Today was spent at the office, it was during afternoon tea that we realised it was actually the first afternoon I’d spent in the building – all the others have been spent in meetings at schools or on courses. I spent the morning unpacking more project boxes, discharging the books and shelving them. It was really nice to be given a proper task to do and to be able to be left to get on with it. The majority of the books were, like last week, picture books so I had great fun discovering some lovely looking books. My favourite moment though was when I pulled these two books out of a box together:
The afternoon was spent with my supervisor at the placement, rather than overwhelm me last week with details and information about the services they provide she kept some back for today. I’m building up a better idea of the wide range of things that a schools library service does. I also took the opportunity to ask about academies – I’ve heard them mentioned quite a lot but hadn’t got a clue what an academy was or how it differed from a regular school so it was good to get this clear in my head.
After a great first week I was really looking forward to getting back to my placement today. It was another atypical day, I got to attend a course run by the School Library Association (SLA) called The Effective School Library. It covered two key areas – Information literacy progression and assessment, and Key management skills.
The morning’s information literacy focus was really interesting as we did our core information literacy module in the most recent semester of teaching. I could really relate what I had learnt in my lectures to what was being talked about today, it was good to see how it could be applied in the real world. The module had to cover information literacy as a broad topic, it was something I found really interesting and I now plan to read more about information literacy work being done in schools.
I wasn’t sure before the course how useful the afternoon on management skills would be, of course it was really useful. I couldn’t always evaluate my own skills easily at the various points we were looking at skillsets, though I could reflect on how I’d done things in my previous career. I now have a list of skills that I can see I need by the time I’m applying for my first library job, whilst I have some of them already there are definitely areas I can improve.
I’m compiling a list of things to read and follow up on after I’ve finished my placement. Over the course of today I think this list doubled – at the rate I’m going I’ll have things to keep me occupied right through until the start of term in late September. One thing I’ll be doing sooner rather than later though is joining the SLA, I think it’ll be really useful for this next year.
The final day of my first week on my placement has been spent on another day out. The venue today was Peters Books in Birmingham, they specialise in supplying children’s books and furniture to schools and libraries. They were hosting a members day for the School Library Association (SLA), the focus was on eBooks.
The morning was spent learning about eBooks, devices you can read eBooks on, and interactive book related apps for tablets. I particularly enjoyed watching the demonstrations of some of the apps, even if if did only strengthen my longing for an iPad! We were also given an introduction to the new eBooks platform that Peters are offering, it sounded very interesting so I now need to look into the other eBook platforms on offer to libraries so I can compare them.
After lunch the AGM of the Midlands branch of the SLA was held, it was interesting to be able to contrast this with the AGM I attended last weekend of the national side of the SLA. Following this there was an opportunity to browse Peters’ showroom, I was very good though and didn’t take advantage of the discount that was on offer.
It’s been a really good first week, eBooks and eResources have definitely dominated the week. I already have a list of things I need to read up on and learn about, I think I’ll be busy far past the end of the four weeks.
Today started with me going through what had happened at yesterday’s meeting with my supervisor as she’d been unable to attend. It was useful going back through the notes I’d taken as I could ask the questions I had about schemes such as Accelerated Reading and Rapid Reading which were mentioned yesterday. It was also good to highlight a couple of points that I’d been quite surprised by, and for my supervisor to put them into the context of the school libraries in the county.
I spent most of the morning working on the newsletter that is sent out by the Schools’ Library Service. This was a lovely way to spend a morning, I got to read the press releases and information about some wonderful events and competitions. It’s due to go live sometime next week so I shall make sure I link to it then. The morning was also spent eagerly awaiting the announcement of the winners of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards, I was thrilled that my personal favourite from the shortlist, A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness was the winner of both awards.
This afternoon we went to the termly meeting of all of the school librarians working in the north of the county, their equivalent to yesterday’s meeting. It was again very interesting and useful, the education set up in the north of the county includes a number of schools that operate in the three-tier system (first school for Reception – Year 4, middle school for years 5 – 8 and high school for years 9 – 13) so there were some different issues being discussed. I also found it interesting seeing how the two different groups of librarians approached similar issues, there is a real variety of opinions and attitudes around.
Today’s placement was a more conventional introduction day, it started with a tour of the building that the Schools’ Library Service (SLS) share with the Stock Management team. I was very excited to see the mobile library van parked outside when I arrived, since I was tiny I’ve always been entranced by the idea of a mobile library so I’m looking forward to the two days I’ll be spending on it later in the month.
Following the tour and the introductions to all the members of staff for both teams it was time to go through the timetable that’s been drawn up for my four weeks and to learn about the structure of the service and how it fits into the bigger picture. There’s some really good stuff on the timetable, a couple of training days that sound really interesting, the trips on the mobile van and all sorts of project based work at the base. They’ve also highlighted a couple of pieces of work that they want me to help out with – reshelving a lot of the key stage 3 books which are kept in a completely separate room so they can’t get mixed in with the books that go out to the primary schools and helping to collate the newsletter.
The rest of the morning was spent helping to unpack project boxes that have been returned, discharging the books and shelving them. It was really nice to be able to get stuck into doing something I knew and understood, and to feel like I was being useful. It was made more enjoyable because the books were all picture books, I love picture books but don’t spend much time looking at them – I had to resist the temptation to read so many of them!
The afternoon was spent at a termly meeting between all of the school librarians who are based in the south of the county. It was really interesting to see the kinds of things they were discussing and considering, it was good to be able to put some of the things I’ve learnt about this year into context and to start to think about the way things work in the real world.
Today I started the four week placement that forms the bulk of one of my third year modules. I’m spending it with the local School’s Library Service (SLS), I’m really looking forward to learning about what they do and getting to experience it. I have a very rudimentary understanding of the service they provide so I’m sure discovering the full range of roles they play will be really enlightening. I’m going to be doing a four day week (Tuesday – Friday) which is a challenge I’m looking forward to, I have no idea how I will cope energy / fatigue wise with this level of activity so it will be interesting to see how it all goes.
I’m planning on blogging my way through the placement with the hope this will give myself a record of what I do which should help me write the presentation that’s part of the assessment for module, allow me to reflect on what I’m doing and learning (‘cos I’m so good at sticking to reflective writing) and let people who are interested see what I’m getting up to.
Today was a slightly unconventional start as the SLS had organised a training day provided by JCS Online, introducing a range of eResources that schools were able to subscribe to. There were school librarians from secondary schools, primary schools, middle schools and one from a public library. Both state and private schools were represented, the split was around 70-30. Over the course of the day we had brief introductions to ten different eResources and both the morning and afternoon break were 30 minutes long to give us opportunities to have a go with the resources ourselves.
I found it really interesting seeing what resources were out there and the ways they could be used, there were some that I could relate to as they were similar to resources I use on a regular basis at university and there were some that were completely new to me – one in particular I think I’d use loads just for personal interest / reading. I was pleased to straight away be able to relate some of my learning to what I was seeing, particularly from my Information Retrieval and Information Literacy lectures. It was also really interesting chatting to the librarians that were there. I was a little surprised by the range of attitudes towards eResources, and also who had what approach – I definitely got a good reminder about judging books by their covers!
Tomorrow I will have my formal introduction to my placement and get my timetable for what I’ll be doing each day of the placement. I know there are another couple of day courses, I’m excited to find out what else they have in store for me.