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Applying for a Library Officer L2 role in country town 
22nd-Jul-2009 12:49 pm
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I'm not a librarian, or even a library assistant. My library experience has come from years of being an avid borrower...

However, I'm moving to a two bit country town, and the next town over is advertising for a Library Officer Level 2 - three days a week, in the Agricultural College - which provides alternative courses to Yrs 11&12 (last two years of high school) in Agriculture or Trades.

So. It's got a boarding school attached, and also local kids, and any kids from surrounding towns that don't go to the capital for Yrs 11 and 12 I guess. 16/17yr old country kids.

I've spent 12yrs as a business analyst, in software and process design. I'm pretty sure I will be fine on any IT systems, and as an analyst I'm used to managing and preparing budgets, and coordinating various documentation systems and such. I know my dewey decimal system, and I can reference with the best of them. I know a lot about project and program work.


What I don't know is... what does a high school librarian DO all day? I'll be answering to a registrar... but they aren't a librarian.

I'm assuming I'd be spending my day clearing and tidying up, updating catalogues, checking in and out and inventory management, updating the DBOR and such.  Hopefully running small programs... Maybe encouraging a RPG/d&d afternoon, or a craft group or whatever. Board games ahoy!  But also - I'm expected to teach how to use the library to youth - I'm cool with that - I've been a Cert 4 qualified instructor for years etc.

What else do I need to think through?

22nd-Jul-2009 05:18 am (UTC)
Well, did they post a list of duties?

I'm not sure whether a Library Officer Level 2 is more of a librarian (professional) position or a clerk (paraprofessional) position. So I'll talk about both aspects.

If you're the librarian, there are many things. First, there will be classes. You will need to create programs to orient the students to the library resources, as well as teach the students how to use the catalog, locate materials on-shelf, and accurately cite print materials. You may meet with a classroom teacher to plan instruction for how students should do research, and then work with the class and the teacher to carry out the research.

If the school has enough computers to warrant it, you'd also likely want to teach things such as Internet safety, determining quality research sites from stuff written by middle-grades kids from Internet hoaxes (http://zapatopi.net/treeoctopus/ and http://www.dhmo.org/ are always favorites!) and citing Internet sources. If you have periodical databases, or online encyclopedias, those would be other bits to teach in terms of using for research and citation.

Bias detection is a big one once they get to this age.

So that covers research, overall. Would you have to be the computer teacher? Some schools have the librarians teach how to use word, excel, and powerpoint programs.

Then you have recreational reading. What makes a good book? What are major book awards for their age group? What can you do to get these kids reading? Whether it's fiction or nonfiction, it's important to get them reading things that they're interested in or stories that they enjoy. What kinds of programs can you implement that would encourage students to check out books, read them, share them, maybe review them? (You may have a way to do book reviews, or that may be a class project for one of their classes-- again, you'd work with the teachers on this.)

Once you know what the kids like and what the teachers need the kids to have access to, you need to purchase it. Is there a PO system? Preferred vendors? How often can you submit orders? Is there a cutoff for the year? Do they require a certain number of reviews before you're allowed to purchase a book?

Once the books arrive, you need to catalog them, of course! :)

If you're the parapro, then you will have more clerical duties. Opening and receiving and tracking any orders of books and magazines. Processing the materials. Covering paperbacks with protective materials, hardback dust jackets with other materials, affixing spine labels and barcodes. Doing repairs with tape and glue. Ordering said processing and repairing supplies (or at least maintaining a list of materials to be ordered by the librarian). Shelving and re-shelving. Covering the library when the librarian is doing other things. Certainly, lots of checking in and out, doing inventory, and things like that will be large parts of your duties.
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