The thing I miss about working in a public library is the access to books and time to read them. New books magically appeared for me to read, and I had long lunch hours/Saturdays/desk time to gobble them up. Schools are a little different; there’s a lot of lesson planning and administrivia going into the one-woman show that is my library. The books don’t appear unless I order them, and really that just happens once or twice a year. If a new book is published that I just have to have for my library, it goes on the list for next year’s book order. That’s a lot of time to wait, so I still spend a lot of hours at the public library and Barnes and Noble trying to catch up on everything out there. And when I arrived in my current job the periodicals had all been ordered for the year, and I couldn’t get my hands on School Library Journal or Publisher’s Weekly. Next year hopefully I’ll be able to work one of those into an order. So as much as I’m reading, I still get blindsided once in a while by the huge number of books I still haven’t read.

This is wildly apparent to me as we head into the final days before the 2009 award season for children’s and teen lit. The winners of the Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz will all be announced at ALA’s midwinter conference on January 26th. And there are just so…many…fantastic books for me to read still. Not to mention all the other books published over the years that I haven’t read (I’m trying to go through the novels and picture books in my library that I haven’t read). I have to get a grip on my time scheduling so that I don’t have to wait until summer to pounce on all the great books of the last year. By then I’ll be elbow deep in my list for this year. I’m considering drawing up a reading schedule, but that may just be the most obsessive-compulsive thing I’ve ever done.