Wednesday, 2 November 2011

School Librarians cause a Flashback to my Childhood Fear of the Demon Headmaster

This week two school librarians came to share their experiences with the class and, although I know that this is not the path I wish to pursue (school children make me envision things like this),
I thoroughly enjoyed their talks and wanted to post about a couple of interesting points that smacked of relevance throughout the profession.

Sue Kowalski was first up and straightaway her enthusiasm swept through the class.  Her tips included being individual - in this day and age we have to show how we are different and what we can offer over our competitors.  This may sound a bit too business-y for a library comment but she was right - in the school setting librarians have to show how they can offer services that cannot be provided by the teachers or computing staff.  From public to law to academic libraries we have to show how we stand out from the internet, book shops, netflix etc. in order to preserve the unique services that we provide.

Sue's mantra is "advocacy through action" - you have got to walk the talk and show your ideas being implemented.  Bosses are so busy these days that they don't want to hear about your problems, they only want to hear about your solution.  This picks up on what the second speaker, Steve Nabinger mentioned concerning tactics for dealing with headmasters.
Demon Headmaster...mine was actually like this, he had swirly eyes too
(apologies to Americans who probably won't get this reference and
will just say 'Aw, 'headmaster', it's just like Harry Potter'
(I don't tire of this, honestly, it is perpetually amusing))
A point that Sue made that is not necessarily related to libraries but to life in general was about letting go.  She assigns a lot of the exhibitions and projects in the library over to her iStaff (too funny) and allows them to produce work on the library's behalf.  Now this will not be as perfect as she would like it but it is the kids' own work and they are proud of it.  They also act as walking advertisements for such exhibitions and will drag people to see it thus making it far more effective than if she had done it herself.  Sue also focuses on getting the service the customer needs to them as quickly as she can and leaves the office work, reports etc. for another time.  I am somewhat of a perfectionist and know that I have to let go especially in group projects.  I have become far more laid-back since coming here because so much has changed for me that there is no chance I can keep in control of everything but I still have a long way to go.  Sue's advice was good, go with the flow and accept that not everything is going to be perfect...some day I hope it will sink in.

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