Day in the Life of Kirsty- a Prep School Librarian- NEW!

I work full-time as the librarian for the Hurstpierpoint College Prep and Pre-Prep schools in West Sussex; we’re a rural school near Brighton with 275 pupils in the Prep School, and 57 in the Pre-Prep. The role is heavily focused on teaching, but I am also responsible for collection and budget management; while every day is different, the below provides a general overview of a standard day.
Friday 9th September 2016
7.45: I arrive, grab a cup of tea, and chat to a member of staff in the staff room. I don’t start until 8am, but it always pays to arrive a few minutes early!
8.00: Our Guided Readers arrive. From 8-8.30 every morning, gap students read with individual pupils in the library, but I’m there to open the library, staff the enquiry desk, and help the guided readers with book selection. A family comes in with a pre-prep child to read but don’t borrow anything – they have timetabled book swapping times anyway. Another parent with a pre-prep child comes in to borrow a book to read over the weekend. One parent comes in with their child to express concern about their child’s reading, which we discuss. Finally, a teacher arrives to speak to a parent in a quiet corner, and several more children come in to return or borrow books.
8.30: Children are all in registration, so I prepare my IL lessons for the day. At this stage, they’re more about library navigation – I stick golden tickets around the library and prepare and print their worksheets. My lessons are actually planned half a term in advance, and the programme of study for IL is planned out annually. I still have a little more time, so I prepare a couple of subscription invoices for payment by our finance department and update our expenditure sheet, and then prepare my afternoon reading activity – we’re going to make tortoise bookmarks to compliment our current book, Esio Trot (notice the Roald Dahl day theme?) I then have 10 minutes before Year 4 come in, so I quickly catalogue and spine label four non-fiction books – this process is sped up as all books have been internally labelled by pupil librarians several days before.
9.30: Year 4 arrive for my first IL lesson of the day. This year, I receive half a class for half a lesson, with the children swapping half way through. The children complete a treasure hunt for golden tickets, identifying the different areas and collections within the library.
10.05: Halfway through the lesson, the class swaps, and I repeat the lesson with the other half.
10.35: It’s raining, so we have a wet break; during wet breaks, children go up to their classrooms and I don’t see many, although some do pop in to grab a book to read in their classroom. I use this time to prep the library for my Read Write Inc group. A teacher pops in seeking out a picture book, which shows as available on the catalogue but is missing from the shelves, which is frustrating. I promise to set pupil librarians on the task at lunchtime and rush off to collect my Read Write Inc group.
10.50: I teach my Read Write Inc class. This was never originally part of the librarian post, but after agreeing to take it on in September 2016, I’ve found it really improves the relationship between Pre-Prep children and the library, as lessons are taught from within the library. It’s also improved my status with staff, as I’ve been able to become involved in wider school services and culture. It’s also been beneficial for gaining teaching experience, which will prove useful in my IL teaching.
11.50: I take the Read Write Inc children back to Pre-Prep – I normally rush off for a quick lunch now, but have a bit of time after the prep school lunch so decide to wait until later. Pre Prep were very excitable, so I grab a coffee! I take it back to my desk and make preparations for our Year 8 Reading Club. I then plan to take 5 minutes to start marking the pre-prep books but I get stopped by a group of children in the corridor to talk about their library books and run out of time. I mark one book!
12.20: The Year 8 Reading Club arrive and we have a casual session, chatting about pupil librarian duties and books we’ve been reading. This club really takes off in the Lent Term, as they become our Southern Schools Book Award readers, but for now it’s a casual book club. This is attended by the Assistant Librarian in the senior school to begin forming a relationship between our Year 8 pupils and the senior library, easing the transition when they move up next year.
1.30: Lunch!
1.30: I nip to the senior library to sort this week’s book box – every week, a box of books is provided by the senior library for Year 7 and 8 readers, and I refresh the box now. I make some preparations for this afternoon’s Year 5 IL lesson and do some admin for our Skype Pals project, which is run by myself and the Head of Computing. I try to do some printing but can’t find an available printer, so mark some more Read Write Inc books.
2.00: Year 5 come in for their IL lesson and I repeat the golden ticket challenge, which is universally effective as children are encouraged to move around the library and make discoveries on their own. This lesson is, again, repeated in two half-hour slots, and lots of children borrow books.
3.00: During afternoon break, the library is quiet as pupils are encouraged to go outside, but a couple of pupils pop in to borrow books. I’m just getting up to grab a cup of tea when a group of pupils come in unexpectedly, needing supervision during Off-Games. We have a couple more visits from teachers looking for resources, and the Assistant Librarian pops in briefly. I then finish my marking and do the news board – it’s my job to update the news board in the corridor with articles from our daily newspapers. When I get back, IT are in the library installing a new computer! While they do that, I prepare a box of withdrawals by removing jackets and labels; pupil librarians withdrew them earlier in the week, so they’re ready to go into my car and to the charity shop over the weekend. I then make final preparations for my afterschool library club.
4.20: My Year 3-4 reading club arrive at 4.20, and we read a few chapters of Esio Trot as a group and make some related bookmarks. The children also have the chance to do some individual reading with me, and some quiet reading on their own. Parents and pupils often pop in during these sessions with queries or to swap books, so I often end up staffing the desk and running the group at the same time.
5.15: The Reading Club leave, and I sort out the library for the end of the day, do some end-of-the-day admin and get myself up to date with my emails. Finally, I update the date stamp ready for Monday, close up the library and go home with my box of withdrawals at 5.40!
My role is busy, varied and often manic, but I’m lucky – the library is actively used by children and staff, and I benefit from working in a place with a whole school reading culture.