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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Does this look like nothing yet? Or what school librarians do when school is over

The blog was mostly silent this week because I was busy… working. Yes, those of you who are not school librarians may not realize that we do not walk out the door with teachers the last day of school and begin our vacations. Oh, no, many of us continue to "volunteer" our time completing tasks to help. 

For example, this week I spent 25 hours working on a technology inventory. That includes the last 4 hours when my poor principal woke me from a migraine-med-induced nap 3pm Friday to plead for help finishing his portion. Since he hadn’t had the training and I had the only working password, I crawled out of bed and dashed back to school to work until 7:30 p.m. I had already worked all morning. But finally the project is done.

I also had lots to organize. When books weren’t due until the Friday before we left and all notes had to be turned in for payment on Monday if the books weren’t received, I was frantically finishing overdue notes. The guidance counselors had to continually receive up to the hour reports so they could hold report cards or remove holds if the books came in. The office staff had to have complete, simple, lists of every student owing a book with the amount owed just in case a parent came in and I wasn’t there.

While I was doing technology inventorying, parents were dashing into school with the notes I sent (175 hand-written envelopes) and were returning their child’s books or paying for lost books. Since I sent overdue notes every payday, I knew the students had plenty of warnings. (Yes, that is a sick pleasure to give overdue notes on payday, but at least I remembered them) I love meeting parents and tried to use the time to encourage them to visit the public library during the summer. No one vented at me this year.

I needed to coordinate with the school bookkeeper to be sure every bill was paid for library accounts and that I had the appropriate receipts. Yes, I had an end of the year report due last Friday but the secretary met with me this Thursday so guess the status of my report. I’m still working on it, I promise. 

Don’t forget the 2 meetings of the school leadership team called at the very last moment after school was out. They meet in the library and I’m a part so it was lots of fact-finding and support for production. Then off with the team to the board office for a presentation and defence of the budget to accompany our school improvement plan. I ran into many school librarians volunteering their time to help present. 

Did anyone remind me that all the last minute returns had to be shelved and the library prepared for summer cleaning? Everything in my office had to be on a shelf and off the floor. Even worse, brace yourselves, my desk had to be cleared totally. So while I was clearing all files off my desk, I organized all catalogs again, checked that I had packed up all the wishlists to type in my spare time at my house, and fantasized about keeping the desk this clean all the time. 

Slap! Woke myself up from that fantasy. A clean desk is an empty mind for me. I am a lateral organizer. I need to see every project I’m working on so they get my attention. A file in a file cabinet is finished. I’ll never pull it out again unless something pops up and tells me to get it. 

Speaking of things popping up, I had to make changes to the school web site and begin prep for the 20 or so teachers changing classes, grades, and subjects so parents can find out information before school starts. I’ll be editing the school web page from home all summer for kicks. 

Yes, reader, I may have resented "volunteering" the entire week of my first week of vacation so I did work "Diane" style. I have surround sound speakers in the library so I brought in my copy of BlackHawk Down to watch in the dark while I worked. Two technicians joined me and we all worked (them silently) on our computers while watching the movie. Perhaps this was our form of protest. 

Finally I hauled 6 boxes of books to my car to work on over the summer and patted the shelves of books still waiting for me to blog about. I promised them I’d be coming back for them soon. I left 4 boxes of surplus books on a counter for district pick up. Labeled my to-do list of technology needing tags when I returned. Loaded up the last of the cookies and turned off the lights. 

Now, the vacation begins. Well, there is still that report to finish. So I pulled out all the pieces I’ve been accumulating all year at home. Do you really have time to enter on the computer how many times your newspaper is read daily? I forget and mark it on my weekly calendar. Then I take it home on Fridays and compile the data. Since all that is at home, I’m going to finish the report from my sofa with 3 cats perched around me and the dog on my feet. 

While I’m playing with data, I ran a report comparing last year (before me) and this year. Here’s some circ info:

  2007-08 2008-09 Change%
6th 3677 6200 168.6157
7th 1496 4647 310.6283
8th 1017 2514 247.1976
faculty 881 1904 216.118

While my circulation doesn’t come close to elementary circulation, I am still happy to see growth – especially in 7th and 8th graders. It is my goal to diminish the gap and to keep them reading. Ah, yes, goal setting. Something else I need to do while this past year is fresh in my mind. 

Vacation? I don’t know what you are talking about. I’ve got way too much to do.



    Hey Diane, my circs stats wen down across the board, but surprisingly the top circulated books report showed a distinct rise in lexile levels. Takes longer to read harder books, no?

  2. Catherine, THat makes perfect sense to me. I saw 2 important trends.
    1) Students who realized I didn’t care what AR level they were reading at continually choosing more complex and more difficult books for fun and
    2) Students who told me they’d never read finding something new and appealing to them. We added 2166 new books this year compared to 222 previously so that might help.