Posts Tagged Libraries
Reading this article in the School Library Journal reminded me of a recent conversation with some English teachers at a conference where I presented on the topic of How To Get a Kick Ass Librarian. Those teachers told me that they really didn’t understand what it was that their librarian did all day. They told me that mostly their librarians were in their workroom and mostly sitting at their computers, even when there were classes in the librarie, and that they wouldn’t think of asking them for help finding them or the students resources, they didn’t seem to think that their librarians would want that. Frankly, I was shocked!
I asked the teachers what they thought the librarians were doing on their computers and they told me that they had no idea. One even told me she had worked in the librarians office for a period of weeks in order to find out what the librarian did all day and at the end of that time was no wiser. They told me that the librarians very rarely came out of their workrooms and then only to tidy shelves and maintain the library. They said they thought there was a complete lack of understanding of what librarians did. I think there is a complete misunderstanding of what librarians can do!
This is a problem though. I investigated further. I spoke to English teachers at our school. I asked them if they had experienced ‘the librarian is in the workroom and is staying there syndrome’ and there was an overwhelming yes response to that. They suggested that it is not normal practice in schools for librarians to be out in the library assisting them and their students. So, all the current talk in SLANZA circles about EBP and proving how what you do makes a difference to teaching and learning in your school is for naught if school librarians are not out in the library and making that difference, but instead are sitting in front of their computers doing …. something that is probably very useful to them, but not to the students and teachers they are supporting. And we are support staff, we are supposed to be supporting those people. Yes through resourcing the library (perhaps that is what some of that computer time is about) but also through working with the staff at your school, alongside them and therefore alongside the students – you know the ones whose learning you are supposed to be making a difference to. You aren’t going to make any difference to them at all if you sit in your office all day. Yes you have to do the cataloguing, the processing and all those other library business things, but you have to make a difference and the only way you’ll do that is to get out there and be with the people using the library.
Now I’m not suggesting that you are a teacher, or even a teacher aide. I am suggesting that you are the best resource in the library. That you know heaps of stuff about what you have in there, where you can get more, that you are a key person with a distinct role in the school, come on folks, talk yourselves up, get out of the office and live up to the talk. You know your school needs you, needs your skills, needs the resources you provide. Get out, sell yourself, sell your services and get out of that workroom. You can do the workroom stuff when classes are not in the library.
So who does see what you do? Is it only you? Who would notice if you didn’t do what you do? How many of those things you’ve always done are vital to the students and teachers experience of the library? Have a think about it.
Oh yes, myths and legends!
There was a question recently on the listserv about how to choose books for senior students, there was a deluge of responses with suggestions of ways and means. This image has some answers to that question. Also, in the ‘This irritates me constantly department’ I always resent it when people assume that I have time to read during paid work hours. Seriously? Haven’t you looked into my workroom, that mass of paper, books half processed, projects half completed, displays half put up, planners all over the show, timetables being adjusted. Oh and look I’m not in my workroom, I spend at least half of every day out working with teachers and students in their classes. Oh how I’d love the time to sit in a cosy chair and read at school – oh wait that is what I set it up for the students to do! Lucky sods.
Daniel Handler and Maria Kelman who have written the book Why we broke up, are seen in this video singing an ode to libraries. Sing it loud and sing it proud!
When you’ve finished singing along go check out the Tumblr for Why We Broke Up.
They come in a variety of styles and costs to suit all budgets, but really, anyone may set up a small box, making it weatherproof if it is outside, fill it with a few books to share, then tell friends and neighbours . . . like the ‘Pay It Forward’ concept. People may take a book and exchange it for another.
What an excellent scheme to encourage reading.
Source: Judy O’Connell, Hey Jude
CB I hate Perfume have produced these rather gorgeous bottles containing the scent of the library. Hmmm well if your library is full of teenage boys as mine is I’m not sure that it would have any kind of appeal – the smell of damp, sweaty, woollen socks wouldn’t rate highly with me.
They think a library smells like -
In the Library is a warm blend of English Novel*, Russian & Moroccan Leather Bindings, Worn Cloth and a hint of Wood Polish
*The main note in this scent was copied from one of my favorite novels originally published in 1927. I happened to find a signed first edition in pristine condition many years ago in London. I was more than a little excited because there were only ever a hundred of these in the first place. It had a marvelous warm woody slightly sweet smell and I set about immediately to bottle it.
The post on the Unquiet Librarian Buffy Hamilton’s blog is called The Librarian as a Catalyst and Learning Specialist in K-12
English teacher Lisa Kennedy and librarian Buffy Hamilton discuss partnerships for learning between the librarian and classroom teacher; they also share how this partnership between librarian and teacher influences Lisa’s evolution as a teacher and her instructional design and in turn, Buffy’s practice as a librarian.
Looking for opportunities to sell your skills to teaching staff, to get them working with you collaboratively can be really challenging. Sometimes they just don’t see what you can do to help them. It is comforting to know that even Librarians such as Buffy Hamilton have grown to see their role working with teachers as being intrinsic to their school libraries from not really seeing that as part of their jobs. Working with teachers is great on so many levels, not the least of these is that teachers see the librarian as a fellow professional with knowledge and skills which can be used in classroom as well as the library. It is great when you get teaching staff to understand the full range of things the librarian can be useful for, all those honed skills which we use daily for search, management of information and research can be shared with teaching staff and then flow on to students which leads to better skills overall.
I know it’s really hard to get these collaborations started. Anybody got some great ideas to share about starting points for collaboration. Examples where it’s gone really well that others might be able to use?
You will see more videos on this theme in the related videos at the end.
Books in Browsers conference have posted a bunch of the presentations on YouTube. Find them on the O’Reilly Media YouTube channel here. The speaker is Brian O’Leary (Magellan Media Partners) this was the finale of the conference.
This is very interesting for me, currently doing some mulling and decision making procrastination about what I’m going to do in my library about e-readers, provide the books (bring your own technology model) or provide technology and and the books. And if I decide to provide the hardware which one would I choose. As the owner of three e-reading devices myself I’m still undecided which will work better for our students.
Anyway if you are interested in the business of e-books, e-publishing and the issues with royalties and how ultimately we might end up with a best of all worlds situation in our libraries, it might be worth your while watching this video. A view from outside the library sector.
This came to me via the Book Council FB page