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Jul 10

Day in the Life of a Librarian by Andrea Lorenz

Posted on July 10, 2020 at 1:59 PM by Genesis Gaule

I can’t tell you how many times after revealing my profession I’ve been met with, “I’d love to be a librarian and read all day!” I usually chuckle and reply with “I wish I had time to read all day too!” There’s so much more to librarianship than reading (and, trust me, there would be a whole lot more of us if we COULD read all day).

So let me break it down for you and give you a glimpse into a day in the life of a librarian (Pre-CoVid-19).


7:45 am: Let yourself into the building. Turn on the tea kettle or coffee pot on the way to your desk.

7:55 am: Grab the newspapers, power on the computers, pull out all the books that have fallen into the book drop overnight to check in.

8:00 am: Check in the books and put them away along with the newspapers.

8:30 am: Check any voicemails that came in overnight and reply to ALL the email!

9:00 am: Grab the keys (and sometimes a buddy) and unlock the doors of the library! Let the people in!

9:00 am-9:45 am: Greet people who enter the building, sign them up for a computer, check in books they’ve returned and check out new books for them, oh and answer the phone!

9:45 am: Take a deep breath, down the rest of the coffee or tea, and prepare for storytime.

10:00 am: Greet every little patron by name and tell them “It’s STORYTIME!” in the happiest sing-songiest voice possible.

10:05 am: Begin storytime (after talking about new shoes, new owies, naughty things younger siblings did, and embarrassing tales that no parent ever wants to hear their child repeat – They are all in confidence, grown-ups. I won’t tell!). Read stories about ninjas or monsters, bugs or ducks or even pirates. Sing songs and dance along with 15-20 toddlers and preschoolers. Pass out the storytime craft and give step-by-step instructions and then sit back and admire all of the beautiful and unique crafts that have been produced.

10:40 am: Put away all the storytime and craft supplies.

10:45 am: Refill the coffee or tea!

11:00 am: Help check out all the books for all the storytime parents and children. Find some good read-aloud books for family time. Reach that movie on the top top shelf!

12:00 pm: LUNCH TIME! This is when you get some reading in – usually while you’re eating, but don’t spill mayo on that library book!

1:00 pm: Bounce back into the library. If it’s cold, refill the coffee or tea! If it’s hot, bring that iced coffee or tea back with you!

Hyperbolic character drawing of a person holding a broom yelling Do All the Things!

1:15 pm: Help put away all the books that everyone has brought back throughout the day. This is when you get all your steps in, walking all the way from the Easy section to Military History and back.

1:30 pm: You are approached by a library patron. They need help printing a form! Stand by their computer and help them adjust the printer settings so they can print. Walk up to the front desk with them and get their prints.

1:40 pm: Try to remember what you were doing before you started helping…….Oh shelving! Where did you put those books?

1:45 pm: Find the books and finish shelving them. Reshelve some books that were set on the ends of a shelf or are wildly out of place. Babar the Elephant definitely doesn’t belong next to the tank books.

2:15 pm: Thank your colleague for answering the phone the whole time you’ve been shelving.

2:30 pm: Work on that grant that will help fund library programs. Email potential artists, authors, and musicians to get quotes for a visit or performance. Make a budget in Excel using formulas. Write a good rationale for why the library needs grant money even though it seems obvious to you – the library is awesome, of course we deserve all the money.

3:30 pm: Take a break. Maybe squeeze a few minutes of reading in here. Or just have a snack.

3:45 pm: Set up for RALF. Talk to every teen and tween in the library and remind them that we’ll be playing board games in the large meeting room in 15 minutes and the snack this week is cheesy popcorn.

4:00 pm: Feed teens and tweens cheesy popcorn and remind them not to spill it on the floor (even though they will every time). Play UNO and Pandemic and Sushi Go with them and try to keep them relatively quiet (even though honestly you’re probably the loudest one there). Tell them about great books they should read.

4:50 pm: Remind the teens and tweens about the next RALF meeting. Vacuum up all the popcorn that got spilled on the floor. Clean up the board games and put them away.

4:57 pm: Check your email one more time. Turn off your computer. Try to clean your desk a little.

5:00 pm: Pack up your stuff and head home carrying more books than you came in with. When did you have time to check out books for yourself?!

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