Category Archives: General Job Stuff

Getting Yelled At

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I now get paid enough to get yelled at. Not that I didn’t get yelled at before, but now I feel like it’s my responsibility to deal with the angry patrons rather than leave them to my coworkers that are assistants and make less. Last week we had a very popular program for preschool age kids with a very limited amount of space. The program started at 10:30; we ran out of tickets at about 10:05. We did this program two days in a row, so the first day was easy. After we filled up, we could tell people to try back the next day, and most of them were okay with that.

The next day we filled up at 10:02. People were very upset. We went ahead and started the program early since everyone was already there. My coworker went in to start the program at about 10:15, and I stayed out to work the desk and deal with the continuing stream of families coming in for the program, telling them all until about 10:45 that it was full. Many of the parents argued with me, told me that it was “dumb,” “ridiculous,” and even “obnoxious” (and yes, including parents that arrived 15 minutes after the program was supposed to start). Finally, it seemed like I was done breaking the news to people.

The families that didn’t get in to the program all stayed in the children’s area, watched the program through the glass doors, and grumbled to each other about how unfair it was. One by one, the parents and grandparents that hadn’t argued with me when they first came in started coming up and yelling at me. Now, I can generally handle a couple of complainers no problem, but after literally an hour of dealing with this, I was pretty mentally exhausted. I mean, I understand that people were disappointed, but it was stated in the brochure and online that the program was limited, so they should have been prepared for the possibility that it would be full. And even if they didn’t see that, you would think that some people could be a little more understanding about it. It was the first time we had offered the program, so now we know to create a registration if we do it again.

We did end up running the program again immediately after it was over for those that had stayed. I work in a pretty rich, privileged suburb, so this is the kind of thing we have to deal with on a regular basis. A couple of months ago, a lady came in with her daughter five minutes before an hour long craft program was supposed to finish, and she told me I didn’t understand and wouldn’t let them in because I don’t have kids of my own. I mean, honestly. Anyway, as I was saying, as an introvert, I can send out enough energy to handle this kind of onslaught for only so long. I desperately needed a break to de-compress. Then I managed to face the rest of the day.

Of course, because this is my luck, as I was closing the door that evening at closing time, a girl wanted to come in. I told her we were closed. She said she just needed one thing, but it was already after the final closing announcement, almost everyone was gone, and the computers were shut down, so there was nothing I could do. She got mad at me and kicked the leaves on the ground on the way back to her mom’s car. I closed the door to the library and on that horrible day! UGH

Why I’m Useless at a Conference

Yesterday, I went to our state library conference. I have been to conferences before, but this was my first time as an official “librarian.” I mostly went to sessions, which was good for me. I can sit quietly and take notes as long as the presentation is interesting enough to keep my attention, and the ones I went to were. But there are many ways in which I’m a big fail as a librarian at a conference. One, when confronted with a favorite author, I just twisted my hands and stared. My coworkers were talking to David Levithan and another author after our first session when I came out of the bathroom, and instead of doing something cool and talking to him, I just stared at him thinking “I should really say something, but I have no idea what to say.” Then we walked away.

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Then later in the afternoon, we went into the exhibit hall. I understand that most librarians come home with boxes and bags of free books they picked up while wandering around in there, but I came home with one. And it wasn’t even one that I wanted. I know you apparently just have to ask for books that you want, and the vendors will likely reach behind their magic curtains and draw out a copy for you, but my introverted-self refused to do so. To be fair, this is also in large part because I hate clutter and “stuff” in general, so I do not want to take home a bag of books I’ll never read or a bunch of posters and random crap I’ll never use. I did get a couple more galleys from one of the sessions I attended, and decided to be happy with that. I may not even read those. We’ll see.

I hate being sold things, but also hate to be rude, so I just avoid eye contact with any vendor that looks like they want to talk to me. I will grab a chocolate if their bowl is unattended though, ;). I think the fact that I look very young helps me in that situation, in that I do not look like someone who can make any decisions for a library (and I’m not anyway). I just hate salesy-ness. And fake small talk, which also makes me terrible at making connections with strangers, even if they work in the same field and have the same interests as me.

I did however have fun with my coworkers from another branch in my system, enjoyed the sessions I attended, and ended the day with hope that someday I will be better at conferences but also okay with it if I don’t end up one of those vulture librarians who have to mail 18 boxes of crap back to their library. 🙂

Calling In

The Thursday before last my throat started hurting. Everyone at work has had a cold, so I thought maybe that’s what I was getting. I had to work that Saturday at a community event and a huge teen program we had going on at the library (235+ people). I couldn’t even make it through my 4 hours at work on Sunday.

I went to the doctor on Monday, and it turned out I had strep. By then I knew that’s what it was. I’ve had strep before and I remembered how BAD it hurt. Well after two days on the antibiotics, on Wednesday, and I had no improvement at all. My doctor told me that either I had a resistant strain or my body was just having a hard time fighting it. So… stronger antibiotics. I finally went back in to work on Friday, but I still felt pretty crappy. I think I’m finally up to 95% myself just today. Strep sucks!

But anyway, so through all that, I kept having to call/email my boss that I wasn’t coming in. My husband dropped off a note from the doctor for me and everything. The truth is my boss was really understanding and didn’t give me any grief about staying home for 4 days. This is a big deal for me because I have had supervisors who quiz me every time I call in sick, which I don’t do but once or twice a year (when I am actually sick). Growing up, we had no excuses to not go to school unless we were puking or bleeding basically. So that pretty much followed me into adulthood. And it’s really nice to have a boss that I feel like really trusts me.

I should be getting back to blogging now that I’m feeling better. I kept thinking I should be getting some posts done since all I was doing was laying on the couch while I was sick, but I just was not up for absolutely anything else. I hate strep.

Leading a Meeting

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I have been the “leader” of our Facebook committee for about a year now. We don’t have very many meetings, because we’re usually all on the same page and wouldn’t have anything to talk about. But we have a couple events and contests going on in the summer, so I wanted to call a meeting so that we could figure out the details of these things before summer sneaks up on us. I have led meetings before, but it’s always just a little awkward at first. The good thing is that I see a lot of the people on the Facebook committee outside of work, so I’m comfortable with them. But there are a few people that have recently joined that I don’t really know. When I led a meeting as an assistant, before I got the actual librarian title, I always felt a little uncomfortable, because most of the people in the meeting were technically above me. Now there are a few, but not most of them, so that helps. Anyway, the meeting yesterday went pretty well, since I know what I’m talking about with Facebook. I’ve been on the committee since it started. But I’m not always so at ease leading a meeting.

I had to lead our Teen activities committee during only my second meeting with them. It was really awkward and weird. I really didn’t know what I was talking about for the most part, and there were a lot of long silences. It’s kind of funny now actually. I guess leading meetings is the kind of thing that you just get better at with time.

As of right now, I’m content with my job. But I do think that eventually I’d like to move up into a supervisory position. Well, sometimes I think that anyway. When I talk to friends that are supervisors, I’m not so sure. 🙂

Job Duties

librarian hellThat comic has nothing to do with this post, I just like it. 🙂 Anyway, I just wanted to talk about some of my current job duties and why I might be a little overwhelmed at times.

Obviously, I work the reference desk at least a few hours a day. We recently combined the children’s information desk and the circulation desk at the library I work at, so when I’m there, I end up doing mostly circulation. In a way, it’s a bummer, because it seems like I don’t get to answer as many reference questions. But I also feel like I’m interacting with more people sitting there and helping with circulation, so that part I like. Sometimes I work on the adult desk as well, but I’m not quite as comfortable there.

I’m involved in a lot of the library system’s social media. I’m the “leader/organizer” of our Facebook committee, I write for the teen blog, I’m involved in the Pinterest team, and a coworker and I also create a puppet picture book review show for our kids blog. It’s probably one of my favorite things to do, especially since we have really good chemistry together.

Other committees I’m on are the teen committee, the puppet committee, and the new Suburban Dare committee. The teen committee has one member from each branch that plans all the teen/tween programming for that branch. Our puppet committee honestly hasn’t met in a year and a half and don’t do much right now. Suburban Dare is our new experiment in summer reading this year, basically also tying in other city departments and community activities to summer reading, so we are working on planning all the details on that.

I also do a few storytimes a week and I’m involved in our current LEGO Robotics club that we started this spring, which is a lot of fun, but does take some training and extra Saturday work. I organize outreach with the schools in our area, working with the school librarians (who are open to it) to find times for us to go visit the students at school.

Aside from all that, I’m in charge of the two teen displays we have, one a giant display case and the other a giant bulletin board. And I do some weeding and process donations.

All in all, I can’t say I find myself bored at work very often. And despite having all these things to think about, I don’t usually feel like I’m drowning. I think what I’m the most stressed about right now is the actual teen/tween programming. For the summer, we’re really focusing on tweens, so I’m planning a Minecraft party as well as a veggie derby, where the kids will make cars out of raw vegetables. I’m just in my self-conscious brain afraid that I won’t be able to pull these programs together into something good, or that I’ll be overrun with tweens after only planning for so many. I’m hoping after my first few programs, I will worry less about how everything will turn out and trust myself to know what I’m doing. But right now, I don’t!