dream job--school librarian edition
May 5, 2021 11:55 AM   Subscribe

I just landed my dream job as a school librarian at a private, all-girls school. What are the tools that I need, magazines to subscribe to, list serves, books, any other resources to help make me an amazing librarian!?
posted by bookworm4125 to Work & Money (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Congratulations! School Library Journal is the standard for, well, school libraries. I know a couple of children's librarians at public libraries who prefer Publisher's Weekly reviews. I also really like Kirkus Reviews, possibly half because they're so snarky.

The ALA ALSC has a lot of different resources - listservs, book reviews (both professional resources and for your students), awards, digital resources.

MA has a statewide listserv for librarians, with specific sub-groups for groups, including school librarians. Check into your state's library association for listservs, conferences, trainings, etc. The local resources are sometimes the best. Getting out of your library (physically or mentally) occasionally to connect with other librarians and library professionals can be helpful for new ideas and renewing your interest and energy. It's also really rewarding to share your ideas, too.
posted by carrioncomfort at 12:16 PM on May 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

I used to be a middle school librarian! Now I am a public librarian.

Shelf Awareness Pro, first of all, so you can get those sweet sweet ARCs to give out as incentives. Book Riot and the newsletters of a variety of publishers with a YA/J division for the scoop on what's coming out in the near future. Skew the divisions you subscribe to according to the age groups you serve. Don't use your work email for this! It generates a lot of spam, and if you go to conferences and such, you will have opportunities to sign up for freebies and prizes, so reserve your work email for that, not for everyday promotions.

Go ahead and use your work email for these: if you have a budget, get Junior Library Guild to send you books. Their selectors are very good, and it's a good lead on other authors and titles to investigate. Sign up for the "educator" newsletter from Scholastic and get to know your rep; you may or may not want to run a book fair, but Scholastic has good prices for books, especially books you can use as giveaways. They also have a more "with it" selection in-stock than the other library vendors; they are more likely to have backlist in stock and more likely to have titles with the movie tie-in cover or whatever that kids are going to ask for. The downside is that the physical quality of the books is often poor/throwaway. Dover Publications, same, but they have a lot of classic titles that teachers may want to assign, and it's maybe cheaper to get these and give them to the class to keep than get 30 copies in hardback and put them in the collection (your situation may vary; I had to do textbook management.)

ALSC is worth joining, but I think you can't join unless you're also in ALA, which...their politics as a group might put you off, and the ALA membership doesn't do that much for you unless you really want to be on a committee or want to buy something from them at a discount. Kirkus indeed has better reviews (School Library Journal is good, but less likely to have constructive criticism or indeed any criticism of a work at all.) Your state library association may also be really good for local info and professional development.

I have found that S&S or Oriental Trading are good vendors for other supplies, but not necessarily better than Target/Walmart/Dollar Tree. Scholastic's classroom supplies are often overpriced for the quality. Never be afraid to think outside the box where decor or organization supplies are concerned-- it's more important to get the job done and spark imagination than it is to be Pinterest-perfect. You can usually design and print your own printable whatevers with Canva (free version for nonprofits!) but for specific, "turnkey" content Teachers Pay Teachers is where it's at.

Other tips are going to depend on the volume of kids you are serving, what you are specifically trying to do, the age group, and so on, but I'd say spend money on a good laminator that uses a roll, not pocket sheets-- you can laminate book jackets, trim, and tape over the book; makes the book last longer and it's cheaper per item than the mylar covers sold for this purpose. Kapco covers are still better for paperbacks than contact paper, though.
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:33 PM on May 5, 2021 [6 favorites]

Sign up with edelweiss tree line to request digital ARCs so you can preview the full content of upcoming titles—lots of kids/teen titles are available. Sign up with your school email address and state that you’re a librarian in your profile—you’ll be more likely to get approved.
posted by bookmammal at 1:44 PM on May 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Look into your state school library association for listservs, local get togethers, professional development.
posted by aetg at 2:33 PM on May 5, 2021 [1 favorite]

Helen Murray Free died on Saturday. She did real well in school and was all set to read English and Latin at college and become a teacher. 3 months later Pearl Harbor emptied all the chemistry labs of chaps and she switched majors, graduated in '44 and went on to develop multi-diagnostic pee-sticks. 70 years later, girls are still being told that hard science is for boys. There's a local chapter of AWIS [Assoc Women In Science] who may be able to answer your aspirational questions. Role Models. Best of luck; I'm sure you'll make a difference!
posted by BobTheScientist at 2:40 PM on May 5, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Congratulations!

There are loads of resources around the We Need Diverse books movement, if you haven't come across them already:
We Need Diverse Books
The Conscious Kid
Edith Campbell
Dr. Debbie Reese
ALA Black Lives Matter list of resources
Collaborative Classroom
A Thousand Worlds
2019 Lee & Low Diversity in Publishing survey
Zetta Elliott
ALA Advocacy Services to LGBTQIA+ people
posted by Geameade at 3:50 PM on May 5, 2021 [4 favorites]

In my experience as a public high school librarian, the girls loved this book of poetry: Milk and Honey. They loved it so much it actually disappeared / was stolen twice during my 2 years at the school. It is dark and deep. There's some sex stuff in it, so you need to make sure there aren't "rules" against it and similar books like it at your school. I quite frankly don't remember my girls reading any other books or magazines, but we weren't very scholastically minded overall. YMMV.

Have you worked in a school before? There was a lot of mean girl stuff going on in the high school I worked at. All the fights were between girls. Adolescent girls have all the feelings. I always tried to have candy, snacks, supplies on hand in case they were needed. They liked my lotions too. I spent a lot of my own money on stuff for the library, but I felt it was worth it because it helped me connect with the students. I didn't do a ton of teaching, but I made sure my library was a safe space for anyone.

Be prepared to teach the same boring lesson over and over again. All of my lessons were literally some variation on using the library website / catalog to search for articles for research projects. I'm an academic librarian now, and we teach the same lesson. The more times I do the lesson, the better I get at pacing so I'm spending enough time on the important things and not wasting time on the less important things.

Good luck!
posted by DEiBnL13 at 9:56 PM on May 6, 2021

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! These are great answers and I can't wait to dive into the resources mentioned.
posted by bookworm4125 at 2:58 PM on May 18, 2021

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