With such a high demand for library services and lower budgets than ever before, there is a lot being asked of the modern school librarian. Many people think that librarians spend the week sorting books and reading, but nothing could be further from the truth! A modern school librarian’s day is filled with more than you can imagine—you might be surprised to hear about what is included in their jam-packed schedule!
Connecting with young readers
Librarians have the job of not only teaching students how libraries work and what benefits they can get from them, but also helping to instill a love of reading at an early age. There are countless studies that show the benefits of reading for both students and adults, and it is incredibly beneficial for students to build strong reading habits early on. To foster this, librarians are tasked with making their spaces warm and inviting to connect with young readers. They create interactive learning activities, promote books with displays, offer reading suggestions to students, and help students get excited about what they are reading.
Due to lack of funding, many schools can’t afford to hire specialists in all areas, so many new responsibilities default to the librarian. They may be responsible for finding new technology and implementing it into the school environment. For some people, the library is the only place that they have access to technology such as laptops and Wi-Fi. Keeping up with emerging technology, administering these resources, troubleshooting, as well as keeping track of the user information of the students who use them could be a full-time job on its own!
Both school and public libraries shone throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by finding resources and information about the disease. With so much being unknown about COVID-19, especially in the early days of the pandemic, libraries became a place to find the most up-to-date and trusted information. Many libraries distributed masks and at-home tests. Others supplied resources to help ease students into the virtual learning environment. Libraries have always been a trusted hub for local communities, and COVID-19 was no exception. They also became responsible for keeping the library and its materials clean and safe—that was a huge responsibility!
Most school librarians do not just stay in the library and are often asked and tasked to help with various responsibilities around the school. They may be asked to proctor tests, supervise detention, help with classes, escort students to the buses, monitor the cafeteria, work recess duty, and more. These tasks detract from the hours they get to spend in the library and take away from the dedicated time that they need to effectively serve the students. Nonetheless, the librarians that we know are superheroes that create an incredible learning experience for every student, even when they can’t be in the library all the time!
Combating book bans
Did you know in 2021 alone, there were nearly 1,600 banned and challenged books in the United States? When a book comes under scrutiny, librarians are also criticized for holding that book in their collection. It has fallen onto librarians to help combat these challenges and to educate patrons on the benefits of having these books in our libraries. Some librarians may even be called into meetings or asked to join committees so that their expertise can be included in the decision-making process.
The books in libraries naturally ebb and flow. Every year, damaged and non-circulated books are rotated out of the collection to make room for new additions. New books are being published every month. This means that there must be a yearly budget in place to replace or to purchase new titles. Running an effective budget is a crucial part of library management and can be a time-consuming responsibility to maintain. Librarians are often responsible for finding financial resources and planning out their library’s budgets for the year.
One of the biggest tasks that librarian's shoulder is curating content for their collection. School and public librarians are serving a wide array of readers spanning all different ages, interests, and reading levels. Because of all their additional responsibilities, there is extremely limited time during the week for librarians to read books, read reviews, and select works for their own libraries. With more books being challenged and banned than ever before, it is incredibly important that librarians are aware of which titles are in their collections.
That’s where we come in. At JLG, we curate collections of the best new books for children and young adults. These collections are sorted into categories based on reading level, age group, and content. Each of our titles comes with a content alert describing major topics and any potentially sensitive areas in our books. When you are a JLG member, you will get monthly shipments of the best new titles delivered right to your door each month. Ready to learn more?
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