While many of my public library colleagues’ are in the midst of their busiest season, I’ve only stepped in my library once since the school year ended (and even then I promptly stepped back out, since the library has no air conditioning). Summers “off” are one of the biggest perks to working in a school, but as any teacher will tell you it’s not all’ piÃ±a‘ coladas and sunscreen. For many of us, summers are the only time we can do vital professional development, including summer courses; for others, summer is a time to pick up another job to make ends meet.
So what does summer look like for’ this school librarian?’ 1. Reading.‘ I never feel like I have enough time to read. It’s very rare that I’m reading while I’m at work (it usually only happens when the library is taken over for testing, and even then I’m usually too worried about getting the sideye from colleagues), so summer is usually my biggest reading season. This year for the first time I’ll be working with middle school students along with high schoolers, so I’m trying to take my own crash course in middle grade fiction. One tip if you’re moving into a new age group or just trying to stay current: check out your local schools’ summer reading lists. I like to load my Nook up thanks to the Boston Public Schools lists, conveniently located on the Boston Public Library’s Overdrive catalog.
2. Spending.’ My district’s budget was frozen last year, which meant I stopped buying new books in February–and unfortunately didn’t spend my entire budget. I’m not about to make that mistake again. I put in my first book order early so that the high school students will be able to walk in the doors to new books, and my predecessor at the middle school was gracious enough to get the first order ready to go so that I could ease my way into buying for the younger audience.
3. Interviewing.’ While some of my friends are looking for new jobs, I’m looking for a new paraprofessional to support me at both libraries. I’m still a little anxious about the evolution of my job, but interviewing para candidates with assistant principals from both schools has given me a valuable opportunity to have real discussions with my administration about the future of libraries and the role I can play working with this broader range of students. I’m particularly excited about the chance to start the conversations I already have with high school students about research and information literacy with the younger grades.
4. Getting married.’ Okay, so this one doesn’t happen’ every summer–hopefully never again!–but planning a wedding has really put my research skills to the test. What’s the market price for oysters? How many tables do you need for 80 guests? In a true testament to my librarian temperament, I put together a massive list of things to do in Boston that lives on our wedding website, complete with color coding for the various T stops.
What does’ your summer look like? Are you knee-deep in summer programming and reading incentives? Are you still in the classroom at a school with a year-round schedule? Or are you like me, trying to cram all your reading and vet appointments into two months?
Congratulations! And thank you for gently reminding people that teachers and school librarians have professional obligations, even during he summer.
To begin, congratulations on Point 4 — Getting Married! Point 1 or Reading anything that I have missed over the past months — Teen, Professional, or Adult — is one of the big advantages to a 10-month schedule. The local public libraries make it easy to keep up with the K-12 summer reading lists, too.