ProTeacher Community

ProTeacher Community (
-   Library / Media Specialist (
-   -   New to position and feeling overwhelmed (

nstafins 09-06-2017 05:59 AM

New to position and feeling overwhelmed
So I am coming from a classroom teacher position into a librarian position. Disclaimer-- I wanted to stay in the classroom but after getting laid-off, I had an impossible time finding a job. This position was offered to me and I was excited until realizing it was more of an "aide" position then anything. I am not making a teacher's salary and half of my day is spent outside the library. I have three recess duties and I come in later than the rest of the staff so I can stay late and run the after-school program. Needless to say, I'm still looking but I want to do a good job while I am in this position.

I am in an urban school notorious for discipline problems and have heard from teachers that the librarian job is a nightmare. My school is only 4th and 5th graders. I see each class once a week for 35 minutes. The P expects me to teach lessons in addition to check-out/check-in things. He mentioned keyboarding and technology skills. Anyways, I have no idea how to arrange my class time.

My ideas are to make one week for check-outs and the next for a lesson, and rotate that way. I think it could work but my main concern is check out week. I see that as being a behavior problem considering there will be students wandering around, chatting, etc. Someone mentioned implementing centers? I have such a short time but I suppose it could work. So while one group is checking out, other groups are in centers either at the computer, working on a task, playing a literacy card game, etc.

I'm just really lost on how to go about this and I have students starting on Monday and want to be prepared.

KatrynG 09-06-2017 05:18 PM

Last 10 minutes used for checkout
I'm used to 45 minutes for a teachable Media Center/Library class. We did a 35 minute rotation whenever school was let out half days or 2 hours early... inclement weather/holidays/snow days.... (the last 10 minutes of each class was used for check-outs...students don't have much time to mess around in choosing books!)

Whichever the case... this is how a typical day goes:

On the morning of the day a teacher's class is due in the library, designated students return that teacher's students' books for check-in. We'd check books into the system and put them on a cart for shelving throughout the day; sometimes helpers would come in and shelve books, too.

At the hour a class arrives, students are directed to put any books that they forgot to return on the Circulation desk for Check-in and then go to the tables for instruction or sit on the carpet for story-time (Pre-K thru grade 3 usually carpet)(Grade 4 and above tables).

You have to keep track of your time, and know that you have about 20 minutes for instruction or stories; 2 minutes to transition into checking out books. The students color-coded library cards were laid out on the Circulation desk for those who remembered to return their books; otherwise, we had a stack of cards of students who would be reviewing magazines or books in the "I forgot my book zone" during check out time. AND you have to keep track of the books that are checked out before you allow students to take more home!

And you and any helpers walk around assisting students to use their shelf markers and select suitable books at their grade level, and hopefully prevent them from re-shelving unwanted books, improperly!

Students are given a 2 minute warning to bring all selections and shelf markers to the Circulation Desk for check out, so as not to keep their teacher waiting.

Disclaimer: I am sharing a link to a .pdf file from 2010 for Harford County Public Schools in Maryland that I found interesting. I have NOT thoroughly reviewed it yet, but I will be doing so soon because I need to set-up a Media Center myself. I am a trained Media Specialist, but this will be the first time that I've had to run my own!

You can Google other sources about running media centers, and calendars of what to teach each month in the library. Generally, start with 'taking care of books' and 'how to use a shelf marker' and 'how to behave in the library' and 'touring the collection.' Your can teach about authors and illustrators, Fiction and Non-Fiction books, and the Dewey Decimal System, scavenger hunts, research, etc.

Newbielibro 09-15-2017 04:39 PM

Genres is one thing to teach, you want to get keyboarding on (I recommend making that an option during checkout time) and tech like code and scratch. Teach them how to use and care for technology. Have the demonstrate how to use the shelves and if they cannot do it, they cannot use the and will have to request books. They prefer to be trusted to use the shelves... You need to keep lessons as engaging as possible to help with discipline, call home when needed, etc.

sag 09-25-2017 10:46 AM

Several schools in my area allow students to check their own books in and teach them how to shelve them as they do. I have always been afraid of doing this, but it has been successful for those who have done it. (Their check out barcodes are put on a folder that they bring to the library. This lets them check out quickly.) I have done book talks on different genres, fiction/nonfiction and their differences, researching using Destiny.

I'm not sure this would work in your situation, but some schools in our system have a designated morning and afternoon time every day for students to check in books, renew, or check out a new book. This leaves instruction time open for nothing but instruction.

Suggestion 09-28-2017 03:46 PM

Job Description
Principals of poorly-run schools with discipline problems often exploit teachers and paraprofessionals to police the kids at lunchtime, during recesses and before and after school. Does your job description specify supervising students for half the day? If not, perhaps you can discuss your predicament with the person who oversees the district's libraries. No one should be expected to devote half of their workday to activities that are unrelated to their primary job responsibilities. Avoid having unrealistic expectations of yourself in your current situation and you will be rewarded with less stress. Good luck.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:04 AM.

Copyright © ProTeacher®
For individual use only. Do not copy, reproduce or transmit.