Salie Olson: Providing services for the young

Published 5:45 pm Tuesday, April 16, 2024

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First of all, let me introduce myself. My name is Salie Olson and I have been the Youth Services Librarian at the Austin Public Library since June 2022. I earned my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from St. Catherine University, where

I originally trained to be a school librarian, which included having my K-12 teaching license. I’ve worked in a variety of settings over the years, including the Science Museum of Minnesota, a working historical colonial farm in Maryland, and the Stewartville Public Library.  However, when the opportunity to be Austin’s Youth Services Librarian came up, I was excited to accept and I’m loving it. 

What is a Youth Services Librarian? Here at the Austin Public Library, it means I provide services and resources to children from birth to young adulthood. I help to curate our collection of materials, provide programs, conduct story times, provide self-directed opportunities, such as scavenger hunts, provide reference assistance, and more. You may have also seen me working at the library’s service desk, or helping patrons out at the computers. Overall, any area in the library with a green-painted wall involves my role in some way.

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Soon it will be summer, one of the busiest times for the library, and I wanted to provide some insight into how that all comes together. We start with a theme from the iRead Summer Programming group. Next, comes planning. That usually starts in January.

It can take a lot of time to make all the connections to performers and get the details finalized. There are also reading logs to prepare, books to order, scheduling to figure out, prizes to arrange, and more. We are lucky to be part of  SELCO (Southeastern Libraries Cooperating) Regional Library System as they are usually able to provide additional support, funding, and resources for libraries in the system to host some awesome events and performances during summer, in addition to what we may be able to do within our budget.

For those of you who have been to a summer program in the past, this is why we ask you to fill out a survey. They help to continue the availability of SELCO resources, so we thank you for your support.

This year’s summer program theme is Read, Renew, Repeat. Our calendar of events  will be out soon, and will run June 3 to Aug. 3.  As a sneak peak,  events will feature magicians, musical acts, open art, LEGO and games, story time with a miniature pony and maybe even a puppet act. I personally can’t wait to see everyone enjoying our events. And if you haven’t me yet, make sure to come over and say hi!