Adrienne Bogard’s Role as a Floating Librarian
“We have policies and procedures that are across the board, that everybody follows, so the big stuff is all the same no matter where you are. But then things like workflow, the collection, how the collection is laid out, that changes from library to library. When you first start it can be quite challenging to remember all the details of the branch you’re working at that day.”
Adrienne Bogard, iSchool MLIS Student
Librarian at the Allen County Public Library
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Adrienne began her library career as a summer assistant for the Allen County Public Library in 2018, moving up to a part-time shelver in the fall of the same year. By June 2019, she was promoted to a branch assistant position and by November she was promoted to a full-time librarian. While her current position as a “floating” reference librarian brings some challenges, Adrienne enjoys all the unique opportunities it brings.
‘Floating Librarians’ Fill In Scheduling Gaps
The Allen County Public Library is home to four floating librarians whose job is to fill in as needed at any of the 13 satellite branches within the system. This role entails covering the desk at locations where the main staff has put in for time off or when they are needed to fill in scheduling gaps while other librarians are booked with meetings. All of these positions are scheduled and booked out usually three months, or more, in advance, meaning floaters have to plan their own time away many months ahead of when librarians normally plan vacations.
Adrienne notes that one of the benefits of this position is that floating librarians get to see the whole county. “We are the largest county in Indiana in terms of the area so there is a lot of ground to cover.” Adrienne also really enjoys serving diverse patrons, “Our main branch in Fort Wayne,” she notes, “is the second-largest city in the state with 200,000-300,000 people, and then we also have towns with 1,000 people. We service urban, suburban and rural communities and it’s really fun to be able to go between all these communities and experience all the diversity in the county.” Being a traveling librarian allows for serving the larger county community and seeing the beautiful landscape all around.
Schoolwork in Action
While Adrienne got her job around the same time as being admitted to San José State University’s iSchool, she has already taken some courses that have aided her work life. One of the most helpful classes she took was Intro to Reference. “I’ve been doing reference for a couple of months now, but when I started I really had no idea what I was doing. That class was very helpful with tips and resources to use.” She also really enjoyed the Beginning Cataloging and Classification course and is now inspired to pursue a career in technical services.
When asked about life after completing her MLIS, Adrienne was still exploring opportunities. “I think that’s part of [the iSchool program], being able to take different classes in different areas and go, oh, ok, maybe not that way, but oh these are kind of interesting.” In upcoming semesters Adrienne hopes to take some archival classes to see if those classes grab her interest, as well. In the age of the pandemic, Adrienne highlights the importance of pursuing a variety of topics of interest and build a well-rounded skill set, which can open new opportunities in the future.