Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Substitute Librarians

The Ypsilanti District Library has graciously allowed me to moonlight as a substitute librarian the past 1 1/2 years. I chose to become a substitute librarian for many reasons:

1. I have met too many librarians who are burned out. They are just riding out their jobs until they can retire. I never want to become a cranky, old, stereotypical librarian who has lost the joy of this career. I never want it to become just a job. For me, librarianship is a career, and it is what I make of it. I want to make the most of it. Subbing shakes things up in my career, keeping me fresh and excited about trying new things.

2. I'm pretty comfortable in my job at SSLDL. That is mostly a plus, but I worry about becoming too comfortable. I am the type of person that needs to be challenged, and subbing challenges me. I am required to work at more than one branch and in both adult and youth departments. Youth librarianship is definitely a challenge to me, and one that I embrace. I'm getting better at it!

3. I'll be honest - I like the extra money. My sub money is my "play" money. It allows me to go on vacation, go to a concert, buy a new gadget...things I might not indulge in otherwise. I only work about 4 hours a week as a sub, sometimes as many as two 4-hour shifts, so I can make an extra $100 or so with very little strain on my personal schedule.

Other reasons one might want to become a sub are: it's a great way to get your foot in the door if you are a new graduate, it's a very flexible way to work part time since you can pick and choose what days and hours you work month by month, and it's a nice way to "steal" ideas from other libraries that you can implement in your full-time job.

I chose Ypsilanti specifically because they are very different from my full-time job at SSLDL. They serve a more diverse clientèle, a more academic clientèle, they have multiple branches, and their main branch is huge compared to SSLDL. I get to use materials and databases that are not available at SSLDL.

Subbing has been a great experience for me, and I highly recommend it!!

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