Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Two weeks ago, I canceled a program. I've never done that before. The guilt was unbelievable, but I was quite ill and there was no one else who could do it for me.

I've been cross-posting over at the ALSC and YALSA blogs lately (here, here, here), and this month, I missed my deadline. Not just missed it, I flat didn't write the post. I just totally forgot. I was horrified at myself because it's so unlike me.

Liz and I haven't been super regular posters like some of our other amazing librarian blogger friends, but I haven't had a post since June. JUNE. That's crazy, even for me.

Life at my library has been a little...difficult lately. I haven't had a branch manager (my immediate supervisor) since July. Both of the girls that work for me (a full-time position and a part-time position) unexpectedly left at the end of the summer. I spent the entire months of August and September doing three people's jobs, and y'all? I did not handle it well. In September, I did 21 programs BY MYSELF and then my body just shut down. I've taken more sick leave in the last two months than I did in the last year, which left NO ONE in my department (and then there was more guilt). Why did I try to do all of that? Because we have programming requirements and because I didn't want to disappoint the kids and because I didn't want to look bad and because there was no one else to do it and and and...the list goes on.

This post has been one of Library Lore's most successful. Read it and then come back and tell me how terrible I am at taking my own advice. I know.

Things are getting better. I have an excellent part-time assistant now and a full-time specialist starting in November. I'm telling myself over and over every day not to feel guilty for things I can't control.

I don't have much more to say other than this: We have to stop doing this to ourselves. I have to stop doing this to myself. If you're currently doing this to yourself, STOP. There has to be another way. Let us, as a community, help you find another way.

In FAR MORE FUN NEWS, Here's a list of some happenings in Ally's world:

  • Marge Loch-Wouters came to Mississippi! I met her! I had dinner with her! She's an excellent hugger! It was awesome! AHHHH!
  • My state library association conference is this week. I'm leaving today! It's one of my favorite things we can do. I recapped it last year, and I expect to have just as much fun this year.
  • I had my annual fall open house for high school students and I had 241 teens show up! WOO! My biggest program number EVER.
  • I've deciding that interviewing people is the actual worst thing ever. I hope I don't have to do it again for quite some time.

Hopefully we'll get back to a more regular posting schedule soon. Liz and I both love being part of this community. Thanks for being so supportive of us, especially on twitter. I wouldn't have survived the last few months without y'all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Some Truths About Searching for a Library Job

As a lot of you guys know, I recently resigned from my job, moved halfway across the country, and started a job as a Children’s Librarian in a new system.  Things have been busy—I’m near more friends and family, so my persona life is busier and more fulfilling.  My job is also different, but we’ll get to that later.

Right now, I want to talk about the process of switching jobs.  Keep in mind that not every case will be like mine.  However, if you’re thinking of switching jobs, or know someone who is in the process of getting a new job, I thought I would share some truths and tips with you.

 1.)   Do what is right for you.  There are a lot of different reasons to want to leave a job—maybe you want to move from librarian to branch manager, maybe you want to relocate, maybe you think your skills would be better in a position where the daily work is different.  As you begin to look for something new, you’ll be thinking a lot about the ramifications this has on the job you may be leaving, and how patrons and colleagues are affected.  Although it’s important to be gracious and make sure you are still performing all of your duties as expected, make sure that you are making the decision that is best for yourself. It’s okay to look for something where you feel professional and personal satisfaction, because sometimes if you don’t, it can start to feel like certain areas of your life are lacking.  This last point should go without saying, but don’t spend your work time on your job searching process.  That needs to be on your personal time.

 2.)    Finding a job requires resources.  When I was looking at other jobs, I would spend my evenings filling out job applications.  It was pretty tiring—I would come home, make dinner, and sit down to write cover letters or work on applications.  Although ultimately rewarding, this isn’t a particularly relaxing way of spending the evening.  In addition to taking time, I also found that I needed cash so I could travel to and from job interviews.  If you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to get a new job, make sure you’re not straining your resources.  Be sure to leave some nights for relaxation, and try to plan your finances accordingly.  For those of you who are friends of job seekers, be a good ear if they complain about paying extra for gas and being tired. It’s not easy.

 3.)   Have a sounding board (shout out to Ally here).  Maybe you want to practice interview questions, or it could just be the case that you want to rant to someone about the adventures and misadventures you get into as you search for the perfect position.  You may be very private about your desire to find a new job—and that’s okay. Try to find someone with a good ear. It’ll make you feel less frustrated as you go about the process.

 4.)   Give it time.  You may not find the right position right away, and sometimes library systems have odd hiring timelines, meaning the may not hire you right away after your interview. It’s not fun, especially if you feel you need to relocate.  Follow your gut.  If a position doesn’t feel right to you, it may not be a good fit. If there’s something you really want, make an extra effort without being pushy.  It took me seven months to land the position that was right for me.

5.)   Give it patience. Step back when you need to.  I know some people who claim to have gotten every job they’ve interviewed for, and it’s okay if you’re not one of them.  It’s okay if you get frustrated.  This is where you’ll need your sounding board.

 6.)   Network.  Never underestimate the power of professional connections.  You never know when someone will send a posting your way, or introduce you to someone in a system you’d love to work for.   And keep it up when you get that new job.  You may still want those connections one day.

I can provide information about my process that’s more personal and gets more in detail, but I wanted to share something helpful.  Hopefully these reminders have helped those if you who are or know job seekers, and otherwise, I hope it’s given you something to chew over.