I manage two public library branches in Bridgend, plus the local studies one. I start work at 9am, and I try to alternate where I work from as much as possible, in order to keep in touch with colleagues, make sure everyone’s happy and motivated, and solve any issues.
Something wonderful about my job is the range of things I do. I always say that, in theory, there is nothing that a public librarian doesn’t do. On any given day, I might be singing to babies (in English or Welsh), reading stories, discussing philosophy, sharing poetry, comparing notes on cognitive psychology with other nonfiction readers, or helping children to code.
Mainly, however, I see my role as that of an enabler. I want to make sure that my libraries offer something relevant and life-enhancing to everyone, and to achieve that, I need to make sure that my colleagues are able to express themselves in work, use their skills, feel stimulated and appreciated and stretched. That’s how we’re able to do so much, from gardening clubs to knitting, singing for adults to animation for children, children’s groups with a therapy dog to drama, board games, drawing and creative writing. And, of course, we’re still here to help you get the books you want and help you print out your photos, or download a magazine, or find a job. If you’d like to know what we do (and yes, we do something for you too!), have a look on social media – it’s part of our job to keep you updated, answer your questions and ‘work at our relationships’ online as well.
Libraries are meeting places. They join up people with information and knowledge – and they also join up people with other people. Engaging the community is something I love doing, as it’s unfailingly a win-win for everyone. We all have different interests and gifts, and it’s a joy to be able to share them with others: libraries offer the chance to do that – it’s all give and take, it’s communal development, it’s shared growing.
As you can imagine, my to-do list is eternally work in progress! Actually, in order not to get too discouraged, I have three to-do lists: the first one is the ‘essentials’, the deadlines, the things I absolutely *have* to do – or else. Now, that one *does* get cleared, occasionally at interesting times of the night… Then I have a ‘when I have 5 minutes to spare’ one, which sometimes doesn’t see me for days… finally, my ‘wishlist’ is my favourite one: that’s the ‘what if time wasn’t an issue, money wasn’t an issue, etc.’ list. It’s a daydreamy one, but some great projects have materialised out of it, so it still gets added to regularly!