are the ones with kids and the biggest group I see coming into libraries, no matter where I’ve worked, are families. I can’t say I read all the articles on this stat, that I saw floating around the Twitterverse in the past month, but it seemed to me the parenting aspect was not mentioned often. I think, it would be even more interesting to see how many of these millennials are checking out books for themselves vs their kids. However, computer usage is also way up, whether that’s using our library computers or using library WiFi. That’s where I see the other large chunk of millennial (non-parent) usage.

Regardless, it’s nice to see a headline where Millennials aren’t killing something.


Lunch at the Library

“Librarians used to forbid any food or drink to avoid staining books and attracting pests. People who tried to sneak snacks in the stacks would be reprimanded. But in recent years, a growing number of libraries have had a major shift in policy: They are the ones putting food on the table.”



Instrument Petting Zoo

A couple weeks ago Over a month ago… I hosted an instrument petting zoo at the library. A staff member had several maracas, rainsticks and rhythm sticks at the library, and at home I have a violin, a guitar and an oboe, so something with instruments seemed like an obvious program idea.

I grouped the “orchestra instruments” (that’s what I called the oboe, violin and guitar) on one side of the room, and the “traditional instruments” (that’s what I called the maracas, rainsticks and rhythm sticks) on the other. Since I don’t actually know how to play the oboe I created QR codes to YouTube videos highlighting what each orchestra instrument is supposed to sound like. In the end, this was unnecessary since nobody used the code. I also found these lovely dioramas of the instruments, pointing out the various parts.



It was a very loose program, with no clear structure, but the kids had a lot of fun. I purposely did it that way as it took place right after storytime and I didn’t want every attendee crowding around the violin or the grabbing for the rain stick. By making it an open house kids could come and go as they pleased and spend as much time on each instrument as they wanted.


The only downside– a few homeschool kids came in expecting that I would teach them how to play each instrument. If I do a program like this again, I’ll be very, very, clear about program outcomes and expectations.

Family Storytime: Red

Opening Song


The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood


Action Rhyme:

Five Little Leaves

Five little leaves so bright and gay (hold up five fingers)

Were dancing about on a tree one day (wiggle fingers)

The wind came blowing through the town

Ooooooo……. Ooooooooo… wave arms around

One little leaf came tumbling down (bend down one finger)

Four little leaves…..

Three little leaves….

Two little leaves…

One little leaf….

Courtesy of Preschool Express


The Little Red Hen by Paul Galdone

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes


The Red Hat by David Teague

Parachute Activity

The Leaves on the Trees (to the tune of the Wheels on the Bus)

The leaves on the trees are red and brown

Red and brown, red and brown.

The leaves on the trees are red and brown,

All through the town.

The leaves on the trees are falling down,

Falling down, falling down.

The leaves on the trees are falling down,

All through the town.

The leaves on the trees make a crunching sound,

Crunching sound, crunching sound.

The leaves on the trees make a crunching sound,

All through the town.

Let’s rake the leaves into a mound,

Into a mound, into a mound.

Let’s rake the leaves into a mound

All through the town.

The children in town jump up and down,

Up and down, up and down.

The children in the town jump up and down

On the leaves on the ground.

Courtesy of Preschool Express

I pulled out the orange red and yellow scarves and put them in the middle of the parachute, and we pretended they were leaves. In retrospect, I should have added them later and had done a little something more with them at the end in the children jump up and down verse. Next time….

Closing Song

Family Storytime: Shapes

My opening song used in past storytimes is not working anymore. I think the groups are too large. When 37 people walked in last week I improvised and used the “we wave hello like this,” but that song is kind of boring. This week I decided to try something new. Hopefully the movement and ending in a seated position will also get everyone in the mood to sit and listen and get ready for storytime.


Opening Song:

“If You’re Happy and You Know It”

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands

If you’re happy and you know it and your face will surely show it

If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands.


If you’re happy and you know it stomp your feet…

If you’re happy and you know it turn around…

If you’re happy and you know it sit down (have to draw out the word sit to fit the rhythm)


Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert



Shape Monster

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Munch, munch, munch
How about a red circle for your lunch?

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Munch, munch, munch
How about a blue square for your lunch?

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Munch, munch, munch
How about a yellow triangle for your lunch?

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Munch, munch, munch
How about a green rectangle for your lunch?

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Munch, munch, munch
How about a orange oval for your lunch?

Shape Monster, Shape Monster
Munch, munch, munch
How about a purple diamond for your lunch?

Shape Monster Shape Monster
Munch, munch, munch
Hope you enjoyed your shape lunch!

Credit: A Child’s Place


I’m a Little Teapot

I’m a little teapot

short and stout

Here is my handle,

here is my spout.

When I get all steamed up

Hear me shout

Tip me over

and pour me out.


Shapes, ReShape by Silvia Borando


Action Rhyme:

Where is….?” (to the tune of Where is Thumbkin)

Where is triangle? Where is triangle?

Here I am, Here I am (make triangle with hands)

How are you today, sir? Very well, I thank you.

Run away. Run away.

Asked storytime attendees what shape to make next. We made a square, circle and heart.

Credit: Storytime Katie


Out of Shapes by Ashley G



“Make a Circle”

Make a circle, make a circle,

Draw it in the sky

Use your finger, use your finger

Make it round as pie.

Draw a square, draw a square,

Make the lines so straight.

Make a square, make a square,

Draw a box in the air.

Draw a triangle, draw a triangle,

Always start at the top.

Make a tent, make a tent,

Use three lines and stop!

Credit: Storytime Katie

I mean to draw out the shapes on the whiteboard as everyone else drew them in the air, but I forgot.

Closing Song