Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Annnnd we’re off!

Posted by lpearle on 29 August 2013

Classes are starting – is it June yet?

No, seriously, it’s fine.  There’s still a lot of tweeking of the collection that needs to be done, books still to be processed, stuff to be updated and all that, but we’ll manage to do all that around the classes coming in for research and people coming in to find great reads and spend time in our library doing personal research, studying, etc.   The buildings and people are more familiar and routine is starting to creep in.

It’s always interesting exploring new school cultures.  I’ve worked with schools who had an (unwritten) dress code of Laura Ashley and/or cashmere twinsets and pearls and those with written dress codes mandating jacket and tie for the men; I’ve seen hippie unshaven legs/underarm and braless on some colleagues and dress casual on others in the same faculty group.  Meals are also interesting: do the faculty eat with students?  is there a faculty-only table?  or do the faculty grab something and eat in their classrooms?  Some schools have free meals for faculty, others subsidize the food and still others have the faculty pay full price.   What you call your teacher also varies, from the Quaker school “everyone uses first names” to one school who loudly touted the number of PhDs on the faculty by insisting they go by “Dr.”

How seriously the school takes itself is also always interesting to see.  Some have a very casual attitude, some hammer home Tradition and History, some do a mixture of both.   I’ve spoken to schools who find any opportunity to tout their age (“oldest school for girls in the country”, “oldest continuously operating school in the country”, “oldest co-ed boarding school in the state”) or their athletic prowess (“xx consecutive wins in [sport]” or “xx state championships in the past xx years”) or their facilities (brand new? historic register? the same classrooms frequented by [VIP names]).

When you’ve been at more than one school, having experienced more than one way of doing things, it can be amusing and confusing to start in on a new way of doing them.  In many ways, it’s more difficult to switch from one style of dress, address and culture to another than it is to go from Mac to PC or tablet.   The good news is that all those new students are making the transition with you.

Enjoy the journey.

 

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