Friday, May 24, 2013

Trying to make a good name for librarians everywhere

I've had a few very good days at school and am very encouraged.  I am enjoying it overall.  If this school ever offered me a job, I would take it.

Mrs. R still drives me a little crazy.  I am thankful for her, but at the same time she can cause some annoyances.  She is very stuck in her ways and opinions...and very outspoken about them  She is very tough on the kids and can act a bit crabby towards them. We differ on a few of our views of how the library should be run.

In fact, I am finding that the librarian I am subbing for runs things very differently than I would too. For one thing, she is very unforgiving about lost or damaged books.  If a book is lost, she will hold it over the kids' head for years...literally.  Do you remember this post?  I've seen a few cases just like the two in that post.  One little girl lost a book while attending a different elementary school in the same district...over a year ago.  She has not been allowed to take a book out since.  That is, until I came along.  I let her take out a book last week!  I put an exclamation point after writing that sentence because letting her take out a book made me so happy! I tried to remove the record of her taking the other book, but could not because it is from a different school.

There is another little boy who will be coming to the library to do jobs in order to "pay" for the damaged book he returned to the library.  I'm all for holding kids accountable.  He made a mistake and left the book where his little sister could reach it  She tore out several pages. I think he should be held accountable for what happened, but I will not let him be banned from taking out books  either.  I was told by his teacher that it was highly unlikely that his family would pay for the is pretty tight for them.  I'm pretty excited about helping him pay off his book by letting him work. 

There are some other issues too!  Grades 2-5 are allowed to take out 2 books.  If they only return one book, they are not allowed to take out any books until both are returned.  I think that's ridiculous!  I think they ought to be rewarded for bringing one book back!  Why not let them take out another book for a total of two?  My goodness!  What if one of the books they are reading is a chapter book like Harry Potter or something? That's a pretty long book! They might not be finished with it can't they browse through another book at the same time?

In another instance, a 5th grade class came in to look for books about different countries. Each child was to sign out a book about a different country in order to work on a class research project.  I was in another part of the library when I overheard Mrs. R tell a little boy that he could not take his country book out because he had an overdo book on his record (a book that was due in March).  I came up to the desk just as the class was leaving.  The little boy was still standing there at the desk.  I said, "What's going on?"  She told me that he could not get a book because he had a late book.  Meanwhile, the little boy was worried about his class leaving, so he left.  That is when I had a little discussion with Mrs. R.  I said, "He CAN take out this book.  It is a class project."  She started to argue with me, but I proceeded to check out the book in the boy's name and I left the library to catch up to him.  They had already made it all the way down to their classroom.  I invited myself in and gave him the book.  I also talked to his teacher.  The next day, she stopped me in the hall and thanked me.

There are librarians who give the profession a very bad name.  Crotchety people who think that the books are more important than the kids are.


Martha said...

This post made me wince and smile both. Keep on letting love spill out so those kids can soak it up. Love is contagious. Maybe even Mrs. R will catch it.

Rachel said...

It sounds like you're doing a great job. I agree with you, kids need a little grace, I'm glad you're giving them a second chance or a chance to redeem themselves.

Anonymous said...

In defense of the librarian, it may not be her directive that students can not checkout books if they owe overdue books. I've been a long term sub where the principal did not want students to checkout new books until the other books had been returned or paid for. I do think its a good idea to let students work off the fine.