DISCUSSION: What it’s like to work at a library

Hello everyone! I’ve been so flaky on here lately and I APOLOGIZE. Life has been hectic to say the least. New baby, new job…you know how it goes. But everything’s good and everyone’s good and I’m finally ready to share a new part of my life with you!

I just started a part-time job at my local public library and I LOVE IT. I’d been sitting on my MLS for a couple of years without doing anything with it because I already had a full-time job with great benefits and I wasn’t finding any comparable library jobs opening up in my area. Then I had my baby and I’ve been concentrating on that for a bit. In September, I saw a listing for a part-time Librarian position and it felt like good timing for me to go back to work so I applied and I got it! I started at the end of September so I’ve only been working for a couple of months, but it’s been a really great experience so far.

Right now I’m working 24 hours a week as an Adult/Teen Services & Reference Librarian. Here are some of my day-to-day duties:

  • Reference desk – This consists of helping patrons face-to-face with questions or problems they may have, book recommendations, selling internet passes, and scheduling our private study rooms.
  • Collection Development – I’m over the 900s which is mostly Travel and History. I’m in charge of maintaining the collection and purchasing new materials.
  • Various library teams – I’m currently on teams for Supplies, Inter-Library Loans, and Booklists.
  • Programming – I have yet to do any programming, but my first active teen program is scheduled for February. I’ll also be doing some family programming.
  • Professional Development/Training – My manager puts out a job chart every month with various tasks like exploring our Special Collections, making sure we know how to use various services that we provide, etc.

One of the big things that stood out to me with this library is that all librarians, even the part-timers like me, are over a collection. I think that’s so cool! I’ve loved everything that I’ve been asked to do so far, but I’m a little nervous about doing programs. I’m not really a “stand at the front of the room” kind of person…so we’ll see how that goes.

Now I’ll toss it over to you guys, do you have any questions about what it’s like to work in a library? Or, if you also work in a library, what has it been like for you?

8 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: What it’s like to work at a library

  1. I’ve worked part-time in two different small-town libraries doing everything from website management to shelving books. Working in a library is great (not only because I love books) because most people are happy in comparison to working in retail or customer service. It’s also pretty quite and I’ve always been sensitive to loud noises. All aspects of library services are fun and interesting but the simple task of shelving books is therapeutic to me. I love to organize, alphabetize and align.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on the new job! I recently started working at a library, too, though I am on the admin side of it (assistant to the CEO/Executive Director). We have a Collections department that chooses all the items, so our librarians don’t do that, but I think that sounds like one of the best jobs in the whole place. I thought I would be a little more involved with all the Collections and Programs side, but it’s actually more like working in a regular business office. Still, though, it’s a library! I hope that you’re loving it and that you will continue to do so!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely think it is depending on where you apply! I applied for another position at a different library at the same time as this one and didn’t even get called in for an interview. It’s also a lot harder to get full-time work I’ve heard.


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