Letters from the Library

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My last 'Letters from the Library' post came at the beginning of the last academic year and I was in a little bit of a limbo period, not knowing where I would be at the start of the current one. I had gone for a job as an Assistant Librarian in another school but I was unsuccessful. Luckily the school I was at very kindly agreed to let me stay on and I spent most of the six weeks holiday working my way through a huge to do list, which included rearranging the library.

Me and the Librarian didn't actually end up working together too much over the six weeks as we both used our annual leave at different times. I did find it difficult to work from a list that she had created without her there to answer any questions I had but I feel like I did a good job. I do admit to feeling a little despondent over the summer. Although I was really enjoying work at the school, the placement was only designed to last year and then I was meant to move on. Every other person who had completed the placement had moved on after the initial twelve months and I hadn't. A part of me felt like I had failed. I did have to keep reminding myself that three out of the four people who had gone before me had actually moved on to different sectors. School librarian jobs are not ripe for the picking, especially in the area in which I live, so the job hunt was always going to be an arduous process. So I picked myself up and pledged to get as much out of continuing at the school as possible whilst still searching for a new job.

In the end it turned out to rather a good thing that I didn't move on.

The last week of the summer holidays was actually the first time throughout the whole summer that the Librarian and I were able to work with each other for more than one day. We had the last week set aside for getting the new display backings up and doing any last minute tidying and rearranging that needed doing.

All was going smoothly until we decided to put the display backing up. The display boards in the library are not easily accessible and in order to get to this particular one we were required to climb up on to a bench. It was whilst I was stapling away at a border that I head a huge clatter and turned round to see the Librarian on the floor clutching her wrist.

A trip to A&E and a five hour day spent in hospital later and it turns out she had broken it.

Which meant that for the foreseeable future I was going to be running the library. This wouldn't have been too much of a problem if it weren't for the fact that I was going to Florida for two weeks, a holiday that had been booked before I got the job.

This meant that for the first three days of the new school year I was racing round like a headless chicken trying to put things in place so that the library would not burn to the ground in my absence. This process was frustrated by members of the SLT being very unhelpful and basically telling me it wasn't my problem. There may have been a little bit of truth in there, they were attempting to sort out cover etc. but I still felt that I needed to be kept in the loop. The students were at the top of my priority list and I made sure that there were facilities available for them to return books as I knew that there would be many who were worried about over dues whilst the library was shut. I also made sure that staff knew the library was going to be running a limited service but to email me any queries they had so that I could attend to them when I got back.

I then jetted off to Florida and had the best two weeks I have had in a while and luckily came back to a functioning, if somewhat disorganised, library. It was then that I realised that I needed to step up to the plate and keep the library running as normal as possible. Of course there were things that I couldn't do because I didn't have access to the Librarians emails or documents but I did my utmost best to do everything that needed doing.

It was a rather tiring time if I am honest but I did enjoy the challenge. I tried my best to make sure all the classes that were scheduled went ahead and for the most part I kept the library open at break times so students could use it. I fielded questions from staff, kept the website up to date and I did it with almost no help whatsoever.

I think that is the one thing that made it such a stressful time, not having support from SLT. I had a glimpse into what it is like for Librarians who work on there own and don't have much support from higher up. It is not a walk in the park believe me.

But I did it and when the Librarian came back during the second week in November she thanked me for keeping the library running. It took up until the week we broke up for Christmas to catch up on everything that had been missed or forgotten whilst she was off.

That's when this little story takes another turn.

I got a new job!

It was all rather rushed as I went for the interview and was offered the job three days before the Christmas holidays began but as of tomorrow I will be working in a new school. What is most exciting about this new job is that I will be running my own library!

I have done it, I have managed to land myself my dream job!

It is not going to be without it's challenges. The library is in dire need to an overhaul but I am confident that I will be able to turn it around. I will be working as a solo Librarian which is a little nerve-wracking but I will tackle it head on. I had a meeting at the school last week and I got the most supportive feeling from everyone I met. The English and Literacy team can't wait to work with me, the Head Teacher is fully on board and there have been talks of a good budget to get the library back up and running.

I also have such a fabulous network of people that I have met on Twitter. Librarians such as Leanne, Alison, Hilary, Rachel, Elly, Jo and Cazzle who have welcomed me into their little community on Twitter and have helped/encouraged me so much already! I know I'll be OK with them around.

I have a big job on my hands but I cannot wait to get started. I have so many ideas buzzing round my head and it is going to be so rewarding to see how my passion can help build a fantastic school library.

I'll be updating mine and the libraries progress on here so if you want to follow my journey keep your eyes peeled!