Three weeks have quickly passed since start up of the 2011-1012 school year. I’ve faced a few challenges and managed to overcome them with a feeling of accomplishment.
My first day at the Middle School where I work met me at the door with a cart load of returned books which somehow found their way back to the library over the summer holidays. Many were books not wanted in classrooms, no one wanted to throw them out so they deposited them in the Library book drop. I spent some time discarding as the books were old, old, old and I knew the students would not be signing them out, many were being weeded out of someone’s personal collection. Covering my desk were 3 boxes of French novels of no more than 32 pages each, waiting to be catalogued and shelf ready, 2 of those boxes are still there!!
I only have 15 hours/week at this school library and spread it over 2 days. Many hours have been spent so far reshelving the English fiction books. My predecessor had the shelves jammed full so that it was hard to put a book back on the shelf because they were packed in so tight, I prefer to leave space at the end of each shelf to accomodate new purchases or donations. A technical challenge I had was figuring out how to use my Follett System to print off barcodes, I had always ordered them through Brodart but my predecessor had started printing her own, the blank labels were there so I thought it a good idea to continue her practice. Mission accomplished, I figured it out on my own. I guess it wasn’t really a technical problem, just learning some of the advantages of my system.
At the schools where I work we sign out text books to all of the students through the library so text books fill our storage room. This holds the students responsible for the books they sign out, with the support of the high school administration, high school students do not get to attend graduation until all student fees, library fines and over due books including text books, are returned. It is required that they get their diploma but participation in the graduation ceremony itself is considered a privilege. Knowing this, students are more responsible with all of their books. Former administration at the middle school was also more supportive, it is surprising how many books get returned from home when the students(and sometimes parents) are held to accountability.
At the high school where I work 3 days a week, I also have been reshelving and doing some badly needed weeding. I am at the point where I have to stop weeding and delete the titles from my system as they are piling up. The other day I offered some students the copies of the books I had weeded, they thought it was awful that I was throwing away books but as soon as they looked at the dusty, yellow, brittle pages and torn, battered covers, none of them walked away with any of the discards. My major challenge at the high school has been repairing the laminator. The two people who were able to “repair” it before have either retired or moved on to another school, leaving no one familiar with the equipment. The machine is a bit tempermental, I’m not sure of its age but the first day when I hit “run”, it started going backwards and I knew I was in trouble. Anyhow, I managed to get the machine apart, remove the plastic from the rollers and get it fed through properly again, another major accomplishment for me.
It is so great being back in the school libraries, I get to know every student and it is a much more pleasurable experience helping them find a book than working in a classroom with them always trying to push a little to get some work out of them and sometimes being told off.
I love my job, I’m looking forward to getting to the point where I feel I have the time to incorporate a blog into my busy schedule and take advantage of the knowledge I am gaining from my Library Studies courses.