Emily’s Day in the Life

I am a solo Librarian in a state secondary academy with 2500 pupils aged 11-18.

8 am:      There are always at least 5 or 6 students waiting outside the library when I arrive, eager to get in to print homework or return their (usually overdue!) books. However, I still find time to grab a cup of tea from the ICT technicians after letting the students in. I return and issue some books and have a quick look at my emails.

8:30 am:     I quickly rush to get breakfast for my literacy intervention students before the registration bell goes. I find that bribing them with tea and toast makes them work harder this early in the morning! My students arrive and I register them. Today’s lesson is root words and we discuss word families, draw our own ‘trees’ for different root words and play ‘Root Word Happy Families’.

Period 1:     One of my main roles is delivering the GROW@KS3 literacy intervention project (http://ilc.ioe.ac.uk/grow-ks3.html). An English teacher and a HLTA work alongside me to deliver the intervention. Our current cohort is 16 year 7 students. I have two groups of 3 students. I have just re-tested my current students as they are at the end of their ten weeks, so today we are writing speeches for our end of term celebration.

Period 2:     I use this lesson to order some new stock. I have had some requests from students so I catch up on those first. Then I order some history resources which have been requested by the head of history for our new sixth form collection. I also stock up on some cataloguing supplies.

Morning break:     The weather is bad so the library is very busy. I am on my own which can be very hectic as there are students who want to borrow and return books, buy stationery, need help with computers/printers or finding a book (often all at once)! Fifteen minutes flies by!

Period 3 and 4:    I have a year 9 English class booked in for a double lesson, researching for a presentation. This is an ongoing project with their teacher. Despite the fact that I have delivered 3 information literacy sessions to their class before they started their research, one of the students has been caught plagiarising (it was very obvious as he has copy and pasted from a 9/11 conspiracy site)! The rest of the class are researching independently so I show the culprit how to reference and we look at some reliable websites he can use.

Lunch time:     For the students that is – not me!   I do have a lunchtime assistant but she helps with behaviour management and is not a library assistant. We collect pupils’ cards at the door so we can keep tabs on them. This has had a massive effect on behaviour. Wednesday lunchtime is Reading Club and I have just received the books for our local book award so I introduce them to the group and create a spreadsheet to keep track of borrowing. The students who attended the award last year speak enthusiastically about the experience and everyone is quite excited. Meanwhile a queue has formed at my desk so I leave them to it and go back to my ‘real job’!

Period 5:     I have a visitor from the Institute of Education who has come to sign certificates for our most recent GROW@KS3 students. I update her on the project and give her some data from our latest tests. Once she leaves I use the rest of the lesson to prepare for testing our next group of students, while it is fresh in my mind. This involves timetabling, notifying teachers and parents and preparing the test materials.

Period 6:     I go into a year 12 English Lesson to deliver a session on alternatives to Google and talk about the online resources that we have access to. I get pupils to do some sample searches using Deeperweb, Sweetsearch and Google Scholar and we analyse our results together. Some students end up finding really useful articles for their coursework.

3-5 pm:     Wednesday afternoon is film club. Today we are starting a really exciting project called ‘See It Make It’ where we are making our own film with a local film maker. We meet Craig (our film maker) and he introduces himself and the project. We watch a couple of short clips and discuss ideas for our own film. We have no budget so we think about what we can film in school. The students decide that the film will be set in the library (which I am very excited about) and we start to plan a beginning, middle and end for our story.

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