I guess it’s about time…this is me now, and that was me, then.
I’ve been working with people and books since I graduated from college, first at some late, lamented Borders bookstores on my native Long Island, then my hometown library, and now, for the past ten years, in my first full-time position as the inaugural Teen Services librarian in a lovely coastal town in Connecticut. It has been an amazing decade of discovery, growth, challenge and undeniable luck.
When I started my first library job, my supervisors were careful to make sure that I got to spend time in every department as I worked towards my M.L.I.S. I checked out books. I processed items and helped with interlibrary loans. I did story times, I answered complicated reference questions, and I helped at teen events. They wanted me to find my place in our profession. I was certain that after years of saving money for grad school working at a bookstore, I did not want a public-facing job. So I did my internship in a local archive. The less said about that, the better. It was public librarianship for me, that much was clear.
I am so grateful to my early library colleagues and mentors. They not only helped me find my way, but they also instilled a real sense of how your community is your priority (over and above theory and trends), as well as how important the integration and correlation of all aspects of library service are.
The past decade been fast and slow – I remember my first day, back in January 2006, walking into a building 5 times bigger than the one I’d previously worked in, after picking up and moving to an unknown place not geographically distant from my family and friends, but somehow an entirely different world than the one I’d grown up in. I could tell you exactly what I was wearing that day.
Three months after receiving my degree, I left behind the place I’d lived for most of my life and was given a challenge: Create a teen library service from scratch, in a town where I had no history, no idea what the community was looking for, and not much time under my belt in the profession.
I look back over ten years of programs, initiatives and adventures and I’m so proud of what our Teen Services team has accomplished, and continues to accomplish every day. It feels like we’ve been doing this forever.
I hope to share some of our successes (and stumbles) and things I’ve learned (and still need to work on) over the years, as we carry on building a library community for teens in our little corner of the world.