Stewart Bell Jr. Archives
Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Saturday, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
There is something magical about arriving on the children’s floor at Handley Library. As you enter the room, you will most likely see a smiling face (under the mask!) at the information desk. The librarians that work here love to see the wonder in children’s eyes and hear their laughter as they explore all the books and media that we have to offer. There are 3 Youth Services Assistants and 1 Children's Librarian, called a Youth Services Supervisor, here to help you find the right book, answer your questions, and present virtual programs. But have you ever wondered what these lovers of children's literature do all day? Here is a sneak peek into a day in the life of a Children's Librarian.
9am- We report to work, but we aren't open to the public yet. We start by turning on all the lights, computers and tv's on the children's floor. Then we print a report that tells us which items are “on hold” for patrons, which means they have been reserved ahead of time. We begin collecting the items on the hold list. Sometimes we only have about 20 items to find, but on Mondays or after a long weekend we could have 200 items to find! This has become a difficult task since COVID-19, because once a book is returned to the library it goes into quarantine for 72 hours. We have to figure out which items are in quarantine in the basement of the library, and we make a note on the report so we don't think the book is lost when we can't find it.
9:45am-There is a morning meeting for staff in the building. Our branch manager leads the meeting and we make sure to stand at least 6 feet apart. We find out who is here for the day and if there are any special announcements. We bring the holds down to the circulation desk so they can be processed and organized.
10am- Our doors are open! One of us is always sitting at our information desk to say hello to patrons and answer any questions. This morning we are working on a project with our picture books. We are "weeding", which is going through all the books and finding items that are older and haven't been checked out in a while, or are too worn to be checked out anymore. Once this project is done we will have sent about 1,500 books to our "book hospital" for weeding! We have found books that date back to 1980, as well as books that have been checked out so many times that the pages are falling out. Each book has to be scanned on the computer and will receive a handwritten tag before it's put in a box to be sent to Tech Services at Bowman Library. Once the whole collection is weeded, we have to reorganize the shelf. This is called “shifting”. This has been a big project that has taken the whole summer to complete, but we are almost done! We are making room for a new collection of books called “Wonderbooks”. They are books with audio for that book bound in the same item. Kids will be able to follow along as the book is read to them, but also flip to “Learning Mode” to answer a series of questions about the story. We are excited for this new interactive collection!
12:15pm- We clean tables, chairs and any computers that have been used. The assistant who is closing this evening arrives. This means she will be staying and closing up the children’s section of the library at the end of the day. With one extra person here, the morning shift can take a lunch break. We have an office in the back to sit and eat, and it’s nice to finally take a mask break!
1pm- “Take 10” time! Each assistant has a monthly individual check in with our supervisor called a “Take 10”. This is a 10 minute conversation about how things are going at work and what we have coming up in the next few weeks. It almost always last longer than 10 minutes once we get talking!
1:30pm-We check the holds list again and find any items on the list. We bring these downstairs to circulation.
1:45pm-One of the assistants is working on a new book display about voting, since the 2020 Presidential Election is coming up. She has to make a list of all the books she wants to use and get the books off the shelf. She also has to create a poster for the display on a computer program called Canva. She will take down the old display, and put up the new display.
2pm- Time to film a live program! Since we are not allowed to have in person programs due to COVID-19, we have been continuing all of our programs virtually online. Some programs are posted to our Facebook page and some are presented through Zoom. Today is Crafternoons on Zoom and we have 3 families signed up to participate. We have set up a temporary mini studio in one of our offices (the same place where we can eat lunch!) and this is where we film programs while the library is open. Our supervisor runs the computers (we use 2 for most programs!) while one of the assistants presents the program. It is a success and everyone has fun!
2:45pm-More cleaning! We like to make sure the Children’s Floor is safe for everyone.
3pm- Another assistant is preparing to present a virtual storytime. The themes for storytimes are decided way in advance so we have time to think about what we would like to present and which books to share. The storytime presenter fills out a lesson plan for her program, and decides she wants to add a craft to her storytime. She goes into the “workroom” to see which supplies she can use to make a sample craft to show participants. The “workroom” has all the supplies we need for programs and crafts such as paper, crayons, markers, glue sticks, paint, bulletin board supplies, pipe cleaners, and even food that we use for science experiments. There is also a giant paper cutter and laminator that we use frequently. The workroom has a long countertop to work on, and lots of shelves and cabinets to store all of our supplies.
4:30pm-The assistant who opened the library this morning leaves. We check the holds list one more time. There are a pile of DVDs to be put back on the shelf, so the closing assistant alphabetizes them and “shelves” them. There are employees of the library whose job is to put books back on the shelf-they are called Circulation Pages. But the DVDs were always put away by our volunteers, a group of people who donate their time to work at the library. Because of COVID-19 we are not allowed to have volunteers work right now and we miss them!
Day is Almost Done
5:30pm- We are closing at 6pm tonight so we start to perform our closing duties. We have to clean all the tables, chairs, computers and the bathrooms. We restart all the computers and turn off the tv’s. We need to check that all the doors on our floor and the floor about us are locked. We also clean “Book Bot”, our self check-out machine.
6pm-The library is now closed and we gather our personal belongings and start to head downstairs. We turn all the lights off- it’s a little scary on the second floor when it is dark! Our library is rumored to be haunted after all!
6:08pm- We are allowed to clock out for the day-we gather with other library employees to walk out as a group. The PIC, or “person in charge” is the last to leave and they set the security alarm.
We hope you have enjoyed this peek behind the scenes at Handley Library on the Children’s Floor! These are just some of the things we do in a day. Next time you visit, ask us what we are working on!