Sometime being a Teen Librarian can be lonely, especially if you’re the only one in your department. It can feel a bit like this….
Even though I’ve always been part of Youth Services, I still felt like this. Yes, I was part of a bigger team, but often times I didn’t feel like I was because I was the only one invested in the teens. For 6 years, I struggled with this feeling and burned myself out in the process. I was usually running 100 programs a year by myself at two different locations. I knew I was drowning, but didn’t feel like I could ask for help.
Then I hit the brick wall last year. I knew I was at the end of my rope, and something needed to change. It was either cut down on services or beg for help. I didn’t feel it was fair to the teens to cut services, so instead I did the only thing left to do and asked for help at my busier building.
I’m extremely lucky, in that my supervisor is amazing and agreed without a second thought. Since January, the whole team has been helping out and on average they cover 3 programs a month for me. Now, I still get the ideas and basically plan them, but having someone else run them for me has been a huge relief and I’ve been way less stressed this year than any other year.
Now, I know that not everyone has the library staff to get the type of results I did. Maybe instead, you could look into collaborating with other departments. Maybe you have a tween program that you do with Youth Services, or a high school and up programs that you do with Adult Services. Even the act of having someone else to bounce ideas off of makes a world of difference.
For those, who can’t even do that, I highly recommend using social media. Of course, we here at TSU are always happy to help and our Facebook page is a great place to start. Twitter is also a good place to go as well. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gone to Twitter to bounce ideas off of teen librarians. Another resource to consider is listservs. YALSA has several, but you should look locally as well. Most regions or states will have one that you can jump on as well.
Just remember you’re not alone in this! Asking for help is never a weakness. We’re all in this party together.