February 18, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Big Satisfactions | SLJ’s Job Satisfaction Survey

Both public and school librarians expressed similar levels of satisfaction with their work: 74 percent are either very satisfied or satisfied with their jobs.

It’s impossible to overstate the satisfaction that public and school librarians derive from their work—nearly every participant took the time to write a sentence or two describing what they most enjoyed about their job (see The Satisfaction ‘Top Five,’chart above). Often times, they listed multiple reasons.

For both groups, the opportunity to work with young people was the main pleasure, or as one school librarian put it, the joy of “interacting with kids!” For a public librarian, satisfaction comes from “seeing a teen smile, when I find something they are interested in,” while for another, it’s “working directly with children. Being a part of their lives.”

Our participants—no matter what type of library they’re in—relished the variety in their workdays and the level of creativity their jobs afforded them, everything from developing units to designing new programs. “I have much more flexibility than the classroom teachers in precisely what I teach and how I teach it,” wrote a school librarian. “I have used music, art, play, objects, photos, even clay to teach social studies, literary analysis, creative writing, even grammar… before I introduce the tricky (and often overwhelming) text.”

School and public librarians also shared the other leading causes of job satisfaction: connecting kids to reading and learning, and assisting students, faculty, and customers.

“I love children. I love books. I love connecting the two,” wrote one school librarian. But it’s not all books: “I love connecting people with information (which might be the perfect story, or the best Web site, photo, or database),” a school librarian wrote. A public librarian summed it up this way: “I enjoy teaching information skills and the joys of satisfying one’s curiosity about the world.”

As for the assisting part, it’s working with fellow faculty members that school librarians enjoy, whereas for public librarians, it’s helping parents and families.