Brandon Bensley, Children’s Librarian, Greensboro Public Library

Hello, LIS-ers! I received my MLIS from UNCG in 2000 – after wiffling and waffling, I focused on public libraries and children’s services. I had originally thought I’d go the special libraries route, as I had volunteered in the NC Room in Charlotte and enjoyed their image collection and helped put together a photo exhibition.

When I came to Greensboro for the MLIS in 1998, however, I got a part-time job in the Children’s Room of the Greensboro Public Library, Central Branch. It slowly came back to me how much I had loved the library as a child…and I enjoyed the part-time job so much I actually felt guilty taking a paycheck for it.

I got over that.

I did hard time in a non-professional, though finally full-time, position in the Children’s Room, slowly expanding my programming experience – in-house & outreach, babies to school agers – and took on development of GPL’s YA fiction collection from creating a core collection at each branch to maintaining them as centralized purchaser and consultant to the children’s/YA people at the branches.

In 2006 I became Children’s Specialist at the Glenwood Branch of GPL.

Here are some of the highlights of what I do –

  • I am responsible for maintaining the Glenwood Branch children’s collection and area – displays, weeding, bulletin boards, profile of the branch community for collection purchases, etc.
  • I plan and implement in-house and outreach programs for toddlers, preschoolers, school agers, families and occasionally YA.
  • I work in a team with other Children’s Specialists to do system-wide programming, share program resources and ideas, make suggestions to Administration about policies and procedures regarding children & families, develop workplans, collect statistics & more….I’m currently co-chair of this service team
  • I’m responsible for ordering YA fiction for the system
  • I work up to 10hrs on the desk at my branch – and come when called to help kids, parents and educators find books or resources
  • I’m occasionally called upon to represent the library at community events – often in collaboration with other organizations
  • I’m a member of NCLA and the Youth Services Section and am currently on the Executive Board of the YSS

I love my job and highly recommend children services in a public library setting to those who enjoy working with people of all ages, take pleasure in being creative and active, can embrace being viewed as a rock star by those aged 8 & under and can accept being viewed as slightly goofy by those aged 10 & up. It’s important to love the books, but it’s crucial to love putting the exact right book in the exact right hand.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Brandon Bensley, Children’s Librarian
Glenwood Branch Library
City of Greensboro
1901 W. Florida Street, Greensboro, NC 27403
phone: 336.297.5000; fax: 336.297.5005
brandon.bensley@greensboro-nc.gov

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5 thoughts on “Brandon Bensley, Children’s Librarian, Greensboro Public Library

  1. I have a question for you, Mr. Bensley, I am hoping to do Children’s or Young Adult Public Library and am wondering about a competency test that I heard about from one of my friends. She said it was a test you had to take before working with children or teens. Have you heard of this test? If so, what is it called and where did you go to take it? How did you prepare for it? If you have any other beneficial advise I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    1. Hey, Amanda! Thanks for the question. I believe what you’re referring to are the Competencies for Library Staff Serving Young Adults and Children.

      These are a list of skill and knowledge sets in several catagories that were devised by the Youth Services Advisory Committee of the NC State Library Commission. They were devised at the request of public library administrators for hiring and evaluating purposes – and
      professional development purposes for the staff working with
      children and YAs.

      That being said – there is NO WAY you’re going to find someone who has ALL the attributes listed in these documents. And some are completely irrelevant to some positions or systems. They are just meant to be a guide.

      I’m away from the library – but on my return I will post the two PDF documents. If you’re dying to see the competencies howev – try Googling: nc library competencies serving staff

      you’re looking for two PDFs titled Knowledge of Client Group – one for staff working with children and one for YA staff.

  2. I realized I didn’t explicitly state that I am not aware of any competency test you have to take to take a position in a public library working with kids or YAs! I have heard tell of people being “tested” on their storytime skills and age appropriate book knowledge in the course of job interviews…but that’s it…

  3. Thank you that is just what I was looking for. I appreciate the advice I found the PDFs you were referring to.

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