Ode to the Library Assistant

My path was never the librarian despite my love of libraries and literature. I never considered walking this path until college when realizing that becoming a teacher wasn’t in the cards for me. I count myself lucky for working in libraries and customer service jobs that, with the finishing of library school, positioned me to gain a full-time library position in circulation within my state’s library system.

Were the job duties simple and easy? No. Were the job duties challenging and engaging? Yes. This is my ode to the library assistant.

I first became a library assistant after graduating with my Master’s in Library and Information Science. It was a rough period, with people around me asking why I was in an entry-level position, why I don’t make enough money, why I deal with duties that do not require my degree. My go-to answer: I go in 100%. This is my challenge. Eventually I’ll move up when the time is right. I need to learn circulation first.

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Taking notes on EVERYTHING.

Let me tell you something, I have the utmost respect with circulation. They deal with the front-lines, the first phone calls, the irate and the charming first, they deal with everything I did not learn in library school. (I was fortunate to have a required class on communicating with others however there wasn’t a class strictly on Circulation.) These guys are badass, helpful, know-everythings that I wonder how the library would survive without them. I can’t survive in a library by myself without circulation. If patrons are the lifeblood of the library, circulation is the heart of it all. They ensure I do my job as a librarian well.

I would never trade my time in circulation for another job. I learned how to properly run a register in the library, how to talk to patrons better, how to make small talk and promote programs easily (I’m an introvert that is confused by small talk), how to assess books for mending, how to multitask and juggle phone calls with a patron in front of me while needing to find a book on shelf. It was my boot camp into the library world post-school, with a full-time job.

To all of you working at library assistants, I love you all for you are essential to the library machine. You do the dirty work, the grunt work, the work that needs to be done. You help make the jobs of techs, librarians, managers, and volunteers so much easier. If you move up due to experience, you’ll be better equipped to handle the position. It needs to be said: You. Are. Vital.

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Summer Reading 2018 – Calm Before the Storm

Summer Reading 2018 is here!

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Excited Haruhi Suzumiya via GIPHY

CAN YOU FEEL IT?

We got programs up the wazoo! This year we combined programs to be more family oriented. The following programs are being put together by our library:

  • Ani-Mazing Anime Programs: A continuation from before summer, bi-monthly anime showings with discussion. Three episodes shown and patrons can vote for the next episode.
  • Cosplay Your Heart Out: My good friend and awesome cosplayer will be showing cosplay techniques and thrifty shopping to create a cosplay based on your favorite pop culture character!
  • Darin Miyashiro and Co. Japanese Koto Performance: Local Koto musician Darin Miyashiro will be doing a Koto performance for patrons of all ages.
  • Every Body Rocks Family Talent Show: Families can sign up to sing or play musical instruments for an audience!
  • Family Craft Time: Family members (caregivers and teens/children) are able to sign up to do crafts together! The Children’s Librarian is in charge and taught me how to do the craft so to be in charge of a class out of three classes. I’m not a crafty person (my origami cranes are sad cranes) so this gives me hope.
  • Musical Movie Mondays: Every Monday at 3:30 pm, we’ll be showing a musical-themed movie. So far we have SingLa La LandPitch Perfect 3Moana, and Coco. All movies are up to PG-13.

Here’s to Summer Reading 2018!

Dealing with Burnout

Feeling fatigued? Want to stay in bed and recharge? See the bags under your eyes despite sleeping 8+ hours?

That could mean a lot of different things but what if it revolved around your work?

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I know that feel too via GIPHY

Tips to get yourself recharged and energized for work!

  • Do not bring work home. As a librarian, reading is part of the job, even if it means previewing a book in case patrons have questions. Sometimes you can feel overwhelmed when it’s the weekend and you’re waiting on confirmation for a program or anxious because you forgot to finish something before closing time. It’s okay. You’re not alone, I need to repeat it every day at closing. For reading, read something you want rather than reading something off your work list.
  • Log out of your email. It’s tempting but do not enable work email on your phone or your home computer. Nooooo. Nope. Nada. Keep that at work.
  • Stress-less hobby. Rather than saying “mindless”, do something that doesn’t cause you stress. For me it’s playing video games or doodling in my bullet journal. With video games, I need to monitor my stress levels and need to listen to myself when it’s time to quit a game.
  • Take a walk. Fresh air, greenery, just walking around outside is a nice change of pace after being cooped up in the office.
  • Treat. Your. Self. Finished a program you’ve been planning for 3 months? Treat yourself. Successfully completed a reference transaction? Pat yourself on the back and treat yourself. Got a negative reaction from a situation you could not control? Learn and treat yourself.
  • Vacation or Sick Day. Take a mental health day or plan a few months in advanced a couple days to refresh yourself. You need to recharge yourself but do not feel bad that your coworkers are picking up your slack. They’d want you at 100% rather than 25% and unable to provide teamwork. I feel bad calling in sick but you gotta do what you gotta do.

Self-Reflection: Stress Relief and Composure

So here and I doing my thing. It’s the last meeting for the Teen Library Council. Unfortunately all but one teen couldn’t make it. So here I am, one on one with our Teen Library Council, asking for feedback and reflect on the past year. This member is a huge anime and manga fan and is very good about suggestion which series are popular among friends and classmates in high school. We’re talking story, it’s a very chill atmosphere, and I drop my “official” demeanor and let slip some of my fangirl persona since we’re discussing a topic we mutually like.

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We must have been very relaxed because the member mentioned how I act like Retsuko of Aggretsuko fame. At the time I wasn’t familiar with the character, only knowing the anthropomorphic red raccoon was a new character amongst the cute Sanrio characters I knew of when I was a kid. Essentially the conversation turned to how, as a librarian, you present yourself professionally then you let loose with your favorite hobby. The Council Member is a huge fan of the Netflix series and encouraged me to watch it to understand how Retsuko acts. As I watched the series later that night, Retsuko is a salary woman working in accounting for a big firm. She deals with the day to day with a calm demeanor then unleashes her stress and rage at night in her own private sanctuary: a karaoke room.

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Self-reflecting on our conversation, I got this thought (and please feel free to comment). That we present ourselves as professionals to the public. My Teen Library Council had asked me questions about the job: Do you need a Master’s degree? What kind of experience would be good to work with the public? Now I look back a question I’m sure they had since it was the same when I was a kid which was How can you keep your composure? Just like Retsuko singing karaoke, my outlet is reading manga!

We all have our different ways of expressing and releasing stress from keeping a professional composure. How do you reflect your professional life? What are ways you do to release stress?

Today’s Menu for Emiya Family

Crunchyroll recently released Today’s Menu for Emiya Family, a cooking spin to the normally action-charged Fate/Stay Night anime series. Each episode is shorter than others, clocking in at a little over 12 minutes. Shiro Emiya, our protagonist, shops and cooks for the household. As this is a spin-off, he interacts with characters that are normally viewed as enemies in the main plot line with hilarious and intriguing results. I also like the portrayal of a young man who is cooking for the rest of the household, all of whom are women. Everyone cooks! Everyone eats! Everyone wins!

This has been a fairly popular series to show at my library’s ani-mazing anime programs due to how quick the episodes are. However be warned when showing this without snacks or having lunch yourself. Just be aware that if you laugh or discuss about the characters in relation to Fate/Stay Night, unless the attendees have seen it, it would be best not to bring it up and keep it light.