My (Work) Desk

I was leaving work today and realized that I have a weird desk. I mean, a really weird desk. It screams public librarian. I’ve always enjoyed blog posts where people reveal their work spaces, so I thought i’d show off mine. Today – work desk. Tomorrow – home writing desk.

Great, right? Okay, so I’ll explain –

Top row – random papers, balloons, felt pieces (for penguin craft), cup, pens (including my awesome Wimpy Kid pencil-topper), flag (from the citizenship classes I teach) ball, box of pencils (for craft), tissues, lots of books*, nerdfighter bookmark, hand sanitizer (because some books returned are just gross), library mug, paper hedgehog, crown (for being an Employee of the Year finalist), files, paper strong man (because who DOESN’T have a paper strong man on their desk?)

Bottom row – Multiple Flat Ponces**, calendar, laptop, rest of penguin craft, juggling balls (for circus program – made out of balloons and rice), Wimpy Kid diary (also for upcoming program.)

As you can see, my desk primarily acts as a resting place for craft supplies and program preparation. It’s crowded and messy most of the time. It’s colorful and crazy. And man, I love it.

* – My favorite book there is Huck Finn. A girl donated it, and it’s all annotated with her notes. But these aren’t “this is symbolic because,” notes, oh no…they’re “OMG HE IS AWFUL” notes. And I feel like THAT’S how you should read a book. She’s relating to it, responding to it. And it’s awesome.

** – My library is celebrating Florida’s 500th birthday with many programs and crafts and promotional materials. One thing we have is Flat Ponce de Leon. We’ve already given him a tour of the library. My co-worker and I are now giving him new clothes, because WHY NOT?

Life, The Universe, and Nerdfighters

Permit me to be sappy for a second.

The above video was taken last weekend. After planning it for quite a few months, my Nerdfighter Library Meetup* happened, and it couldn’t have gone better. Twenty-one awesome people showed up, 17 of which were teens (which is a very high teen count for our library. Very high.) Everyone was so nice, and so excited. We were all unified by one common interest, and it showed. And, really, by the end, I couldn’t have been happier.

That is, until one of the teens posted the above video and I kind of teared up. Because, you guys, this is my life.

At 28, I’ve had three different careers. Not jobs, careers. I was a high school English teacher. (I quite\ after a year because it was just so hard. I loved some of my students, and I would have continued for them, but there’s just so much pressure, and honestly, I was only 23 at the time. And I sucked at discipline.) I was a copyrighter/magazine editor. (Fine jobs, but I never wanted to write for myself when I was writing all day. I started hating writing because it was forced and assigned, not creative and fun.) And now I’m a librarian. (And, yeah, still a writer, too.) I was so scared to start library school because even though it sounded amazing…what if I didn’t like it? What if it was just another failed career move? I went into the degree knowing I wanted to work with teens again, and I left confident.

And now, a year and a month after I graduated, I have that job. I’m a public librarian working with teens. And for the first time in my career, I can honestly say I love my job. I know how rare it is to hear that. I know how lucky I am. And don’t think it’s all cotton candy and unicorns and happy soundtracks. There are bad days. There are bad patrons. But I get over them because I know there’s also so much more.

There’s a little boy who called me his favorite librarian after I recommended a book he ended up liking. There’s a little girl who visits me weekly, just to say hi. There’s a teen who asked for relationship advice, and other who asked for career/college advice. There are the moments I know I’ve made someone’s day better just by having the one thing they were looking for in stock. And there are teens who make videos of my events and post them to YouTube because they genuinely had a good time.

This is my job. I honestly couldn’t ask for me.

*For librarians interested, I’ll post more on planning this meetup later.

Work Photos

A photographic look into my library life:

Each month my library puts out a magazine featuring our upcoming events. Rather than using stock photos, they use pictures of staff members. So, hey, look, there’s me modeling for a Photoshop class. I’m famous! (Also, apparently I have red highlights.)

This is what I made while on the clock the other day. Clearly I missed my calling as a professional finger-paint artist. (I’m hosting a train-themed program for preschoolers in two weekends, and after storytime we’re finger painting.)

All in all, being a librarian is pretty great. We get crazy patrons, but really amazing ones, too. The biggest downside? Wanting to read everything. Seriously. My TBR pile is ridiculous.

All At Once

I’ve heard quite a few times that you should never start querying a book while pregnant. The stress, anxiety, excitement, and disappointment are enhanced due to hormones and general craziness. Well, thankfully, I’m not pregnant, and don’t plan on being for a while. HOWEVER, I am querying during a different type of stressful time.

Job hunting.

My temp job at the library (which I love) is ending in April. It was actually supposed to end earlier, but they gave me to the end of the semester. If I get offered a job prior, of course I’ll just switch jobs sooner. My bosses here are incredibly nice and supportive. (In fact, before each interview, my co-workers literally cheer me on. I can almost imagine pom poms. I love them.)

That said, I’ve been practically glued to my e-mail and phone. Each message could dictate my future! It’s crazy, and incredibly nerve wracking. And the thing is – it’s every day. Query responses don’t come in overnight, and neither do decisions after applications or interviews.

On top of it all, my best friend is in labor. Today. I’ve been texting with her husband (who, incidentally, I befriended first back in college) all morning, getting every update. (Latest update, which has been my favorite: “They broke her water. There’s a baby insider her running out of water!” If you get this reference, we’ll be friends forever.)

So perhaps this wasn’t the best time to query, but honestly…I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Despite the stress and anxiety, it’s thrilling. Each “1 new message” could change my whole future. I live for moments like that.

You never know what might happen, right?

More on this later…

Librarian Up For Grabs

I’m currently in an interesting position with my career. I finished my graduate degree in August and was hired as a Reference Librarian the week I graduated. It was amazing, really, and I was fully aware of how lucky I was. The job, while supreme, was temporary, but that was okay. I felt like it was meant to be.

And it has been. I truly have loved every moment of working as an academic reference librarian. I now know that I was right to get into this field, as I finally feel at home. However, my time with the position is about to end. If I could stay here, I would in a heartbeat, but I can’t. So now comes the big question – what do I do next?

When you hear “librarian,” I’m sure most people just assume they’re the people who check books out. Right? Wrong. There’s so much more to the profession. For instance, as a reference librarian for a college, I teach classes on how to find scholarly information, I create reference guides for majors and minors, I answer research questions, and I work with students to assist them in completing their papers. There’s more, but that’s the basics.

As it turns out, being hired as a librarian (and not simply a library aide or clerk) was a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it gave me more experience than I could have dreamed of. A curse because now I want to stay one, with only so much experience. Many libraries hire librarians with years of experience – I have but a handful of months.

So now I’m at a cross roads. I’m about to end this job, and search rapidly for another. I’m not sure what will happen, and that part scares me. But I also know something will come up. Something perfect. Something that screams Lauren! and will help me on my professional adventure.