How This Librarian Works

Rebecca Stutzman
Job Title: Children’s Librarian
Institution: North Tonawanda Public Library

Job Duties: The Children’s Department at the North Tonawanda Public Library has always been a busy hub of activity in the community. Children and parents come into our library throughout the year for a variety of programs, classes, Story Hours (ages 9 months- Pre-K), and Summer Reading Club activities, as well as to borrow materials (everything from books, and audio CD’s to Audiobooks, e-books, DVDs and Blu-Rays). Answering Reference questions is always a big part of a Children’s Librarians duties; this community’s children have some great questions about a number of diverse, interesting subjects. I am the Coordinator of the Department, and make sure that all of our activities are properly advertised, through Social Media outlets, and newspapers while verifying that all tasks are coordinated with other Departments. Keeping our Department focused, ordering books, and DVD’s for our patrons, weeding our collection, and making sure all aspects run smoothly is more than a full-time job which, I am somehow able to compact into 40 hours per week.

Current mobile device(s)? Personally, I own an iPhone, but I find my iPad to be excellent in both work and leisure, I use it for pleasure reading, enjoying music and movies as well as e-mail, word processing, social media tasks, and work-related reading. Our library, also, recently had a trial subscription to Hoopla which was entertaining and an easy way to enjoy movies that I loved.

Current computer(s)? At work, I have a Desktop, an all-in-one model, which runs Windows XP, as well as a Samsung laptop. It’s been very valuable to me to have both computers running, it’s the ultimate form of multi-tasking. Occasionally, I will also my iPad with the other devices, so I can accomplish more than one task on each device. When I am at home, I use a MacBook Pro to upload and download the music and movies I like. Apple is clearly my preferred platform, at home and at work.

What apps/software/tools make your life easier? Facebook “Pages” app is one of my favorite tools to add pictures to our Facebook page almost instantly. I love all of the Google tools- Google Docs, Drive, and Calendar are my top 3 favorites for coordinating documents and schedules for my work, or within my library, or even personally. I also send text messages to patrons through a website called Remind. It will send reminders of program times, and basic information. We also use Goodreads to help patrons discover some of the latest, and greatest librarian reads. Our library also subscribes to a tool called Bookletters which organizes patron lists, and allows me to send our updated programs, or new books to hundreds of people at once. There are other ways to use Bookletters, which I haven’t even discovered, yet. Our library recently had a trial subscription to Hoopla which was a fun way to view movies.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without? My iPad- you can just ask my family, I take it everywhere, and have been known to check work e-mail when I’m not working!

How do you manage your to-do list/workflow? I am a serious user of the Notes and Reminders app on my iPad, they keep me on track for preparing programs, such as our very involved summer reading club for the children of the community.

What’s your best productivity/organization/time-saving trick? I just started recently using the timer on my phone as a reminder to get me moving when I have a meeting, or workshop scheduled. It sounds so simple, but when a weekly meeting is scheduled, and I need to be there, I’m glad to have the reminder. I also suggested it to the Head of Circulation as a reminder to get the door count for our statistics in the evening.

What resources do you use for professional development? I subscribe to so many websites, blogs, etc. that it’s difficult to enumerate each one. I do especially like PW Children’s Bookshelf which is a great jumping-off point for current information in the Children’s Library and literature fields. Also PUBYAC is a great listserv for Children’s Librarians across the country, especially to share ideas. (If you didn’t already know, librarians make the best thieves!).

What are you currently reading? The new Rick Riordan book- Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer- it’s a great new adventure investigating Norse legends- a real page-turner. I’m also reading Saving Mr. Terupt which is the third book in a series by Rob Buyea about seven classmates and their teacher. Each chapter is from the point of view of each student throughout the school year with their very innovative teacher. The voice of each student is very well fleshed out, and now as we join them in their third year, we can truly hear their maturing viewpoints.

Is there a website or blog you’d like to recommend to your fellow librarians? Library related- Heavy Medal- reviews for books that are Newbery award-worthy; Library related fun- Awful Library Books- Books that shouldn’t be in library collections anymore, but, in some cases, still are!; Just for fun- Cake Wrecks- you wouldn’t believe what some bakeries sell to people as cakes- the cake might taste delicious, but what appears on it, incredible!

Where do you see your job/career 12 months from now? We are trying to reach out to the schools in our community, and also the Recreation Department to more closely coordinate class visits to the classroom and Story Hour outings to the local park- perhaps allowing children to get a new library card, or borrow books from our collection.

Any other projects you’re working on that you’d like to plug? My biggest project is promoting my library to the community. Seriously, though, we have one of the best libraries in Western New York- a great staff of librarians, and support staff, a wonderful collection of everything from books to digital books and audiobooks, DVD’s, CDs, magazines, databases, awesome, relevant community programs, etc., visit us and see for yourselves!