Monday, December 10, 2012

Kelly Keefer

Reading Circle (Clipart)
Being a librarian is my second career. Prior to getting my MLIS in 2006, I held business positions such as marketing manager for publishing companies, and product/project manager for an e-learning company. I earned my MLIS while working full-time, then help on-call and part-time librarian positions at local Bay Area libraries until I found a full-time position with the City of San Leandro.


Currently, I am the Senior Librarian, Youth Services, for the San Leandro Public Library, which serves a community of about 80,000. My job runs the gamut from storytime to children’s desk shifts to school outreach and planning/running the summer reading program.

What would most surprise people about your current job? 

When I tell people I work in a library, they almost always respond with something to the effect of “I wish I had a quiet job like that.” I don’t think they understand just how noisy a library is on storytime days and on weekday afternoons!

What are your top three responsibilities? 
Managing programs, services and the library’s collection for children ages 0-12 and their families. I also supervise the teen librarian who handles programs and the collections for ages 12-18.

Where do you see yourself making the biggest difference? 

I see storytimes, school tours, or anytime I work directly with children, as a great opportunity to make the library seem like a friendly place that welcomes kids and their families. Creating a positive experience goes far in getting that child or family interested in a second visit. I also love having the books and readers advisory tools that will allow kids or parents to find that great next book that will keep them interested in reading.


What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given? 

If you are planning to be a children’s librarian, make sure you like working with kids AND their parents, and make sure you can work evening and weekends! Many people are surprised by the hours they have to work at a public library, but evenings and weekends are often when services are most needed.

What’s something you wish you had known when you started out in this profession?

I wish I had more training in dealing with difficult patrons, including the mentally ill, or just plain angry. It can take some time before you find the right approach for working with the various types of patrons who use the library. I recommend the book “Diffusing the Angry Patron: A How To Do It Manual for Librarians, 2nd ed” for all libraries.


What fictional character would you most like to be for a day? 

Hermione Granger

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