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Career Story: Elementary School Librarian

Elementary School Librarian

Job Title: School Library Media Specialist

Education: Bachelors's in Education, Univerisity of Wisconsin Whitewawater •• Master's in Library and Information Science, Univerisity of Wisconsin Milwaukee

Previous Experience: Elementary school teachers grades 3 and 5.

Job Tasks: I manage all aspects of the school library including the budget. I read professional journals, evaluate new books, and create book orders. It is my job to develop the collection to meet the needs of students in grades K-5 and their teachers. I am responsible for all purchasing of books and other library materials, library supplies, as well as audio-visual materials. All audio-visual equipment is inventoried and kept in repair by me.

Library processes such as book repair and shelving are sometimes provided by educational assistants (aides) or volunteers. I oversee about seven people who perform this work. Since I do not have a trained aide anymore I am now also responsible for processing new books so that they are ready for circulation. I also cover the check out desk for the 380 students who check out books once or twice a week.

I provide technical support for teachers and administrators in the building by troubleshooting issues and then coordinating repair services provided by district technicians. It is my role to oversee the management of the computer lab. I spend most of my week planning and implementing information and technology literacy skill instruction for all students in grades K-5. This includes story times for students kindergarten through second grade. Students in grades three through five get instruction in the use of the library and the research process. Lessons in the computer lab cover topics such as online resources (encyclopedias and other databases), Internet use, and basic computer applications. At this level, we cover word processing, multimedia slide shows, and basic spreadsheet applications.

It is my goal to integrate technology throughout the curriculum. By providing one-on-one and small group training, I support teachers in this integration. In the building, I chair the building technology committee which oversees the building's plans for purchasing, staff development, and integration of skills. I work with other district librarians to develop the information and technology literacy curriculum and the the district's yearly technology plan.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is seeing students develop reading and technology skills and a love for reading. It is especially rewarding to see them discover reading at the lower grades. There's nothing like watching first graders start to read by reading joke books to each other.

The worst part is trying to provide all services without the assistance of a trained aide.

Job Tips:
1. My job focuses on instruction so a person needs as much experience as a teacher as possible. This experience also helps in the development of the library collection and the coordination of library lessons with classroom teachers.

2. This job now requires up-to-date technology experience and the willingness to keep those skills up to date. The technology changes quickly.

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