Balance in the Library

Photo Mar 18, 11 25 39 AM

I had this brief conversation with a friend a few days ago and it got me thinking about how librarians spend their time at work.

It is a very good thing to be on the public desk.  You get to interact with your community.  You get firsthand knowledge of the kind of things they want to see happen in the library.

On the flip side  it can be tiring to spend all of your time with the public.  They have a lot of questions.  They enjoy chatting with you.  This is all great but sometimes everybody needs a little time away.

It is a very good thing to be in your office to think, plan, scheme, and put the gears in place to make important things move forward.  You have time to reflect, listen, and get stuff done.

On the flip side  it can be so easy to just stay inside your office all day and not deal with the public.  It can be comforting to not have to deal with any situations that arise in the library.  It can be nice to live in a world full of planning, hopes, and dreams.  It can be safe.

My solution: always put balance at the front of your mind.  If you have the ability to structure your own schedule, split it evenly down the line 50/50.  If you don’t, talk to your supervisor about the benefits to working this way.  If you’re in charge…put this plan into action!

A balanced work life will both increase creativity and the the quality of interactions with your community.


  1. While the 50/50 split is very sensible, my motto is “moderation in moderation”. Instead of an even daily or weekly split, how about a solid month at the public desk followed by a solid month in the office? Perhaps not logistically feasible, but extreme swings have benefits too. Astronomically speaking, it’s nice to have a balance between night and day as the earth spins, but it’d also be cool to be a comet that experiences long stretches of relative sameness until it dramatically whips around the sun to start another cycle. In other words, too much moderation can be its own kind of rut. 🙂

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