What does a school librarian do anyway? part 2

In addition I support teaching staff and classes by;
• Collating and finding resources –often creating intranet or internet pages
• Running a library blog so pupils can get book ideas and share their reviews plus get homework help away from school
• Creating and maintaining GLOW pages
• Teaching, or supporting class teachers, one off research or study skill lessons
• Reinforcing ideas and methodology
• Help with CPD requests, bibliographic queries and sourcing materials
• Promote and support school events.
• Book talks and reader development
• Running debates in lessons or helping pupils with presentations.

Barack Obama said that;

“Libraries remind us that truth isn’t about who yells the loudest, but who has the right information.”

Young people today have an increasingly difficult job to find relevant information in the amongst the bombardment of websites that a simple internet search provides. As a school librarian, helping pupils find and recognise reliable information is a key element of my role. To this end half of my work with S1 and S2 is spent on developing their study and research skills.

The other half of the time focuses on reading and books. Literacy is a key part of ACfE and I play a major role in encouraging pupils to read and making them aware of books that they might enjoy. For many the school library is their first experience of a library and my job is to make it easy to understand and to open their minds to the possibilities. Author Wil Wheaton commented that on being shown the library catalogue by his school librarian:

“…the library was transformed from a confusing and intimidating collection of books into a thousand different portals through time and space to fantastic worlds for me to explore.”

It is not enough to point them in the direction of the shelves, I have make suggestions, speak to individual pupils encourage them to try new books. I regularly do book talks in classes, blog reviews, a fortnightly display of books and a book of the week at the main desk.

For lessons run or supported by me I develop my own teaching materials or build on what the class teacher has (often this is simply an idea). It takes time to create, review, research and develop lessons and teaching materials. During term time I have no non-contact time as the library is only shut for my lunch during the school day (thirty minutes taken prior to the pupil lunch break). This means that much of this development has to be done during the school holidays.

Being open all the time also means that there is often little or no preparation time between classes which means I need to be more organised than others and rely heavily on time in the school holidays to complete tasks or claim back lost time. I have also been known to miss out on lunch to accommodate teaching classes (usually at least once a week) and there is an understanding that this time can be taken in-lieu during the school holidays.

Even when there are no teaching classes in the library there are usually a collection of S6 pupils or individual pupils sent to me for a range of reasons. Although mostly self-sufficient I find there are a regular range of queries from these pupils that I try and help them with. I’m also involved in helping with careers advice, particularly in offering help and guidance to S6 pupils involved with UCAS applications and helping with personal statements.

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