7 Qualities of Awesome Children’s Librarians

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7 Qualities of Awesome Children's Librarians from LibraryAdventure.com
An AWESOME children’s librarian is:

  • Accessible
  • Well-read
  • Expert
  • Self-Confident
  • Objective
  • Multitasker
  • Entertainer

Read on to find out how you can embody each of these qualities in your own work.

  • Accessible
    Let your patrons know you’re available to help them by greeting them when they enter the library. Always try to look approachable, even when you’re working diligently at your computer.  Make yourself available to your community by visiting local schools and businesses that serve kids and families, and making appearances at community events. Make it clear that you are there for your patrons, and that your main job is to serve them.
  • Well-Read
    Read widely. Read kids’ books, reviews of kids’ books, kidlit blogs, and anything and everything else that will inform you of the latest and greatest trends in literature and other media for kids. Wow parents and kids alike with your ability to rattle off titles, authors, and booktalks without looking anything up, and make it nearly impossible for them to stump you.
  • Expert
    Know your field. Join associations, attend conferences, register for list-servs, and connect with other librarians via social media. Take advantage of professional development opportunities, and do your best to stay informed about book awards, new technologies,  popular authors, and  library trends. Make it a point to know why you do what you do and present yourself as your library’s go-to person for all things child-related.
  • Self-Confident
    Don’t wait for outside recognition – believe that you are amazing at your job. Don’t let the hurtful words of disgruntled patrons, the frustrations of disagreements with co-workers, or the heavy demands on your limited time and resources get you down. Know that you are a valuable part of your library and the lives of the kids it serves.
  • Objective
    Kids will be the first ones to point out that something isn’t fair. To make sure everyone is truly receiving equal treatment, try not to let your personal feelings color your decisions about which books to buy, programs to offer, or rules to enforce. Be a blank slate and invite kids to bring their suggestions and feedback to you.
  • Multitasker
    Children’s librarians do it all: storytelling, booktalking, visiting schools, ordering materials, answering emails, taking phone calls, managing websites, shelving books, presenting at conferences, answering reference questions, cleaning up spills, cutting out craft templates, and many other tasks. To do each of these things well, you have to be a great multitasker. Organize yourself by developing systems for storing and locating everything you need, from summer reading registration forms, to story time schedules, to flannel board pieces.  Be prepared to switch gears quickly from silly to serious and back again, and prioritize carefully to make sure nothing important is forgotten.
  • Entertainer
    Whether you’re doing the hokey pokey in story time, teaching database research to fifth graders, or presenting to parents on back to school night, children’s librarianship requires a lot of time in the spotlight. Practice reading aloud and speaking to large groups, learn to be comfortable acting silly and above all, have fun!

Do you know any awesome children’s librarians? Feel free to give them a shout-out in the comments. I’d also love to know what qualities you think make a great children’s librarian!

Image background credit: mycutegraphics.com

About Katie Fitzgerald

Katie Fitzgerald holds degrees in English and library science, and has worked in small town and big city libraries, serving both children and teens. You can read her book reviews and posts about story time, picture books, and early literacy at Story Time Secrets. Also follow her blog on Facebook for kidlit quotations, story time suggestions, and interesting links.

Comments

  1. The Youth Services librarians at the Westerville, Ohio public library are fantastic! They are where I get MY suggestions of things to read. This is a great post for reminding us all what we need to do every day.

  2. I want to give a shout out to a VERY creative and caring children’s librarian at The Wagnalls Memorial Library in Lithopolis, Ohio. Cristy Stebelton is so patient and kind to all of the children that come into the library. She has created great programs for the students to attend. She fits this model to a T! Thanks Cristy!!

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