Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's What We Do!

I was recently invited to be a "guest speaker" at my grandson's daycare during Community Helpers week. An honor! I packed an assortment of hats that we use on the Morning Show and went to the day care to present as a Librarian and describe the many hats we wear. It was nice to know that my skills could be utilized beyond my school and library.o

So I'd put a different hat on, and then read a story, telling how that hat related to what I do as a Librarian. One of the best books that I use, related to my job overall, is "Buy My Hats" by Dave Horowitz. At the end of it all, the teachers were amazed at how attentive the children were.
 "They usually won't sit still for more than 2 stories and you had them wanting more after 5 stories! Amazing!" I just smiled and said, "Well, it's what I do!" Keeping a group of kids captivated with a story, adding some silly costumes, being a big ham, engaging kids with some cool stories. Yes, it's what I do! A small part of my job as a school librarian, but it's what I do.
Maybe I don't get to do it as much as I'd like anymore, without a pre-test, questioning, post-assessment, exit tickets, etc. for storytime, but it's still a skill I have in my bag of library tricks! As Liam Neeson said in "Taken", "... what I do have are a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career." 

As our jobs and libraries change, we  maintain and acquire more and more skills which are unique to our profession. Don't lose heart that you can't use them all the time or even at all for the time being. You never know when they'll come in handy! Don't feel as if your skills are obsolete or not appreciated. Hone them, improve on them, add to them and have them ready when there might be a need. Sometimes we equate not having our skills used or asked for as not being appreciated. But what are we doing to let people know that we have them? Or how are we modifying them to suit the current needs of our schools?

Are we bemoaning the fact that we can't tell stories anymore, or are we seeing how to work those skills into being a 21st Century Librarian? Are you blaming the "system" and efforts to evaluate your performance for not being the good old-fashioned librarian that you got into the business for, or are you trying to change into the librarian who people can count on to be the professional who seeks not your own agenda, but what's best for the children and the school.

My school has had 3 different Principals in 3 years. Their leadership styles have all been very different, along with how they viewed my role, the place of the media center and my participation in the school's leadership team. With each administration I had I had to sit back at first, reflect on why I was there, and ramp up my efforts to promote what the library has for them and the students. To paraphrase "The Godfather", "It was business, not personal."

So as I said to the day care teachers, "It's what I do". This week, you'll be faced with situations that challenge your feelings or security, but remind yourself of the bigger picture and what you know you offer to the students. It will help you stay grounded.  Come on, folks, it's what we do!