Love Me Some Weekend Work

In order to get a few days off mid-week to do some research, I did some shift trading and found myself working three weekends in a row.  And as I worked, I realized how much I like those weekend shifts. Why?

*Each weekend day is a four hour shift - two people split the duties: one goes 9-1 on Saturdays; the other works 1-5 on Saturday and Sunday. These are short, quick shifts that are easily worked and still leave plenty of time for weekend fun.

*It's all desk, all the time. I gear up for having a good day with patrons and for the most part I do. I get into my Wakanheza place and launch my service self from there. Even if I have to get tough, I have a smile and joke in reserve.

*Because of the pretty high usage and good pace, I only plan service to the public and not projects while working. So with my goal to serve the patrons, I ineveitably accomplish my work. If I do manage to get through emails or finish a report or design a handout because it's slow, that's a bonus - but not an expected result.

*As a manager, these are great days to work - lots of hands-on, sleeves-up reference and reader's advisory but no calls to negotiate, mediate, problem solve for staffers within the department or around the library - we are all too busy giving primary on-desk service (or having great days off!). This unadulterated face time with kids and families is golden.

*Weekends are great times to be up and about from the desk - straightening shelves and displaying books; spot weeding collections; chatting with kids and adults using the room; helping with catalog searches.  There are fewer phone calls so being tied to the desk isn't necessary and the pace is definitely one that keeps me moving.

*I get to check in throughout the shift on Twitter with the #saturdaylibrarian and #sundaylibrarian hashtags that connect me with colleagues from all types of libraries. Sometimes we comment on our days; sometimes we help each other with reference queries and sometimes we count down the time and patron quirks.

I don't think I'm Pollyanna-ish or see the weekend world through rose-colored glasses or live the lemons/lemonade paradigm. I just genuinely like those Saturday/Sunday shifts. It could be I'm just weird. Anybody else weird like me?

Image: 'It's here!'  http://www.flickr.com/photos/94812957@N00/341430448


  1. It took me awhile to come around to weekend shifts, especially Saturday shifts (which are all day 9-5:30 at my library). I definitely had to adjust my expectations as far as the amount of work I could expect to get done, and you're absolutely right - realizing that patron service is your top priority on the weekends really helped. I also agree that as a manager, weekend shifts are great for connecting with patrons (evening shifts, too!).

  2. You're just weird (-:) We take turns working one Saturday a month - and it's four hours of non-stop phones, patrons, circulation, and computer problems for 3 staff (2 circulation clerks and a department head). I'd like Saturdays more if the computers didn't crash every weekend. Srsly, EVERY SATURDAY. Probably this is b/c they're set to update Friday evenings... On the other hand, I like closing Friday evening, which is a mini Saturday in terms of insanity, but it's like working an evening that's not an evening b/c we get to go home at 6!

  3. I love weekend shifts,too. It is a different crowd on Saturdays(we are not open Sunday....yet).
    Every thing just feels more relaxed and it is a nice time to chat up families who are not in a hurry because they are in "weekend mode".

  4. Good for you Marge. I think your success comes from your decision that while you're there your only job is the desk and customer service, and anything else you get done (email, etc.) is a bonus. I agree with Abby that it is important for managers to spend time at the desk (sadly, too many don't.) And finally, I think it gives us a shot in the arm when we go to work and "just be librarians" (no meetings, no agendas, no supervising. . .) Thanks for the post!

  5. Hey, Marge:
    I like those 4 hours weekend shifts too....for ALL the reasons you posted. The only quibble I have is I like the EARLY shift, so may Saturday's are not a total lost.
    Carolyn at LM