A Year in the Life of a Teacher Librarian – Starting Term 2
It has been my goal for some time now to share what my role as a teacher librarian is comprised of in the day in, day out. I hope that it sheds some light into what can sometimes be a mysterious and unknown role to those outside libraries. I hope it might inspire someone to enter the world of school libraries as I was once enticed. And I hope it encourages others in the school library world to share their experiences. Of course, my role and experiences are unique and would differ if I was in a different country, state, school, library setting or role, and the joy of library work is that no one day, library, role or experience is ever the same. I may post once a month about this, but far more likely I will put fingers to keyboard once a term. If you would like to read all of the posts in the series, you’ll find them here.
If there is one word for the start of Term 2 it is EXHAUSTING. I write this physically and mentally exhausted. I don’t know what it is but by week 2 of this term it felt like it should already be week 9 of the term. Here’s hoping I can make it through this term.
Aahhh, you need to leave
Okay, luckily it wasn’t I need to leave my job. No, a few weeks into the term the library team were told we needed to get out of the building and set up shop for a few days while a small issue was fixed. In an afternoon I put together a plan to move what we needed, find an alternative location to work from, inform my library team, and then send about a bazillion emails so that staff and students knew they where they could find us and let all our regular bookings know about the change. It was intense but certainly showed that the library is way more than a space. We can literally pick up and move in an afternoon. We did miss our physical resources for those few days but we demonstrated how flexible and adaptive we are as a library team. It’s also good practice for later in the year. But more about that later.
Planning for the future
The end of term 1 really presented a few exciting opportunities to plan for our future, not only for the rest of the year but also the years ahead. Our library strategic plan is coming to an end and needs to be updated, my role is getting an update for next year and we are moving into a new building which offers both challenges and opportunities for the future. The focus for start of this term for me was trying to meet with all the stakeholders involved in what our future could be, gathering ideas, reimagining our library’s vision and goals and dreaming as big as I possible can. It’s exciting, makes sleeping hard with all those ideas crashing around in my head and did I mention it’s exciting. Can’t wait to share with you what direct we move in.
Even with everything going on this term, we still needed to squeeze in some special events. Because why not? Our first event of the term is Careers Week. I reached out to our school counselling team and asked if they wanted to partner to celebrate National Careers Week. I’ve done this in previous schools to great impact. We decided to go with a “before I worked at this school I was a…” display featuring the many and varied careers our school staff have had before joining the school. I love this because not only do we get to celebrate all the skills our staff have, but I find all these incredible resources to draw upon. Year 10 English studying crime fiction and writing? Did you know we have a forensic scientist on staff who can talk about evidence collection and crime solving? Artists who can run sessions. People with their own businesses. Someone to help us run makerspace activities. There is no shortage to the treasures you find and I love opening our staff and students’ eyes to something they might not have know about their science, English or sport teacher or aide.
We also decided to draw upon these resources and run some presentation sessions, where staff can share their career experience. We found 5 staff members willing to do this for us, which was amazing.
Thanks to an incredibly helpful preservice teacher, we started our Dungeons and Dragons club. We put the call out to students who were interested and ran two sessions a week at lunch where they could create their characters and get started. I purchased a few supplies to get us started, including players handbook, dungeon master’s guide and monster manual, an essentials kit and a few sets of dice. Along with a heap of digital resources the incredible preservice teacher put together for us, the students have made a great start and it’s great to have them playing this in the library.
It’s research season
There must be something in the air, but Term 2 seems to be all about research. I have most of my year levels undertaking inquiry based research. That means lots of research lessons. Science lessons on how to build inquiry questions and subquestions. Whole cohort sessions about referencing. Senior subject sessions about using databases and finding good sources, especially those hard-to-find primary sources. It’s busy, busy, busy with all year levels across a range of subjects booking in to use the space and needing my help. I’m doing classroom visits and double bookings to try and get to everyone. Eight lessons in a six lesson day is my record so far. We’ll see how the rest of the term goes.
I am loving promoting our new books. It’s so wonderful having amazing new books to promote. These books are books that are popular on TikTok or student requests or books that have students buzzing and I LOVE IT!! I am trying to make more reels and posts on our Instagram to promote these, as well as reading lists in our LMS, matching displays and book talking them. And they are flying off the shelves.
Here’s hoping the rest of Term 2 is just as exciting but maybe slightly less exhausting.