I recently wrote a grant application (my first one!) for the “Best Small Library in America” award, given out by the Library Journal. As I was listing all the things that made our library great, I realized it was not any one person that made us amazing — it was a team effort. Each of our staff members brings something to the table that raises the profile of our library and makes us better. It takes a village of people who love their jobs and come to work each day filled with passion for our mission of improving literacy in all stages of life, providing continuing education, and serving as the center of a community.
We have a wonderful children’s programmer who provides two story times a week, a “crafternoon” once a month, and any supplemental children’s programs we add. She creates wonderful passive programs, the latest of which is an “I-spy” tank that the kids are going crazy over! https://www.facebook.com/groups/storytimeunderground/permalink/991310344253495/?pnref=story
We have a fantastic teen services person who currently serves on the Georgia Peach committee and has just created a new Teen Advisory Board which requires the teens to put in a certain amount of volunteer hours within the library. The hope is to get teens passionate about not only using the library, but to support and advocate for it so that they grow into adults who support and advocate for it. She has already been approached to speak at the Spring Friends of Georgia Libraries workshop to share her first results.
We have a wonderfully creative individual who designs our bulletin boards and various displays around the library, and manages to create lots of dialogue between the employees and patrons with her efforts.
We have a detail-oriented, self-proclaimed “OCD” assistant who likes to maintain the shelves, and a former teacher who leads the Lego club. Finally, we have a former volunteer who was our most recent hire – she enjoyed her volunteer time so much, she has decided to go to graduate school and become a librarian.
I took over as Library Manager for this branch in August. It was a library I was formerly an assistant in, and it is in the city I grew up in and where I currently live. I love this library, and am thrilled to be leading it. I am grateful for my knowledge of the community and the prior relationships I had within it, for the incredibly collaborative and supportive partnership with the city, and for a lot of other things as I learn this new role. But what I am the most grateful for is the time and effort the previous library manager put into building this amazing team that I am lucky enough to get to work beside every day.
Build your teams wisely. Find out what they are good at, and give them room to showcase those talents. The results will be beyond your wildest dreams.