Kidz! Who’d have ’em, eh?

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…

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Today was another busy day down the mine, or should I say Library. 40 kids running riot around a library with me running around shouting shh, shhhhhhhh. …or the other favourite, QUUUIIIEEEETTTT.

We have a reading zone – note the careful choice of words there – Reading Zone. Do you see chat anywhere in that sentence? Nope, neither do I. So out of the 40 or so children about 15 were in the small reading area, blithely chatting away as if talk was going out of fashion.

We have a lovely reading area, a lovely black leather sofa, a couple of comfy chairs, a small square table and a few bean bags. The plan was to create a lovely environment where they could feel they could read in peace. Of course in practice that is not what happens…

Several year 7 and 8s descended on the library at 3.50. Huh? The school day doesn’t end until 4.00. Anyway, they come in, sign the sheet and head straight for the ‘reading zone’. I check they’ve signed in and follow them giving them the riot act, ie. this part of the room is for reading, I expect to see it after in the same condition as they found it and no, they can’t chat and yes the guiness book of records is OK as long as they are quiet about it.

Job done for ten minutes, I go to sit down back at the desk. Wait! what’s that, is it giggling I hear? After a long heartfelt sigh, I close the cataloguing window again, (will I ever get any work done in the late shift?) and lock the computer screen and trundle back to the corner where the reading zone is kept.

One boy is lolling on a bean bag groaning with the other kids pointing and giggling. I manage to calm them down with crossed arms and a magnificent glare (if I say so myself) and get told “Miss, he got hit in the ghoulies with a football’

Now what I ask you was I supposed to reply to that?

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.

Five Reasons Why I Loved/Hated Being a 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. So this is part of a series from my old Batty Librarian Blog…

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Five Reasons Why I Love/Hate Being a School Librarian


I’m finding writing this blog quite cathartic, so I thought the next thing was to write about five reasons why I love and hate being a school librarian.

Why I absolutely love it

The children
The children do make it worthwhile. I love the way they think, the enthusiasm and the way they seem to appreciate what I do for them.

The challenge
Every day is a challenge. From the moment you unlock the library to the time you leave, its non-stop. Remember at those job interviews they ask you about prioritization? Well, if you are rubbish at it then you’d have to resign the next day! There’s so much to do the time just flies by. …and don’t get me started on multi-tasking…

The books
Well this was an obvious one – who’d become a librarian if they didn’t like books! There’s always the thrill of spending someone else’s money on books, but most of all I love the smell of them as well. mmmm, Bisto

The creative side
Where can I get started on this one. From the creation of leaflets, posters to computerising the accounts and arranging the furniture. If you want to use your creative side then this is the job to do it!

The quiet!
When break and lunch ends and its just the sixth formers quietly studying I almost think it is heaven…

Why I hate it

The Library as a dumping ground
This means the naughty children who get sent in because the teachers don’t know what else to do with them to being the place equipment gets dumped because we happen to be open all the time. My favourite is laptops and cameras. We only hold them because no-one else wants the responsibility and the reason mentioned before. I love the way teachers come in to book the laptop and expect me to know a) what software is precisely on the thing and b) to know how to fix it if it goes wrong. If I wanted to be an IT bleeding consultant I would have done an IT qualification not a MSc in Library studies! …and then the idiots go an lend it to another teacher without telling me and the others expect me to know where the stuff is at all times. I’m stuck in the library – I can’t go chasing after errant staff members all the time! Grr.

Looking after 50-60 children on my own after school ends. I’m not trained in childcare and I dread that something bad will happen. Unfortunately it is the one thing I really do not like about my job. It is impossible to control that many children but I am expected to. If I complain then I am told that is what the job entailed and they explained it in the interview. I never dreamed that I would be expected to look after that many though and I’m pretty sure that it would scare a lot of other librarians as well!

I am in charge of the library but still have a line manager, which made sense when I was new to the job. However what is the point of a line manager who does no personnel reviews, doesn’t make decisions or give important information when needed? For example, if something is arranged for the library we don’t always get told. Just the other week a meeting was arranged in the middle of baby-sitting duty (Prep) one night and the first we found out about it was when the canteen staff delivered the drink for it around mid-day. I had to chase my line manager to find out what was happening!

Lack of Communication
Unfortunately the library staff is neither part of the teaching or admin staff. we are classed as other and get forgotten. I have to constantly chase people to find out what is happening. I also have to take every opportunity to collar teachers to find out what they are teaching and what kind of resources they need for the library (They never turn up for meeting – they forget).

The hours
I work part-time as a lot of school librarians do. It is very difficult to get the work done in the time allocated. I know I criticise CILIP a lot but they do acknowledge that a full time librarian is needed in schools which includes working in the holidays. I work approximately 75-80% of term-time. Personal development has to be done in my own time. fair enough I do that anyway – Its just annoying.

Lending ebooks through Amazon – oh the unfairness of it all!

In the US, (and I am not sure where else), if you buy a book from Amazon there is every reason to believe that you can lend it to a deserving friend., what other kind of friend would you lend your books too?

Unfortunately this is not the case in the UK and possible South Africa, I have a friend there.

If you bought a book from Amazon, all you do is go to the Amazon book page and click the link on the top of the page to lend the book, Your friend will then have two weeks to read it. Sounds simple, don’t it (bad grammar deliberate). If you want more details on how to do this Johanna Garth has a great blog post explaining how to lend them to your friends at:

Well I can’t do that and I feel left out. I’m the girl sulking in the corner of the party, nursing a gin and tonic looking at the floor, whilst everyone is partying like its 1999 (erm 2012) in the center.

On Facebook, there is a group called SOS, Share our Stories. Its all promoted by Fantasy Island Book Publishing (FIBP) to promote the lending program. After all authors just want their books to be read. Authors are freely lending their copies of other author#s books within the program, unless they are currently reading them.

I think it is about time that Amazon opened up the Kindle Lending Library to the rest of the world or at least the UK! We like to read too and there is a great vampire novel I KNOW my friend will love.

Here’s hoping 2012 will be the year of the Kindle Library.

C’mon Amazon don’t leave us inthe corner…