Last spring, an LMS student interviewed me via email. I posted a link to the document earlier – but thought it might be good to use each question and answer as a separate post. Also – I haven’t blogged in awhile – being terribly busy being retired! This is the lazy woman’s way to show that I don’t spend all my time reading and sleeping! 🙂
THE GREATEST REWARD OF BEING A SCHOOL LIBRARIAN
The greatest reward has been my relationship with students. I get to see them grow and develop over the years, and I love it when they stop and chat and I get to learn more about them, and what their passions are. I am especially interested in the students who are NOT the shining stars. The kids that don’t shine in other areas, the quiet ones and even the ones that are trouble makers often show up in the library as a “safe haven”. I like to be able to find out what they love to do and try to encourage them to view school as the beginning of the road for them to spend a lifetime doing what they love.
THE GREATEST CHALLENGE OF BEING A SCHOOL LIBRARIAN
The greatest challenge. Hmmmm. There are many. Upon thinking of the many challenges (budget, lack of understanding of our job, schedules, discipline issues, lack of time etc) , I will have to say it is creating the balance that works best for kids and teachers. An overly loose form of student and facility management results in an atmosphere where the library is a goof-off place and little of productive value gets done. An overly restrictive atmosphere will result in an unwelcoming atmosphere that students and teachers avoid whenever possible. When it comes to student management, I find the best approach is humor and consistency…and always being open to starting over fresh. As for setting up the policies to make things best for the faculty, the best approach is to find a way to say yes whenever possible – even making a “no” sound like a yes by offering alternatives, or promising to work on it as soon as you have time etc.. If the facility is just too full, offer to bring materials and computers to the classroom. If a teacher has an idea for a project and you don’t think the kids are adequately prepared, ask for a little extra time and a copy of the assignment. Then use the extra time to add some design tweaks to the assignment and meet with the teacher to make modifications. Etc. etc. Whatever you can do to make the library an attractive place for teachers to expand their students creativity and problem solving abilities. Those are the abilities that will serve students the best when they go on to college and the work world.
I think you’ve done well creating that balance, Jacquie. I can only hope that I can do the same one day. I have been subbing at several different school libraries over the last few weeks(including RACHS). I’ve seen the whole spectrum. I love how the library at RACHS is a busy place with both students and teachers just dropping by. I loved seeing a group of students playing “Jenga” and others working on finding that last resource for that research paper.