Limited Budgets, Burnouts: Welcome to YA Programming

You Are an Army of One, the Only Teen Services Librarian In the Library System.

This section was perfect (read: scary) to read as I was working on the program proposal. The program proposal has forced me to really examine the challenges of organizing a program, and doing so when you are the smallest department in the library. Never mind a lack of budget, something far too many YA librarians are familiar with. Never mind the challenge of actually getting the program approved and struggling with feeling like you are alone in your work. Once your program is established, bringing it to life is an entirely different challenge.

For example, the program my partner and I proposed involves cooking. This brought about a whole list of questions I hadn’t been prepared to answer at first. Questions like:

– What recipe is simple to cook for a group of 10 teenagers?

– How many ingredients should the recipe have?

– Does the library have an appliance that can be used for cooking?

– Is there a space you can use to cook it? A basement? A community room?

I hadn’t realized what a challenge it would be to answer all of these questions! I’d taken developing a program that involves cooking for granted, because I’d seen other libraries pull them off (Seemingly without any effort. Impressive.)

Ms. Kitchen, the sole YA librarian at her library, must have her work cut out for her when she’s developing a program. When you have a small staff, questions about your program become much harder to answer.  I’d like to think that when I’m a librarian, there will be more than one of us in the YA department!  I think this section gave some very important advice on how to deal with these obstacles. A positive attitude, perseverance, and good networking skills goes a long way.


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