Q&A Why would anyone want to work as a librarian?

ceri's q and aQuestion: Why would anyone want to work as a librarian?

So you want to be a Librarian?

Before you take on a job as a librarian, first find out if it is what you really want to do.

The majority of jobs require a degree in librarianship and some demand a post-graduate degree in the subject. Sometimes the pay is really good, but at other times not so good. I would say you have to look at each job on its merits. For an example of wages, my job as a school librarian (in 2008) before it was pro-rata’d was around £26,000, I know the public sector school librarian’s pay was around £17,000 – and they are the highly paid ones! As a Library Manager at the Audit Commission I make just shy of £27,000 pro rata’d, if I worked in a university the same job would net me around £35,000 in my ‘catchment area’.

Also look at the job spec.. In the school, there were parts I hated but there were others I really loved as well. Notably I loved the actual librarian side stuff but schools expect more. For example I looked after 40-60 school children on my own for two hours each evening. Not really clever considering I am partially sighted but that is what the school wanted – a part time librarian who doesn’t mind baby sitting.  School Librarians do not have the same authority as a school teacher for example and the children for the most part know it. It is a constant battle of wits with certain segments of the school population with the minimum of help from the Academic staff. But, and that is an extremely big but, working with children is worth it. They brighten your day and make you enjoy life without trying.

Things to love about being a Librarian:
Buying new books – ooh they smell gooood
Cataloguing- mindless but relaxing
The interaction with the good kids – they can be really funny!
Interaction with people.
Having control of your department, from spending to how the library looks.
Getting to read kiddie books
The HOLIDAYS (only working in a school).

Things to hate about being a Librarian:
Interaction with the bad kids
Prep
Having to shout at/tell off kids

The job is firmly weighted in the advantages side of the debate. Only you can say if it would appeal to you but I love being a Librarian and I can’t think of a better job – except a writer :-).

A day in the life of a busy School Librarian

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. Posts may be edited from the original blog. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

I’ve had a monster day today so I thought I would write it all down to see if I actually achieved anything!

8.30

  • Go straight up to the library. I haven’t got time for the staff meeting today.
  • Put all the extra missing things the cleaner found in the lost property box and the books back on the shelves (Will kids ever learn to put things away?).
  • Put computer on
  • Put the other computers on + photocopier/printer
  • Unlock all doors
  • The computer finally has the log on screen. Log in.
  • Wait another five minutes for the screen to come to life.
  • Open Thunderbird. Swear under breathe as computer takes another five minutes to open it.
  • Get a couple of books to catalogue and open Firefox because our catalogue freezes in Internet Explorer.
  • Let the little darlings into the library.
  • Sort out riddle of the day.
  • Ring up accounts to order new chairs for the library. Get told that I need to provide an estimate of the library’s value by the end of the morning.
  • Save the cataloguing done so far and put to one side.
  • Do some photocopying for the children/teachers.
  • Open up evaluation already started by pure luck. Aargh its break-time.

11.00

  • Shout at children not to run in the library as they try to grab a computer.
  • Listen to inane but faintly amusing conversation about girl’s pet horse. Smile politely and try to sneakily to do a bit more on the valuation while they are not looking.
  • A girl wants to take out the Jane Austen Emma DVD. These come in pairs and I don’t allow them to take more than one DVD at a time. Especially as a really expensive one has been ‘mislaid’ lately. Spend five minutes searching for said DVD. Under the shelf, on the shelf, on the desk, in the box. To be told, “you mean the one the other librarian put in the box ready up there?” Grrr
  • Check out/check in about 10 books.
  • Accept donations for the library by one of the pupils
  • Shout at the kids break is nearly over. (They can’t tell the time by themselves.)

11.20

  • Peace at last. Finish evaluation – pat myself on back.
  • Rush to loo – am desperate by this time.
  • Send valuation to accounts with instructions to order chairs and get quote for other thing. There are three things in that email.
  • Ring up to check they’ve got it. Yep, but forgot about the stuff that belongs to other departments which they’ve dumped in the library storage room.
  • He deletes e-mails and tells me to send it again – except there was other stuff on there!
  • Finish valuation and send it off making sure the other stuff is on separate e-mails. I’m not checking to see if he’s got it – too much to do.
  • More people come in and ask me to do photocopying.
  • Enquiry to find out if we have a book. It is very urgent. They need it for coursework. Not in library. OK will order.
  • Processed books for teacher who wanted books urgently. Stamped and covered them.
  • More photocopying
  • Put an order together for some more books – tunnels, the looking glass wars etc and sent it off. Processed purchase order etc.
  • Put some memos together telling teachers of new additions in the library relevant to their departments
  • Process some invoices of books that arrived yesterday.

12.00

  • Assistant arrives. Woohooo – LUNCH
  • Drop off post in teachers pigeon holes at lunch while looking at Softlink catalogue and eating hurriedly and sneaking a peak at the Times.
  • Received another book package.

12.15

  • Back in library
  • Open up book package
  • Process invoice. i.e. stamp, put date on, photocopy, put arrival on computer
  • Check event is on later.
  • Ring up another school to confirm attendance at Carnegie Shadowing event in April.

1.00

  • Juniors come in
  • Check in and check out books
  • Reply to enquiry regarding Barrington Stoke books. Get really annoyed because the teacher doesn’t want to do any work and tries to get me to do everything! Her excuse is she works part-time. well join the club! So do I but I don’t fob off my work to others. I already made a leaflet for her telling her what books we had relevant for her subject. What does she want from me? Blood?
  • Allow Seniors to come in early because the library will be closed earlier because of the ‘event.’
  • Talk to teacher about world book day and get distracted by another teacher demanding attention.
  • The gigglers come in but are remarkably restrained. They are really nice kids when they are not trying to be annoying. …and by trying to be annoying I mean making funny noises and asking “Is that annoying?” They still require my attention though 🙁

2.00

  • Assistant goes to lunch
  • I show six former new book I bought which is relevant to her subject area. She takes it away to look at it and then borrows it. Oops, maybe I should have shown it to the teachers first. Never mind I do tend to get too excited about new books.
  • Quick chat to catch up on what happened during the day with assistant and the last shift.

2.30

  • Toddle off to catch the bus. Gosh I am KNACKERED.

 

There’s something strange going on…

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. Posts may be edited from the original blog. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

So it’s Monday afternon. we’ve got a new set of children hanging around the desk wanting to chat (it varies on the monitor behind the desk) and I’m helping the new pupil librarian learn how to use the library software for checkins and checkouts. The giggle girls saunter over.

I’m suspicious of these at the best of times but as they took out my classics a few days ago they are in my good books at the moment. The ‘leader’ goes

‘Libwarian, you’re the best librarian in the world.’ That’s not a typo by the way. And my response?
‘What do you want?’ in a world weary tone.
‘No Miss libwarian, we think you are the best libwarian ever. Why do you think we are up to something? That’s what the other librarian said when we said it to her.’

Ahh, well it was nice for a moment there. Apparently they had been following my assistant around the library as she was shelving for the past ten minutes telling her how lovely she was. Still as games go, this is the nicest I’ve seen!

I don’t like reading…

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

Monday, 17 December 2007

I don’t like reading…

This happened to me only last week.

The library was quite quiet and there were only a few children around. It was the end of the day and I didn’t want to start any big tasks. As the end of term was fast approaching I thought I would just remind a couple of them and see if I could get them to take some books out. Here’s how the conversation went:

Me: So, have you got your books sorted for the end of term then? (in a light friendly tone, it’s good not to sound too desperate to improve the circulation figures at this point. Children can be soo fickle).
Child 1: I don’t like reading.
[A-ha, a challenge]
Child 2 with a horrified gasp: You can’t say that to the Librarian!
Child 1: It’s OK, She’s a nice Librarian. [She turns to a secretly delighted me]. I only like Jacqueline Wilson books and I’ve read all the ones you have here.
[Little does she know and why are Librarians always supposed to be scary?]
Me: Actually I’ve just bought some new teenage Jacqueline Wilson books, have you read those?
Child 1: No…
Child 2 runs eagerly to the far side of the library to pick a couple of the new ones up to show her. I walk away. I find the secret is to walk away at this point. It won’t mean anything if she feels pressurised into borrowing it. Anyway half an hour later, she takes one of the books out!

Riddle Me This for libraries

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

Friday, 7 December 2007

Riddle Me This

When I began this job less than a year ago I was shocked at how few of the children knew how to find a book using the Dewey Decimal System. I’m not one to stand there and lecture them until their eyes glaze over, so I had to find a way to make them want to learn how it worked – enter the Daily Question!

The Question

This can be anything as long as an object is the answer. I find riddles and jokes the best. I put them on a board with a hint or clue. If you want to repeat this be ready for an onslaught of cat, house or outer space (anything that pops into their head) before they give up and use the clue provided.

The Clue

Just the Dewey Decimal number is best but if you have two books with the same classification like we have, then we put the page number on so they can work out if it is the correct book.

Example:

Here on earth it is true, yesterday is always before today, but there is a place where yesterday always follows today. Where?
Hint: Dewey Decimal, 423
Countless of hapless victims have been tricked into looking for books with just a number. I recommend using this method. It’s useful now as I can just give them a DD number when I am busy and they can toddle off to find the book, but when they go to university it will be an invaluable time-saving skill not just for them but for the University Librarians!

The RSPCP – Calling all pen lovers

I have decided to repost some of my old blog posts from the distant past from when I was working as a School Librarian. Kids do the funniest things and I really enjoyed working in a school. So this is part of a series from my old BattyLibrarian Blog…

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

The RSPCP – Calling all pen lovers

 

I work in a secondary school library (High school equivalent for any Americans). Reading the Vampire Librarian blog reminded me of the RSPCP faze around last February.

My assistant was checking some pens and throwing them away when they were dry. A group of Year 7 girls (11 year olds) caught her in the act of throwing them in the bin.

For about a month we were then lambasted for being cruel librarians with no thought for the feelings of the poor hard working unwanted pens. Can anyone else hear those violins? It was so serious they were going to call the RSPCP.

What is the RSPCP you may ask? Wait for it… The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Pens. I ask you, has anyone heard of anything so daft. The good news was it kept them busy for the rest of one lunchtime composing a letter to the this mythical society.

Ahh the joy of a school librarian.