|Miray and me at TLA 2013|
So I return to school next week with a heavy heart. But the students will still come, and library life must continue. I am trying to make this transition as seamless as possible for our staff, who had nothing to do with her job cut, and who need me to keep the the changes in my programming as minimal as possible.
I know I am not alone in this journey without an aide, so I thought I would post some of my potential changes and hopefully start a discussion about things we can do to keep our successful programs intact. I am really trying to stay positive and keep myself sane. I love, love, love my job, and I am terrified it is going to morph into me being behind the circ desk all day. I won't last the year if that happens, so I have to come up with solutions that I can live with and maybe even have a little fun with:
- Roller skates: We have a very long library--it's the equivalent of about four regular classrooms long and maybe two classrooms wide if you count my office area. On busy days, I'll be zipping around the library in my hot pink Sketchers roller skates. And no, I'm NOT kidding. I've been practicing this summer at the local roller rink. The kids love it, and I get to squeeze in some fun exercise!
- Fanny pack: I can't take credit for this idea, but I LOVE it! I plan to keep money and a small notebook in the fanny pack. When a student needs to buy a posterboard or pay a fine, I can take the money, make change, and jot it down on the notebook, right where I stand.
- Phase out colorful posterboard: I sell lots of pretty posterboard colors in the library, but selling lots of different colors means waiting for students to pick a color. I understand the posterboard color is an important decision, but I am frequently left standing there, waiting for my buyers to decide. Sometimes, they decide on a color, then upon seeing the color, decide they want a different color, prompting me to return to the back room to exchange it (posterboard rack is in library workroom). Sometimes, they even leave with their posterboard only to bring it back 10 minutes later to switch for a different color. Enough already! In the interest of time, I'll just phase out the colors this year and just reorder the white.
- Train the teachers: In order for me to teach lessons and booktalk with students, someone has to be behind the circulation desk. I have student aides, but I don't want them behind the desk by themselves all day long. Things happen sometimes, and there needs to be an adult behind the desk with them most of the time. Even if the teacher only answers the phone, checks passes, and is generally there to help if needed, that would be a huge help. If they want to learn to checkout books (and I think many will), that's even better.
- Laminating: Would you believe that the library is responsible for laminating all the materials in our school? It's not just my school, either--the majority of our district's librarians do all their school's laminating. It's EXTREMELY time-consuming. Up till now, my Miray did all that. This year, I plan to allow teachers to laminate their own materials (whether my district supports that or not), and I will be there to troubleshoot. If teachers don't want to laminate their own materials, they will have to wait for me to get to it, which will probably not be anytime soon.
- Poster-making: Yep, I'm responsible for all poster-making (we have a Canon ImagePro color poster printer) for our school. It's not as time-consuming as laminating, but it's still a lot of work that takes me away from my library duties. I plan to make posters only one day each week during a certain time period that I block out in my schedule. Anything not completed during that time will be done after school as I am able or will have to wait until the next week. Teachers and admin will have to plan ahead with their poster requests. I am going to promote training my staff to create their own posters as well, which will cut out the middle man (that's me!). I think lots of our staff will take advantage of that training, thus lightening my weekly load and hopefully phasing-out my role as school poster-maker altogether.
- Restroom breaks: Yes, I will be needing some of those! I plan to just run when I need to go. I'm not going to lock the doors or kick anyone out. I'm just going to slip in and out quietly, hopefully unnoticed. If I am worried about particular students causing a problem in the few minutes I am gone, I'll call the office to see if someone can spot me for a few.
- Shelving books: Um, I'm still not sure how I will get this done. My student aides already do it, but some are better at it than others. Also, there are WAY more books to shelve than my students have time for in one class period. I will have plenty of shelving to do, despite my student helpers. I also thought about starting a "lunch shelvers" program where students can sign up to help shelve during their lunch (after they finish eating).
- Lunch breaks: I'm not sure how my campus plans to handle this, but I am entitled to a daily 30-minute duty-free lunch. I will be taking that, even if it means locking the library doors and kicking out anyone not with their teacher. I am hoping my principal has a better plan that does not force me to close the library. My principal is pretty supportive of the library and understands how busy it is in there, so I'm sure she has something up her sleeve.
- No fall book fair: At least not this year. I still have one scheduled for the spring, so I hope to have my bearings by then.
If you have lost your library aide, either recently or long ago, what tips do you have for me and others? What do you do to keep from being behind the circ desk all day long? How do you keep from shelving books until midnight?
Like this blog? Get updates in your inbox whenever I post new content! Subscribe by clicking the green envelope below: