Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Library Week: Why I Do What I Do

It's National Library Week-have you visted your library yet?

I wanted to share a guest post I wrote last year in honor of National Library Week. I still think it's one of the best things I ever wrote as a guest post and I hope it captures why I do what I do as a librarian.

If you met me today, especially in the library, you would probably not believe me when I said that I used to be painfully and awkwardly shy. I walk up to strangers in the library, talk to people every day, and I’m very energetic and outgoing. But as a kid, I couldn’t bring myself to talk to people. I talked to my family, but that was about it. I was actually loud and outgoing at home, but get me in public and there was no way I was going to say anything. I remember having to psych myself up before I approached kids in my class just to say hi.

So I read a lot as a child. I am very lucky to have grown up in a home of booklovers and my parents took me on weekly (sometimes daily) library trips. I would come home with my arms full of books and I would read. I even played library and would check out my books to my stuffed animals.

Books helped me so much during those years. My imagination grew with the help of Anne Shirley. I saved pigs with Fern, lived in a little house with Laura, and ran away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Claudia and Jamie. Meg Murray helped me see that I could be shy and have a temper, but I could also be strong-and Calvin liked her, so maybe someday a boy would like me!

All I ever wanted when I visited the library was for a librarian to say “oh, that’s a great book!” or “have you read this one”-but I was way too shy to ask. I remember how important books were to me growing up and how I wanted to find other readers. That’s one reason I love working in the library now-I’m surrounded by readers every day! I also remember how hard it was for me to ask for help, so I make sure I say hi to every teen that walks into my department. Some teens want suggestions, some are fine browsing on their own. But letting them know I’m there and that I love to talk books is what makes my job so great. I love when teens tell me about books they’ve been reading and I can tell them about books I’ve read. I love finding books for readers and matching them with the perfect book. I love sharing books so much, that I have to stop myself from asking everyone I see with a book even outside the library what they’re reading!

There is no better question to ask a librarian than “can you recommend a good book” so celebrate National Library Week by visiting your library and talking about good books. And maybe you’ll come across a shy reader who just wanted to know someone else loved books as much as they do.


  1. I love this post! I have actually been considering becoming a teen librarian (I'm working as a sub at the public library right now, plus I work as a ref librarian at a college) but wow, it is so awesome how much you love what you do and how you've been able to reach out and help other people :) Very inspiring, thank you!!

  2. Lea-I love what I do! Working with teens is awesome and I love matching them with books. And because I've made that connection, they come ot programs, visit the library, and are becoming lifelong library patrons because they're seeing the value of libraries now. It's the best job ever! So of course I think you should become a teen librarian!:)

  3. Love this post :) and I <3 being a librarian for the same reasons - It really is the best job ever.

  4. I remember a not-so-shy Sarah, but I remember the shy one too :) We did have fun with our imaginations in high school and I'm glad you're still having fun with it!

    Thanks for all you wonderful librarians do :)

  5. Your patrons are lucky to have a dedicated and interested librarian in you!


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