Where in the world are our librarians?

move-033.jpg  Tomorrow our library move is over and the renovation of our library begins. For a year, I’ll be housed in our ninth grade center, floating to classrooms, and functioning as a “virtual librarian.”   During lunch periods, we’ll be manning an internet cafe in our main building, providing laptops, research help and new books to students there. 

I’m hoping to harness the power of web 2.0 tools, as well as working more collaboratively with teachers by visiting classrooms and taking our services into student spaces.

I’ll be sharing that year with you as we go.  It will be a fascinating learning experience that I think will stretch my skills tremendously.

What would you do if everything you did had to fit on one cart?   For a librarian who is used to managing a physical space, it’s a challenging and interesting question.  I hope what happens this year sets the notion on its head of a library as “a warehouse.”

What will be missed about our space–students are already missing the sense of community, having a gathering place, and having access to what they need–can’t really be replaced virtually because they are at school and want to work together, read our Anime books, or come in and ask for help with something.    

I don’t know that we can entirely replace that aspect of a library with a virtual space–in fact, I know we can’t.   But, we can build a better virtual space–so that students can have exchanges of ideas there, get help, and interact with us.   One thing I’m eager to roll out is using Skype to communicate with teachers on our main campus.   With a web cam, they or their students can talk to me, ask me questions, share a book–and I can conduct “virtual” reference, so to speak.  

We’ll be improving our website too, so that there are more interactive features on it for students, and more pathfinders so they can find what they need.   We already have a student blog, but I’m hoping it can become a more active vehicle for communicating with students while we are physically closed.

I’m brimming with ideas–and in a way, it’ll be great to have the freedom to move about our building, observe teachers, and embed my role into the curriculum even more.

So, as we start this journey, I would love to hear your ideas–what would you do if you had to be a virtual librarian for a year?  What if everything you did had to fit on a cart?

5 thoughts on “Where in the world are our librarians?

  1. Carolyn,

    I just wanted to say hi and let you know that I really enjoy reading your blog. It is so thought provoking. I don’t know how you find time to keep it up though!

    I hope your move goes well. Since you are such a virtual librarian anyway, maybe not having physical space will not matter too much!


  2. Carolyn,

    As always, I have questions and comments.

    What “equipment” can you count on finding in each classroom? I’d certainly want an LCD projector on the cart, if I couldn’t count on finding one in my travels. With that, I’d have to have a laptop. And I can’t live without my digital camera! That would be my basic pack.

    Of course, as a school librarian, there’s another component to your responsibilities: the literature connection. How are you handling book exchanges? Are the classroom collections sufficient for their reading needs? Can you borrow book sets from your BOCES?

    And what about all the library administrative tasks? Is your book ordering, interlibrary loan program, etc. on hold until construction is done?

    It will certainly be an interesting year for you! Can’t wait to read about your creative, innovative approach to this new challenge.


  3. Diane,

    Well, we have some assistance, because we have several mobile laptop labs throughout the building, and each classroom has an LCD projector, and I have access to a laptop.

    So that all makes it easier to take my “show on the road.”

    As for the literary piece–that’s a bit more challenging, but we’ve taken a section of our popular fiction to the internet cafe area, and as we order new books, we’ll put those out in that area. Sort of like a bookmobile but smaller 😉

    Students do have access to our ninth grade library’s collection as well, it’s just a bit farther to walk.

    But–without having to maintain my own physical library, I’m free to go to classrooms often to give book talks, discuss literature, and observe lessons!

    Thanks for the support!

  4. I forgot to mention that increasingly, I think having an iPhone may be a critical part of being a traveling, virtual librarian.

    Just having on demand, portable internet access seems pretty important to make this process workable!

  5. It will be interesting to follow this journey! I hope you will find some wonderful creative inspiration! Having portable internet access will definitely be a help!

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