Saturday, February 8, 2014

Still breathing! My school life as a librarian

Just looked at the date of my last post, and oh, my!  It's hard to believe that this is already February 2014; the school year is flying by for this new librarian!  I am having SO much fun with my latest incarnation as a "book pusher".  But my job entails much more than booktalks and manning the circulation desk.  Here's what my typical day looks like:

  • I greet my lovely assistant at the circulation desk.  She's always there before me, and has the computers booted up and set to the online catalog.  I log on to "my" circ desk computer and get the circulation program up and running, because we have a few kids who are in the library right at 715a to check out!
  • Unlock my office door, get that computer up, unpack my bag, and set up the computers for the broadcast team that arrives at 725a.  We're joined by the IT support and music teacher who handle most of the technical/ directing side of the broadcast with the team in front of the camera; I assist the other team of students who are at the computers preparing for their next week's report.
  • After broadcast, I get a few minutes to check emails, help students who wander in for checkout, pull materials for teachers, and handle scheduling issues, financial stuff, and answer any phone messages.  Sometimes I'll have a class that's making up a visit during this time, or I'm teaching a special lesson.
  • Classes typically start arriving for their fixed visits around 845a.  On a slow day, we see eight classes; on a busy day, it can be eleven or more!  Kindergarteners get a storytime every week, with books off of our local Armadillo list or from the Texas 2x2 recommendations.  First and second graders get a story or lesson every other week, so that on their "off" weeks they can have a full half hour to browse the shelves.  Third, fourth, and fifth graders also get lessons every other week.  I tend to focus on library and information literacy skills with the upper grades.  I want them to be able to navigate any library they walk into with ease, for a lifetime!
  • Tuesdays after school, I help host the fourth grade newspaper club.  Each edition team meets for one month, and this year we've published our newspaper using the Google S'more application.  It's colorful, and we can import pictures, videos, whatever the team imagines and writes up!
  • Every Thursday, I meet with a group of fifth graders during lunch for book clubs.  It is one of my favorite things to do; we discuss the common book we just read, make text and life connections, and choose the next book to read.  
  • Friday mornings start with school assembly.  I'm on stage right after the national anthem, and report on library news, give the "Shelf Elf" award to classes that have been exceptionally great in the library, and generally encourage reading.  This TERRIFIED me at first; getting up in front of 900+ people was not in my comfort zone!  It is getting easier, though, especially since I get such a good response to "Good morning, READERS!" when I step up to the microphone.
  • The rest of my job is probably what you think it is--checking books in and out, finding books for students and teachers, ordering new books and supplies, coming up with library lessons, cataloging new materials, and managing the facility use and funds.  
I love my job.  I love that I get to promote literacy, and the enjoyment of reading, on a daily basis.  I truly believe that reading is at the heart of all learning and social/community engagement--it affects our school performance in all subjects, allows us to participate in social systems and our democratic processes, and facilitates career choices, global awareness and communication.  On an emotional level, it allows us to problem solve and deal with serious issues in the safe environment of a book plot--important skills to last us a lifetime.  I am honored to be given such a responsibility!


  1. "WOW"
    I am glad you like your new career in the Library. From what you wrote I can see that you are busy and I can also see that you truly enjoy working with the children, or should I say young students. I am proud of you. I am happy for you. I love you.

    1. Yep, it's definitely been a great career move. Thanks, Dad!

  2. WHEW! Just as i imagined energetic, passionate, professional, rroc-star librarian!! Lucky students & staff! JoAnn

    1. Awww, thanks, JoAnn. It has been an amazing year so far! And I have great role models in teachers like you--that helps a LOT!