A Day in the Life of a Teen Services Librarian at a Public Library

YALSA blogger Erin Daly began a series last week titled A Day in the Life, where she described, hour-by-hour, a day in the life of a public library Youth Services Librarian. In continuation of that series, I would like to share with you a day in the life of a Teen Services Librarian in a brand-spankin’-new public library in Loudoun County, Virginia. But first, a little background:

I have served teens in libraries for over six years, in public, academic, and high school libraries. I began my career as a circulation associate then became an academic library assistant and interim school library assistant (during grad school), finally ending up a Teen services Librarian two years ago. I supervise six part-time Pages, and work with a team of two librarians and two assistants in the Teen Center. Below I describe a day in the life of me:

6:06AM: Wake-up call! I make my coffee, grab my bags, and head to the gym for a workout. I am usually here 5 days a week to help counteract all the sitting I do during my long (-ish) commute and my workday.

9:30AM: Arrive at the library, store my lunch, and head to the Teen Center. Turn on the PCs, digital display, and staff PCs to prepare for our opening in 30 minutes.

9:45AM: Attend a brief all-staff meeting led by the Person-in-Charge to discuss the day’s goings-on, any changes to the staff or schedule, special programs, etc. Today we learned that a colleague in the Children’s Department broke her leg over the weekend and will be out for 8 weeks. Discussion of possible desk-coverage followed, with promises to lend staff to the department until a substitute librarian was found.

9:50AM: As it is the end of the month, I must write my Monthly Report for my direct supervisor, the Head of Teen Services. I review my calendars for programs I hosted, meetings I attended, and projects I worked on. This is one of my favorite monthly activities because I recall all I accomplished and offiially wrap-up completed projects.

11:00AM: A professor from Marymount University visits to discuss the possibility of him leading a workshop on strategy for writing the SAT essay. This particular presenter has previously presented at other branches, therefore adding him to our calendar will require little work. He has requested compensation for hosting the workshops, so we must ask our Friends for the money. I have a conversation with my supervisor about the benefit of hosting the workshop (numerous parents and teens have requested this), and she has promised to take the matter to the Friends.

1:00PM: Lunch! I try to read one of the books I have been assigned to review as a member of the 1Book 1Community committee, but I end up talking to coworkers too much. Enrique’s Journey stays closed for another day.

2:00PM: Cover the Circulation Desk for an hour as part of the Teen Center’s weekly commitment to staff sharing in other departments. I work alongside the Head of Circulation, and we learn that we practice certain procedures and policies differently. This means that patrons are not receiving the same information by all staff. She jots down notes to discuss at her next meeting with our branch manager.

3:30PM: Work on my presentation for Staff Development Day. I am presenting Writing for Professional Journals and Blogs to thirty of my library colleagues. What began as casual blogging for YALSA turned into writing for VOYA, Virginia Libraries, YALSA, School Library Journal, and my own blog. I am excited to share my experiences with my peers.

4:00PM: Begin welcoming teens into the Teen Center. Most teens that hang out in here work on school work. A shockingly low number play in the gaming room.

5:00PM: Take a teen volunteer to the A/V section for shelving training.

5:30PM: Grab my purse and books, and head out for my 45-minute drive home. Luckily I have the beautifully narrated Seraphina by Rachel Hartman to keep me company.

**Note: You are probably wondering why I’m not detailing my patron interactions. Well, it’s because I haven’t had any yet. Sadly we don’t welcome many patrons during the day in the Teen Center. I look forward to summer when (I hope) more teens will visit.


What does your day look like? What do you think of mine? Please share in the comments!

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  1. I’m curious about something. If you already know that the teen center doesn’t see many visitors during the day (which seems obvious during the school year when they are in school), why don’t you work more evening hours when they would be there after school? Perhaps you do and it’s not reflected in this single day, but as a (hopefully) future teen services librarian, I wonder about the hours and staffing to provide service to them. It almost seems like during the school year it would be better to work more evening hours to assist them, and in the summer, be there during the day more (assuming most would be out doing stuff in the evenings). It seems to me that from my own experience with summer teens, their peak time for visiting is between lunch and dinner, and the peak time during the school year might be the time between school letting out and dinner, and then the after dinner to closing time period.

  2. Michelle,

    That is a fantastic point, just (as you said) one that wasn’t reflected in the post. Allow me to explain:

    Our busiest times for teens are weekends, so we have 2 staff members in the Teen Center each weekend. Our evenings are still not nearly as busy as we expected – which we attribute to after-school sports/clubs/school work, and the fact that the teens in this area are hyper-focused on academic success. The teens we do see in the TC after-school are using the study rooms, working in groups, and doing their school work. (We are still in awe when we see them working so dilligently. It’s not that we expected hoodlums, but we expected more “play time” than work time. We are actively working on Fall programming that suites the educational interests of our patrons, not so much entertainment.)

    Since all 5 of us cannot work every weekend (nor is there a need to do so), we spend our down-time completing other projects. We each have numerous projects we have created for ourselves and/or were asked to work on. We cover other desks, attend meetings in other areas of the county, conduct school visits, read (and write for) professional journals, supervise other employees, etc. (I;d be lying if I said I didn’t peruse and post on Facebook, as well.)

    The daytime interactions we do handle are few and far between, but are just as needed as the weekend and weeknight ones with teens. We have conversations with adults about the TC, about YA materials/programs, about public libraries and the branch, too. They come in to check out the space and we end up educating them about our work with teens, to which they respond with as much enthusiasm. That kind of advocacy is really important to us.

    Come the summer, I assume we will adapt our schedule to accomodate the need of the patrons. But being so new, it is likely something that we will do on the fly.


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