Dating a librarian

It's fun to look back at that weirdly-placed shelf you moved or that totally blank wall that is now a beautiful mural. It's probably in a binder, which may or may not be marked as "Library Handbook." Look behind the librarian's desk area, around the circulation desk, and possibly, in the principal or vice-principal's office. Even if you are on a specials rotation with PE, music, and art, you still need to figure out when you will do administrative tasks such as shelving books, ordering new materials, cataloging, planning lessons, etc.

Plus, you can use these photos later to show added-value or on a future job portfolio. If you don't find it, check the district website as it may be 100% online. I've seen huge variances in library handbooks, from nothing at all to a scant two-page document (seriously, why bother? Once you find the handbook, take it home and read sections on collection development, circulation policies (may differ from what's on the website), and procedures for challenged materials. If you are on a flex schedule, teachers will probably start scheduling flex time soon.

Once I got the projector going, it became clear that there was way too much natural light in the area.

Do not wait for the district to assign you a mentor or for someone to approach you. I have been in charge of both a lab and trolleys, and let me just tell you right now, you will go nuts if you don't have a reliable, consistent system for booking.

Find out what's been done before and how it worked or didn't work.

The computers are covered with plastic bags, and they do not look anywhere close to hooked up. I can distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed, anxious, and completely alone in my first few days. For now, here's a little boost: ten things new librarians should do first.

A teacher just came in and asked for the password to Pebble Go--where could that possibly be? Back in August 2004, I was super-excited to become a librarian, but I was also five months pregnant, exhausted, and clueless about where to start in my brand-new school library. Other than the first two, which really should be done before anything else, these ten "firsts" are not in any particular order.

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Listen well, and you will learn much about what the teachers need from the library and what you can do to support them.

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