I have always loved the idea of working for a small public/special library. Don’t get me wrong if Toronto, London, or other bigger library system came calling I would not just shew them away. I have always just imagined myself in a smaller library.
In a smaller library I feel that I get to know people better. I went into library sciences to help people, in a direct manner, not from afar in a cubicle, cataloguing room or 6th floor office. I currently work for the Laurentian Hills Public Library. We have 2 small rural branches that I manage. The Point Alexander Branch I manage directly, and the Chalk River Branch is managed by myself from afar (I have a branch librarian there).
In a larger library system, I figure that I would not get the opportunity to work the circulation desk, weed books, read stories to kids or do special programming. These jobs would be handled by other more specialized library staff. Even though I have volunteers that could handle most of those jobs, I love the opportunity to put on the different hats on a regular basis.
In a larger library I doubt I would know anybody. I would not get to know the patrons, or all the employees and volunteers as the manager of a larger system. People would have names, but not faces. I see my volunteers daily, and Candice (my branch librarian) at least once a week. I went into librarianship to work with people and help people in a direct manner, and that is where I am now.
I think a lot of library graduates could fit into a role like this quite easily and may even learn to love it, if they already don’t have a passion for it. It is a great position to be in, though the pay of a smaller library may not appeal as much as say the bigger management positions…it offers special “benefits” that the bigger systems could never match.