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The dreaded visit to the library

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luv2teach2017 luv2teach2017 is offline
 
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The dreaded visit to the library
Old 12-16-2017, 08:21 AM
 
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Every time I see "Library" on the lesson plan, I shudder

Best case scenario is where the librarian is friendly to me and the kids, greets us with a smile, and starts out by reading a story to the class. This sets a pleasant, friendly tone where the kids settle in, and the librarian and I work in tandem to keep them in order while getting their books. Unfortunately, this is the least likely scenario on library day.

All too often, the children and I are immediately met by a surly, frowning, mean-spirited librarian who ignores me, refers to me only as "the sub", and starts out by scolding the kids and giving them a harsh lecture about how to behave in the library when they have a "sub". Then the librarian sits coldly behind the counter scowling.

On a library visit last week with 1st graders, I believe the "librarian" was actually yard duty staff filling in. Right after we arrived, she spent the first several minutes yelling at the kids at top volume, threatening to report them to their "real teacher" if they stepped out of line.

I don't know why so many librarians are angry and bitter, but these encounters have caused me to dread library day. I also feel sad for the children. Aren't the schools trying to encourage reading and love of books? What kind of message are the kids getting when the library visit is an ordeal because their school librarian is so hostile?



Last edited by luv2teach2017; 12-17-2017 at 05:40 AM..
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Sublime Sublime is offline
 
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Old 12-16-2017, 08:08 PM
 
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I love taking students to the library! However, I've never been able to "make" students be quiet once they're in there (after the librarian reads) searching for books. I've only met one librarian who was a bit surly but I think that was just her way to get a quiet library experience. The librarian can tell the students she wants them to be quieter but you're right, it's like herding cats. I let them enjoy themselves while I walk around supervising as long as they're not loud.

I would say that every time I tell students to get their books one or two don't and want to go back to the class. I tell them no because I always lock the door and they can come back at recess or after school.
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Old 12-17-2017, 04:51 AM
 
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Interesting... at our school, library is considered a "special" just like music, art, PE/Health... which means we deliver and pick up the kids but aren't required to remain with them. I will sometimes stay if the kids are having a particularly "restless" day... or will ask the special's host if he/she would like me to stay. Sometimes the kids will ask me to stay--because they want me to see what they're doing! (Most regular teachers do not stay. These specials equate to "planning periods" for the regular teacher.)

I suspect some of the issues with library is that it's akin to turning a kid loose in a candy store when they start searching for books.

I hadn't thought about it before, I have noticed that most specials are louder and a bit more crazy than regular classroom time, but the reigning teacher seems accustomed to it. As for librarians, perhaps they love books more than kids.
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Old 12-17-2017, 05:52 AM
 
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You have a good point. It does seem like these librarians view the kids and me as intruders. In my state, a certificated or credentialed teacher has to be present during class time. That's probably why we can't just drop them off at the library (although I'd sure prefer that to dealing with mean staff).

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 12-17-2017 at 10:18 AM..
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Old 12-17-2017, 07:38 AM
 
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I guess I've been lucky in that most of the librarians in schools where I sub are nice. A few are fussy about being on time and following their routines and procedures. The worst was the time, in a new school, that I didn't know to send the books down in the morning to be checked in and what door to drop off and pick up the kids. Most librarians like that I have a love of books and reading. A few have even asked me to come in on author's day and read to the students.


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Interesting
Old 12-18-2017, 05:32 PM
 
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Quote:
I don't know why so many librarians are angry and bitter, but these encounters have caused me to dread library day. I also feel sad for the children. Aren't the schools trying to encourage reading and love of books? What kind of message are the kids getting when the library visit is an ordeal because their school librarian is so hostile?
Schools are encouraging students to read more and gain a life-long love for reading books. I am a librarian, and I enjoy reading to students and helping students and teachers find the perfect materials for their needs.

I don't enjoy chaos in the Learning Commons or Media Center. I am in the process of retraining students at my school to use shelf markers to help them replace books on the shelf in the right spots. The Kindergarten students are allowed to take pre-selected books from display shelves and a book crate that is set-aside for that purpose. They love shopping!

1st through 6th and higher grades use shelf markers and select books from anywhere in the library.

Students get upset when the book they want is supposed to be "IN" the library, but neither of us can find it!

Today, I found two books on the shelf that had been lost for over two years! Somehow they never got checked in, but someone put them on a shelf... not the right one.

Libraries, just like a regular classroom, need procedures to help everything run smoothly, so that it is a learning experience for students. I check-in books for a class first, while the students are searching for books to check out. I always comment on a student's selection and verbally encourage them to "Enjoy your books!"


If a teacher is present, he or she directs the class when to search for books or complete work they've brought with them.


BUT....

We usually leave the last twenty minutes for an engaging story; after which I ask students the 5W/1H questions to jump-start their reading comprehension skills. And if time permits, I do a book-talk about one or two other books to leave the students wanting more...

I love visiting other school libraries, media centers, and Learning Commons to see how other librarians/school media specialists interact with their students and organize their spaces.

I have never encountered a mean-spirited or bitter or hostile librarian. I hope your experiences with librarians get better.
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Old 12-19-2017, 04:37 AM
 
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First of all, thank you for your post. You are the kind of librarian I wish I'd meet more often!

Sadly, library day has not been pleasant. Your explanation does shed some light on the situation. Thanks.

I can see how our "worlds" can clash. As a substitute teacher, i'm used to chaos. I teach K-3rd for the most part. The little kids are just learning how to follow the rules and stay on task. They are also bundles of energy who don't sit quietly for more than a few minutes at a time (if at all). My first hour of class is usually spent laying down the rules and consequences, then teaching the kids about expectations for the day. All before I can even begin to address the lesson plan tasks.

I often teach in the lower income areas where many kids have difficult home lives and are acting out a lot. These children do not know how to maintain "indoor voices" or adjust their behavior for a library setting. I do my best to establish the rules and work hard to monitor the kids both in the classroom and anywhere else I take them (assemblies, library, etc.).All too often at these schools, the librarians are rude and mean to me and the kids. Maybe it's because they're tired of trying to maintain order when the task is futile?

In any case, it's still defeating and demoralizing for me to encounter librarians who immediately typecast me as inferior and inept just because I'm a sub. And if they're trying to set the tone, I don't see how demeaning me and yelling at the kids is providing a very good example.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 12-19-2017 at 08:51 AM..
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Luv2teach
Old 12-19-2017, 08:04 AM
 
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I sub part-time for elementary schools K-6 and work as the School Media Specialist part-time for pre-K through 12th grades. And life is good! God has put me into a position where I get to use all of my talents in helping students learn to read and read better.

I know what you are saying when being a substitute teacher and trying to maintain control of the little ones. Some of the regular teachers haven't put procedures/expectations in place to train their students how to act with a sub (it should be the same as though the regular teacher was there... but that is a dream!). In many of the schools I've subbed in, the library was considered a "Special" and the students were turned over to the librarian/and helper in the Media Center (as a sub, I could remain with them or leave them there... most of the time I was directed by the librarian to leave them).

In many of the Media Centers I've visited, the librarian/helper meets my students at the door and waits for them to quiet down to transition to walk into the library. (Students find it exciting to leave their classrooms and go to another classroom or place). In my Media Center, teachers bring the kids in and immediately quieten them down for instructions about returning books, checking out books, completing work, and related story time or supplement stories that relate to classroom activities.

As a sub, I always ask the librarians if they want me to stay or what time should I return to pick the students up (sometimes the library assistant brings the kids back to my classroom).

In most schools by this time of the year, the librarians should have completed teaching the students about proper Media Center behavior. And the regular teachers should have reinforced proper hallway and Media Center behavior. These days, you don't have to be completely silent (unless instruction is taking place), but you do have to pay attention while in the Media Center.


As a sub, I pick and choose which schools I return to... I have my favorites... and I love subbing for second grade and third grade classes... those students love to learn new things!

But in my library, I love helping all the students because: (1) students want to be helped, (2) I can find materials for them and (3) their teachers stay and maintain classroom control.

My library is across from the Principal's office, so it's expected that students will behave properly. You never know when a visitor or parent will drop by!

With all that being said, librarians should not be taking out their frustration on you as a substitute teacher. However, the students are another matter... they know or should be reminded of acceptable library/media center behavior... they get to visit the library every week!
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:35 AM
 
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I really don't think anyone should take out their frustrations on others. I see all too much of that at the schools. I can understand how librarians and other school staff get tired of dealing with unruly kids from day to day. But it doesn't justify lashing out at the kids, subs, or anyone else. The first one a person should manage is themselves. That's really all I'm trying to say.

Last edited by luv2teach2017; 12-21-2017 at 03:34 AM..
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