I always start the day with a cup of tea and a tweet! Tweeting as the school librarian, I try to give a flavour of what’s happening in and around the library on a daily basis; flag up, comment on and re-tweet bookish news; link up with and share ideas with other libraries and librarians; and pick up loads of information and inspiration from the individuals and organisations I follow.
I leave home really early to miss the traffic and arrive around 7.30am. Time to sort the daily delivery of papers and magazines, unlock the six rooms which make up the library (we’re on the first floor of an old house), make another cup of tea and check my emails. A few students pop in on their way to registration to return a book or print off some prep. A couple of others are waiting on the library landing for an early morning lesson in the Independent Learning Centre (ILC).
Senior students have tutor time on Tuesday, so I attend Y7 and 8’s Collect (assembly), to give out messages about events this week. Y7 group are presenting their science project on sources of energy in the style of a news programme. It’s great to see the finished product which started with two research sessions in the library last week. Lessons start at 8.50am.
Period 1: Approaches to Learning lesson with Y7. This week we’re focusing on reading techniques including skimming and scanning. Lots of different activities help to keep them focused (including scanning for ‘Where’s Wally’). We finish with a dictionary activity which combines both techniques.
Period 2: Having been at Heath’s showroom all day yesterday choosing books for our Book Week book shop, am trying to work through outstanding paperwork. I also visit our Marketing Department to discuss what notices need including in this week’s e-bulletin to parents. ILC colleague uses one of the comfy seating areas for an informal ‘approaches to learning’ session with a small group of Y10. Students delighted to find books in the library that are relevant to their individual research projects.
Break Time: Often one of the busiest times in most secondary school libraries, it is relatively quiet here as most boarders and day pupils return to the Houses for snacks and socialising. The advantage for me is that I can go down to the Staff Common Room and chat with colleagues. Today I sit with our Examinations Officer to discuss room availability for tomorrow’s academic scholarship exams and interviews. Since her appointment, the library has rarely been used for exams, but when there is an increase in demand for rooms, it is sometimes the only option for meetings with students, parents or governors. Not ideal, but a great awareness raising or ‘marketing opportunity’!
Period 3: Preparation for Period 6 lesson. Good to see a pre-sixth group have made the library a regular place to read and work during one of their study periods. Lunch for Y7 and 8 Book Club delivered to Library Office.
Period 4: Preparation for Book Club. Library Assistant arrives (currently working reduced hours following illness). Prioritise jobs for the afternoon – mainly getting ready for Harry Potter events. Not a typical task in its own right, but we do have a large amount of display space, so we’re always working on something new.
Lunchtime: Y7 and 8 Book Club. An English teacher helps to run this activity which begins with packed lunches and a general chat. Food is key – and the students love the extra seasonal treats at our end of term parties. The social aspect of the group is also very important. I run three other groups, all made up of disparate, yet not dissimilar individuals and usually more boys than girls. The Y9/10 group is currently the largest of the four.
Today we’re selecting the next book to read together from the School Library Pack. Our last ‘group read’ was ‘Wonder’. We’ve also been reading and voting for the Red House Children’s Book Award shortlist – including the picture books, which they love. They decide on John Boyne’s ‘The terrible thing that happened to Barnaby Brocket’ and I read the first few pages aloud to start them off.
With the help of my library assistant we tidy, vacuum and wash up – inevitably there are lots of menial tasks involved in being a school librarian!
Period 5: Small group of sixth formers working in the library. It’s a relatively quiet day – no regular library lessons or class bookings today – so another opportunity for catching up with admin. Eureka moment for a Y11 student who discovers one of the magazines we subscribe to includes useful sample essays. I ask him to spread the word!
Period 6: Approaches to Learning with Y8 group. A great session practising taking notes from visual sources of information – using maps, graphs, plans and photos to research a holiday resort and write an entry for a brochure. They enjoy the task and produce some good pieces of persuasive writing.
After school: By this time of day I’m getting tired. Another English teacher is running a Creative Writing activity in the library. A few students arrive at 4.30pm for Prep Club – aimed at students who won’t be travelling home on the buses until after tea at 6.00pm. Drink and biscuits on arrival to keep them going. I talk to a colleague about making a short film requested by our Patron of Reading for an upcoming conference. It’s been a long day – a cup of tea wouldn’t go amiss, but I leave a bit before 5.30pm to pick up more Harry Potter ‘stuff’ from the shops on the way home.