Wait and See Pudding

July 24, 2009 at 10:47 am Leave a comment

When I was in library school, there were a few things I heard over and over again in the school library teacher program. Some of them actually led to a serious student identity crisis about halfway through my time there–I was incredibly frustrated by what I saw as constant emphasis on how difficult administrators, parents, and students themselves can be.

But as I sit in my new library, among the printer carts and trophy cases stored here for the summer, staring at another stack of books telling me all about those wacky West Germans and the rise of modern America (copyright 1935), it’s a different refrain that keeps ringing in my head: Don’t try to get anything done in your first year.

I understand the logic behind this statement. Really, I do. Even though I was technically only in an internship, I consider the past year my first year in a lot of ways, and I wouldn’t have been able to get anything done if I hadn’t had the extreme luxury of being part of a great team. I wasn’t doing everything, so I had the chance to do a lot of things–start a blog, teach an elective, start a gaming program, try my hand at grant writing, run a bibliography workshop… It was a great year.

But if I’d been alone in that library, my learning curve would’ve been very different. I would’ve spent a lot more time on parts of the library that the rest of the team dealt with–budget, meetings, scheduling and teaching classes, troubleshooting technology, and on and on.

But does that mean I couldn’t have done anything new?

When I interviewed for this position, I was pretty blunt with everyone in the room: they did not have the luxury of a wait-and-see attitude. The school has been without a librarian for a year. The collection needs serious work. The website makes me cry. Technology and instruction need to be brought up to speed like whoa.

In some areas, I guess I am going to wait and see–but not any longer than I absolutely have to. I just faxed in the renewal for all of my periodical subscriptions, and for now I’m renewing them all. It pains me, because I really question some of the titles on the list, and it’s a big chunk of change. But I can’t in good conscience remove any of them without finding out how (or if) they’re being used in the library.

And some of the waiting is about not driving myself crazy. Realistically, I’m going to dump a lot of this collection. I simply have to weed. But I’m barely into the 900s and so frustrated by what I see, which tells me I need to pace myself, or I’ll go nuts before students even walk in the door.

Pacing myself doesn’t mean hiding in my office and letting this library keep serving as a computer lab, though. People in this building are ready for some change, and they’re excited about it. Every single teacher I’ve met so far has told me how glad they are that I’m here.

So look out, library–change is a-comin!

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Entry filed under: Education. Tags: .

What I’ve Been Reading New Librarian on the Block

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