Ready to read

Ellie Renfrow, center, in 2017 checks out one of the newest books at the Montrose Regional District Library’s Third Annual Book Reveal, which coincides with its annual Summer Reading Program. At left, Fiany Salvador, 8, and her sister, Gloria, 10, check out some new books, as children’s librarian Lizz Martensen looks on, at right. 

Many times patrons and staff have commented on how fun it must be to work in the youth services department because we can be seen playing Nintendo with the kids, singing songs in story times, or prepping craft materials for the next program. So, I thought I would take a moment to share with you what an average (non-COVID) day might look like for the five librarians that staff the Montrose Library kid zone.

9 a.m.: First person in hits the lights and makes sure the room is clean and ready for the day. If you are someone who takes care of children you know the tornadic scene a room can become after a few hours of use. Next is a meeting within the department. We go over the schedule, what displays we have going up, who has a program today and what conferences and webinars we are attending. Scheduling five librarians, their programs, meetings, and continuing education, as well as covering the desk all day, can be tricky.

10 a.m.: Open for business, greeting and welcoming everyone that walks in our doors. On a story time day, we will have a parade of children coming in, super excited and ready to play. If it is a large group, you can hear them vibrating the story room walls with stomping and laughing.

12 p.m.: Covering the desk sometimes allows librarians to work on program prep. “What are you working on?” is the question we hear the most from people of all ages. The next question is “Can I do that too?,” also from people of all ages. We spend a great deal of time preparing for programs. We could work on something as simple as cutting and sorting up to 150 crafts for the craft table, or we may have meetings with local subject matter experts to bring more information and depth to programs geared towards upper elementary aged children.

1 p.m.: One of the best parts of being a librarian is buying all of the beautiful books and materials for our patrons to check out and enjoy. Hours are spent on researching, purchasing, preparing and shelving thousands of new items each year. Who doesn’t love the smell of a new book?

2 p.m.: James is practicing his spectacular chess moves to be ready for any challenge at the chess table. Kacee is preparing material for her Teen Write-In group. Sara can be heard singing fun songs for “Baby & Me” story times. Elizabeth is trying to decide what awesome display will attract the most attention — will it be National Squirrel Day or Take Your Pet to the Movies Week? And for me, I could be prepping for the story walk to present at the Montrose Botanic Gardens Scarecrow Festival this weekend or trying out the science of dancing ghosts (the secret is static electricity).

4 p.m.: School is out and we are crazy. It usually takes at least two librarians to answer the myriad of questions from the kids and their parents. Teachers are picking up educator’s requests, crafts are made by young patrons to hang on refrigerators, there are Nintendo challenges taking place, chess is in full swing and children are laying on the floor in hidden special spots reading their favorite titles.

6 p.m.: The whirlwind is over and now we pick up, clean up, put away and restock.

7 p.m.: Lights out, doors locked. Let’s do it again tomorrow!

Tina Meiners is the Head of Youth Services at Montrose Regional Library.

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