"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Day in the Life of a High School Librarian

5:30 AM- Alarm wakes me.Time to rise. Husband is out of town, I will have to care for the animals before I leave. Look outside.  Sure enough, it snowed but not enough to delay school. It is ugly sweater day at school. which of my ugly sweaters should I wear?

7:02 AM- Arrive at work two minutes late. Folks in the Pacific NW do not know how to drive on snow, including me. Fifteen students are waiting for me to open the library doors.

7:02.30 AM-Students asks me to renew a book. I haven't even had time to turn on my computer or unlock the doors. I'm alone again today. My clerk has been gone since September 24. She has had a sub for a few of those days but not many and not today.

7:16 AM- Some numbskull pulls the fire alarm. About forty students in the library at the time. We all tromp outside using the back stairs to stand in the frigid weather until we figure out it is safe to go back in to the building.

7:35 AM-All clear. We march back in to the building and straight to classes.  I worry about students who never got their breakfast because of the fire alarm. Was anything done for them?

7:40 AM- A class of freshman come to the library to work on a classroom-based-assessment related to minimum wage. I help get the class settled then excuse myself to run down to the office to drop off books going out in the courier and to pick up items in my mailbox. While I am gone from the library a teacher hunts me down because she is having a technology problem.  How long was I gone? Two minutes?

7:45-10:35 AM-Two more classes on the same topic. Help teacher with minimum wage project. Discuss the life of Nelson Mandela with him. Look up information on the Sharpsville Massacre. It was news to both of us that 69 people were gunned down in South Africa on March 31, 1960 as they attempted a peaceful protest. During this time I make innumerable trips to the textbook room to get books for newly enrolled students or others who haven't picked up their books yet.  It is December folks!  Why don't you have your books already?

10:00 AM- A teacher asks me for a copy of something I sent her several weeks ago, making me feel guilty for not sending it to her in the first place. When I pull up the original e-mail I see her name in the TO column. Guess I did send it to her after all. Snarky me.

10:35-12:00-Lunch periods. In between supervising the library, making sure that the puzzle isn't being messed up, checking in/out books, I attempt to catalog the last of the books prepared while the system was down. Eat a peanut butter sandwich sitting at my station. Break up "cuddling" couple, twice. Hope a teacher comes by so I can run to the restroom while he/she sits in for me for a minute.

11:30 AM-A class comes in to check out the novel: Bless Me Ultima. I discover that the library system is not functioning, again. I move over and start circulation on the remote system. Egads! Not again!

11:45 AM- Go to my back office to start the coffee pot. While I am standing there I notice that I still have a schedule for tentative meeting dates in 2007/08 on my bulletin board. Yank that down. Cute, artsy postcard underneath that was hidden for six years.

12:00 PM-Check in a bunch of library books remotely.  Hope that I am doing everything right or more messes. Talk to a teacher about library "crash" and the subsequent issues.

12:15  PM- Unjam the copy machine. Attempt inventory.  Oh yes, the system is down. Won't work. Shelf books instead. Sip on what is now cold coffee.

12:30 PM- Sort through the computer cart on wheels (COW) to make sure that all computers are off and plugged in. Think unkind thoughts about teacher who left it for me to do instead of doing it himself. Found that one of the plugs had come undone. Practically had to climb inside the COW to figure it out, though.

1:00 PM-Tidy the library. The library is very popular and heavily used during the day, especially before school and during lunches. Chairs are all over the place. Find books stashed in random locations. One is a guitar book. Another is a book with a picture of an almost naked person on the front. Kids will be kids! The huge Visual Dictionary is once again off the shelf. This is now the book of choice to pull from the shelf and to leave lying around since I've hidden the Slang Dictionary. Pick at Navy Sticker which somebody stuck onto a table.  Bet that is not what the recruiters had in mind when they gave it to a kid. Try to think calm thoughts.

1:05 PM- Sociology class arrives in the library without their teacher. Most get to work on their project without too much prompting.

1:18 PM- The teacher finally arrives.

1:29 PM- Peek outside. Temperatures must be rising because snow is gone and ice is melting. It is never winterish for long in the Pac NW.

1:38 PM- Discuss Thanksgivingkah with students after admiring some very hideous sweaters. Decide if dictionary definitions are considered common knowledge or not, requiring a citation or not.

1:45 PM- Sort moldy textbooks out of a pile of textbooks needing attention.  Wonder if librarians in Arizona have a problem with moldy books like we do. Chuckle to self thinking back on the conversation I had with student when I told her that the hot chocolate she spilled all over her book meant full replacement fines. "Why", she asked? "Because it is sticky, stinky, and mold," I say. "Oh." As if it isn't obvious!

1:55 PM- Start the close down procedures. Kids are antsy for day to end. so am I.

2:00-3:00 PM- Work on more library tasks. Tidy back room; repair a few textbooks that have ripped pages; attempt to make a replacement barcode (it doesn't scan, drat!); answer e-mails; assist two teachers. Talk to student about Rainbow Rowell.

3:11 PM- Lock up library. Stretch. I am in perpetual motion today. Time to go home.

Tomorrow morning: get up and do it all again. Sigh.

PS- On my way out of the library I am pleased to see that the Pacific Islander students are practicing the hula on our mezzanine level. Below them the cheerleaders were busy building some human pyramid. I really do like my job and working with kids.


  1. Wonderful post! I am going to send it to my library colleagues who will surely appreciate it. I am so sorry that your colleague is still out, that makes your tough job even more difficult and exhausting. Have a great weekend!

  2. This is a nice post. You have an interesting and busy job. Never a dull moment around kids!

  3. Loved your log! Librarians are busy people!

  4. You go, sister! Have fond memories of my school and public librarians. You are all saints :)


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