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Career Story: High School Librarian

High School Librarian

Job Title: Librarian

Type of Company: I work for a school district outside of Boston

Education: BA Spanish, Wellesley College •• MEd, Cambridge College

Previous Experience: I worked as a circulation assistant in two college libraries and as a Spanish teacher at the middle and high school levels.

Job Tasks: I work in a high school library. Primarily, I teach students research skills, how to effectively evaluate and use both print and online resources. This is done in several ways, through collaborate with teachers to provide instruction to their classes on certain assignments, library orientations that are given to all incoming freshman, and working with students on an individual basis.

On a daily basis, I work with students on an individual basis to help them locate resources, both print and online, for their research projects. I provide supervision to students using to library for homework or study. I help to troubleshoot with technology, if students have trouble printing, opening documents, or other computer related difficulties.

I sometimes recommend fiction books for students and have hosted a monthly book discussion group. I also create displays and programs surrounding special events such as Banned Books Week, National Poetry Month, Teen Read Week, etc.

I also continue to update our online resources, including, creating a wiki for research. We use the wiki to add individual pages for each assignment we work on directing students to databases, citation information, web site evaluation and other resources specific to the project. In addition to continuing to update our web site, we have created a page on Facebook, as well as creating a list of web sites on delicious.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part is working with students individually to help the find resources. As enjoyable as teaching also can be, working one-on-one tends to be more effective, since students don't pay much attention to the information we are providing until it is time for them to actually look for information.

The worst part is trying to create a space for research and study amidst the great many students who simply want to use the library for a place to hang out with their friends.

Job Tips:
1. The biggest tip that I could give someone would be to find out what age group you enjoy working with. In working in school libraries, elementary, middle and high school are all vastly different and while one may find it very rewarding to work with one age group, you may not enjoy the others at all.

2. When I became certified as a library teacher, there were really no programs available to do that without obtaining a Master's Degree at the same time (unlike the process of becoming a classroom teacher). Since this is a big undertaking, I would advise someone, where possible to work as a library aide, assistant or paraprofessional first. Not only will this help you to decide if it is the right career choice for you, but will certainly help you gain experience in the setting, and will be a plus when looking for a job.

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