Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Take a Break 2

Image Source
One of the students, Laura Bultman, a children's librarian in suburban New Jersey was of several minds on breaks. Here are her thoughts:

Breaks in programming are tricky for me to pull off. 

I am of several minds, here (I am large, I contain multitudes.). On the one hand, I love having a steady story time so that parents can think "oh, it's Tuesday, there's Story Time", even if they haven't been to the library in a while. On the other hand, once I get deep in to programming, I have very very little time for all the other things I have to do: collection development, room maintenance, outreach, etc. 

On the third hand, I desperately need breaks in order to prep for the next series of programs and to do all the things that I don't get a chance to do when I'm heavily programming. 

And on the fourth hand, when am I supposed to take vacation? I know that's a personal thing and not directly related to programming breaks exactly, but since I am a department of one, if I'm not here then there are no programs so vacation time is essentially a program break. 

All this to say: I take three breaks a year: end of December into January, June, and end of August into September. Each break is about four weeks long and I take a break from programming entirely. This January, I put out Book Bundles to ease the transition, but I don't do any other programs at all. 

I take some vacation time with each break (a week at most), which shortens the time I have to do all the prep/collection work I intend to do and then I find myself rushed again to get everything together in time. 

I hesitate to ask for a longer break, though, because the board has raised their eyebrows at the breaks I do take. They haven't complained, but they haven't been receptive enough that I feel comfortable pushing for more. I also end up with families in the library asking "Oh, didn't story time start again today?" and I hate letting them down.

But I can't over-emphasize the importance of taking breaks. Really. Last January, I weeded the entire non-fiction collection and moved several sections to improve visibility and library flow. This January, I weeded several sections, repurposed some old magazine shelving, changed the shelves you see when you enter the children's room, and revamped the parenting section.

Ok, this is long enough. Take breaks! If you figure out how, let me know....

1 comment:

  1. It's a necessary struggle we all deal with, especially if you are a department of one - I am too. I've been getting a few groans this last week, as I remind parents/grandparents that this is the last storytime for "winter". But I also get comments of understanding from the non-groaners! I've accumulated over 6 weeks of paid time off, since I've been at my job over 20 years. Most years I end up using a lot of it during December so I don't lose it by years end. I can tell you now since I live in West Michigan, I am so ready to get on the plane on this Saturday to California to visit our son, if I didn't have that to look forward to, I believe I would go bonkers with this cold weather!!