Librarian as Firefighter
Of the many things Ethan and I spoke about this week there was just one side note he had that really got me thinking for days. It's something I hear from teacher librarians everywhere. 'I feel like much of my job is putting out fires'.
To be fair, we hear this from many people in education. But in the age of 1:1 this has never been more true of this particular position. And, frankly, it's a shame. Schools are always stretched thin when it comes to resources but creative school leaders who conduct a skills inventory of their faculty and staff are in a better position to use people to maximum benefit ensuring they aren't doing what could easily be a minimum wage job.
Some schools have figured this out. They've created tech support programs in their schools using one of the best resources for technology we have: the students. Of course such programs are supervised by more skilled staff but that allows our kids to learn customer service and troubleshooting...important skills for any field.
Another shift that may need to occur is thinking of librarians not as firefighters, but fire preventers. Librarians are remarkably adept at systems thinking and finding solutions to problems that may or may not exist just yet. Keeping them on key committees and regularly popping in just to ask their perspective may be incredibly useful in anticipating problems. The view from the library is pretty eye-opening and no doubt they can read a school culture through the materials and services requests they get on a regular basis.
So put those librarians to work! (the right way)