Venn Librarian

Reflections about the intersection of schools, libraries and technology.

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Was it worth it?

Posted by lpearle on 17 March 2015

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?

 

Posted in School Libraries | 2 Comments »

Pausing to reflect

Posted by lpearle on 11 March 2015

It’s Spring Break and actually about time for Spring, Break or no.  Afterwards comes the incredibly hectic run to the end of the year, a time filled with angst for the students (APs, finals, leave-taking) and faculty (planning for AY16 while finishing AY15).

For us, too, it’s a time to plan next year (did that research project go as well as it could? are the teachers open to more collaboration? if not, what can we still do to support the project/students/teachers? what new needs to be added to the collection so that we’re ready to go in September? etc.) as well as supporting what we can over the next couple of months.  One of the things I’ll be thinking about is what happened earlier this year, during a program we call InterMission.

The program is akin to a January term, or Winterim, where students forgo academic classes in favor of a mini-term.  We had something like this when I was at Emma Willard and when I was at Hamilton, although the Emma courses were two weeks at the end of December.  What was/is wonderful is that the students have the opportunity to really delve deeply into something for a period of time, knowing that there’s no graded outcome (like Emma, unlike Hamilton).  There were many courses where you could feel the excitement and engagement on the part of the students, something that doesn’t always feel as though it’s happening when they come in to do research.  There were also several seniors doing “capstone” projects that allowed them to really engage with a topic on their own, touching base with their faculty advisor early each day then going off to do research, think, program or whatever.

The question for me is how do we get the students that excited about research overall?  Not just when they get to pick the topic, but when they’re assigned something by their teacher.  When they sign up for an elective, they must have some interest in the topic – so why don’t I see that translated into their research projects?  Is it because of the way it’s approached, in terms of timing and expectations?  Is it because they have never really experienced the joys of research before?  Is it me?  For me, knowing how to cite sources accurately is the least exciting part of the process – the most exciting is the time spent searching for the resource, the answer to the question or some obscure piece of information that will make it all perfect.  The actual writing comes somewhere in between those two poles.

Last semester, a student was quoting an English translation of a German poem.  Because time was tight, I told her to watch what I was doing as I looked for (and ultimately found) the original English translator and publication information.  She was amazed at the tricks I was using to find the actual source, jotting down some hints for future reference.  We talked about how much fun that can be, knowing the answer is there and not stopping until it’s found.  If only we could build in time for them to just play with finding these things, but on topics they choose not proscribed topics based on the course they’re taking.  If only we could do this early on in their careers here, so that they could – as they progress through the years – have one such moment during each project.

How to make that possible, given time and curricular restraints, is what I’ll be thinking about over the next couple of weeks as I wait for the Mad Dash to the End to start.

Posted in Musings, Student stuff | Leave a Comment »

It’s the little things!

Posted by lpearle on 4 March 2015

In the midst of change, and stress and angst, it’s the little things that make what we do bearable.  Before I went back to school and got my MLS, there were only a few of those times – I can count them on one hand, I think.  That’s not to say I didn’t make friends or have fun, but those surprising rays of sunshine seem to happen more frequently now that I’m working in a school.

For example, the reason I’m on Facebook is that a former student e-mailed to ask for personal reading suggestions even though she was still at school (her librarian apparently didn’t read much YA fiction, and never really tended to that part of the collection), and she also complained that she’d had to e-mail – why wasn’t I on Facebook, where she could reach out far more easily.  The first friends I had there were former students, all of whom reached out to me.

One of those students, a girl who’d graduated several years before, sent me a personal message apologizing for giving me a hard time one day.  Honestly, I didn’t even remember it but apparently she’d felt guilt about that for a while and this was her chance to get rid of it.   She’s not the only student who has reached out to apologize for being a teen.  And each time, they’ve mentioned that I’d been gracious about their behavior, which was what had stuck with them.

Another former student, from my first school, turned up as a teacher at my last school.  We’d bonded back them, even though I was only there for a year, and during the time we worked together he would occasionally come to the library for some “Laura time” – in part because not only had we bonded, but in the intervening 10 or so years I’d remembered him and the things he was interested in.  It’s those little connections that matter to students.

At my current school, we have Weekend Duty for about five weekends in the school year.  Duty can range from chaperoning a dance to driving students to the mall to a pizza making party.  One weekend, a colleague who was supposed to stay in one of the dorms while the housemother had the weekend off couldn’t make it.  So in addition to my other duties I was scheduled to stay in the dorm from 6pm – midnight, making sure the girls were ok.  This was in my mailbox a day or so later:

cupcakes

Just for doing my job!

And then there are the students.  They’re all very polite, thanking me for proctoring study hall or for driving them somewhere.  But as at all schools, there are some who stand out, who become “library groupies”.  There’s one, a voracious reader, whom I’m convinced is the daughter I’m pretty sure I never had.  There’s another who has come to me with some problems and asked for advice.   When new books come in, there are a few I know will be in soon, perusing the display and choosing what they’ll read over the weekend or during a Break (or, as I did as a student, instead of doing homework).  Some feel comfortable enough to joke with me.  Last week, three of them gave me hugs during study hall (for three different reasons).  Talk about the little things!

Finally, there’s Jenna.  Apparently one of her goals is to be mentioned in a blog post (yes, I’ve spoken with her about raising her aspirations and goals… still, who am I to deny a lifelong dream).  And I’m happy to do it – not just because of the wish-fulfillment, but because she’s one of the ones who in some ways reminds me of me, back when I was in high school.

I don’t think she’ll do what I did with my high school librarian, with whom I became professional colleagues years after working in the library as part of my community service.  One day I called her from work, saying, “Barb, I’m going to say something to you that no former student has probably ever said to you before, nor will in the future.  Thank you for teaching me how to cover books, because that’s one of those things they don’t teach in graduate school – and it’s so necessary to know!” When I next saw her, she handed me some mylar in celebration.

Those connections, those random acts of kindness and hugs and smiles and “thank yous” make the larger job so much easier.   It’s nearly spring, a time for hope and warmth.  We’re also rushing forward to the end of the school year.  As you reflect on the year past, the successes and failures, don’t forget to count all those little things.

Posted in Life Related, Student stuff | Leave a Comment »

Don’t let me be misunderstood

Posted by lpearle on 2 March 2015

In my last post, I said that I was a failure – except, not really.  My programs are strong and by any standards other than those insisted on by the leaders in my profession a great success.  Which is why I’m not sure that the national association supposed to speak to and for me actually does… but that’s another post.

What upsets me is the rabid insistence (and it is rabid: there’s no discussion, no middle ground, just this way and no other) that the effective library program is one that promotes deep inquiry and co-teaching by technology/instructional leaders in the school, and if others wander in or want to schedule time, well… maybe you’ll give them some crumbs, while reminding them that you really only work in co-teaching situations.  That working on a fixed schedule is somehow akin to living in a dictatorship against which you should rebel, rather than trying to work  to still provide a great program. And that the only “real” school librarian is the one who is “certified” (I much prefer “credentialed”, but perhaps that’s because I don’t have state certification – and many librarians I know who do have it run bad programs).

It’s like the “I’m a librarian, I don’t do clerical work” crap I hear at times.  But I digress.

Here’s an example (one of many) that lets me know that my program is not only aspirational, but effective, and possibly great:

Several years ago, I was working with middle school classes on a fixed schedule.  This was less than ideal, as we met twice in a seven day cycle, and sometimes there were long – and I do mean long – gaps between classes.  Even better, this was only half of the class for one semester; I saw the other half earlier in the year.  It made for awkward integration into their research project, as I could go over things in class with only half of them.  Anyway, we worked on how to do research (I prefer FLIP-IT to Big 6, but whatever works for your students is best, right?), evaluating sites and so forth.  Then, towards the end, inspiration hit.

One of my nieces was on the trip to Mexico that brought back Mexican/swine/H1N1 flu to the US, and was actually quarantined (another digression: is it really quarantine if you’re attending baseball games? and by “baseball game” I mean the NY Mets, in Shea Stadium?).  Then a school nearby said it was closing for two weeks as a sort of self-quarantine.  My mother got worried about me, about how I would do since I have some autoimmune issues.  The next day I walked in to class and said, here’s the project: we’re going to research this flu and the end product will either be me telling my mother than I’m a (then) 45-year-old woman who can make her own decisions OR she’ll write a note to the Head of School excusing me from work because of the flu.  The students loved it!  Rather than a project they had to do because the teacher wanted them to, when they really didn’t care about the topic, here was something they were concerned about and heard about at home.

Two years later, when these students were in Upper School, I was leaving and a candidate came in to teach a sample class.  He asked about how one started to do research and one boy – you know, that boy, the one sitting in the back and never quite paying attention – raised his hands.  He remembered the acronym, remembered the steps but didn’t quite have the wording right.  So, here was a class totally separated from the curriculum, on a fixed schedule, not really doing “deep inquiry” and two years later that boy remembered what he’d learned to do.

That’s not the first, nor the last, time something similar has happened. Could working with this group on a flexible schedule, with deep integration into their class, have had that effect? I don’t know.  I suspect the answer is “no” because no matter how deep and rich the project is, if it doesn’t capture the student’s interest, they just won’t care.  And in a K-12 institution, very little comes from a student’s deep interest in a topic, and far too much from the teacher’s need to have a research project or the curricular requirements.

We, as a profession, need to celebrate these little victories while aspiring to move our programs further.  We need to stop making people working in the trenches, in conditions that are not ideal (multiple buildings, unfair student:librarian ratios, fixed schedules, no budgets, etc.) feel shamed about what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.  If the library is used – as is one I know of – as a study hall and the librarians supervise “credit recovery” let’s not shame them for not fighting for more.  Perhaps they already are.  Perhaps they know that if they do, they’ll have even bigger problems in their school.  Perhaps they have already gotten as much concession as they can and are happy to have survived that fight.

Shame on the shamers.  It’s one thing to say (implicitly or explicitly), “here’s to what you should aspire” and quite another to say, “shame on you for not doing a better job”.  We need to reach out, to provide tips and tricks and support.  It’s shaming when we say there’s only one way to be effective, it’s shaming when we say that if you don’t follow a prescriptive set of standards, you’re not being a good school librarian.  We need to be less rabid and more open-minded to the different ways programs are effective, to encourage aspirational dreams and confer greatness on more of our peers because they’re doing good work, just maybe not the “effective” work AASL envisions.

 

Posted in Musings, Professional organizations | 1 Comment »

Aspirational Librarianship

Posted by lpearle on 27 February 2015

In the September/October issue of Knowledge Quest, Buffy and Kristin coauthored an article that suggested that there was a widening gap between the standards and expectations AASL promotes and the reality many of us face in our schools (even those of us in well-funded independent schools not tied into e-rate funding/filtering, with 1:1 iPad programs and not required to undergo state testing).  As I read it, my head nodded as I recognized challenges that I and others have experienced.

Let’s look at the first question they pose, “What does it mean to be great?”  By AASL’s standards, the programs I’ve worked with are failures.  Collaboration and co-teaching with every teacher hasn’t taken place.  Even worse, I don’t insist that teachers work with me on every project!  Of course I’m open – but if they can’t, or if a project gets cancelled (for example, due to too many snow days) or truncated, I do the best I can and move on.  Those projects may not be as deep and inquiry rich as they’re supposed to be.  Sometimes students graduate without having done any deep research at all.  And then there are the non-integrated information/research skills classes, ones that may tie in with an ongoing project but are fix-scheduled and year-long, so the content doesn’t always have a curricular match. I take on non-library related work (like overseeing the online bookstore set-up, or proctoring lunch in the cafeteria while leaving the library unattended).  Leadership in tech?  That might step on our computer science teachers and tech integrators toes, let alone the Director of IT’s position on where the school is going.

Do I feel like a failure? No.  I aspire to what AASL considers “excellence”, keeping that as a potential goal while looking at the reality of the situation on the ground.  Only one or two projects that go further than a 3-5 page paper with bibliography?  Great.  Bring it.  I can work with that and aspire to building a stronger connection with others in that department or in the school that lead to deeper inquiry.  Need me to take on a fixed scheduled class?  Ok.  Let’s see what I can do to bring skills into the class even if there’s nothing curricular to work with, like evaluating information about current events or finding credible resources on topics of personal interest.  I can aspire to moving to a flexible schedule, or to integrating (slowly) with what the classroom teachers are doing.

Then I read Judy Moreillon’s response to the article. I think she missed the point.  My reading of the article wasn’t, “let’s get rid of the standards and the expectations and the high bar, instead let’s focus on how to help librarians in schools do the best possible job with their situation.” She’s dead right about the fact that for some, meeting with every class, every student for deep inquiry-based projects is simply impossible due to the student/librarian ratio (at my school, it’s 160:1; at my cousin’s selective high school, it’s 450:1; and at another NYC highly selective high school, it’s 1506:1).  But this paragraph made me cringe:

Working with these educators and students should be a priority for school librarians who will continue to serve other students on an as needed basis and work with teachers who engage in cooperative planning and schedule the library in open times that are not being used for in-depth learning. (If the library is large enough, multiple classes can use the library space at one time, but only those teachers who have planned with the librarian and scheduled the librarian’s time as well will have the benefit of her/his expertise.)

Really?  Maybe in a public school where the union can protect you but at my school?  If I told teachers that they could come in, but I was only going to work with the ones who have collaborated with me beforehand on the project creation?  I’d be looking for a new job, not to mention having an incredibly empty library space as the teachers stayed away in droves.  Last year we had one week where we had 10-13 classes in every day (there are only 7 periods in a day) and we worked with every one of them as the teacher needed – none of them did the level of collaboration that I aspire to, but hey, maybe next year.  Let me build the relationship, slowly showing them how I can add value to their projects and becoming a partner with them.  I’d rather be overwhelmed with students asking me questions despite a lack of integration into the class than sitting there at the information desk listening to the crickets.

I could go on, but you get the point.

Here’s the thing about aspirational librarianship: we know where the goal posts are, and we hope to some day get there.  But for now, in the real world in which we work, we need help and guidance on how to do our jobs better without alienating teachers and without insisting that if we’re not adhering to what AASL says we should be doing/being we’re just not being valued or doing a good job.  To my mind, it feels like the equivalent of being the old-fashioned shh’er: my way and only my way in my library.   Thank you Buffy and Kristin for raising the question.

So, what answers do you have?  To what do you aspire?

 

Posted in Musings, Professional organizations, School Libraries | 8 Comments »

The care and feeding of librarians

Posted by lpearle on 23 February 2015

Last week I was sitting in a faculty meeting, getting ready to leave to proctor evening study hall, when suddenly a group of students came running into the building exclaiming, “There’s a gas leak in the library!”  Needless to say, my feet were running as I phoned our security office.  The sirens were blaring, lights flashing and of course we were not allowed into the building to see what, in fact, was happening.  So I went home, study hall cancelled for the night.  Soon after I got a text asking me to return, to help save the materials in the Archives (housed in the library).

What I found when I got there was a broken pipe flooding the ground floor, creating a sodden carpet and destroying several outer boxes of archives materials.  Thanks to the quick thinking and work of our maintenance people and a few faculty members, we were able to get everything off the floor and rebox most of the items.

However, before all that, when we didn’t know what was happening, I had a few flashback moments to 2007, and the Hackley School fire. Could I really do another complete reconstruction?  Could I really do a partial one?

And I realized that despite the presentations I’ve given on disaster recovery, I wasn’t paying attention to one of the most important pieces of advice I gave others: take care of yourself.  In the midst of the crisis moment and during the recovery/repair phase, self-care is critical.  Not just when lightning strikes (or a pipe bursts), but when ever there is a huge change in your professional circumstances. Most – many? all? – of us want to be seen as professional, as having the proverbial stiff upper lip and just getting on with the job, no matter what’s going on outside.  And that’s all well and good, because being that oasis of calm, of dispassionate information, of normalcy can be invaluable to your community.  When September 11th was ongoing, I was lucky enough to have outside sources of information who let me know what, exactly, was happening (one was a major in the Canadian Army, getting realtime accurate information, the other was outside NYC and able to get through when local information sources were failing).  It helped the school know what not to believe.  And that’s the same attitude I took post-fire, to not show panic or despair, but to get on with it.

That was at work.  But at home I took care to do things that comforted me.  And slowly, given the pressures of work and new jobs and moving and life, I’ve gotten away from that.

This is important because I suspect I’m not alone.  The “always on” nature of life now, barely imaginable in 2007, doesn’t lend itself to down time away from whatever the situation is.  We’re pressured to do more with our time, to be more available professionally and personally, and not to seek things that might take us away from that to a place where we can find peace and time to do serious self-care.

At the upcoming NEAISL conference, and at this summer’s ALA and other conferences, meetings, leadership summits, etc. I hope we pay more attention to this.  Yes, it’s important to learn about new tools and to share tips and techniques, but it’s critical to learn to take the time for ourselves.

Posted in Musings, School Libraries | Leave a Comment »

Change, or thinking the unthinkable

Posted by lpearle on 10 February 2015

“Life is change”, we’re told. And we need to “lean in” to the discomfort (a real misreading of That Book) or recite the Serenity Prayer or do yoga or something. But change is stressful, no matter how we try to deal with it.

There’s a very loosely connected group of librarians who meet once a year at a day-long conference (the group is called the New England Association of Independent School Librarians, or NEAISL, and has no elist, no website, nothing more than this moveable conference) and this year, Porter’s is hosting that conference.  Our metatheme is change in all its permutations and instead of presentations we’re having facilitated conversations.  I know, from personal experience, that those conversations we have amongst colleagues are incredibly valuable – going to a conference presentation may lead to a new idea or two, or give an overview of a new tool, but for help with real change, real problems, it’s that interpersonal piece that works best.

So what kind of change?  As a librarian, I know that our programs have changed radically over the past couple of decades.  The school library my parents had looked very much like the one I had, but the one my nieces and nephews had has undergone so much change that they wouldn’t recognize mine!  Gone are the micro-format machines and drawers of film/fiche, ditto the card catalog, the LP collection, etc. and instead there are computers and databases and possibly makerspaces, and no shelves of encyclopedias with annual updates.  Do we stay with Dewey, or go with Metis or BISAC or Library of Congress?  What is the right size to the collection?

And then there are professional changes, like a shake-up in school or library administration.  Sometimes it’s a redistribution of duties or divisions, based on staffing changes.  What do you do if you have to change divisions, moving from your Middle School comfort zone to working with Upper School?  Or losing your K-12 range to go K-4 only?  Maybe there’s been a reduction, where your clerk has been “reassigned” (or someone without any training has been assigned!).  And if you’re new to a school, how do you fit into that team – if there is a team; sometimes you’ve gone solo and are suddenly everything from the Head Librarian to the occasional volunteer.

For some people, and I’ve heard from a number, these changes are too much.  They’ve gotten that one straw too many and it’s time to think about What’s Next.  Years ago, a colleague at another school sent out an email describing a situation at her school, where the new Head was radically changing the program and essentially turning it into a non-library space with a non-library focus.  This distress call got back to the school and a few days later, What’s Next became What Do I Do Now?  Some of us are trying to prevent that from happening to us, but the strain of keeping up with the changes is difficult to deal with.

It’s my hope that instead of thinking the unthinkable, we’ll be able to band together and share resources, share tool and share our stories, bolstering each other so that we can deal with the stress and the change.  What are we doing, and where are we going is relevant to everyone – so here’s your opportunity to vent, share and help.  I look forward to your comments!

Posted in Conferences, School Libraries, Work Stuff | 2 Comments »

Finally, new content

Posted by lpearle on 6 February 2015

This is Winter Long Weekend, and a good time for me to start catching up – getting organized with my taxes, updating all sorts of information and generally recovering from the blizzards/a four-week (and counting) cold/ALA Midwinter.  While I’m doing this, I’m “multitasking” by watching/listening to tv while doing all the data entry stuff.  One of my favorite tv shows is C-SPAN’s Q&A, which replaced Booknotes (another long-time favorite).  This past week’s show is worth watching for anyone working in a school:

http://www.c-span.org/video/standalone/?323965-1/qa-dr-frances-jensen

There’s also a TEMED talk given by Dr. Jensen:

Working in a school with teens means you see some of these behaviors (the stress, the texting) and know all about the development of the brain from external evidence.  This is some of the clearest explanation of the actual science I’ve seen yet.

Posted in Student stuff | Leave a Comment »

Keeping up – a how-to guide

Posted by lpearle on 2 December 2014

Despite being very busy, I do try to keep up (catching up is an entirely different matter!).  As a public service message for those also looking for ways to stay somewhat current, here’s my routine:

Blogs: I use RSSOwl to read my over 150 RSS feeds.  No I won’t list them here, because I don’t want to get into the “why this blog and not that”discussion, suffice it to say that I read a variety – personal interest, friends, humor and professional.

Tweets: Some twitter feeds I get via RSS, but the rest I really only read from 5-6:30am and possibly from 6-7:30pm.  So people posting frequently throughout the day, whose feeds I can’t capture otherwise, well, I just don’t see those tweet.  And that’s ok.

News: In my email, each morning there’s The Daily Skimm and So What, Who Cares? (despite it’s name JSTOR Daily is a weekly update).  I also get updates from the NYTimes, Wall Street Journal and the Christian Science Monitor, and check the BBC, Globe & Mail and Guardian websites.

Books: In addition to the book-related blogs, there’s the daily (or more than daily) Shelf Awareness email.

Misc. Professional Stuff: The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Academe Today and Wired Education are great daily newsletters.

Just for Fun: MyComicsPage and Delancy Place.

Looks like a lot, right?  But much of it can be skimmed, and for those long-form articles I would love to read later, there’s Readability (I know, I know, there are a lot of Instapaper fans out there but… Instapaper doesn’t appear to work offline, and Readability sends stuff to my Kindle, which does work even without a wifi connection).   It takes 90min to get through it all, if that, and I can start my day (and end it, sometimes) feeling as though I have some awareness of what’s going on out there, professionally and politically (and personally).

 

Posted in Techno Geekiness, Work Stuff | Leave a Comment »

Where have I been?

Posted by lpearle on 25 November 2014

It feels like just yesterday I was planning my school year, promising I’d be better about blogging and staying in touch.  HAH!  The past few months have been overwhelming:

  • weeding (my personal goal? getting our average collection age up to the mid-1990s) and updating the collection (if nothing else, getting a copy of Helen Keller’s memoir that was published this century, not 1931!);
  • emptying out the former archives space, and trying to organize the new space(s) while also weeding out non-archives materials that have been dumped there;
  • updating our Resource Guides (not using LibGuides as the term any longer, on the Kleenex/tissue theory) as we complete the shift from v.1 to v.2; and
  • trying for even more integration and pushing into “new” classes, like English and Biology.

Then there’s the professional development piece, with visits to a local independent school (so inspiring to see their renovated space and hear their weeding story), the Bank Street BookFest, and finally the ALAN workshop (more about that later).  Reading blogs and saving links and ideas… but lacking the time to really figure out ways to integrate them into the program. And reading books, trying to keep up with what should be on the shelves and how we can get them into the hands of more students.

The thing is, working in a boarding school is exhausting.  There’s evening study hall, sit-down dinners, weekend duty, advising, late hours (we’re open 7:am-5pm every day), committee work and evening committee meetings.  In this, my second year, time management is still a struggle.  That’s not to say that it’s not also fun and has incredible rewards (the student who is so happy you found just the right resource, or that you came in on the weekend to see them in a play, or a game, or that you’ve baked something for your advisory meeting… and the student who trusts you enough to share their life with you, the good and the bad, whispering a secret hope or fear…).  But it is exhausting and even in a day school there’s never enough time to get it all done.

So have patience!  This blog will get updated.  Information gleaned elsewhere will be shared.  It’s just that for the past few months, I’ve been elsewhere.

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