Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Getting What You Want

You know how it is being a school librarian. You have to bleeding fight for everything. The machinations and inter-departmental politics at school thwart your best laid plans to, like, get the kids enthused about reading and independent learning and stuff.

I suppose it can be easy to get sidelined, pushed to one side in to a room where hardly a teaching soul dares to tread, and the only kids who use it frequently are the misfits, ne'er-do-wells and outright geeks. Hey, I'm one of them, so I'm allowed to use the phrase!

This IS fun, are you mad?!? (Photo courtesy of Bre Pettis)
So in an age of the forgotten librarian, the only way to avoid what the Rock (aka the Brahma Bull, aka the Great One) would call a 'rudy poo', is to make yourself heard. Now, for me, there's two ways you can do this. The first is to transform in to some sort of Dragon, whereby you  make people slightly scared of you so they have no choice to invite you to heads of department meetings and the like. This, as you might guess, is not for me.
The alternative is NOT to be all brown nosy and obsequious. That's just being a rudy poo. No, it's to show them that, by gum, if you let me do this I'll be able to do so much for you. I'll make your lives easier, not harder, if you put this in place for me. And then they'll love you.
In post since September 2011, I've been a solo librarian for much of that time. The need for me to have a library assistant so that most of my day wasn't taken up with fricking stamping of books, shleving etc became pretty obvious pretty quickly. Yet, do rushed off their feet teachers see it that way? Probably not. Especially if, and I don't mean to cast aspersions on my predocessor here, they're used to a librarian who sits quietly and out of the way...
So, yes, dear reader, it was time to put myself about. I went to departmental meetings and told them what I could offer them (e.g. VLE development, reading lists, research based lesson plans). I listed all the things I could do if I had the time to my line manager. I carefully showed how each one of them matched the aims and ethos of the school. And I also fell over myself to (a) be helpful (but not fawning) and (b) get involved in other stuff around the school, from volunteering to supervise EPQ students to being a model at the fashion show (don't laugh).
Result? I now have a library assistant!
I know it can be daunting, and it's not easy. The adage that you can only go so far without SLT support is a true enough one, and I appreciate that I am lucky enough to have more support than most. But, in my one year and three months there, I feel like I've done a lot to change the previous perception of what the school library is there for. So, you see, you sometimes can get what you want.

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