Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Day in the Life

     image from

Earlier this weekend I read a blog post that the amazing Teri Lesesne posted on her FB page. Although Professor Nana, as she is also known, writes an incredible blog, this post was from another great blog called More Books than Time, and it was about the day in the life of the librarian writer of the blog.
Read the post HERE.

In her FB post, Dr. Lesesne mentioned that she thought more of us ought to talk about what it is we actually do---our job is, in fact, very like an iceburg---there is a LOT you don't see just looking at it from the outside.

Well, I couldn't agree more.  I loved reading Chris Margocs' post about her day and thought I'd share what a typical day (if there is such a thing) looks like for me.  This is my 12th year in my library, and my 15th year as a teacher-librarian.  In the course of those 12 years, the look of my day has certainly shifted, but the joy of spreading book love never dies!

  • I get to work every morning between 6:45 and 7:00.  The first order of business is to get in my office and get the coffee brewing! I get my office computer and the two circ computers up and running and unlock all the library doors.  I no longer have an assistant, as when my former assistant retired a few years back, massive budget cuts were rolling through the state at the same time and we lost para positions on my campus.  Thus, all these jobs now fall to me. I make sure to get the circ computers up and running because I have a couple of kiddos that love to slip in and check books in for me or just sit and breathe in the library air for a couple of minutes instead of going to breakfast.  
  • At 7:05 I'm throwing on my lovely safety-orange plastic vest and I'm off to breakfast duty.  This is new to me this year, as formerly students were allowed in the library before school and the library was my morning (and afternoon) duty station.  Now,I stand at the doorway to the food line greeting students and making sure the breakfast line moves along smoothly.  Nearly everyday during this time students dig books out of their backpacks that need to be returned and hand them to me---it often reminds me of a clown car--how DO they fit all those books in there???   ;)
  • By 7:25 I'm closing up the moveable partition in the hallway with my breakfast duty colleague and entering the library, ready for my day.  Generally a teacher or two, on their way rushing to class stop long enough to see if we can schedule a time to collaborate on a lesson or ask if there is still any room in the week to bring their class down to get books.
  • Usually after announcements I have about 15 to 20 minutes to check my emails and phone messages, and deal with any other "office business" I may have.  Up until the end of January, this included getting my lists together for ordering books and supplies.  All our monies had to be encumbered by January 31st, so the past few weeks have been especially busy with this!
  • My library schedule is completely flexible, with teachers signing up for the time slots they need.   With that being said, I typically start seeing classes at 8:00.  Generally I have classes for 45 minutes at a time, and this leaves room for me to start off with a few book talks before the students find their reading materials to check out. Sometimes, I am able to teach lessons with the students--pre-planned, teacher requested collaborative lessons.  I LOVE these days, but they are fewer now than they used to be.  More often than ever before teachers just want their students to come quickly and check out books and get back to class. They give them about 15 minutes. The ever-increasing pressures of standardized testing at work.  The teachers regret it, and I certainly do, but they are really hard-pressed to fit all their requirements in without losing classtime--even for wonderful things like going to the library.  Anyway, I generally see between 4 and 9 whole class groups every day for a variety of things and I choose to focus on the positives (of which there are many!)
  • Throughout the day students are coming to the library individually or in small groups to use the computers for this or that research project.  
  • Every moment that students aren't in the library ---- or when they ARE, but are handling their library business I can be found at a table in the corner processing new books.  I used to buy all my books already processed, but those budget cuts I mentioned before hit the library rather hard and in order to get the most bang for my buck, I often process my own books.   Other than the never-ending facet of processing, I really enjoy this part; I find it to be almost Zen-like.  
  • The final two periods of the day I have wonderful 8th grade student assistants.  They help in shelving, circulation, and creating displays.  Since the office no longer has student assistants they are also called on frequently to assist the office in making deliveries across the school.  Did I mention that these are some of the most hilarious, fantastic, genius and unique kids I know?  I would be lost without them.  
  • One Act Play is now done, but for the majority of the school year every Tuesday and Friday after school  until 5:30  I assisted in directing our OAP students.  What fun!  
The remaining time in my job consists of all the "regular" stuff---book circulation, shelving, running reports, weeding old materials, assisting students and teachers as they need it.  I also spend  a bit of time on testing our students who have been referred to the GT program, and keeping those files organized. 

I honestly have the best gig in the world.  Are there changes I'd like to see made?  Of course--and as I work toward those goals I am continually grateful for all the wonderful parts of my daily work life.  I am a teacher-librarian.  Really, what could be better than that?

I'd love to hear about YOUR day-to-day work life!  

Read on, Gentle Readers; Read on!

Mrs. S


  1. And people think we sit and read all day! I don't have duty outside the library, but I have a fixed schedule for language arts classes, with history and science scheduled as needed. I'm seeing more classes than ever, as we focus on transitioning to the Common Core. I've worked hard to provide teachers with CC resources, and now they often ask for me to do research lessons, or show students how to use their Google Drive accounts, create proper citations, etc. I enjoy the challenge!

    I have two parents who come in weekly to shelve books, or I'd be buried under stacks of them. My student aides this year aren't great at shelving, but they can check books in and out, make window displays and dust and straighten. (With 1800 students, there's a lot of straightening!)

    I am open an hour before school, and was open during lunches when I didn't have class. Last week, an assistant principal decided we should be open every lunch, even when I have class. We'll see how that works:/ She did assign an instructional aide for that time, but I think the class will be so distracted by kids walking in and out. Trying to think positively, however!

    Isn't it amazing how fast the day goes, every day? I love my library!

    1. Oh to sit and read all day! I'm glad you've had great luck with parent volunteers--I'm keeping hope alive in that area, but so far it hasn't stuck!

      and YES---talk about a fast-paced day! Keeps things exciting doesn't it? Loved hearing about your day!

  2. Thanks for linking my blogpost! It is amazing how fast the day goes in the library, isn't it? I can't imagine doing it without an assistant, though, especially with the regular visits we have from most of the campus' classes; just the reshelving alone is a job in itself!

    I am so glad to read that even after more than a decade in the field, you still find joy in what you do. Hoping that feeling will continue for me, too!