Thirty years of being a children’s librarian

Oddly enough, right as I am celebrating the 30th anniversary of graduating from library school (IU Bloomington) and beginning work at the Edgebrook Branch of the Chicago Public Library, I have just begun a new job where my primary role is NOT to be a children’s librarian any more. I still oversee Youth Services, but now it has a wonderful new supervisor and I am an Assistant Library Director.

It feels weird. I initially was very sad about it, feeling that I would lose my identity. But my oldest son Iain gave me a pep talk. He explained that in Gaelic, there are two ways of talking about work. You can either say, “I have a job of such-and-such,” or you can say, “A such-and-such is in me.” That really helped, because no matter how far up the chain of command I ever go, a children’s librarian will always be in me.

Besides, in-between reading through resumes for Business Managers, and helping with a salary study, and discussing things like servers and backup systems with the head of IT, I still get to sometimes go downstairs and put in a couple of hours on the children’s desk. I get to put on a storytime, and because I really value it now, I do a better job than before, and I delight in every minute of it.

So now I am learning new things, and I am continuing with some of the same things, like writing articles and reviews for The Horn Book and Booklist, and even though I am no longer the young–really, really young–librarian named Miss Susie, I will still have a children’s librarian inside of me. As Pete the Cat would say, it’s all good.

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This entry was posted in Management, Public libraries, Reviewing, Uncategorized, Youth Services. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Thirty years of being a children’s librarian

  1. Roger Sutton says:

    You’ll always be Miss Susie to me. Or rather, from this moment on I will never call you anything else.

  2. Carrie Morton says:

    Children are so wise… no matter what age. Thank you for being an adult that cares about, and listens to, and learns from children. It WILL always be in you, Miss Susie. ;-)

  3. Miss Susie shines through! Cheers! The library is so fortunate to be guided by your natural librarian head and heart. I love your son’s wise thoughts and will share with my grand child Sage and others – people going from management to administration. Yes, being so close to serving the patrons will help you stand back and lead others from a clear view. A good cycle. Susan, did I email you that I am working at Evanston Public Library as a circulation clerk and enjoying it greatly. I will update LinkedIn soon!. A cheery Summer to you. Linda

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