Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Days - Part II

I did not foresee that I would face frustrating days the last two weeks at my library aide job at the elementary school following my last post. I thought my last two weeks which is now stretching to yet another week would be a much smoother ride. Unfortunately, that has not been the case and has made it rather difficult for me to post further on this series. Overall, I still love my job even though it has its moments.

I had wondered before if I should post first about the pros or the cons of this job. While I do want to encourage people to consider working in elementary school libraries as a potential first library job, I realize it may not be a good fit for all. One thing I've come to realize is that you really need to have a passion about your work to get through the tough times. But one could say that about any job.

I figured I'd just be dealing with collecting books and lost book fines along with getting the library in order for the following school year during this last month. In addition to all that, I've been dealing with finding out our school district was getting the brand-new Alexandria automated system to replace the supposedly outdated and soon-to-be obsolete Athena system. I found out about our training days the morning it had begun as I arrived to work. Due to not being kept in the loop, I missed most of the training even though I attended the second day. Everyone from the high school libraries were in attendance but most of the elementary school library aides were not in attendance either day.

It made me wonder about how important they regard their elementary school library aides. We are expected to single-handedly run these libraries on little hours and funds in retrospect to the high schools. We are the stepping stones as we serve the K-8th grades. Shouldn't we be regarded with more importance?

I later found out that the principal of our school had been informed at least two weeks in advance but he failed to let my immediate boss or me know. What happened to direct communication, I wondered. Even at the elementary school, the communication process seems to fail time and time again. My immediate boss asked the office to let her know when the new Alexandria system arrived so she could put it together. Since they didn't let her know and I assumed she knew it had arrived, our new library system has sat in the library in unopened boxes for at least a week now. Not that I have time to familiarize myself with this new system amidst all the piles of unshelved books!

So that brings me going in next week at least two days to finish my work up on my own time. I've tried my best to get as much done in just the ten hours a week they gave me this year. But it's not been an easy task and usually I end up putting in more hours unpaid. It's virtually impossible to do all I need in that short stretch of time. They realize that but still that doesn't solve the problems at hand. I realized going in most of what my job would entail of me. It's what you don't foresee that can throw you for a loop. Remaining as calm as possible is not always an easy feat though I've done my best to do so these past couple of weeks.

This isn't quite the next post I had in mind when I started this series. But perhaps this will give you a honest glimpse into the reality of being a school library aide. This isn't the last of the series so stay tuned for the pros and more cons. Hopefully, that won't deter you away from these much needed libraries.

1 comment:

C.Chambers said...

All these things are good to know, Evelyn, really. Real life vs. the classroom. Sharing your experiences helps us all and maybe we can collectively figure out how to be the change we'd like to see in the library world, wherever we are applying our talents. Some really obvious things to us out of the program are news flashes to some, just keep in mind! Like providing a link to a Friends store on the main library page -- you would have though I'd suggested nuclear fusion, the blank look I got, just as an example up here! Take heart and remember all the good you're doing! :)