Library Day in the Life Project

Created by Bobbi Newman of ‘Librarian By Day’ the ‘Library Day in the Life Project’ is all about sharing what you do as a librarian and seeing what others do given how varied the profession really is. So I thought I’d share my day with you in honor of National Library Day and the ‘Library Day in the Life Project’.

So let’s start at the beginning in case anyone reading doesn’t know me – I am a school librarian. I work in a Scottish High School meaning I am dealing with pupils aged from about ages 12 (S1) to 17 (S6). These 6 years of school include the exciting highlight of the national exams and as a result pupils are usually split in two main camps – those that spend lots of the year worrying about exams or those trying to ignore them altogether. The library is a busy a popular place with most days seeing every period being booked by teaching classes and outside of school the room full of pupils. For the sake of full disclosure the day I’m about to describe was Tuesday 31st of January.

My day started with picking up the newspapers from the school office, laying them out and tidying away the old ones. Least that’s how it’s supposed to start in reality as I walked towards the library a pupil asked to renew books and when I got to the library I helped mediate an argument about why it was or wasn’t rude to tell someone to go away.

Tutor brings a welcome break and for 15 minutes the library is quiet save for the couple of pupils querying my request for them to do a detention for overdue books and a couple of pupils handing books in or taking them out.

Period 1 was supposed to see me teaching an S1 class but all the S1 pupils had headed off on an educational trip to the National Museum (I am so jealous I totally want to go but have yet to find the time). In fact within about ten minutes I’d gained the whole morning as my period 2 cancelled and my period 3 was another S1. So with about four hours I decided to tackle some of the backroom tasks I usually ignore until the holiday.

Least that was the plan, instead I spent the first hour checking the budget and making sure I wasn’t owed money for the books I bought and that I’d spend all the library budget for the year. Then I sorted the CPD budget book requests and made up that order. Luckily for me I pass the request down to the office for actual ordering so the process isn’t as time consuming as it could be. I asked some S6 studying in the library to talk quieter (repeat this for most of the morning) mostly as I don’t want to hear their versions of world history (we are all descendants of Irish and Vikings) or their take on politics (if the Falkland Islands were attacked we’d loose them) as it makes me want to either correct them or debate them.

I also sorted the overdue notices (with pupil help), this also involved finding tutor group codes for all the pupils and working out who stilled owed books, requesting letters home and detentions for those long term overdue. All of these letters went in the pile to take down to the pigeon holes. I replaced a vandalised celling tile, logged two lights that were out and requested the replacement of two locker locks.

Then there was the daily check and update of email, blog, twitter, and tumblr. I’ve a bunch of posts for the blog just now as pupils have done reviews in class and S1 were doing recommendations for the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. So I sorted some of these as well.

At some point during all this break happened. Fifteen hectic minutes when pupils request a varied range of thing including computers for homework, paper, scissors, staplers, and some even asked for books. It was a quiet break with only about 80 pupils thanks to the S1 trip.

Next I catalogued the books that pupils had already marked up for me. Plus I marked up and catalogued the pile that had been ordered to fill requests.  Added stickers to them all showing where they get shelved and checked them all in.  Next I wrote the request slips for those books and the other requests that come from other libraries (pupils had checked the two boxes of books in for me already), found the tutor groups for the pupils and added them to the pile to go down the the pigeon holes.

My head monitor was full of motivation and enthusiasm in her free period so helped me arrange a monitor meeting for the next day and updating the monitor lists (I sacked three this week, four have left school and I recruited five new S1 pupils). She also helped create a competition for National Library Day – a simple prize draw for a book if people gave us their favourite books. Even better this can be combined with World Book Day when we will share the choices everyone made with the wider school population.

I also headed off to the religious, moral and philosophical studies department to claim the free stapler, hole punch and warning tape they were offering. I’m thinking a banned books display with the tape, the other bits were for the pupils to use.

By the time lunch came round I was looking forward to a wee break, enjoying my current book and some bran muffins (made in the microwave I acquired just recently for the library). Alas three different members of staff called  or dropped in one with a book query and two looking for computer bookings so in the end I managed five minutes and about two pages.

Lunch is 45 minutes but the library is closed for the first fifteen minutes (so that should my lunch fail in the half hour before, I still get time to eat) and I enjoyed chatting with the monitors (40 pupils who help in the library). Conversation included such fun topics as being told ‘I own more than the Pope’ (the premise for such statement being that the library is bigger than Vatican City – it isn’t and I don’t), what animal is currently on  my desktop (baby otters -squee!) and pondering if yellow can be worn by white people (it can’t). At 1pm the library opened to a throng of enthusiastic pupils and, with the S1 back, numbers were back up to the usual 100 plus. When the bell finally rang, I made sure pupils were leaving out the correct door as (and say it with me people) ‘the library is not a corridor’. A quick tidy round revealed lost property consisting of two craft and design technology folders, a pupil’s own book, and a wallet, all of which I sorted and left messages for the real owners to collect.

The afternoon saw two teaching classes, both S2 English. For the first one we talked about books vs movies (sadly they weren’t the keenest readers so choices were things like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Cat in the Hat). The second class typed up their folios of work rather than the genre lesson I’d planned (less effort on my part, though not as interesting for any of us). While supporting these classes I fielded queries for books and more requests to book computers. When the school day ended I encouraged those staying on to talk in quiet voices then I picked up my bundle for the pigeon holes and office and headed off to the office.

I picked up the post from my pigeon hole, apart from the usual stuff there was a free book from Pan Macmillan (thanks!). I dropped in the overdue notices, request slips and careers appointment slips (I support the Skills Development Scotland Careers Adviser who comes into school two days a week) to the various tutors trays.

I also caught an English teacher and chatted about resources in particular the continuing supply of the teen review magazine Teen Titles for the library and picked up yet more paper for the printers. Back up to the library to fix the printer, issue the two books I’d requested to myself (Postcards from the Edge by Carrie Fisher and Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle), check my email one last time and sort request for books not on the catalogue. Then it was a  final tidy round, lights out, doors locked and the librarian has left the building.

To read another example of my day have a look at another (more teaching filled day) as tweeted by Rhona Arthur and my post on what I did last year for World Book Day (or more accurately what I didn’t).