Yesterday I was honored to be videotaped as a guest presenter for Dr. Virginia Wallace of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science program. Her course, SLIS J742, concerns the curricular role of the library media specialist, but she encouraged me to discuss other aspects of a high school librarian’s job.
Where Do I Begin?
As I was checking my Shelfari account this morning (one of the tools I recommended in my presentation), I found a request from a new media specialist who is excited to start her job this fall but wanted some guidance on where to begin. Since I had shared a few tips in my presentation, I was able to quickly supply her with an answer. I am providing it below, just in case this might benefit any other media specialists who are gearing up for their first job.
Congratulations! This is my dream job because it combines so many of my passions.
1. Find the Policies and Procedures manual and read it. This is not set in stone – you can change things, but you need to know what is in place now.
2. Memorize your mission statement (again not set in stone). Your programs and instruction must support the statement.
3. Begin advocating for your program early. Meet with the principal before the year starts and ask A) what committees you can serve on (School Literacy Team would be perfect), B) to be added to the first faculty meeting agenda so that you can introduce yourself and share info on how your program can help the teachers, C) ask to be put on the new teacher orientation agenda – you may be one of the new teachers, but you can still help ease everyone’s jitters by sharing with them what your program can do for them, D) find out what your budget is and the proedures you must follow in ordering for your school/district.
4. Create a library brochure geared towards your teachers to share at both of those meetings. (Email me and I can send you what we use.)
5. Familiarize yourself with the library’s collection – walk the shelves to see what is available. Run a Titlewise Analysis to get an overall view of the collection.
6. Organize your office.
7. Set up a method for signing up classes to visit the library.
8. Set up a method for checking out equipment and videos to your teachers. (This may already be in place – just know how it is done.)
9. Make sure you are familiar with the circulation program that your library uses.
10. Get your bulletin boards up before the teachers come back.
11. Plan on keeping monthly statistics to share with your principal. (Again, I’ll be glad to share what we use.)
12. Start a folder in which you put a copy of every handout, brochure, bookmark, monthly statistics, program information, etc. This way you have a record of your year so that you will be able to create an end of the year report.
13. Your first few days will be a whirlwind of activity! Being prepared for them will make things go more smoothly and will project the image that you are knowledgeable about your program. First impressions are so very important.
Good luck – I hope you will love your job as much as I love mine!
My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org (Please include “New SLMS” in the subject line.)
Okay, those wonderful media specialists reading this post, what other suggestions do you have to share with new media specialists as they are preparing to embark on this new adventure?
Image Attribution: http://www.d49.org/schools/mres/mediacenter.JPG