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Any school librarians out there?

(10 Posts)
ifyourmotheraskedyou Tue 07-Sep-10 20:10:43

I would like to know what it's like working in a school library... can anyone tell me a bit about it?

CarolineCiara Tue 07-Sep-10 23:08:25

I am a School Librarian, I have been working in a prep-school for 8 years now. It's a fantastic job, I am lucky enough to work from 9 til 2 so am able to do my own children's school runs. One thing I will say is that most school librarian jobs advertised ask for a qualified librarian (I have a degree in Librarianship, or you need a post-grad qualification). This is because very often you'll be working alone, which means purchasing, cataloguing and indexing all the stock, very often using a specialist database. As well as this you'll be expected to teach library lessons, run reading clubs, manage break-times in the library, hold author events etc etc.

ifyourmotheraskedyou Wed 08-Sep-10 20:04:10

Great to hear from you, CarolineCiara. I am thinking of doing a post-grad qualification.

I was really hoping it might be a job that would allow me to do school runs, plus have school holidays. Is your job unusually family-friendly, do you think, or is that a common arrangement? Would one usually be expected to run clubs outside of school hours?

aloiseb Mon 27-Sep-10 06:20:12

CarolineChiara,you are very lucky to have a prep school which has a librarian! I know from much looking that few have. Mostly being a school librarian would mean working in a secondary school, which means a lot of it is about crowd control of teenagers, often on your own.

I think if you have been a teacher - or are an assertive type - it is probably much easier than if you are a quiet, retiring, book-loving kind of person like me, who hates having to discipline anybody.

I am a qualified librarian and looked seriously at trying for a school library job, but realised that I haven't got what it takes, so I've stuck to academic libraries (where at least the children are over 18!)

Aranea Mon 27-Sep-10 21:16:10

aloiseb, do you have a sense of how full-time school librarian jobs tend to be?

I've never tried to control teenagers - my children are still small and so far my skills extend to reducing other people's children to quivering wrecks by inappropriately speaking to them in the tone I use with my own! I'm not quite & retiring though, so hopefully would be OK.... maybe.... Or perhaps a private secondary would be easier?

Pernickety Tue 28-Sep-10 09:29:10

I did some voluntary work in a private school library - don't be fooled into thinking the discipline side is any easier. There's not a lot of respect for the school Librarian overall. It can be professionally isolating. Teachers don't always recognise you as a professional, even if you have a Masters degree in Library Studies.

Pay can differ greatly between library and library and independent schools mostly pay the correct rate for a qualified librarian; state schools can expect someone to take on the role for the equivalent pay of a teaching assistant!

However, there are some fabulous school librarians who, through their passion and dedication, have managed to get teaching staff and pupils on side and have reformed school libraries. Take a look at some of the School Librarians fo the year.

www.sla.org.uk/slya.php and the School Library Association.

Pernickety Tue 28-Sep-10 09:31:58

Oh yes, and jobs do usually require you to be in school for five days per week.

Aranea Tue 28-Sep-10 14:25:31

Oh. That's a bit disappointing and off-putting. I was so hoping it would be really family-friendly, as I think it might suit me rather well in a lot of ways.

fyfe65 Sat 06-Nov-10 14:05:42

I work in a state secondary school library, the pay is not great considering my experience however I have found it very family friendy, term time only and I have never had to pay out for childcare...

finchlee Thu 18-Nov-10 15:51:39

Hi only just read this thread but I am a school librarian in a secondary school. I started here about 5 years ago taking over from a fully qualified Librarian with a Masters who sadly could not deal with the pupils. I have a background in estate management so this is a huge shift but one I needed to take down to family committments. My days are long, 8.15 to 5.15 and I work alone in a 10k+ resources library. I cater for the whole school and am open all day every day including after school which is well used. Teenagers are the main challenge but if you want to work in a school then they always will be and it really is all about building up a good working relationship and not being a stereotypical fuddy duddy Librarian. I work term time only which is fantastic but I thoroughly love my job and as a passionate reader and generally happy mucking in and organising things type this is the perfect role for me. I thrive on seeing the awkward youth turn into the articulate sixth former who says thanks!Remeber if they kick off it rarely personal and most teachers will be there to support you!

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