Love for the small library

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.

3 thoughts on “Love for the small library

  1. Murray McCabe

    Interesting take on the world of libraries. I’ve had the great good fortune to work in a large library and a smaller Library system and now a robust County system…size doesn’t matter. Everyone has the freedom to establish good customer relationships and meet the unique characters that appreciate if not love public libraries. There are unique work opportunities in both for those that make their own opportunities. The best situation for a new graduate is to work for a library system that provides a variety of learning opportunities..skills that will allow you to grow your career and develop respectful and rewarding relationships with the public and your funders. Think big 🙂

  2. Rae Vandenberg

    Hey, Scott.

    I really appreciate your blog. I’m going to the MLIS program at Western in May. I am a former elementary teacher for many years.

    I’m curious about the work/life balance you have as a librarian in a small, rural area – and the pay. You stated you worked for the PRIDE library. I’m going to assume you’re gay. Any thoughts, as well, about living in a small place and being gay?

    Please email with a response.


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