As I embark on my second year as a librarian, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on what was a fantastic first year. Often I found myself wondering why I didn't become a librarian years ago. It felt like such a natural switch and the best kept secret as the most fun job on campus.
Here is what I learned:
1. Just about every kid loves coming to the library. You can't really go wrong (unless you are grumpy, but let's not be!) with the library, and that was a blast for me.
2. Little touches really do make a huge difference! Delivering books directly to the classrooms, going the extra mile for a teacher who needs help, bending the rules on checkout limits, all these things helped me develop solid relationships with teachers, kids and parents, and they greatly appreciated my efforts.
3. Hardly anyone uses the online catalog! This was surprising to me, and I aim to figure out ways to get more people using them next year. Instead, everyone comes to me (even teachers!), which is not a bad thing, but it can get crazy if I'm fielding tons of questions.
4. I learned that people get really fired up if they think they have returned a book and our system says they didn't. I learned early on to just nod my head and say, "Don't worry about it. We'll find the book" while they insisted they returned it. Many, many times, they wound up finding the book themselves at home and returned the next day with the book in hand, tail between their legs a bit. It definitely made me glad I didn't get defensive.
5. Lots of people think librarians do nothing. I myself was surprised with the amount of managerial work involved in being a librarian. I love that kind of stuff, but a lot of time is spent behind a computer entering data or helping people look things up, or searching for information, so it may appear that librarians are not working. I made a conscious effort to not be offended by this but instead make people aware of what I was doing to again work on developing the relationships.
6. On a comical note, I learned that I am the librarian no matter where I am. In the grocery store one night, I heard a tiny kindergarten voice say, "that's the library lady!" I smiled all the way home because I love being the library lady.
Can't wait to begin my brand-new job as a library lady AND a tech lady in just a few days at the International School of Bangkok.