Displays, Library Management, Teacher Relationships, Uncategorized

New Librarians/New Library – Welcome to the Asylum

Here you are a brand new librarian either first job or first day in a new job – you still need to get the lay of the land.  It’s almost like being lost without a road map.  Where in the world am I?  Where is everything; where am I going; and how am I going to get there.  It’s probably going to be slightly overwhelming, (ya think.)  There will be so much to do and you will feel like there is no time to do it in.  Remember it will get easier, eventually (probably right before your retire).  For right now just hang on for the ride as best as you can.

You will probably have a couple of priorities in the first few days – using the catalog – I mean what good is a library if the librarian can’t check out books to students and staff.  Thanksfully most catalogs are basically the same; usually just a few minor differences and that’s usually with the interface and maybe how to do inventory (ha maybe at the end of the year) and running reports.  Finding stuff – again part of the job is finding materials for students and staff, that’s going to be a little hard if you don’t know where stuff is.  Getting your lessons together; some school will have you start the first day of classes, others where you are not considered planning time for the teachers may give you a bit of time to get the schedule together.  And last but not least putting up some kind of display – doesn’t have to be too detailed or exciting just something to break up the plainness of the scarred; scratched, chipped wall.  And if your like me – one who can’t draw a straight line with a ruler – stores (staples, maybe walmart, craft stores; teacher stores) sell items that can be used to make great bulletin boards.  Then there is always printing book covers from the internet; and once the year gets started – student work is always great to use.

Unfortunately most for most new librarians, teachers aren’t going to be breaking down your door to have you work with them; and they will be more than happy to tell  you the way things used to be.  And actually I kinda listen, people in general don’t do well with change.  I get that it’s your library and you want to do things the way you think is best, but if you change too much too soon no one will be using your expertise.   There will be time enough to implement new procedures as the school year progresses.

Sometimes your changes are better, (but remember to pick your battles) and you just have to show people how much better.  I remember having a teacher that would email me constantly about how they used to do things; what was done in the library.  I was patient and tried to keep things as close to the way they were done as I could; but just added a few of my own changes like delivering books to classrooms.  Once the teacher realized that the changes could benefit her she became one of my biggest supporters.  Doesn’t take much.

And remember; you are doing something great (even if it doesn’t feel that way in the beginning).  You have expertise that others don’t, don’t be afraid to share it with students and teachers.

Author: SL

SL has been a elementary/middle school librarian for over 13 year having received my MLS from SUNY Albany, in Albany, New York. SL has worked in a variety of settings from rural to urban, with different populations. She is currently the librarian at RCS Middle School. She lives near Albany, New York with her husband and three children.

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