Friday, October 23, 2009

A Morning in the Life of a School Librarian...


TGIF, and all that stuff. But that doesn't stop the insanity from invading my work world -- the world of being a school librarian. It does help, however, to know it will end at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon. Then I will celebrate TGIF. At the closest Happy Hour bar I can find.

I report to work every morning around 7:25 a.m. My start time is 7:30 a.m., but I use that 5 minutes to get ready for the day: turn on the laminating machine, put the three newspapers on the shelf, and boot up the OPAC. Then I sit down and log on to my PC -- which is a misnomer, because, for sure, there is NOTHING personal about it. But that's another blog...


From 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on this day in history, I have had these questions -- or requests -- asked/made of me. And I am NOT making up any of it, either. After all, I AM an information specialist. My master's degree in science in library and information sciences (36 hours of coursework) helps me to be able to answer these questions.

* Do you have a glue stick?

* I need a pair of scissors. (Not even phrased as an interrogative.)

* Do you have any poster board? (I am beginning to pick up on the fact that a class project is due TODAY!)

* Would you like to help sell water for the Sophomore class? It's a fundraising activity.

* The photocopier is jammed.

* The corollary to the above: The photocopier is out of paper.

* Where is the Lost & Found? (Yes, the Library has the privilege of sponsoring the L&F, which is not always just books, backpacks, and textbooks -- IF you know what I mean...)

* Has anyone turned in a history book? (See above question.)

* Where does the Homecoming Dance start tomorrow night? (At least it's an information-based question.)

* What time is it? (#$&$#!&% !!!)

* A corollary to the above questions: What time does this period end?
(My answer to this is always: "The same time it ended yesterday, the day before, and every other day this school year." The student then just states at me, surely thinking, "Ms. Scholl has gone nuts. She needs a man in her life. "

* Has Mrs. Garcia left my Spanish test up here for me to take?

* Ms. Scholl, I know this is not Library-related, but do you have change for a $10.00 bill? (At least the patron was honest in that it was not, indeed, a Library-related question. Also, the student does not realize what librarians earn, and therefore do not even carry bills in that large of a denomination.)

* Have you seen _______? (Fill in the blank with name for any of our 470 students and/or 50 faculty/staff.)

* When do report cards come out? (I don't even DO report cards.)

* When will Mrs. Neill be back? (She is the college counselor who offices in the corner office of the Library. I am also her "receptionist" since my area is the first thing you see when you enter the Library.)

* Ms. Scholl? Would you please wipe my behind?

These questions were seriously asked this morning in a two-hour period while I was trying to do REAL library work. (big sigh) OK. OK. Maybe not the last question, but only because students seldom use the word "please" for their whiny questions.

Oh, for a truly library-related question such as, "In which database could I find information on _______?" (Fill in the blank with any academic/intellectual topic of your choice.)

A la Glen Campbell..."Oh, such as the dreams of the every day Librarian..."


bookworm1941 said...

As a retired school librarian, I remember well those questions asked by the students and laughed when I read your blog. I can add a few, a little more library related--"Hey, you remember that yellow (or name your color) book that "insert name of student here" had last week. I want it." Not that we hadn't seen 1300 other students and their books that week.

Library Lady said...

Thanks for visiting My World and for your comment.

Oh, yeah. I could add a LOT more about questions such as you mentioned. Before I came to this school, the "librarians" (read "parents who aided the library") had grouped the books within a subject area by color. There was no card/online catalog, so all science books were shelved together, etc.

Boy, did I have a job to do when I was hired.

But now my catalog is lovely as is my library!

Terry Lee said...

you know we've had this conversation before.

all those questions make about as much sense as when they ask the school nurse, "do you have a safety pin?"


SarahBowie said...

Good stuff! I can see why you get a paycheck is work.

Anonymous said...

I am not a school librarian. Nor am I a teacher. I am (as you know) married to one, however, and so I hear about all the little moments that require infinite patience during any given school day. And then I hear about the moments involving his students! ("teaching would -mostly- be great if it weren't for the parents, administrators, and various other fill-in-the-blank adults"). I think you're all destined for Sainthood!

I myself have very fond memories of my elementary school librarian. Mrs. Chavaria was exceptional in every way. She read to us and instilled a love of reading. She taught us to use the Dewey Decimal system (I was SO proud to be able to find my own books using this method!). And, no doubt, she answered an over-abundance of unrelated daily questions -- all with a sweet smile and a hug for any child who looked like they needed one (in the days when touching was still okay).

Please do NOT give up your day jobs, school librarians. We need you - the kids need you! And thank you for answering all of our questions!!

Sharon T.

Library Lady said...


Thanks for your comments. No, I will not give up my job! Domino, my six-pound Chihuahua (see other blog entires for more information on him!) likes to eat, so off I go each morning to work.