Submitted by pemberton on

A common misconception of librarianship is the thought of someone in a cardigan, wearing glasses, sshhh-ing patrons while reading a book all day. For National Library Week this year, we are sharing what one librarian’s day is really like! If you don’t know a librarian, you might be surprised to learn that there is most likely no book reading happening during the workday.

At BCLS, a librarian does a variety of things and each day is different. Here’s a look at one day in the life of a librarian at the Pemberton branch:


Start the day by straightening the Children’s Area and filling empty book displays, cleaning up toys left out from the night before, turning on computers, and vacuuming the Star Room where we keep our board books and bakery play station for younger children.


Vacuum the large meeting room and set up tables and chairs for Toddler Time at 10:30 am. Put out mats for the children to sit on and arrange felt board for a felt board story.


Tackle a less glamourous part of the job: the vacuum is clogged, so bring it outside and take it apart to get it working again.


Open front doors and greet first customers of the day!


Put crayons and glue sticks on the tables in the large meeting room. Arrange craft materials in piles so they are easy to give out for the story time craft. Find books and memory box for today’s story time theme: bunnies!


Greet toddlers and parents settling in for Toddler Time. Give each child a sticker with their name on it to wear.


Today’s Toddler Time begins with a welcome song, followed by books and felt board stories about rabbits. At the conclusion, the children guess what is hiding in the box using clues from the stories. Today, it’s a bunny puppet! Then it is time to pass out craft materials and let them color!


Clean up craft materials and wipe down tables. Put away story time books, props, felt board and memory box.


Straighten up the play area after families who attended story time leave for lunch and naps.


The other librarian at this branch is out today and the branch manager has a few meetings this afternoon, so a shift on the Adult Reference Desk starts earlier than usual. Once at the desk, log in to the computer to be ready for questions!


Check and answer emails. This is the time of year when planning for the Summer Reading program starts, so there are many messages back and forth with a librarian at another branch to review items due to our Marketing Department. One email request was to set up a school visit from a local elementary school in May. Must make a room reservation and add to the online calendar!

A few questions asked during the shift at the Adult Reference Desk and help provided before breaking for lunch:


Lunchtime! (The only part of the day when a book not selected for a story time is being read - current lunch time read is TBH, Too Much Drama by Lisa Greenwald.)


Back on the Adult Reference Desk! Reserve meetings rooms for programs being planned for children and teens in May. Planning for programs happens two months in advance, so May and June, as well as Summer Reading presenters for July and August are being booked. There’s a lot happening with room reservations!


Compile and type up the list of children’s and teen programs planned for May in chronological order with descriptions and details so it is ready to be included on the paper and online calendars.


Start working on a new felt board prop for story time to go with this year’s Summer Reading theme: A Universe of Stories.



Take phone call from a librarian from another location to discuss ordering new juvenile fiction and chapter books for the library system.

A few questions asked at the Adult Reference Desk and help provided after lunch:

  • “How can I log onto a computer?”
  • “What’s my pin number?”
  • “Where can I find this book?”
  • Received phone call to cancel an AARP tax appointment
  • Made another AARP tax appointment for a patron
  • Helped a patron navigate Microsoft Publisher program to create several documents to be printed
  • Explained our Mobile Printing service to a patron wanting to print from their phone and walked them through the steps
  • Placed a request for an item a patron needed that was at another branch
  • Updated an expired library card, so a patron could access the computer
  • Helped a patron scan and email a document
  • Reserve a quiet study room for a patron


Finish shift at the Adult Reference Desk and return to office to take a break before getting ready for Sewing 101, a sewing program held twice a month for children ages 7 and up.


Log onto website to print registration list for the Sewing 101 program.


Get materials ready and set up large meeting room with supplies for the sewing class. For this project, kids will be designing and sewing felt pins to keep or give to their best friends.


Sewing class begins. Help thread needles, sew straight stitches, and knot thread for felt pins. Troubleshoot a lot of knots and misplaced stitches!


Clean up sewing materials and put them away in the craft closet.


Time to go home!