Day in the Life of a Youth Services Manager

I am enjoying the “Day in the Life” series and thought it would be interesting to write a post from my perspective. I started in public libraries as a Children’s and YA librarian for a small system, then became the Teen Coordinator for a larger system, did some partnerships and development work for a bunch of years in that same system, then managed a library building and now coordinate services to children, youth and families in a large urban/suburban library system. This day actually happened on Monday, May 6th.

8:25 – 8:50 Arrived at work and approved timesheets. Couldn’t remember the password to open the computer-controlled shades in my office so squinted into the sun.

8:50 – 9:30 Met with Senior Librarian in our Information Services section about updates that have been long needed to the Youth Services portal, the section on our staff intranet that includes too many separate lists we have to keep up, lots of duplication of information that is in other places, and other valuable stuff we could put in a different order. We developed a joint list of the easy parts and she will lead a conversation with the Youth Services Management Team about how to best organize the rest of the stuff. Our conversation was in the context of knowing that our County will be moving to a new platform later this year and we will need to migrate to a new platform.

10 – 11 Met with staff member responsible for coordinating our Homework Hub program, as well as other responsibilities. We discussed the agenda for an upcoming Site Superviors meetings (Youth Services librarians) as well as individual site visits he and our Volunteer Services Coordinator will be conducting over the summer – wanting the meeting to be the best use of everyone’s time and also provide opportunities to share information and learn from each other.

11-12:15 Met with two other Youth Services staff to draft the initial ideas for our 2014 ask to our library foundation. We talked about pilot projects and how to budget for the many possible outcomes of those – and larger scale future projects.

12:15-12:45: Ate lunch and provided suggested edits to the latest version of a proposed logic model and evaluation plan to measure how children and caregivers are using and interacting with some of our new early learning environments in libraries. We hope to be doing a pre and post evaluation design at one of our libraries as early as this July; since there are several partners, all of which are large organizations, it’s taking awhile.

12:45 – 1:00: Talked on the phone to a Senior Librarian at one of our libraries about school visits her Youth Services librarian is conducting this month. We talked about options to accommodate these via the desk schedule and also how to plan differently for next fall.

1:10-1:25 Drove to our headquarters library (my office is in another city). On my drive I had an idea about what to do next with a large collaborative program that the library has led that is getting more challenging to manage. When I got to the library parking lot, I wrote the idea down in my notebook so I wouldn’t forget. I’ve also had some luck with recording voice memos to remind me of these kinds of ideas.

1:30 – 1:55 Met with one of the staff accountants in our Budget and Finance Department. She pointed out that one of my budget lines was underspent. That didn’t match with a contract I had recently undertaken, so I went to go talk to our Operations staff about that. While there, I checked in about a recent order of additional headphones for an Early Literacy Technology project we are piloting. Since the headphones were delayed, it had delayed the launch of our project in the building. The headphones had arrived—much joy! I called the Project Manager to let her know.

2:00 – 2:30 Phone call with a librarian who’s gathering some data for me on immersion schools in our service area. She gave me a preview of some of what she’s learning and indicated how great it would be to represent the data visually. That made me think of a staff person I know who could help her put it into google maps. I emailed him and his supervisor and put them together. (PS. I saw the google map today and it’s awesome)

2:30 – 3:30 Met with my manager today about existing vacancies in youth services throughout the system. Other things I discussed with her are the budget I’m putting together for 2014, the need for storytime training for intermittent staff and my goals for the rest of the year, as she was working on my performance review.

3:30 Emailed colleagues in the County Attorney’s Office (and the Senior Librarian in charge of this program) to follow-up on last week’s meeting about changes to our program in which youth who have been identified as truant are referred to the library to work one-on-one with Youth Services staff. We identified a new way to get more referrals right away as well as a possible new direction to test in the fall.

3:45 Tested the videoconferencing software I’m trying with Youth Services staff later this month. We have this software (and webcams) on at least one computer in every building. We’d all rather meet in person more often, but with so many libraries and so little time, it’s not practical – I hope that this might be a way for colleagues to talk together as informally or formally as they would like. I have a feeling it might really be chaotic but don’t know until we try it.

4:00 Read the staff comments on surveymonkey from a recent session we did for all staff around three of our strategic focuses this year – students, seniors and readers. We presented data for each of these groups for our service area and then led staff in an action planning exercise to identify where they could contribute – or already were – to serving these groups well. The comments were great to read – and a reminder that in a system as big as ours, there will be a wide diversity of opinions about everything.

4:15 Left work—commute from the headquarters library is long and takes forever during rush hour.

5:15 – 9:15 Family stuff

9:30 – 10:30 Read e-mail; checked calendar for next day – any meetings I didn’t prep for? Do I know where I’m going for those meetings? Any e-mails that need an immediate response? Blocked time off for future weeks so I’m not scheduled into meetings by others and still have time to save for myself for creating, connecting and collaborating!

About Maureen Hartman

I am the Division Manager for Strategic Services at the Hennepin County Library in Minnesota and a former Board member for YALSA.
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