Feeling More Like a Real Librarian


It’s been busy times for me over the last couple of weeks. I think I am starting to feel the full effects of going to library school full time, working two part time jobs, and doing a practicum. I’ve decided that as long as I’m working at the high school, I will try to give away any of the Sunday shifts I’m working at the public library. I’ll keep my Wednesday shifts, but if I work Sunday that becomes a six day week. I need the money, yes, but I need my sanity more.

Something else I am finding is that it is becoming increasingly difficult to separate the tasks I am doing at the elementary school from the tasks that I’m doing at the high school. Although there are many differences in the age groups I deal with at each school, the fact of the matter is that you’re still a librarian either way so you end up doing a lot of the same jobs. You’re still cataloguing, still choosing books, still interacting with students. You might do them in different ways, but you’re still doing them. That makes it a little tough for me because I know that McGill isn’t interested in hearing about anything I do at the high school, as it’s not part of my practicum. But it’s hard for me to reflect on something I’ve done at the elementary school without also reflecting what I’m doing at the high school.

Two weeks ago at the elementary school, on January 30th, I got my first taste of cataloguing using the ILS specifically developed for school libraries in Quebec, Regard. My first experience with it was not especially positive as the EMSB has the earliest, buggiest version of it and it is not remotely intuitive. That said, the cataloguing itself was actually pretty easy compared to that I have done in public libraries. Fill in a few fields using the LoC subject headings, and bam, done. Most of the time other school libraries will already have the book, so then all you have to do is copy-catalogue the record with a new barcode. 

During this past week my task was to do Storytime. Mary just gave me a book and threw me in. It was a lot of fun reading to the kids, who really seemed to enjoy the story. That was probably the best part of working in the library itself. Next week I have to do Storytime in French, which I’m a little nervous about, but I picked a story that has a lot of action so hopefully the kids will enjoy it. I’ll use Google Translate to double-check the pronunciation of some words and go from there.

I have to say, though, I really hope the heat is working in the library next week. When all the staff has coats on, you know it’s bad. And some of the littlest kids were in there in t-shirts! It was freezing.

Although I know I can’t write about my time at the high school for my practicum, I can write about it here. Last week was a challenging week even though I only worked two days. Now that I am getting more comfortable in the job I am starting to see what an insane amount of work there is and how hard it is to get it all done just because getting interrupted is the nature of the job. Aside from that, I had to break up a fight. Stuff like that always bums me out as an educator. I know that adolescents are dealing with all kinds of crap in their lives but it bothers me that by stepping in I am nothing more to them than Nameless Autocratic Authority Figure. I don’t have it out for them. I’m just trying to keep the library a safe space for everyone. It makes me miss my Korean students, who are tougher to crack at first but will love you forever once you learn their trust. I have not yet have enough Canadian students to know when that will happen. It may not, as right now I’m just the person standing in for their usual librarian.

Friday was a professional development day and I was invited to go along and meet the rest of the librarians at the board’s other schools. Everyone was very welcoming and told me to contact them any time I needed help. I think I will have to do that, as I am apparently running a Battle of the Books competition but don’t have the first idea how it works. I am worried that working only two days will mean that I won’t have enough time to set up a team for the librarian I’m replacing. Oh, crunch time!

Tammy and I met a couple of weeks ago to work on the cheat sheet we are planning to make for the teachers. I am getting more comfortable with the ebooks now, since I have had experience with them at both the high school and elementary level. I’m going to work on getting that done tonight. 

My account of my deliverables is due this week, so I had better get on that too. Well, I think that’s enough of an update for one day. Later!


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