Yes, I can hardly believe that fourteen months has passed since my last post. Obviously I am now worried that my relevance has passed as well. In these months, I have gone from being part-time employed to being full-time employed. What a difference 20 hours makes. I am working at a public library that services five high schools in a marginalized area of a metropolitan city. What on earth do I do with my 40 hours?
It began as a fairly innocuous assignment, but quickly became a challenging turf war. Though seldom fully-staffed, our branch has a high turnover rate because everyone transfers out. The challenge for continuity of staff disadvantages the establishment in general. Librarians are the go-to when the Senior Librarian is absent and I can vouch for the fact that at least three of my week days is spent being in charge.
Now, while I am not paid for this, it is the way the system is designed. To compound the responsibility, the full-time librarian is expected to manage outreach, programming, and all manner of mandate that comes from the administration. But all of that takes a back seat to the daily duties of managing hundreds of after-school teens.
The Teen Advisory Board is the best place to put my defenses. It is this small group that helps me with small projects, collection-based and program-based. They pull inactives, weed for condition, shelf-read fiction, sort and organize floppies and media and cut out all manner of display and programming supplies. They meet almost weekly and manage to make themselves a part of the library in a big way.
Then there is the other contingent, the small dozen or so of trouble-makers, the truants, the teens whose allegiance is to idle trash talk, and idle loitering. They want to claim my library as their turf.