School Librarians Talk about Their Jobs
Working with both students and teachers...
Lyons Elementary District, Lyons, IL
A K-8 school district serving 2113 students in Cook County, which is Chicago area.
I love being the spark for beginning readers: introducing them to authors, illustrators, series, genres. There is still no more satisfying experience than seeing 25-30 student hanging on every word of a good story. Matching kids to the books they want and are able to read is another rewarding part of my job. My primary students still need a lot of help with this. We have a school wide Reading Counts program. As we have refined and expanded this program kids reading scores have gone up. Their interest in reading and the difficulty of the material they read has increased.
In the last 5-10 years, use of instructional technology has become more important in our schools. I am constantly amazed at what my 6-8 year olds can do on a computer. We use programs such as OPAC, word processing, CD-ROM encyclopedias, Kidspiration, Kid Pix, Type to Learn, Jr., iMovie, and a little supervised web research. The key at this age is breaking down the complex process into bite (byte, ha, ha) sized pieces.
I have satisfaction in sending my third graders to the next attendance center knowing they: love to read, can look up and find a book on the shelf, can do some basic research, note taking and report writing, and have basic technology skills to allow them to use the resources of the library.
Another extremely gratifying role is collaborating with other teachers. Working on a literature, research or technology facet to make their students' instruction even more meaningful is fun! I also do a lot of technology training for my staff and preparing teachers at our local university.
I LOVE my career and the children and teachers it allows me to work with every day!
Education: B. S. Education with English major and minor in Library Science, Illinois State University; MS in Ed in Instructional technology; MALS, Rosary
Kids, books and technology---an exciting combination!
Carl A. Harvey II
North Elementary School, Noblesville, Indiana
A kindergarten through grade 4 school serving approximately 350 students.
The part I love most about being a school librarian is the variety of roles the librarian akes on in a school. I love working with kids and technology. I love working with kids in selecting great new books to read. I love working with kids to locate information for a research project. I love collaborating with teachers and administrators on staff development and curriculum planning. In the five years that I've been a LMS, not one day has been the same as the day before, and I love that.
And, that is exactly what it takes -- persistence to convince people what a school librarian does and how you can help them improve student learning. But once you have them convinced, the teachers will keep coming back for more opportunities to work in the school library.
Education: B.S. in School Media Services with a Computer Endorsement, Ball State University; Masters in Educational Technology, IUPUI
Variety is the spice of life!
Sabino High School, Tucson, AZ
A suburban Tucson high school of 1,600 students.
Variety is the spice in every teacher-librarian's life! We have the opportunity to work with students and classroom teachers at all levels and with all areas of the curriculum. We also have the best resources in the building! The fact that most students prefer to work in electronic environments makes our contributions to students' learning particularly relevant. There are many classroom teachers who are willing to collaborate to integrate information literacy, technology, and thinking skills into the curriculum. Each of us also brings unique skills and talents to our schools. I have had the good fortune of teaching creative writing and publishing (now electronic) through the library at the schools in which I've served.
Being a teacher-librarian has also given me opportunities to develop leadership skills while contributing to my profession. I am currently the Chair of the Teacher-Librarian Division of the Arizona Library Association. Serving on committees at the local, state, and national level has been an exciting part of my career. If you enjoy learning in collaboration with students, classroom teachers, and teacher-librarian colleagues, then this is the job for you. Being a teacher-librarian has been a constant source of personal and professional growth and inspiration for me.
Education: B.A. - French/Social Studies, University of Michigan; Multiple Subject Teaching Credential - Sonoma State University; M.L.S. - School of Information Resources and Library Science, University of Arizona; Ph.D. - Department of Language, Reading and Culture, University of Arizona