3 Things to Know Before You Work in a Public Library




1. Library service IS customer service: This means you will be required to interact with people and assist them. Yes – there will be rude patrons, crazy questions, and the occasional bodily fluid that needs cleaned up; that’s part of customer service. If you think you are above  any of those tasks, find a different career path. Don’t think that just because you’re a cataloger or IT specialist, you’ll be able to hide out in an office and squeak by without ever dealing with patrons. Not happening, buck-o. At most public libraries, every single employee will have to help a patron at some point in time.

2. Public libraries are for the public: This might seem a bit obvious, but judging by conversations with colleagues and social media posts that I’ve seen, it needs to be stated. The public includes: homeless and poor people, LGBTQ people, all races, conservatives, liberals, people of all shapes and sizes, all ages, all genders, etc… If you have any kind of prejudice that will impede you from giving each person that walks through library doors the same quality of service, then a public library is not the workplace for you. The public library should be the great equalizer and that can’t happen if there are bigoted people on staff. You don’t have to agree with everything a patron believes or does, but you can’t let it affect how you treat them.

3. Libraries are more than books: I once took a call from a grandmother who wanted to know about the process of becoming a librarian. She said her granddaughter hates computers and was looking for a career that didn’t involve them. I told her to keep looking. Technology is involved with most aspects of library service and many public libraries are offering more and more digital services: ebooks, streaming, databases, etc… In order to provide good customer service (see #1), you need to know what these services are and the basics of how to use them. Libraries also offer programs that range from coding classes and crafts to lap-sits for babies. If you want to work in a public library, you need to think outside the book.

Book Recommendations Based on Your Favorite TV Shows – Comedy Edition

Book Recommendations Based on Your Favorite TV Shows - Comedy Edition

It’s been a while since I posted my first Book Recommendations Based on Your Favorite TV Shows graphic, so I figured I should do a second. The last graphic focused on TV dramas and was a hit with our patrons on our various social media sites. I like this comedy edition better, though. It looks more polished.

Fonts Used:

mtf porkchop by MissTiina on Fontspace.

KG Tangled Up in You 2 by Mamakimberly on Fontspace.

Sharpie Mugs & Duct Tape Bookmarks

I’ve been trying to hold our Sharpie Mug Teen Crafternoon for three months now. Each month, the event had to be cancelled due to snow. SO. SICK. OF. SNOW. Anyway, I’ve rescheduled it again. Hopefully, Mother Nature doesn’t ruin another perfectly fantastic teen program.

The Sharpie mug is an easy and cheap craft (my favorite kind of craft). Sharpie Mug

Supply Costs:

Mugs – $10 for 10 mugs (Dollar Tree, baby!)

Sharpies – $0, we already have a ton of the markers at our library for various craft purposes. I suppose, if you’re flush with cash, you could shell out the extra moola for actual ceramic Sharpies. I probably could have done that, but I’m all about keeping the Benjamins.

Oven – $0. Luckily, our library has a working oven already installed in it. If yours doesn’t, I suggest borrowing a bunch of toaster ovens from coworkers and/or friends.

Total Supply Costs – $10.00

Total Craft Time: 45- 60 minutes for decorating and then baking the mugs.

Here are the Sharpie Mug instructions.

Another event that had to be rescheduled, was a tour for an after-school girls group. The plan was to have a tour of the physical library, then a quick tour of the virtual branch (aka, our website and relevant digital resources), then do a quick craft. This event has also been rescheduled for next week. The craft planned is really the quickest craft ever: duct tape bookmarks.

Duct Tape BookmarkSupply Costs:

Card stock – $0. We’ve got lots leftover from old scrap-booking programs.

Duct tape – $0. Again, program leftovers.

Scissors – $0. What library doesn’t have 15-20 pairs of scissors lying around?

Hole punches – $0. See above.

Ribbon – $0. Thanks to our Adult Programmer, for always having craft leftovers that I can steal.

Total Supply Costs – $0 (Hurrah!)

Craft time – 10-20 minutes. It took me about 5 minutes, but with a large group it always takes longer than expected.

Here are the Duct Tape Bookmark instructions.

Two New YA Displays for February

Two New Displays


It was time to switch up displays in the YA Room again. For Valentine’s Day, I did a display of favorite YA character ships. I also put up a display of YA humor titles with literary memes, mainly because I wanted a reason to display that Fifty Shades of No picture.

Blind Date with an eBook

Almost every library in the United States has a Blind Date with a Book (BDWAB) display this February.  Why wouldn’t they? It’s a great idea and patrons love it. If you don’t know, the basic concept of BDWAB is patrons check out wrapped books that have been selected and displayed by library staff. Patrons don’t know what they’ve got until they get home and unwrap the book, hence why it is called a “blind date”. Some libraries mix it up by adding short descriptions or “personal ads” on the wrapping or they might offer an incentive to check out the books. Regardless of optional pieces of flair, BDWAB encourages people to read outside their comfort zone and that’s always awesome.

I decided to see if this could somehow translate to the ebook world. For our digital library’s Facebook page, I created images with three-word descriptions of an ebook. Then I uploaded the images with a shortened link to the corresponding ebook on our OverDrive website, that way our Facebook fans don’t see the title until they actually click the link and go to our OverDrive site. I used Bitly as my url shortener, because I love Bitly and it’s an easy way to keep track of how many people are clicking the link. I plan to post an image a day throughout the whole month of February. So far, there hasn’t been much response. Our Facebook page is relatively new, so we don’t have a large fan base yet. Also, I started the campaign on a weekend and Facebook engagement is typically low on weekends. I hope to see more engagement as the month goes on. Even if the response remains low, it’s a fun experiment.

Check out the gallery below for the images I created. FYI, I used PicMonkey to make these.

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