I’m a list maker. I like checking off that To Do list, getting organized and Getting Things Done.
Being a school librarian is not the best profession for anyone who likes that!
My Big To Do List for this school year has changed, morphed, been ignored and resorted over the past few months… and even after 18 years in schools I’m still not totally ok with that. I keep thinking that we should be further along with the weeding project. The Varsity Reading Team should be meeting. Updating the library blog and twitter feed needs to be more frequent. Our Resource Guides aren’t exactly where I want them. Etc. Etc.
So why aren’t we there? Because of the constant interruptions: helping students find books to read for pleasure… working with them on how to cite a source… ordering new books for the collection… chatting with the student needing an adult ear to listen and shoulder to cry on… And, sadly, neither I nor my Partner-in-Crime are good at being in two places at once.
We’re hosting this year’s New England Association of Independent School Librarians conference, and change is our metatheme. The programmatic changes when your school goes 1:1 with laptops or tables, or decides to go more (or totally) digital, or the research focus moves more online and in class than before. The personal changes when you move from being a team member to a solo librarian (or the reverse), or become a department chair, or are asked to move from your division of comfort (K-4, or 9-12) to another division, or are suddenly losing staff and being asked to take on more. The organizational changes when the school’s Head or other administration changes, or the school drops AP exams, or joins the IB program. And thoughts about retirement and/or career change.
Those are conversations we need to have, and have needed to have for years. Decades maybe. I can’t wait to share stories with my peers, and to feel a little less alone with these questions and fears and issues.
I think about my high school librarian, who ran a program relatively similar to the one my parents would have had. She was at the school for over 30 years and saw a hugely shifting landscape (where did that wonderful room of LPs go? what about the microfilm/fiche room?). In my time things have moved from databases on CD-ROMs to “in the cloud”, for example, and movies are not on VHS (or laserdisc) but streamed. Keeping up with those changes is exhausting! What makes the perfect program? How has that perfect program changed since what it was last year? or last month?
I’m grateful that I now have a week to think about those things, to reassess the To Do List and to regain my footing on the ever-changing landscape I call “my” library.