Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Confessions of a Teen Librarian: How To Survive Summer by Christie G

Summer has to be one of the most challenging times for a teen specialist, or any public librarian. Special programs, a massive increase in programs, possible schedule changes, a massive influx of people coming through the doors… and while all of this is wonderful from a stats perspective (increased collection usage, increased participation, increased exposure) it can be extremely stressful for those of us involved. 

Here are some of my tricks to get through the months and keep what sanity I have….

Always make sure that you laugh at least once a day. It can be something funny you find on the internet, a joke book, a funny story, or something else entirely, but laughing will release stress better than anything legal that you can do at work.  Don’t believe me? The Mayo Clinic says so.


There has to be something that can give you a boost during the day- for me, it is a good piece of chocolate. Now, I’m not talking a Kit Kat bar, or even a Milky Way Caramel bar (although they are really good). I’m talking Dove or Godiva. Think about what can give you a little boost and sneak it into your desk to give you a pick-me-up.

All so often in teen and youth services we have to be our biggest cheerleaders. We can hear negativity from other aspects of library world, including our own system and our own branch, so to counteract that, surround yourself with positivity. Print off sayings that will encourage you, or create a board on pinterest to remind yourself of things to pull you out of a funk.
This is two-fold. First, make sure that you actually take your breaks. Youth services are a very busy and involved lot, and a lot of times we feel that we do not have time to take a break during the day- remember what breaks you are legally entitled to, and TAKE THEM. And if you need a break beyond that, find someone and get help- you are not doing yourself or your patrons any favors by being stressed out and hanging on by fingernails.  Second, take a breath and examine is working in your programming and what isn’t. Take notes in the thick of things so that at the end of the summer you can re-evaluate and have detailed ideas about what to do for next year.
Think about it for a minute. You have pulled together a huge program for the summer, with performers and a reading program and coordinating everything. You are more than likely forgoing any summer plans and living and breathing programming and stats and everything in-between. So remember, even if no one shows for something or if there is a complaint, DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. It may be that the program just didn’t work, for what ever reason (timing, appeal, weather). It may be that someone is going to complain about EVERYTHING because that is their way. You CANNOT make EVERYONE happy, but YOU are doing an AWESOME job.
So what keeps you sane during the summer?  Share in the comments below.


  1. Thank you for this post! I am a teen librarian and in addition to creating and running the teen and tween Summer Reading Programs, I manage over 30 teen volunteers. It is a lot of work!

  2. Like you, we are in the midst of our SRC (Christie and I work for the same library system). I am also managing somewhere around 70 teen volunteers. It is amazing how stressful (and awesome) the summer is. It is important to remind each other to hang in there!!! We are all doing important, amazing things. You are doing great things Isabelle!

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