A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

I ♥ Working in Public Libraries

by on December 3, 2012

I started working in public libraries while still  in college  in order to fill up my free time and supplement my education — while I figured out what I wanted to do with my life.  It was a part-time job that ended up shaping my future, landing me in a career that I love!

Working as a library page

My library career began as a page, in my second semester of college. My friend told me about a job opening at my local public library and I immediately wanted it.  I had always loved reading and this seemed like a perfect fit for me. I was terribly nervous, this being only my second job interview, and when I found out there would be a test I became even more so. My interviewer, later my boss, said that I would be fine and  I was since I had no trouble counting or remembering the alphabet.

I became a master at organizing and shelving library materials and, what’s more, I liked it. It was peaceful for me to go and do my work with little interruption. Working as apage was the best introduction to public libraries that I ever could have gotten. By shelving materials, I learned how everything in the collection was organized. My knowledge of the collection also allowed me to answer directional questions and get a taste of what interacting with patrons was like.

Working in circulation

Seeking a new challenge, I started working in circulation a year later.  Spending six years in circulation afforded me new experiences every day. I got to see all the material that patrons checked out and, sometimes, I even got a chance to see new material before they did. Meeting all kinds of patrons was enjoyable  and I gained more experience helping patrons.

It was four years into my circulation duties, nearing the end of my undergraduate studies, when I decided to attend library school. I could not see myself working anywhere else. Interacting with kids at the circulation desk also became enjoyable for me and I knew that I wanted to help children learn and grow.

Working as a youth librarian

I have worked in youth services for over a year now.  Starting as a substitute librarian was a great way for me to ease myself in to youth services. My time in youth services and circulation overlapped for a while but when I was offered the chance to be a full-fledged librarian, not just a substitute, I didn’t hesitate.

Being a librarian is not easy, but I get challenged every day. Trying to help someone find what they are looking for can be difficult but finally seeing the look on their face when we find it makes it all worthwhile.  Spreading the news about a good book is almost as fun for me as reading it myself.  Putting on a library storytime or program helps patrons, by entertaining and educating them, as well as me, by increasing my self-esteem and patron connections.

I will always be thankful to my friend for telling me about the library page job. My paging job led me to a love of library materials and my circulation job led me to love library patrons. I hope that my career as a librarian will be filled with endless material to look at and wonderful people to interact with.