I think that part of settling into my job has been the constant comparison of my position and my library system to other librarians that I know through social media. When I got my job, I was so thrilled to be a librarian in a swanky building with a really nice director. As I started to get used to my routine, though, I quickly realized that there was one part of my reality that was very difficult for me.
I missed having a team.
In my previous library work, I’ve been surrounded by other librarians and parapros who have helped me bounce around ideas and solidify plans. In my new position, I do almost everything alone. That means computer classes alone. School tours alone. Outreach alone. Adult and teen programs alone. That’s hard for a new librarian. Especially one who is also young, becoming a supervisor for the first time, and dealing with a hefty commute every day.
I’m not going to lie to you. In the past few months, I’ve been pushed so hard that I actually stumbled into depression. Real depression. Not the kind that girls refer to after watching a sad movie. You guys, I would be laughing at something my husband said one second and then, out of nowhere, I would start hysterically crying. I couldn’t feel any kind of deep emotion, even love or joy, without starting to cry and feeling desperately sad for no reason.
So I went to a counselor who told me that I should start doing more for myself. I tried to think of what that meant for me and I made some changes. I started reaching out to friends more. I made an effort to arrange quality time with my husband. I tried new things whenever possible and I got out of the office during lunch and started taking walks. I’m also trying to add more vegetables and water to my diet.
Then I started taking a good, hard look at what I could do to make myself happier at work. During a librarians’ meeting, I noticed that most of the librarians in different branches weren’t doing a very good job of reaching out to one another and working as a team. I talked to my mentor and we both agreed that something should be done. I asked my director if we could try some team-building activities and suggested some kind of reader’s advisory circle and mentoring program. She basically said, “Yes! You should lead it!” So that’s in the works.
On my walks around town, I decided that our parks are in desperate need of StoryWalks. So I asked my director for that too and she said, “Yes! Here’s who you should talk to.” And that’s also happening.
I started asking to go for training opportunities and my director said, “Yes! Anytime!”
As part of that, I got to go to a Summer Reading Workshop with two other librarians from my system. I know that there’s been some talk in libraryland about how lame SRP workshops can be but…OMG I HAD SO MUCH FUN. I got to meet a bunch of local librarians and I met our state Youth Services Coordinator. *gasp* I even met someone who had seen my blog. EEEEE!
Somewhere in the middle of that workshop, amongst librarians who were largely facing very similar challenges, I thought, “Actually, I have it pretty good.” I mean, I still look at librarians who are blessed with teammates who inspire them and help them grow with the purest kind of jealousy–don’t get me wrong. But, having an opportunity to talk about what our library is doing and seeing others react with absolute awe made me realize that I have everything I need to be great. I have a boss who empowers me and teammates in other branches who believe in me and will come to my aid if I call them(…and we can work out coverage).
More than that, though, I can be the kind of the person who starts the changes I want to see. I can help in building up my library system and my communities.
Plus I have puppy cuddles.
I mean. Really.