Pointe-Claire Public Library has many activities and programs for adolescents. Radha tells us a bit about working with these special library members.
What are your main responsibilities?
I manage the Teen English collection (which includes selection and weeding), organize activities for teens (including writing publicity), coordinate teen volunteers, and of course, work at the Information desks helping patrons find what they need, and sometimes something things they didn’t know they needed.
Describe a typical workday?
A typical work day includes half of my hours at the Information desk (usually in the children’s section) where I will help patrons, and while it is slow, do various tasks such as book selection or responding to emails. The other half of the day I have office hours when I do tasks that require more concentration, such as coordinating activities, contacting animators, matching reading buddies.
The best part is that my days are rarely typical since there is such a variety of tasks and there are cycles within the year.
What was your field of study?
I did my bachelor’s degree in English and French literature with an emphasis in Linguistics. I have a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences.
What are important qualifications for your work?
I would say that enjoying working with teens is one of the most important qualifications. There is also the obvious education requirement (MLIS), but being simultaneously organized and flexible, since there is never a dull moment at the library, are what keep me on top of my duties and keep it enjoyable.
What is your favourite part of the job?
Book talking! Chatting with someone about books we love or introducing someone to their new favourite book/series is so enlivening to me.
Do you have a favourite work related anecdote?
A nine or ten year old boy approached me at the Children’s Info desk and asked me if there was anything in my mouth and then stuck out his tongue at me. Confused I simply said, “Saliva?” He asked again, getting more agitated this time. I asked why he was asking and he told me he had eaten some red berries outside on a dare and wanted to know if they were poisonous. I asked him to go back outside and bring some back so we could properly identify them. He brought back, thankfully, crabapples. At this point his friends were with him and I felt the need to chastise them for daring him to do something so foolish. They all vehemently denied being the one to dare him. The boy then sheepishly admitted that he had done it to impress the girls. I asked him if his life was worth impressing someone. It was kind of adorable and foolish. The strange problem solving we do on a regular basis is astounding.
Anything you would like to add?
Something that is not part of the job description nor job training, but is frequently a part of it, is being an ear, sounding-board, and/or sometimes therapist to patrons.