Posts Tagged faculty
Just what does a librarian do all day?
I have been asked this very question by many students, friends, and family members. Interestingly enough, no classroom teacher colleague has ever asked me and I’m not sure whether it is because they understand what goes in to the job, or because they fear that I might stamp “overdue” on their forehead in response.
The romantic in me kind of likes that my profession is shrouded in mystery, though it is definitely problematic when broke state and local governments start looking for programs to financially disembowel. Many librarians participate in a biannual project called “A Day in the Life of a Librarian,” that serves to showcase what various library specialties entail. So, in the interest of transparency, I present to you an account of a day’s worth of tasks in A Day in the Life of…a High School Librarian..at Piper High School in Kansas City, Kansas.
7:10-7:25 (Before School)
-One printer issue to solve for a student
-One test of embedded video in a student Powerpoint
-One printing issue related to Backpack to solve for a student
7:30-8:58 First Block: English III
-Eight research questions answered
-Two rounds of the room, assisting students on their research focus
-Cross check of rosters with 2nd quarter novels not turned in
– Clean flash drives for student checkout
– Return one laptop cart to teacher classroom
– Three books checked out
– One tech issue to solve
9:03-10:31 Second Block: No Library Reservation
– Work on textbook issue with classroom teacher’s help
– Work on new course proposal
– Improve blog tags and email staff about new tool description offered
– Professional reading
– Check books in and work on “We Read” display
– Email upkeep and assist teachers with emailed questions
– Formative testing
– Individual students report here to work from other seminars
– Young adult reading (for book recommendations)
11:06-1:03 Third Block: English III
– Sort mail
– Work on resource projects for two teachers
– Seven research questions answered/ assistance given
– Research rounds to assist students with topic focus
1:08-2:35 Fourth Block: English III
– Finish resource project for a teacher
– Five research questions answered
– Finish new course proposal
– Two books checked out, one flash drive
– Assist scheduling for off campus staff
– Process magazines
This is simply one day. English III students happened to be working on a research paper this week, and the next few days might look vastly different. (I.E. there may not be as much individual student contact but more time spent on collaborative planning, or direct instruction, or a specialty project for the collection, etc.)
Thank you to all of the Piper teachers and KASL librarians who responded to my surveys about collection development and books vs. e-resources. The information gleaned will help me to make the tough decisions about what resources are most needed in what format (since it is more important than ever to justify what is needed!).
Here is a summary of the responses and what it all tells me:
(Approx. 50% of my high school teachers responded for a sample size of 19 responses. 41 Kansas librarians responded. This is a decidedly unscientific sample and interpretation, but it gives me some information to work with.)
68% of teachers said that e-resources would be more useful than books for research their students do.
26% of teachers said that both e-resources and books are useful
5% said “not sure”
Teachers indicated an average percentage breakdown of books vs. e-resources should look like this: 30% books, 70% e-resources.
95% of teachers ranked importance of access to e-resources as a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5
84% of teachers ranked importance of access to content specific databases beyond those offered through KanEd as a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5
16% of teachers ranked importance of database access beyond KanEd as a 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 to 5
85% of responding librarians do not have e-books in their catalogs
Of those that do, half have fiction e-books, and half have nonfiction e-books.
41% have databases beyond those through KanEd and 59% do not.
So what do I glean from this information? I believe this info tells me:
1. My teachers are just about begging for access to more e-resources. They want e-books the most, but also want access to more content specific databases beyond those offered free through KanEd.
2. They recommend (on average) that the breakdown of resources should be one third paper books and two thirds e-resources.
3. Very few responding librarians currently offer e-books in their catalogs and a little less than half offer databases beyond the free ones KanEd offers.
4. Money is short, and I will have to be creative and influential when working to bring my library’s e-offerings up to the level that my teachers expect!
Thank you all for the feeback- I clearly have some work cut out for me in terms of collection development!
We are all wishing for a magical money tree as we work to keep our libraries relevant and useful, providing our students and staff with the resources they need to succeed and excel. Until one is located, though, I’d appreciate some feedback as I ponder what direction collection development should be taking in our school’s library, especially in terms of e-resources.
If you have a minute to take a 2-3 question survey (yes, they are really that short), I would greatly appreciate it! One is for school staff other than librarians and one is specifically for librarians. If you have any info that you would like to add that I’ve left off the survey, feel free to leave a comment- thank you in advance!