To all the heavy burdened classroom teachers out there, as school librarians, we wish you knew more about us. Actually, there are five things all school librarians wished you knew, so that we could take some of those heavy burdens off of you.
Yes, you see us all the time. We sit in on meetings with you. We smile at you as you pass by in the hall. We see you in the parking lot lugging all those books and papers home. Some of us have even been classroom teachers before, so we understand what’s on your plates. I want to share five things librarians want classroom teachers to know in hopes to help ease your workload.
First: We Want to Help You
First on the list is that we are here to help you! I know that at times we appear to be so busy that we seem unapproachable. However, we are definitely here for you. A lot of extra duties are placed on specials teachers, so we may appear harried. If this is the case, please stop by and ask what is the best way to communicate with us. We are waiting in the wings and will be so glad to pitch in and help you with your needs. For example, with me, it could be a quick meeting in the hall or through email.
During a normal school year, pre-Covid, I had many classes back-to-back in my library that it seemed no one could ever find a moment to talk with me. However, when I did get a moment to sit, like at lunch, I was able to scan my emails to see what I could do for my classroom teachers, like pull that list of library books you may need, or help find that book that you just can’t remember. It had a bluish cover with a young girl sailing on a huge ship, something about traveling home in the 1800s? My immediate response, “Oh, yes, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.”
Believe me, we love to help you. Our time is crunched, but we would love for you to learn our best method of communication and work with us in this manner. Definitely find out the best way to reach us and go from there.
Second: Help With Technology
The second thing that we would love for you to know is that we are here to help you with so many things happening in your classroom. Are you thinking about building a classroom library? Please ask us for our assistance. We love stuff like this and have so many resources at our fingertips that would easily blow you away. What about technology?
Did you know, as a librarian, we are always learning about new ways and methods to implement instructional technology in the classroom and library? Technology seems like it has been thrusted at everyone suddenly. However, most librarians have been waiting in the shadows for years. We thrive on technology. You do know that we did throw out that card catalog and replaced it with technology years ago. So, please stop by and chit-chat with us or better yet, email us about how we can help you with any remote or technology issues you may have. Plus, if we don’t have the answer, then we will research until we do.
Third: Let’s Research That Topic
Did I just mention research? This takes us to the third thing that we would love for you to know. Research is our middle name. Well, no, but it would be cool if it were. Speaking of research, we would love to help you in this area. However, I do have a huge request. Let us help you implement your research in the beginning stages of lesson planning. One thing all librarians would love for you to know is that we love to work with you on this endeavor. However, please let us help in the beginning when we can assist you in the creation of that list of books or topics or the best databases for your research area.
Sometimes we receive a list of books or topics from students wandering our shelves only to tell them we don’t have those books. So, let us help you in the beginning planning stages and throughout until your students are holding that finished product. You will be amazed at how well we can collaborate together.
Fourth: Help with Read Alouds in the Classroom
This brings us to the fourth thing we would love for you to know. We want you to know about our love of storytelling. Most likely one of the reasons we became librarians is because of our love of books and of a great story. Most librarians had to take a graduate course or two or even more on how to create and present stories to children. With this, we would love to give you tips if you feel you are struggling in this area. Or you may just love for us to find you some books that would make awesome read alouds for your students in the classroom. No matter what you would like, we are here to help and would so love to guide you to these types of stories.
Fifth: We All Dislike the “Shhh” Stereotype
Now, we arrive at the fifth thing. Believe it or not, we loathe the “shhh” stereotype. Yes, we do. I cringe every time I see a picture of the rigid librarian “shhhing” a child for making a small sound. Quite the opposite is true. I like my library full of noise. Students busy discussing their favorite stories or working together to create the next greatest book whether it is a non-fiction research endeavor or the next best fairy tale. The only person I do want to “shhh” is anyone who says the library should be a quiet place.
So, the next time you pass me in the hall or the parking lot, remember that your school librarian is here to help you. No, we can’t cancel your next observation. However, we can help you create a literacy-filled classroom full of research and story creation methods that will blow the mind of your administration. Just ask us. We are waiting for you.