Summer reading is upon us. For many librarians, registration has already begun.

Summer reading is hard, y’all. It’s fun, but it’s stressful and it tests us. So I think the thing to do is to decide beforehand that we’re going to take care of ourselves. Once we’re in it, it’s too easy to get carried away. Here’s a few quick tips:

1) Keep an eye on your overtime. At my last branch, all of my family programs were in the evening. It was just too easy to come in at the regular time and work all the way to close. I don’t care how young you are, your body cannot handle multiple 12-hour workdays. You will burn out early on and your summer will be miserable.

2) Ask for help. Do you have a staff? Delegate. If you don’t, that gets trickier. You might have to ask your manager or other non-YS library staff for help. In a perfect world, they would be thrilled to help, but we all know that’s not the case. But summer reading is NOT a one-man operation. Don’t try to do it on your own.

3) Set aside you time. Make sure you block off a specific time each week for something for you to do. Seriously. Put it in your phone, planner, or desk calendar. Do you love to read? Grab a book and hit your favorite shady spot. Are you a gamer? Grab that controller because you deserve it. Your brain needs these outlets.

4) Consider taking vacation time in the fall. When I ran a department that was in charge of running summer reading for preschool, K-6, and teens, by the end of the summer, I was totally useless. I used to save up my vacation all year and take two weeks off in August. I know this isn’t feasible for everyone, but think about taking at least a long weekend after your programs are over. You deserve it.

5) Find some support. Maybe you have an excellent support system, like coworkers at a large library system or other librarians in your area to help you get through, but if not, consider your online sources. Twitter has an active library community. Check out the hashtags #librarylife or the humorous #librarianproblems. Storytime Underground and Teen Services Underground both have active Facebook communities that encourage discussion. These resources are so valuable, both for everyday use and to remember that you’re not alone.

Happy Summer Reading, Librarians! You can do it.

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Our guest blogger from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a Library Consultant at the Mississippi Library Commission.

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For more information on summer reading check out the Summer Reading wiki entry and the Summer Reading ning.

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