Talk It Out Thursday – What is a Librarian?

4talkitoutthursdayTalk It Out Thursday is a feature I’m going to try to do every Thursday. Basically, it’s a discussion. Since this is a YA book review blog first and foremost, it will focus around YA books. But for my first discussion, I have something related to YA books, but not really at the same time. I want to discuss what a librarian is, specifically a school media specialist. Many people (especially administrators) like to give me the title of school media specialist. Honestly, I much prefer to be called a librarian. Of course, the term “librarian” seems to only be linked with older women who like to “shhh!” people and who only deal with books; there’s nothing wrong with that last part, but I find that I do so much more than that.

So my discussion surrounds this question: what is a librarian exactly? This is what I believe my role as high school librarian includes…

I am a teacher. Apparently hardly anyone sees school librarians as teachers anymore, which is ridiculous in my opinion. Aside from the fact that I have a teaching license in teaching English to secondary grade levels, I still see librarians as teachers. Many times I have collaborated with teachers (usually in the English department) on teaching a lesson OR I have taught a lesson just because I wanted to. Sure, I don’t have a classroom and alright, I don’t have set classes or students, but I still consider myself a teacher. It’s really disheartening when others don’t see that.

I am a leader. I’m still trying to get used to this one, since I’ve always been more of a follower, but I’m becoming a leader. I have thoughts and ideas that I truly believe will better the library and perhaps even the school. When I first started my job, I did not speak up, but I’m slowly learning that I have to. I’m not a great one yet, but being a librarian has helped me develop as one.

I am someone to collaborate with. Like I mentioned before, I am more than willing to collaborate with teachers on a lesson; however, thanks to SOLs, I can’t force anyone to collaborate with me and instead have to wait for them to approach me on the matter. I may have my background education in English, but I can at least assist with collaborating in other subject areas.

I am a resource finder. Think Google, but alive and breathing. “Where can I find this?” or “What do I do here?” or “I’m stumped, can you help me?” are just a few questions I hear on a regular basis. Sadly, those questions don’t usually come up until someone is in a time crunch. I am not just here to look pretty, people, I am here to help you in any way that I can when it comes to books and information and resources.

I am technology savvy. Usually, that is. I am here when the IT guys are not around to help; I may not always have all of the answers, but I will do my best to provide you with either some kind of answer or the promise that I will find it. Projectors are not be my forte, but dang it all, if you need to use a computer program or an iPad or a camera, I can help you all day.

I am a communicator. I can’t stress this enough: communicate with me! If you need me for something, don’t just assume I know that. I am in my first year as a teacher librarian and I am very much still learning my role and duties, even 5 months into the school year. There are going to be hiccups along the way, nothing will be absolutely perfect my first year. But instead of chastising me or not speaking up, please communicate with me. I’m sure my fellow coworkers are tired of all the emails I send out, but that’s how I communicate with everyone.

I am a lover of learning. This may be silly to include, but I love to learn. Librarians I feel are constantly learning, as there are so many new trends for libraries that need to be kept up with. With the growth of eBooks and technology, libraries are sometimes having to scramble to keep up with these new trends, but having the chance to always learn new ideas is fantastic.

So what do you all think falls under the job title of librarian? Agree with me? Disagree with me? Let me know, I’m curious!

Taylor Swift agrees with me! …I think


5 thoughts on “Talk It Out Thursday – What is a Librarian?

  1. You sound like a much better high school librarian than the one I had. She was one of those old ladies who glared at you if you dared speak in her library. Kind of took away from the fun of being in a building surrounded by books.
    I definitely agree with how you’ve defined your role as a librarian. It makes a job that I once kind of thought as a little bit monotonous (sorry!) sound really quite amazing.
    I’ve actually been wondering about what kind of things a public librarian would do, and whether or not it would be a job I could enjoy. I haven’t really considered being a school librarian, since our school libraries are abysmal to say the least. The books in mine were years old, and there was little selection to choose from.
    But I think being able to work with books all day, and help people at the same time sounds like a pretty awesome job!

    • Oh I understand all about out of date books and lack of options…that’s pretty much how the library I work in now was/is (it’s a work in progress). When I realized what I needed to do for the library’s collection, I seriously questioned whether or not I was up to the task. But then I realized that no one expects me to change the place overnight and there is no possible way that I could. So once I made peace with that, it became a lot less of a stressful situation and more of an accepted challenge. I do think working in a public library would be awesome too though. I never actually considered the option until several months ago, right after I accepted my school librarian position. Perhaps I will take a switch sometime in the future, try out all different kinds of libraries to work in. 🙂

  2. Hi Gretchen , thanks for writing a great post. School librarians have an amazing job full of interesting challenges and working with some very special people. I too write a blog when I have time trying to demonstrate what school librarians does.

    Looking forward to your next post!

  3. Well said! I have the same experience as a YA librarian and qualified teacher/ lover of tech and learning (the most important on the list!). I am really at a loss sometimes to make the teaching staff more aware of how library services can improve their lessons. On bad days, I feel like I am waving my arms and shouting, “look over here! I can be useful!” Thanks for sharing!

  4. Pingback: Book and a Beverage: Gretchen from The Printed YA Word

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