Saturday, October 24, 2015

Librarian or concierge? Does it matter?

Do you ever think about how you fill your school day?  There are days, more than I like, when I feel like the library concierge rather than the school librarian. "Room for two more on computers? Sure, send them down."  "Can we use your space for testing .... class project .... videotaping ..... even painting projects!"  Fill in your own image here.  Sometimes it makes me grumpy, feeling underutilized and without value.  But then I think about it and realize,  these things demonstrate many things about myself and my library space.
The first one, and most important to me, students love to be in my space.  If a class has more students than computers in lab, I know students are chanting, I can go to the library, me too!  I know because these same students find ways to be here throughout the day.  You know the ones, you have them too, they are in several times for several periods daily.  Just yesterday I had a student come in from our satellite school, the Innovative Learning Space and say would you email my teacher and let him know I am sending the morning here studying instead of there?  I do so much better here.  And she did!  What a complement, that this space does give a student confidence and comfort, that this is where they choose to spend their time when they get to choose?  How many of you have those students who stop by your desk everyday just to check in?  I was out sick for two days recently and when I got back I had a young man go out of his way to come in and ask if I felt better.  This was not a student I would say is a regular, but it was one I speak to whenever I see him.  The climate we create is important, it impacts our school and our students.  You never know when one small act of kindness will create a huge impact.
The second thing about my space, teachers know I will be open and accommodating (even if I really don't feel that way!).  I want a filled, busy, productive space. And who knows, maybe if you are nice sharing your space the next time they will share their students, or their project, or, dare I hope, collaborate?  We are different that classroom teachers.  Yes, the media center is our classroom but it is also a community space and so we must juggle both aspects.  Confession, I never could juggle, but in this case I am moving as fast as I can, because I do want this to be "the" place that everyone wants to be in.
One last comment, when I was told that my space would be used  again for testing, the principal said, "Liz, you know I wouldn't take your space if I could help it, it is the heart of the school. But, in the same token, for the kids that have to come in and take this test, they couldn't be in a spot that makes them feel more comfortable and welcomed.  And that is a great way to feel if you are already uncomfortable about the whole testing thing."
So, okay, I am adding concierge in my list of "other duties as assigned."  And I will do it with a smile, and a, "Hi _____, how can I make your life better today?"  

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