Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Flexibility matters

I have been fielding some questions from administrators in my district about "what to look for" in a school librarian. A year ago, I would have been more confident in my suggestions. But now it seems to me that many of the ideal dispositions for school librarianship are either abstract or affective. Well-educated -- with a strong general background and well-read enough to recognize the major topics in each discipline and have some familiarity with the canonical authors. Energetic -- working before school, after school, and all day without a break. Generous -- willing to support the program with your own resources. And, perhaps most importantly, Flexible.

As we have been recovering from the tornado last week, our school community has really come together. Contractors began repairing the roof the afternoon of the storm, enabling most classes to carry on without relocating. The science classes spent time in other areas of the building on Monday. JROTC will not have a building until the next school year, so they're meeting in the library third block.

Most of us are just happy to have everyone here, but the commotion in the library is driving some of the faculty nuts. We have itinerant special education teachers and retired teachers doing one-on-one coaching in the library -- either in the two small conference rooms, the office, or off to the side -- most days. We frequently have more than one class come in each block, including double-booking when one class is working on research and another just wants to check out books.

Flexibility matters, especially now. Nothing bothers me as much as a teacher that thinks the entire library should be cordoned off for the exclusive run of their class. In a building of more than 1300, we have to share. I have the luxury of having the largest instructional space on campus, and I am really committed to keeping it open to students. On a happy note, we are not a venue for the Alabama High School Graduation Exam this coming administration. I have long argued that maintaining access to books for the students warehoused during testing should trump the convenience of using the library to test a handful of students, so I am thrilled.

No comments:

Post a Comment