Week in the life of a neighborhood librarian

Before I took on my current position as a branch librarian straddling two small libraries, I was always part of a team. I worked in libraries where there were other librarians in the same building and I had teammates who were in the same position as me. Typically tasks like covering evenings and weekends were shared through rotation and responsibility for different programs was broken down among us. Now I’m an all-around, jack of all trades and if the library is open, I’m there. I’ve spent enough time in other libraries (this is my fourth system/library) to know that rural librarianship and/or the life of a branch librarian is unusual in the library world. For this reason, I’m sharing a whole week in my life today.


Sundays and Mondays the library is closed.

Tuesday (Primary Branch):

8:30 am- Meeting/s until 10ish in our main library.

10 am: I drive back to my primary branch to set-up for storytime, which begins at 11 am. This is funky because the library doesn’t open until 12, but we use a public space belonging to the city for this program.

11 am: Little Learning Party for ages 2-5

12 pm: Pick up after storytimers and help out with the craziness of our opening hour. Typically storytimers wait around for the library to open and rush in right at 12. We often have a lot of other people coming in as well, so there are two people to manage a crowd of around 40 people.

2 pm: Things die down enough that I can take my lunch.

3 pm-5 pm: While covering my co-worker’s lunch, I check my email and catch up on messages from the majority of staff who work on Mondays. Often I’m required to proofread press releases and articles about my programs before they’re sent out and making corrections takes up a chunk of my time every Tuesday.

5 pm: I set up for my evening event. Most weeks I have a teen, school-age, or adult program on Tuesday nights.

6-7 pm: Time for that event.

7 pm: Start winding down for closing time.


Wednesday (Primary Branch):

8:30 am: Arrive before opening to get the library prepared.

9 am-11 am: Library opens and I get ready for a computer class or one-on-one technology tutorial. At 10, I have that class.

11 am- 1 pm: I help with shelving books from the drop and from our courier that brings requested items from other branches every day. Shelving can be time consuming because we have a floating collection and often areas become overstuffed. In order to put things away, you have to decide what can be sent to other branches.

1 pm: I go to lunch and walk around the park next to the library.

2 pm-5 pm: My priority is always on helping patrons and since I’m always at a public desk, it takes up a lot of my “free time.” So during free time, I plan, select, weed, and put out fires between patrons.

5-6 pm: Wind down for closing.


Thursday (Secondary Branch):

9 am: Stop by Primary Branch to pick up any necessary materials for the day.

9:30 am: Go to daycare or preschool in my second town for outreach storytime.

10 am: Come back to the library. Since this branch doesn’t open until 12, I usually turn on an audiobook and do all the things that are difficult at a public desk. I’ve fallen into a routine of planning programs and preparing crafts at this time. It’s also good for making important phone calls.

12 pm: Library opens and I check in with my branch manager here. I only see him once a week so it’s important to listen to him and hear what’s going on with the branch.

1 pm: I go to lunch and walk around town. Sometimes I stop in at our local elementary school to talk to their school librarian. She’s a great resource for me in getting to know the community.

2 pm: I give a computer class or technology tutorial.

3 pm- 6 pm: More desk time. Around once a month, I offer a teen or adult program at 5.

After hours: Once a month, I offer a family event after hours.


Friday (Primary Branch):

8:30 am: Arrive and prep.

9 am: Library opens and I set up for Baby Bounce

10 am: Baby Bounce and hanging out with families around the library.

11-1 pm: Helping with shelving.

1 pm: Lunch

2 pm- 5 pm: Desk time/ helping patrons.

5 pm- 6 pm: Wind down.


Saturday (Primary Branch):

Yes. I do work every single Saturday.

8:30 am: Arrive and prep.

9 am- 11 am: Library opens. I have storytimes on two Saturdays every month. So depending on the week, I may be getting ready for storytime.

12 pm – 2 pm: Between helping patrons, I love to use Saturdays for working on the collection. I refresh displays, transfer books to help clear areas, put out new crafts on our art station. All that fun stuff.

2 pm: Library closes. Hooray, weekend!

3 thoughts on “Week in the life of a neighborhood librarian

    • I think I’ve grown used to it, but I’m also constantly refreshed by how I get to grow relationships with so many loyal patrons. It feels good to be a central part of people’s lives and to help them grow. I didn’t get that much back when I worked in bigger cities.
      But thank, Jennifer! That’s sweet. 🙂

      • Exactly! I grew up in the city and have worked in bigger libraries, but one of the reasons I wanted to work in a small, rural library was being able to connect with people – I love seeing how fast the kids change, even in just six years! The variety of the work is a big plus for me too.

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