In honor of National Library Week I figured I’d take a moment and reflect on my profession. Here are the top 10 thing I never thought I’d say as a junior high librarian, but have said at least once recently.
10. “Everyone look…I got retweeted by an author!” (yes, I’m a nerd)
9. “Yes, that’s my name on a book.” (amazes the kids to see I’ve published a book)
8. “Watch your foot on the plug-they are launching hot air balloons.” (Gateway project that likes my tall ceilings)
7. “Please be careful skipping in the library.” (kid rushing over to find a new book)
6. “Let me tell you a secret…citation bores me too!” (when asked if I dreamt about citations)
5. “It’s really not dandruff; I was sanding the edges off of a book so it wouldn’t look so old.”
4. “Someone plug that into the fruit and let’s see if it works!” (relating to a Makey Makey)
3. “Nathan Fillion just photo bombed my photo!” (okay, it was just his READ poster, but fan girl crush)
2. “Has anyone seen the 3D shark?” (relating to our new 3D printer we got through a grant)
1. “I’m so glad that book touched your heart, and even happier you finished your first book ever. Ready for your next book?”
And this one I didn’t say…but actual conversation this year:
- Student: “Miss V?”
- Me: “Yes?”
- Student: “Ummm…I’m not really sure how to tell you this…”
- Me: “What’s wrong?”
- Student: “Well, the student teacher wants to know if you guys can be quieter.” (they were in a corner of the library doing a worksheet)
- Me (choking back a laugh) “Tell her sweetly that I said that I’m very sorry, but we are doing math stations today. That means we have four stations full of awesome collaborative learning going on.”
- Student: “Yeah, I tried to tell her we didn’t have a normal library here.”
He he…never thought I’d be told to be quiet in my own library!
5 Things I Want to Be Better at Next School Year
Number 1: Self-Reflection
Life is short and time is shorter. I need to be better about reflecting and being honest about what works and what doesn’t. If it doesn’t work don’t dwell…just fix it and try again. This also involves the students. No more learn and purge, I want to see them apply what they have learned at a higher level.
Number 2: Not Throwing out the Baby with the Bathwater
New doesn’t always mean better. I was brainstorming a list of cool things I’ve let fall aside; like foldables and webquests. Just because they are older doesn’t mean they have lost any value. Along with this, it also means that a failed lesson doesn’t always mean the platform is bad; maybe I just didn’t approach it correctly or have the right audience. Everyone (even a website) deserves another chance.
Number 3: Consistency
Next school year I’d like to blog consistently, create digital book talks, and upload podcasts. This year I had a lot finished but due to hosting issues they never got posted. That is a real goal for next year. For students I want to see them making more of their own Web 2.0 stuff. Our district has opened up the policy some on setting up student accounts, so I’m going to run full force and hope for the best.
Number 4: Book Talk More
This week I got to talk books for a WHOLE period with multiple classes. When does that happen? It was like crack for my brain. The students were laughing at me…but you know what? It works. Every book we discuss always gets checked out. Next year I’m going to sneak in one book talk every time kids come to the library. I might have to be quick, but I absolutely love seeing light bulbs click and this is a part of my job that is important. Sometimes I worry about the library being seen as “only about books” that I forget I am still about books.
Number 5: Balance
I tend to focus all my energy where I’m the most successful….and right now that is my professional career. When I’m not working I find myself thinking about what I’d like to do better or how I can next impact my students. While that is fine it is only a small part of who I am in the grander scheme. I am also a writer, friend, daughter, sister, cousin, singer, Bible Club director, assistant treasurer, etc. Married people may not understand this, but sometimes the longing that comes with being single creates an isolation that is tough to break through. Now, I know being single isn’t all I am, but it is a part of who I am. I’m a complex being with a lot of roles. The point is that I do a bunch of things, but do I really cherish these other roles? I don’t know, but I plan on being more present and finding out.
Library Activities-the Top 10 Reasons I’ll Repeat it Again Next Year
This year I started doing library activities in November. These are just fun things we do in the library about once a week (except for when testing wouldn’t allow). We had a blast!! I’ve already committed to volunteering my time again next year for this because I think that it has paid off in so many ways.
Reason 10: My principal thinks I’m a rock star now. 🙂
Reason 9: We had the opportunity to learn some new technology and websites that were only loosely connected to education (like music creation and avatars). The funny thing was the students then came up with great ways to incorporate their new skills into projects that were academic.
Reason 8: It got teachers involved in the library and some were even willing to volunteer. Teachers even came down to hang out or learn a new skill.
Reason 7: I learned what worked and what didn’t. Origami and cupcake decorating were huge…poetry and drawing not so much. Think I had those the wrong time of year (need to do earlier or around a holiday).
Reason 6: The library opens up 45 minutes early. I’d much rather volunteer that time to do something awesome in the library rather than just do paperwork.
Reason 5: I learned some new skills and brushed up on some old ones. Unfortunately, I find myself doing origami now even when not appropriate (like in a meeting).
Reason 4: The list we brainstormed was too long-I’ve still got a whole list to try out.
Reason 3: Students have something to look forward to once a week but are willing to come hang out even if it isn’t an activity day.
Reason 2: My morning attendance increased by 100%. Although I’m not reaching all of my targeted audience I have an audience and that is a start.
Reason 1: The kids said I have to, so I guess I’d better.
So yesterday, a small group of students were playing “Are You Smarter than a Librarian?” with me in the library before school in honor of National Library Week. One student (who rarely comes to the library) was also in the lab working on a project. Before we started the game I was sharing the history behind National Library Week and what it takes to become a librarian. The student who rarely comes to the library was halfway listening as he worked.
This boy stopped me mid sentence with this quote: “Wait a minute…wait a minute. You are telling me a librarian has to have a Master’s degree? Why? All they do is shelf…” but the poor kid didn’t even get to finish. Because you see in that group of students I had kids who I’d taught one on one lessons, students in both of the two clubs I sponsor, one student I mentor, students who participate in library events before school, a reluctant reader who can’t chose her own books, and students I’d just finished doing research with in class. I couldn’t hear all their responses, but let’s just say he left knowing that I do more than shelf books…and I didn’t even have to say a word.
It was humbling to know that my target audience really does get with I do on a day-to-day basis (for the most part). I did help the student involved save a little face by agreeing that yes, I still do shelf books, but that is certainly not ALL I do.