Librarian Advice: It Takes Time to Build a Library Program

Bright and experienced minds in the library universe remind me that it takes around three years for a new position and new program to gel and I would argue that this holds true regardless of your years of experience or how many library programs you have developed. I have this in mind whenever I am racing ahead in a new international school library, and need to stop and reflect on how to bring people with me into my vision for reading, teaching, and learning. I also think about this when I need to give myself a break once in awhile. Like all insight and advice, you take it with a grain of salt, realizing that sometimes you don’t have three years in international school librarianship. Maybe that job you are dreaming of appears in the fall, your partner needs to move into a new position or get some administrative experience, you decide to repatriate, and suddenly you find yourself wrapping up a program you just started, hopefully stronger than it was when you arrived.

This blog post by librarian Elizabeth Kahn based in Louisiana, USA, “What a New School Librarian Needs to Know”, quantifies some of the things new-to-the-school librarians should remember to keep in mind no matter your projected longevity in a country or school. She shares some practical pointers that ring true even where regular transitions into and out of programs from position and country are the name of the game, things that can help us stay centered in the rush and oftentimes vertical starts of those first few months in a new international school library program:

1. A librarian’s job never ends.

2. Take the time to get to know your collection.

3. Find teachers who are excited to work with you.

And the biggie:

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice.

I have taken that last one to heart! There are amazing blogs out there sharing #librarylife support, inspiration, and, yes, commiseration. She points to great resources in her post. You can also follow her on Twitter @Taylorlibrarian and on her website Tales from a Loud Librarian: Chronicles from the Life of the Librarian and the Students at PFTSTA for a friendly, experienced, connected view into an established program and engaged school librarianship no matter where you are in the world.


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