Posts Tagged school libraries
Why did this blogpost ring so true to me? Well that is because, like any small organisation, the one I devote large amounts of my free time to is an organisation which thrives on people standing up and offering skills, vision and time, and sometimes those things seem a little thin on the ground. Plenty of folk clamor for new things, new initiatives, new tools from our organisation but very few put their hands up to help make them happen. I really liked what this blog post had to say about getting involved, that talent comes in many forms and that people’s strengths are often where new cool ideas are to be found. Yes, the collective is stronger than the individual.
The collective is stronger than the individual.
We’ve all got something we can contribute to a shared outcome. If a stronger profession is what we want, then why don’t we all bring our strengths to the cause?
So, be bold, put your hand up. Come up with a good idea and offer to drive it. Mentor someone, what do you feel the burn for? What would you love to see happen? Together we can make awesome happen, alone it takes an age, is not as much fun and doesn’t offer you the opportunity to learn new skills and connect with others who share your skills and passion. Say yes! Say why not! Say ‘hey I’ve got a good idea!’
and then if you are a secondary school librarian you might want to add a few of your own. Here are some from me.
- You greet student librarians with Yo G! Or it’s alternative What up G! Instead of Hello there sweetie!
- You know major players in various bizzarre sporting codes despite having little to no interest in anything remotely related to sport.
- You are as obsessed with 4 Pics 1 word as your students and you are constantly being asked for help, “cos Miss you know everything right?”
- Given that the library is gossip central you know the details of far too many teenage relationship breakdowns/startups/on holds, and constantly surprise the students by saying “oh yes I know her Mother!”
- You have become incredibly sick of telling the students to “Go ask your Mum if you can borrow her copy of 50 Shades of Grey, because no, we will not be having it in here!”
- You have to guard your Mockingjay pin because even though other staff have no idea what it is, you know that if you take your cardigan off with the pin still on it, you may not ever see it again. In general you are prepared to have your fashion sense critiqued every day by the fashionista crew who are always hanging in the library – at least that is how it seems at our school.
- You are well aware that even though the adults may have moved on from vampire romance that is isn’t dead in the hearts of some of your most loyal clients.
- You know exactly how cool you are if you show year 13 students a clip that they haven’t seen yet, but which is ridiculously funny.
- You keep having to tell the students that “versing someone is quoting them poetry, not going against them in a match!” This is a pet bugbear at the moment.
- Your students stop you in the street and say “hey Miss remember that time when …..” and you laugh and laugh.
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.
Dr Ross Todd discusses school libraries and diverse student needs.
You could try this with your weedings for the year! I’m feeling inspired to issue a challenge and wondering what the boys would do. I think it is awesome. It is from Cathy Jo Nelson whose blog is always full of good ideas. I found it as I was reading about censorship here. Another great post. I’m just heartily recommending Cathy Jo.
“The State of Wikipedia not only explores the rich history and inner-workings of the web-based encyclopedia, but it’s also a celebration of its 10th anniversary. With more than 17 million articles in over 270 languages, Wikipedia has undoubtedly become one of the most visited and relied upon sites on the web today.”
The video features the co-founder, Jimmy Wales as the the narrator.
Very clever, interesting and relevant, and very well done.