Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Looking back....

What a busy few weeks!!
Practical placement, 2 subjects, extra work hours, the death of a friend, a travelling husband and busy teenagers have all made the days and the weeks fly by and sometimes come to a complete stand still.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Library Placement.  I loved everything about it; covering books, labelling spines, shelving books, searching for information resources, scanning bar codes and talking to the students.  Being a teacher librarian is the most unique position to have in the whole school.  You have the opportunity to be in touch with absolutely everybody at some stage.  I think that you need to take those opportunities and run with it. After completing ETL401 I became a firm believer in the teacher librarian being an advocate for the library.  Not just for the books, but for the services as well.  The teacher librarian really needs to put themselves out there....wave their flag!!
During the first couple of days of the placement, I had what some would call an epiphany.  I went home and slept on it before I spoke to my supervising TL - (A lovely lady and CSU graduate!).
The school has an impressive number of databases covering all the subjects available in a P-12 school, they also have a federated search system that draws information from all the databases when you are searching for resources.  But, the teachers don't seem to know that it exists and therefore the students are mostly unaware of their availability.  The library staff have also noticed a downfall in the number of books being borrowed too.  After  thinking on it overnight, I spoke to the TL the next day, asking "How do you let the students know about the resources available in the library?".  I wasn't sure how my question would be received, but the TL responded with "I have tried.  I am not sure what I am going to do next."
Wow!  I was so glad that I had been on the Study Visits to other schools in our area.  I was brimming with ideas of how to get the students into the library and how to show them how to access and use the databases.  Hopefully I will get the chance later in the year to implement some of my ideas.

While I was on my placement, I learned a lot about the use of SCIS, cataloguing and the importance of recording information correctly.  It helped that I am studying ETL505 at the same time, but also that I have completed the subjects on resourcing and use of the library space.  Cataloguing has come along way since the days of handwritten catalogue cards.  The majority of resource information comes from the SCIS database and if it isn't found there, WorldCat is another source.  This semester I am learning about subject headings and describing resources accurately for effective retrieval.
These are things that teacher librarians don't really talk about as a part of their day to day conversation.  They are time consuming jobs, but, at the end of the day, jobs that come with a certain sense of fulfilment.

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