School Libraries

Was it worth it?

Just before Spring Break started, there was a tweet (or a blog post, or an e-mail – I can’t find it any longer) about voting for the 2015 ALA Annual Ignite Conversations. So, being dutiful, I logged in to ALA Connect and voted.  The session was on the things we don’t learn in library school (and OMG are there many) and in some ways reminded me of the apron my father used to wear that read, For this I spent 4 years in college? Sadly, I can’t link to that session or reprint the description because for some reason I can’t find it again – nor can I find the two on LibGuides I know I voted for at the time.

The point is, this is one of those perennial conversations: I went to graduate school and the training didn’t prepare me for [fill in the blank skill/task].  Thinking back on my previous posts about what we aspire to be doing as good (or effective) school librarians, I also think about the things we do that we receive no training for, nor any discussion about, yet are expected to do.  I’m not just talking about things like fixing the printer/copier/projection devices, I’m talking about things like covering books.  You know, the basics.

It also made me think about the various things that we do that are outside our job description.  In speaking to several of my friends/colleagues, and not including the things we take on in a boarding school (like dorm duty), I come up with this:

    • Create professional development powerpoints and department-specific activities for our four days of school-wide professional development this year
    • Proofread faculty comments at end of semester before grades are released to students and parents
    • Create online forms and surveys for faculty voting on student awards and honors
    • Purchase all books for student awards.
    • Post principal’s newsletter online and distribute
    • Create class schedules for all students
    • Produce data analysis for each teacher in English and math based on formative assessments
    • Proctor all extended time midterms, finals and SATs.
    • Set up lists of students based on teachers and class periods in online formative assessment software
    • Collect acceptable usage paperwork and connect student and faculty-owned devices to the school network
    • Report issues with student’s school-issued 1:1 devices, pass them to the technology staff, get them back to students when issues are resolved
    • Working with every class in two grades to talk about standardized test-taking strategies
    • Supervise more than one hundred twenty students every day for study hall
    • Oversee morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up (“oversee” also meaning help students in/out of cars)
    • Supervise more than three dozen students every day taking online courses through our state system or through dual enrollment at the community college
    • Supervise student workers in coffeeshop each morning
    • Repair and collect monthly copier totals from the more than one dozen photocopiers on campus
    • Order toner, copier paper, bulletin board paper and other communal supplies
    • Create, then update, our annual district technology plan
    • Apply for e-rate funding; oversee expenditure of funds received
    • Oversee annual setup of online bookstore, work with students to download textbooks
    • Occasionally back-up front-desk receptionist and/or mailroom
    • Supervise lunch period, including outdoor recess

Does that make us less effective as librarians?  Or more effective as colleagues?


3 thoughts on “Was it worth it?”

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