Thursday, November 4, 2010

Perceptions of the Library

Yesterday a teacher came into the library to ask a question. One of my classes had just left and I was checking email before the next class arrived. Before she left she made the comment, "I wish I could stay in here where it is quiet."

Maybe she didn't mean anything by it, but it made me think about the perceptions teachers and other staff members have of the library and the work we do. It is possible that I am overly defensive because I know what some teachers think about our work. She happened to catch me at a quiet moment, but she had not seen all of the other work I had done that day. I sat down and figured out what that day consisted of and this is what I discovered.

That day I had entered 137 new books into Destiny, read/answered 57 emails, printed book club invitations for our next meeting, added two sources to our faculty Diigo group, texted 40 students about the book club meeting, had over 120 student visitors, taught 4 mini lessons on citation and helped 4 science classes research organs, laminated items for three teachers, and served over 50 cups of hot chocolate and cappuccino from our library cafe. Then I left straight from school, picked up my two year old son and went to Sams to buy more hot chocolate, breakfast pastries for book fair teacher sneak peek breakfast, read 17 blog posts on my reader, wrote two blog posts on my blog, checked twitter, and bought three gifts for Veteran’s Day door prizes. Of course this list doesn't include normal activities like eating and a quick run to the restroom. I accomplished these things without a library aide, but with the assistance of my student helpers. My library is definitely not "where it is quiet."

It upsets me that many teachers still see the library as quieter, slower and, in some way, less than and easier than the classroom. I taught five years before moving to the position of librarian and I know the classroom teachers work hard, but so do we.

I try everyday to prove my value to my students, teachers, parents, and administrators. How do you fight these misconceptions?

Buyer, Elizabeth. mirror.jpg. May 2005. Pics4Learning. 4 Nov 2010

1 comment:

  1. I think all school librarians deal with misconceptions about our jobs. As a former classroom teacher, I have experienced the stresses and restrictions that our teachers are feeling.

    Our stresses and restrictions are very different and because most of our managerial work is done in the background, it appears that we don't work as much or as hard as teachers. (We may not see all the lesson planning and grading they do, but since we have been there, we know that it is done.)

    The term "transparency" is used often these days in describing library programs. By having my library schedule online for teachers to see as well as having it in a notebook on our Circ Desk, I am helping to dispel the notion that the library is a quiet place where nothing much happens.

    I would love to read ways others help to dispel these misconceptions.