I absolutely love being a children’s librarian

This article, by Briana Turner, was originally published in the Arizona Daily Star on February 18, 2024.

During my junior year of undergrad, I knew I wanted to attend grad school, but what I didn’t know is that I’d end up going to library school. That was until I had a conversation with my grandparents at Caruso’s over a big plate of noodles. At the time, I was working at the Main Library at the University of Arizona, not as a librarian but simply a part-time student worker, scanning documents and trying not to fall asleep at my desk.  You should have seen their eyes light up! “Breeze, YOU gotta go to library school! Your great grandma DREAMED of becoming a librarian. Did you know she would sneak into the school library after hours and just sit there and read?” My great grandma was a school janitor with a passion for literature, she’d often stay in the school library after cleaning up, just to sit, read, and dream.  

Being the first in my family to graduate high school with honors, the first to attend college and the first to attend grad school was a huge deal. I grew up in a tiny trailer on the south side of Tucson. My parents worked hard, yet they struggled to make ends meet. There were some tough times, those Arizona summers would hit hard and on occasion our AC would go out. Our family members lived on the north side of town, an hour’s drive away, which cost gas money. But the Valencia Library was only 5 minutes away from our home, and you bet there was cold AC free of charge and plenty of entertainment for the entire family. So, my parents would pack us up in the car and head to sanctuary from the scorching hot trailer.

After completing my master’s degree in library and information science at the University of Arizona, I kicked off my career as a children's librarian. I started as a library associate in the Amphitheater School District and eventually found my way here as a PCPL children's librarian at the Richard Elías-Mission Library. It's been an incredible journey, and though the Mission branch is set to close for renovation starting March 11th, I’ll surely miss hosting Storytime and interacting with customers. But hey, there's a silver lining! The newly renovated space will be something to look forward to. Want to learn more about it? Visit library.pima.gov/news/missionremodel.

As a children’s librarian I create fun and engaging programs for kids, recommend books, and help children develop a lifelong love of reading. I also organize Storytime, craft activities, and other events to make the library a magical place for young readers and their families. These efforts often continue outside the library through community outreach. In February, libraries are buzzing with love for reading and literacy events. Librarians like us are busy sharing library resources and distributing books to the community, including nearby schools and daycares. Oh, and guess what? You can actually request outreach visits from us at library.pima.gov/outreach.

I absolutely love being a children's librarian, and one of my favorite aspects is Storytime. It's not only incredibly enjoyable and engaging for children and their caregivers, but it also plays a vital role in developing early literacy skills. During Storytime, we incorporate various activities like reading, writing, singing, talking, and playing, all of which contribute to building these essential skills. It's truly wonderful to witness the impact it has on young minds and their caregivers.

My great grandma would often tell others that she wanted to be reincarnated as a librarian. If she were alive today, I think she’d be proud of me and maybe a little shocked to hear that librarians don’t exactly spend their entire days reading.

Briana Turner will celebrate two years at Pima County Public Library in June 2024. When not hosting Storytime and helping customers find their next favorite book, Briana serves on multiple library teams, including Tween and Young Adult services, Pride, and Homework Help.