Friends, February 12 was a momentous occasion: It was the one-year anniversary of my first full-time library job! I have actually been celebrating a lot of anniversaries this month, including having been living on my own for a full year and having my kitties for a year. The thing I am most proud of though and feels most significant is my one-year anniversary of being a librarian! I have done library work before but this was my first year with a Librarian title and with my degree 🙂
It has definitely been A Year. I’ve had a ton of ups and downs as a librarian (okay, it feels like mostly downs, but I’m still learning I guess) and learned a TON. Today, I want to reflect and share some of the things I’ve learned in my first full year as a librarian:
- Forging relationships with teens can be hard. It’s definitely worth it, but some teens just don’t want or care about having a relationship with their librarian and I’ve had to just accept that that’s okay. This does make all the relationships I have made with teens that much more significant, and each connection I’ve made with a teen really does feel like a huge win and accomplishment, especially in the rough area I work in.
- Urban libraries are REALLY different than rural. This probably shouldn’t have been a surprise to me, but the transition from mostly rural libraries to urban was HUGE. I really feel like there should be more professional trainings on this. The urban population is definitely different and has a different set of values and experiences than a rural population as a whole, and it has been A Task to get used to that.
- A lot of library programming websites cater to suburban white kids. Or at least, I feel like the ones I’ve been mostly reading do. My work partner and I agree that a lot of the well-known library sites tend to cater toward a certain kind of kid and those interests. We’ve had to do a lot of improvising and experimenting to figure out what our kids like and what will bring them to library programs.
- Don’t take it personally. I’ve been cussed at a few times and people (mostly adults) who come into the library tend to be super rude and aggressive, but I feel like for the most part I’m improving at not taking it so personally, even though I don’t think I’ll ever not be sensitive to people cussing at me. However, I do think I’ve gotten better at realizing that lots of people who come into the library have their own issues that keep them from interacting like normal and polite people, and it probably doesn’t have anything to do with me or what I say.
- I am better at being patient and kind. For some reason, I’ve always had this fear that I’m not actually a nice person. I don’t know why, but it’s been a pervasive thought for me since I was a kid. Recently though, people have often commented at the library on how patient I am with the teens or how nice I am, and it’s made me think that maybe I am actually a kind and caring person, even though sometimes I have to fake it on bad days.
- I’m stronger than I think. I think this is the biggest lesson I have learned, and it largely has to do with the boss I really hated and was terrified of at first because she pushed me so hard to push myself, and it was really scary at the time because my anxiety and depression were horrible and I didn’t think I could do pretty much anything, even come to or stay at work sometimes. But, I’ve now done a bunch of things that I am very proud of that I couldn’t have done a year or two years ago when I first entered the library field, or in my life in general, and I largely have that boss to thank for that because whenever I try to talk myself out of doing something hard or scary, I hear her voice in my head telling me I’m stronger than I think. I think my confidence is growing, even though it feels like it’s happening very slowly at times, and that’s a lot to be happy about.
This year has been a ride but at least according to this post, I’ve learned quite a lot from my time as a librarian. I don’t know what the future will hold or if I want to continue working in this field even, but it has been a learning experience at the very least. I am very proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish this year and all the scary things I’ve pushed myself to do, and I hope that continues in the next years.