Stories With Ms. Jenna

Storytimes, Programs, Booklists, and More!

On Being a Newbie Librarian

on August 22, 2013

This month is flying by. I realized I haven’t posted in nearly two weeks, and although I’ve been busier than ever at work, I don’t have anything to show for it (yet). Our Summer Reading Program recently came to an end, and now I am an in full fall-planning mode. I’m preparing for my fall evening family storytimes and a 2nd/3rd grade book club. I’m in the progress of creating a juvenile graphic novel section, and I’m always working on ordering and withdrawing for my various juvenile collections (Audiobooks, Playaways, Music CD’s, DVD’s and Blu-Rays).

I’ve been a librarian for over two months, but it seems like I just started yesterday! I am still working on finding my place and discovering what unique ideas I can contribute. Everyday, I am learning something new. Here are a few important tips I’ve learned so far:

Making mistakes is how you learn. I’ve always been terrified of making mistakes. I’m a perfectionist, and I feel really uncomfortable when I don’t know how to do something/ discover I did something wrong… even if it’s the tiniest, most inconsequential thing. Luckily, I work with wonderful people who are understanding and helpful. I just need to keep reminding myself that a little mistake is not the end of the world. It’s how I learn to be better.

Share your passions and ideas. As a new librarian, sometimes I struggle to find that balance between learning the ropes about how everything is done here and following in those footsteps as opposed to branching out with my own ideas. I want to bring something new to the table to prove that I am valuable, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes or come in too strong trying to change too much at once. I found the best way for me to do this was just by talking to my boss and co-workers about what I am most passionate about. Then, we can work together and discuss ideas and possible projects. This is how I ended up being put in charge of creating the juvenile graphic novel section. I shared with my co-workers my love for comics, and found out they’ve been wanting a GN section for a while but everyone’s always been busy with other projects. I jumped in and said that is something I would love to do, and now that project is well underway!

Get to know your co-workers. No, you don’t have to be best friends with everyone you work with, but working together is a much more enjoyable experience when you can talk about shared interests and know who to defer to about different topics. I was a little intimidated when I started working because the rest of my department is a pretty close-knit group  of awesome ladies. I wanted to be valued for my work ethic as well as liked for my personality. I felt young and inexperienced and extremely shy. However, I really didn’t have to worry. My co-workers are all incredibly kind. I am so grateful that my first job as a librarian is alongside these wonderful women.

Have a non-work related hobby. Okay, I’ll admit, most of my free time outside of work is spent reading children’s and teen books which I’d say is very work-related. I put so much pressure on myself to know everything about children’s lit and programs and early literacy and development… However, I’m learning that sometimes I need to take a moment and step away from that whole world. I’m enjoying improving my cooking skills and am hoping to take French classes again soon. Just gotta tell myself it’s okay if I don’t read every notable children’s book that is out there.

Being a newbie librarian, I still have so much to learn. I’ve really enjoyed the experience so far though and look forward to honing my skills and becoming more involved and connected.


2 responses to “On Being a Newbie Librarian

  1. Donna Holmen says:

    I am enjoying your blog, Jenna! This was an especially thoughtful entry.

    If you are interested, there are some Facebook groups that you might enjoy. I see you are already a member of Flannel Friday. There are also groups (with some of the same FF members) called Storytime Underground; and Storytimes and More On The Go (for outreach programs). The ideas are free flowing and wonderful. If you have a problem, just ask and someone will have suggestions.


    • Jenna says:

      Thanks, Donna! I love how great youth librarians are at networking and collaborating. Thanks for the group recommendations; I’ll definitely check them out!

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