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.