Fun library related school supplies for the new semester

Image by: Iryna Khabliuk, Canva

Happy first day of the Spring semester! I have been enjoying a six week winter break from Emporia State University where I focused on reconnecting with my friends and loved ones; spending more time recreating outside and being away from my (school) desk; and squeezing in some last minute personal reading to meet my 2022 reading challenge goal on GoodReads. In the last week or so, I turned my attention back to preparing myself for my next courses – Collection Development and Management; and Outreach in Libraries. In addition to some of the organizational tips I mentioned last August, I also enjoyed a small ritual of splurging on some supplies.

Back-to-school shopping was a treasured tradition for me as a kid, and while I don’t go from shop to shop anymore for pencils, notebooks, and the like, I do like to order a couple of things to supplement what is listed in the syllabi. Below I have included some books and gifts that may be of interest to you to add to the school supply list for the new semester:

“Revenge of the Librarians” by Tom Gauld

A relatively newer graphic novel, this series of comics illustrates funny scenarios encountered by many sectors of the book business. Seeing librarians and the reading world represented in print can be a welcome way to stay connected to others and have fun with library life. Who doesn’t love a good literary cartoon?

“Wholehearted Librarianship: Finding Hope, Inspiration, and Balance” by Michael Stephens

I found this title from another book last semester, sort of a friend of a friend, and though I have not read it yet, I am looking forward to diving in to explore lessons that encourage kindness, empowerment, and creativity. It is no secret that burnout can be common in librarianship, which I attribute to the personal passion of many in the field to serve their communities and in doing so, give so much of their attention and energy all of the time. I love reminding myself of ways to improve professionally, combating burnout or otherwise. 

A further note on reading beyond class, (not that I have much time for this but a gal can dream right?) I check ALA Editions in the ALAStore frequently to see what topics professionals and LIS scholars are publishing about right now. In terms of actually purchasing these titles, I proceed with caution and usually try to find them from my school or public library first, due to their cost. That being said, browsing on their site or in a catalog mailer, I like to check ALA Editions for titles based on my concentration and professional interest.

A handful of modern novels feature libraries and librarians prominently. This seems to be especially popular in recent years within historical fiction. Titles like “The Personal Librarian”, “The Lions of Fifth Avenue”, and “The Giver of Stars” are a couple of examples that remind us of libraries enduring roles of information access. I haven’t vetted the accuracy of these settings and their portrayal of the tasks and perceptions of “book gatekeepers” but they seem to be a fun escape into these time periods and are broadening readers’ exposure to libraries. 

Beyond books, there are so many hard goods out there that celebrate librarianship, books, books and cats, books and coffee, and much more. These definitely feel like a “treat yo self” moment, and aren’t necessary by any means. I enjoy browsing items to document my library school experience. Some of my favorites are reading journals, a calendar with beautiful library scenes, pretty much anything from the Out of Print shop.

More practically, a wonderful gift for yourself is to purchase an ALA student membership. It is a gift that keeps on giving by connecting you with other library school students, professionals, and even a mentor should you choose. It is good for a year and can even be coupled with your state library association.

As mentioned, none of these are essential, but I hope you enjoyed looking through these ideas. I wish you the best in discovering what encourages your success as a student this upcoming semester, supplies or otherwise. Share in the comments any supplemental reading materials you enjoy or treats on your wishlist!

Taylor Worsham is from Gunnison, Colorado and is currently pursuing her MLS from Emporia State University’s distance program. After studying communication and political science for her undergrad at Western Colorado University, she worked briefly in marketing communications before finding her true calling in working in public libraries. Her current position as an adult services coordinator for Gunnison County Libraries focuses on public relations, programming, collection development, and circulation. In the future she hopes to expand her career to include more outreach and leadership duties. Outside of work and school, Taylor enjoys spending as much time outside as possible, traveling, photography, and reading contemporary fiction.

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