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Preview: The Batty Librarian | Bats aren't blind but neither am I

The Batty Librarian | Bats aren't blind but neither am I

Possibly the only partially sighted librarian in the world! Musings, book reviews and confessions from a Batty School Librarian in the UK...

Updated: 2016-01-16T13:01:03.632+00:00


First Impressions


So the last I time I blogged I worked in a senior school in Wales. Well I've changed jobs and I am now happily settled in the Audit Commission.

I've been here a few weeks now and I thought I would blog about my first impressions of the place.

I had been to a couple of interviews here before this one and unfortunately, my impressions from that time were not good. Getting feedback from interviews was like getting blood out of a stone and in the second interview I had, I actually gave up. I had that interview through an agent and they gave up as well!
Anyway, I was slightly dubious after those experiences but I was successful in my third attempt. Three times the charm is actually true! Although this time I did have the actual qualification and experience, they were looking for (before I was trying to break into a different role).

So what do I think?

I do have a different perspective to most people with my bad eyesight, but I am impressed with how they reacted. First, I now have two 19" monitors so I effectively have one enormous one. Even better, I usually have to have the keyboard right at the edge of the desk so I can get as close to the monitors as possible. This means that I can get a crick in my wrist. Work at the Commission? Problem solved! They've given me monitor mounts so the monitors are suspended off the desk which means that I can have the keyboard further in. So full marks for accessibility from me.

The people

Everyone I've met so far has been friendly and inclusive as well as professional. It is very different from working with kids!

The offices

The offices are nice and there is a minimum of clutter. There is lots of light and it feels incredibly spacious even though it houses a lot of people. Basically someone has really thought about the design.

The benefits

The benefits are great but for me the best one is the in-house gym they inherited from a previous organisation. For only £10 a month, you get unlimited use of the gym. It is small but it has everything you need and if anyone wanted to suddenly become a world class athlete they could always pop over to the gym at UWE!
The downside

They do flexible working but not flexi working. The word processing/email software is not the latest and I like it so much I might stay there too long!

If I were to award stars one to five for this organisation, I would give 4.5. In the other places I have worked, the school 3, the National Assembly for Wales 3 and JA Kemp 4.

Still, although I am still in the first few weeks I am so far impressed with the professionalism and dedication I have witnessed so far. It really is a great place to work!

A response to a comment...


Before you take on a job as a librarian, first find out if it is what you really want to do.

The majority of jobs require a degree in librarianship and some demand a post-graduate degree in the subject. Sometimes the pay is really good, but at other times not so good. I would say you have to look at each job on its merits. For an example of wages, my job before it's pro-rata'd is around £26,000, I know the public
sector school librarians are around £17,000 - and they are the highly paid ones!

Also look at the job spec. I work for a school as you know and there are parts I hate but really love as well. Notably I love the actual librarian side stuff but schools expect more. For example I look after 40-60 school children on my own for two hours each evening. Not really clever considering I am partially sighted but that is what the school wanted - a part time librarian who doesn't mind baby sitting. Except that is not what they said at the interview - ooh am I sounding bitter at all?
I am now looking for a university or government job. I may not get the holidays but I won't be babysitting either!

Things to love about being a Librarian:
Buying new books - ooh they smell gooood
Cataloguing - mindless but relaxing
The interaction with the good kids - they can be really funny!
Having control of your department, from spending to how the library looks.
Getting to read kiddie books

Things to hate about being a Librarian:
Interaction with the bad kids
Having to shout at/tell off kids

Long time, no write


Hmm, I've been getting a little despondent lately and a little stressed. Now this could be because I've been feeling under the weather - but the most probable cause is that I am getting married in about three weeks!

Notice the 'about three weeks'. Now my fiance, bless his heart, knows how many days and probably how many hours it is to the wedding but me, me I suffer from head in sand syndrome. I reckon I must have been an ostrich in a previous life.

Don't get me wrong - I love Nick and I am really looking forward to the wedding - I'm just scared of talking in front of a lot of people. Kids on the other hand are no longer a problem. I can shout now like a sargeant major on speed, but 90 odd adults freak me out.

The reason I am writing is because someone posted a comment on this blog which got me thinking. I love writing this but it fell by the wayside during the summer holidays. So, look out for some new blog entries!

THE Carnegie Event


Carnegie Medal time has arrived again. While this does enable me to have two days out of the library it also means a small amount of stress organising the trip.

I should explain what we do to shadow the Carnegie Awards here. Well as you know there are seven books on the shortlist this year. We have to select seven pupils - one for each book and take them over to a school where each kid designs (with 12 other kids from other schools) a play based on the books. The next day they perform it at a local theatre with authors and dignitaries judging.

This year is easier and yet harder at the same time for me. The event cincidentally occurs in Activities week in our school so most of the children are on other school trips abroad. The ones that stay behind have to help with ecoschools and from what I gather it basically means cleaning the school up!

Anyway so I have a finite group to choose from (some I won't touch with a barge pole but some are great) Unfortunately I may have to choose some of the first group to go with me. Woe is me.

The budget is also a bit of a problem at the moment. It's at the end of the year and the accoutns department get a bit ancy about spending money (even though I have enough in my budget!

The other librarians I'm told usually buy three books of each of the shortlisted titles. They then get the children to write reviews on each one and choose the best. i can't afford to do this so I've got them telling me their first, second and third choice and pulling their names out of a hat so I only have to buy one of each.

Then it's actually getting them to want to go. A couple were like "yeah yeah, I really want to go. Can I go? please, please, I'll be good!" Others were like "um, I'll have to tink about it, what else is going on that week?"

Interestingly enough when I mention that the alternative is to pick up litter in the school, they become strangely interested...

more rejections :-(


As readers of my blog may know, I wrote a children's/young adult book over the last summer holiday and I am now trying to get an agent.

I have to say getting an agent is 100 times harder than writing the thing itself. I loved writing the manuscript, I spent whole days doing it and when I showed it to the kids in the school I work in - well that was the best bit.

Except now is the crunch time. I had another two rejections today and I am feeling quite despondent. Only another nine chances for the agents and then I am going to send it to publishers.

The kids were asking today if I had it published yet. Bless 'em. I mentioned I had a couple of rejections today and one of them was quite indignant on my behalf. The weird thing was her favourite chapter was the sad one where I killed a puppy. In my defence, the death was essential for character development and it motivated her for what happened next. That this was the little girl's favourite part of the book? I think that is quite morbid. …but hey, at least she had a favourite part!

Always keep the key with you...


Some time ago we had the locks to the library and the computer rooms changed to the same key. Now I think this is stupid for a number of reasons but we won't go into that. Anyway, all the locks are the same and they gave us one key to hand out to teachers and/or sixth formers who needed to use the adjacent computer room.

Each time someone asks for the key we note their name down, smile and give them the key. We then go about our business, content in the knowledge that whoever signed it out is almost guaranteed not to be the person who hands in back in. Still, who are we to argue. I suppose by noting the first perosn to take the key they can follow a trail...

Back to the story. I was busy sorting out the new stationary I bought for the kids when the DT teacher walks in again after taking the key out only ten minutes before:

"Do you have another key"

I look quizzically at him "Why, what happened to the first one?"

"I was looking for some stragglers when they locked me out from inside the classroom. i can hear them giggling from the corridor."

I sigh and take my personal set of keys out and walk down to the offending room. I put the key in and try to turn it. It's stuck! The little so and so's had left the key in the lock on the other side.

The teacher shrugs and says"Oh well, seemes I've got a free then" and walks off to the staff room.

...just another day in a school.

Hysterical Teenager


I have to admit I'm not proud of myself. The problem with being short-sighted is that you don't get all the information that everyone else does and you can interpret what you see to things that aren't actually there!

A few days ago, one of the 12 year-old girls came in to the library just after lunch. I was alone and slightly distracted as I was beginning to write the end of term report.

She comes in sobbing her little heart out.

"Miss, I don't know where to go. I can't talk to anyone else."

Aww sweet, that meant I began to actually really listen and look at her. I could hear she was crying from the noises she was making but what I saw shocked me. It looked like someone had punched her and ripped off some of her skin on her right side just under her eye. Unthinking I just said:

"Jesus, are you alright?"

Suitably justified by my reaction she starts telling me how the kids are mean to her and that she has been to the Deputy Head but nothing can be done. It's at this point I realise she's not been in a fight but just has pink make-up on her face. Oh well, it just looks like I am a very understanding Librarian. My bad eye-sight secret is still safe....

In case you are wondering, the girl went back to lessons, she just wanted to have a rant in to a sumpathetic ear. It all blew over in a couple of days.

Embarrassing moment


My most embarrassing moment of 2008 so far happened today...

Lunchtime came early as it always done when I start woek at 8.30. I saunter down to the shared ktchen in the staff room, potter around while sorting out all the stuff I have to put in teachers pidgeon holes. I put the kettle on, make myself a nice cup of tea and say hello to a couple of teachers who are leaving to go to their assemblies.

I sit down with a gasp of relief, straighten out the newspaper and go to pick up the cup of tea. Standing opposite me facing the wall is the chemistry teacher, deeply engrossed in the duty roster.

I twist the cup to move it and spill some tea on the table. The bottom of the cup is rubber which interacted with the tea, which in turn interacted against the wood to make an almighty fart sound!

I was mortified. The teacher turns around and asks if I am alright!

Of course I try to explain myself "It's the cup! It's got a rubber bottom!" You can tell he's not sure if he believes me though.

I think I will have my lunch in the cupboard tomorrow...

10,000 BC movie advert


I was watching American Inventor when the advert for 10,000 BC came on. I sat there watching these pictures of long dead animals flash on the screen and was left wonderig why it didn't interest me in the slightest.

Then I had it, it didn't look like there was a story. I need sone kind of hook to get me interested. Oh I don't know maybe a love story, or war or anything! ...I am so uninterested I can't even bother to look it up on the internet (and I look everything up). It did get me thinking about the different advertising styles of America and here though. Maybe that sort of advertising works in the States? I will probably never know.

Book fairs


From World Book Day I have ben presiding over our second book fair since joining my school. I got to tell you - its no picnic.

First day we did it (6 March) was a preview day so we just had to worry about setting up but even that day had its problems. As you know from reading this blog, the daily baby-sitting session known as prep is in the library. So try to imagine keeping 45 kids quiet with all those shiny new books just begging to be picked up and oohed and aahed over. Needless to say I failed.

Day two, we decided to make break for reservatios only as it is only for fifteen minutes. We're librarians not mathematicians - you try working out the cost of several books, with a voucher nad answering questions while making sure they don't destroy any more books than you can prevent! If you are wondering we got that down to one. They took out toy bits from one book and put the on a different shelf. Aargh.

Lunchtime arrives, hordes of kids descend on us, all asking for their reservaions, to buy other books. oh and "Miss, I don't want that book now, can I have this one." Yeah if you can do the maths for me, Of course I don't say that, I just smile sweetly and say "yes", getting out the calculator.

So there we were, about ten kids in my queue and ten kids in my assistant's. ...and the book fair people call. I mean they were calling a library in a school. Is calling at lunchtime a really sensible thing to do to get on the librarian's good side? hmm. Finally get her off the line with non-committal answers and get back to to the hordes. Ten minutes later, 2 o'clcck and bliss. We've stil got two more days of this...

Librarians writing books...


Apparently getting feedback from children from a book you are writing is pointless but still, I work in a school and I know quite a few good readers who like fantasy books, the genre I wrote my story in. I took the opportunity.

I gave the story to a couple of 11-12 year olds (year 7), the funny thing is, I never tend to see these two girls - only during Prep. I thought If I gave it to these ones then they wouldn't see me all the time and feel pressurised into telling me what they think.

With this in mind I stayed away from the girls purposely. Except that one of the girls nagged me incessantly if she could finish it during prep on my computer. When she said she stayed up to four hours to read the book the night before, I felt so flattered I let her.

Not so good for me though as that was MY computer and I couldn't do any work. On the other hand I justified to myself, I never get any work done during Prep anyway - most of the time is spent patrolling and yelling at people to be quiet.

So that was before half-term. I got some lovely feedback from her. I tried to ask her if the ending was too sudden or did she want more description but no she loved it all - You got to love her.

I didn't see the other one until the end of last week - although I gave her the book at the same time. the great thing was I didn't go up to her - she came bounding up to me saying she liked it.

Wonderful, I now just need to actually finish it. The story is finished but It needs editing. The problem is I keep getting nagged by the first girl when I am going to right the sequel... Aargh there is not enough hours in the day...

Putting maps on websites


This post is only useful to web newbies. If you are a techie you'll know how to integrate Google apps to get maps.

If you just want to point people in the right direction put in the code from the picture below (click on it to make it larger).

Which will mean that anyone clicking on it will get a popup with google mapson the 'hopefuly' correct address. This method works with both US and UK addresses.

Growing up


Well at 31 it seems I am finally growing up, Today was a relatively uneventful day. Lunch went without a hitch, my assistant had hers and left and I was left in full control again. Until the Biology teacher came in...

The Biology teacher is also the careers teacher and while I like him (I tend to like everyone) he does come across as being thoughtless. A few weeks ago he set a competition for the seniors as homework. Very laudable you may think, Except this one was for creating a paper aeroplane that flew the furthest, Guess who got the fall out from that little endeavour? Yes, you got it, us. You try explaining to a group of year 8 & 9s that the library is not really the place to test their new constructions out. You only get "...but Miss, it's homework!)

Anyway so today the same teacher walks into the library in what is supposed to be the extremely quiet time if not silent time and conducts a meeting with a pupil! Not only that but he talks with his normal speaking voice which in the silence of the library sounds like a gong repeatedly going off.

At the time I was trying to compose a letter to send out with some overdues. A tricky one as I wanted to set the right tone but I was finding it hard to concentrate with his voice droning on. I waited a few minutes getting extremely frustrated until I could take it no more. By this time the kid had gone to look up something on the conputer at the other side of the room so I took the opportunity to go to speak to the guy.

I'm quite proud at myself, I didn't yell and I sounded very composed. I just mentioned that I would appreciate some warning if he was going to have meetings in the library and that it was as if I decided to go into his room while he was teaching and started covering ibrary books. He laughed at that but I got my point across. He apologised and I took the opportunity to tell him about some books I had purchased for the library which he might be interested in.

So there you are. I actually stood up for myself instead of stewing in silence. I may be finally growing up...

A good samaritan - (not me)


Walking to the bus stop from my school is not a long one. I can usually do it in about 6 minutes if I walk a bit faster. I rushed to the bus stop today and just missed the bus going the other way. Not a big deal as it turns around further down the road and picks me up to take me town after a few minutes.

Anyway, there I was standing squinting with all my might down the road for some head start to when it is coming. I've had bus drivers just drive past me in the past becaue I haven't put my arm out quick enough. The problem is I can't see the bus until it gets quite close, so its a bit stressful and requires a bit of concentration.
So you'll understand why I didn't spot it immediately. To someone of, shall we say, limited vision such as myself it just looked like a pile of clothes. I did stare at it for a couple of seconds to see if it moved - it didn't so I figured it was a pile of clothes after all. There is no WAY I'm getting closer to have a look. I'm partially sighted, slightly overweight with asthma. If that isn't a pile of clothes and something dodgy then there is no chance I will be able to get away.

Squinting hard into the distance, well a few yards to you guys, a large taxi draws up beside me.

"Hello love, is he OK?"
"I don't know, it hasn't moved." I say.

The taxi driver gets out and walkd over the pile. He talks really loudly,

"awright mate? Are you OK?:
"I', righ, leave me alone" comes the muffled reply.
The driver pulls him a little.
"Why are you sleeping in the bus stop?"
"s'tired" he mumbled.

The driver gives up and walks over to me.

"He's drunk."
"Shall I call an ambulance" I ask, remembering I have my mobile on my which I actually remembered to charge last night.
" No, I'll call the police."

The bus came, I got on and that was that. My little adventure for today.

Recognition at last


One of the major problems working in a school library is you don't get the recognition for what you've achieved which can get a bit demoralising. My way round this is to write reports to the senior management telling them how great I am with examples.

It seems this has paid off along with some persistance from my colleague. My assistant is paid appallingly and she really needed a pay rise. She's a great worker, really intelligent, goes over and above the call of duty and can keep the kids in line. What more could a school ask for!

Anyway she put a package together putting her strengths in, the recommended wages for an assistant librarian and a spectacular performance review from me. Turns out they are going to pay us BOTH more in September. Yeeha for the Librarians.

Another note, how do other librarians out there advertise their book fairs? I have spent the morning stuffing 100s of envelopes with an invitation, competition entry, World Book Day voucher and other blurb. My assistant created a poster for the competition - to be honest she created the competition too (I did one last year) and we've put up book fair posters as well. On the plus side I am going to be really muscular in my arms from filling envelopes by the time this thing is finished!

Job hunting...


That's it, i've decided to go for another job. In fact I've got an interview next week which got me thinking about other interviews I've done in the past. One of the funniest I thought I would share with you. its a bit long though, so make sure you have time to read it!Rhyl InterviewI had an interview in Rhyl at Rhyl Community College a few years ago. After arriving in London Euston, I discovered utter chaos - a train was late. Luckily and unusually for me the train arrived the same time as I did – and it was going my way. So far so good…I arrive in Rhyl surrounded by a mixture of Liverpudlians and Welsh. Strangely I thought, there seemed to be more Liverpudlians...Getting off the train late I followed the crowds over the small internal bridge towards the exit. As I passed a bin, I paused to put my rubbish in. When I look up everyone is gone. This is the largest platform I have ever seen. In fact it stretches for as far as I can see and no-one in sight - I don’t where the exit is!Hmm, I calm myself down and start walking down the platform, first I try the door to the Ticket Office - locked. I continue down the platform, but there doesn’t seem to be another exit. I start to walk back thinking that perhaps I didn’t try all the doors to the Ticket Office after all.A man comes up to talk to me. He is tall, slim with a strong Welsh accent. He asks me if I was looking for the exit. I reply in the yes feeling quite stressed at this point. He leans close and points the way out to the far end of the platform. He seemed to be slightly too close for comfort though... and then I realise – he’s looking down my top!He does however tell me the right way to get out. I thank him hurriedly and continue on my way.My first impressions of Rhyl i have to admit are not good. It seems a small town, slightly dingy but I can live with that _ or so I hoped.Using a map I downloaded from the internet, I try to fathom the way to the Guest House which I had booked the week earlier.The nearer I get to the guest house the dirtier the streets appear. Oh, MY GOD, what have I got myself into! Crisp packets, chip wrappers and cans line the street. Shops are boarded up, yet I bravely soldier on.Finally I reach the guest house. I had booked this for a bagain price of £18 for the night. Disconcertingly, it says ‘look before you book’ on the sign by the door.Are things that bad here then?I knocked apprehensively on the door and the door all but instantly opens. A nice middle aged lady stands before me (I find out she is nice later), at the moment she is brusque.‘Please sign in’ she says, so I shrug and do. Looking around the guest house, I thought, Okay. Not the four star Bude Haven Hotel I had been in a few weeks before but I can live with this (well for the requisite night anyway).She indicates for me to follow her and with trepidation I follow her up the stark narrow staircase. She takes me to a shoe box known as the single room I booked. It is furnished simply but thankfully it IS clean. I take the opportunity to ask her what it is like to live in Rhyl. I mentioned that I had felt disappointed when walking to the B&B.Her reply was not quite what I was expecting. She said that while the B&B was in the nice part of the road, (the road led to the sea front), it was quite a bad area.I wasn’t going to go out by myself that night was I. she asked. Thinking well I wasn't going to now, I asked why. She replied that it was nice where she was and her daughter managed the B&B next door but nearer the sea front, all the flats had been bought by absent landlords and that it was known to have drug problems. Suitably warned I replied[...]

Boys voluntarily tidying?


Just a short one today :-)

I was doing a late shift and there were three of four kids left in the library when another three walked in, two boys and a girl. They sat at the desk opposite from where I sit. They weren't being too noisy but there were some strange sounds coming from there so I looked over my monitor like a timid giraffe peaking over a fence.

One of the boys spotted me looking at him and changed tack from whatever he was doing.

Boy 1 says to Boy 2 "Boy 2, I dare you to tidy up the library!.
Interesting I think. I've not come across this before so I say, "What does he get if he does it?"
"A small bit of his dignity back" he replies with a snigger.
At this point I would never think in a million years that this is going to woek and then:
"OK" Boy 2 answers and promptly starts tidying up the library. Boy 1 looks me straight in the eye (that description is a bit of an exaggeration 'cos I can't see that far, but he was definitely looking in my direction) and says to me, "You owe me."

Now what should I have said to that?

P.S. Boy 2 spends about 15 minutes tidying up the library until I am actually impressed, sits down next to boy 1 who says in a deadpan voice, "You've actually lost dignity now".

Go figure.

Librarians 5, Children 3

Should MPs be above the law


Not being a political monster I let most news about politicians just wash over me. Basically I don't care what politicians do in their spare time, or if they employ their family to help them run their campaigns. I mean good on them. If they can get someone to work extremely long hours without complaining, fair enough as long as they can actually do the work.

Still the latest news did put a chill down my spine. Today with all the covert surveillance our governments do, where any one of us can be watched and recorded on a whim just walking down the street, I think its ridiculous that MPs should think they are better than us and should be exempt.

As I tell the kids in the library there shouldn't be one rule for one person and another for someone else. MPs are elected to do a job and to be fair most of them do a good one. They work long hours and help a lot of people but that still doesn't put them above the law or above the rules that the rest of us live by.

I am completely shocked at the MPs attitude to the Wilson Doctrine (that MPs sholdn't be bugged). It is out of date and should be abolished in this day and age. They shouldn't be able to on one hand endorse keeping people in custody without charge for longer and longer amounts of time in the name of fighting terrorism but then say they are exempt from he same technology and techniques that caught those other people. that would be hypocritical.

...and that is the reason my friends why I don't like politicians. Once they are elected some of them think they are above everyone else. ...and what did they do to get this superhuman status, climb everest? become the first astronaut to get to Mars? perhaps cure the common cold? nope they managed to trick us into voting for them. Grrr....

Idiot Branding


I was reading the Times the other day when one of the articles particularly caught my eye for stupidity. Apparently, Woolworths, had a bedroom set made and marketed for kids.

Brilliant you might think what did it look like? Well it was white and pink, everthing a 6 year old girl could want in a bed combo. That is until you find out what it was called....

No, it wasn't Judy, or Annie or even Liz, Nope they chose Lolita! Of all the names they could have chosen that had the the worst.

When it was brought to 'Woollies' attention none of the staff had even heard of the name. To be honest though if Yahoo wasn't so absolutely terrible at keeping spam from my inbox I probably wouldn't have known about it either (I'm not in the habit of reading books from 1955 about child abuse). You would think though that they would do a quick Google check before branding something aimed at 6 year old girls!

By the power of irate mums from, 'Woollies' retracted the £395 sleeper. Hurrah for parents and common sense!

...and I thought the play bunny stuff was in bad taste!

Friday blues...


Well, Friday was quite fun. I had to do the late shift as my assistant needed to do something that night. To be honest I don't mind its usually quiet on a Friday (relatively speaking that is!) Well, this friday was no different.

I got in the requuisite half an hour early (I hate public transport), actually 33 minutes early this time. Then again I suppose its better than being late.

First I went to check to see if the food had arrived in the kitchen, it hadn't so I toddled up to the library and thought I'd spend a quiet few minutes in the cupboard reading a book until my shift starts. I only get paid for working part-time hours and I tend to do more hours than that anyway so I get rebellious now and again and want to do the hours they pay me for. Foiled again, it's locked.

So I trundle along to the desk and my assistant waves her keys at me asking if I want to borrow them. At this point my rebelliousness wears off and I decide it won't kill me to give the school yet another 20 minutes of my time for free.

So the day goes pretty quickly, I'm still sorting out the careers section of the library. It's been neglected for several years. It's great if you want to find out what courses to study in Science in 1999 or what university was like in 1987 but some of the newer books are fewer and far between. Don't get me wrong there was the Student book 2006 and The big guide 2007 and 2008. The previous Librarian had bought some new books, but just never weeded the old stock.

So this is the task I set myself for this month, try to sort out the mess known as the careers library. [I always said I liked a challenge.] I managed to catalogue about 6 books by 4pm when the first influx of kids trickle in. I'm really proud of myself at this point!

First I had to stop and settle them down as soon as they came in. The boys go to one side of the room and the girls the other. Mainly because I had to split up the boys as soon as they came in but we won't go into that.

I was doing the usual, "please girls shush, you need to work quietly now." When one of the girls spots its me.

Each of us 'Librarians' has our favourites among the pupils and this girl is one of mine although we don't like to show it. She's cheeky but in a nice way. There's no malice and she is usually really funny if a little random.

Today, she spots me and goes "oh Librarian, it's you, High Five." and she lifts her hand up.

I shrug and lift my hand and she smacks mine in a high five movement. ..and before I can go back to the desk she gives me a great big bearhug. I freeze. This was really embarrassing for me. I usually have a personal space boundary of about a foot. I'm shy and I like to keep my distance.

This time I didn't have time to react so I just stood there with my arms to my side until she let go. I gave a quick nervous grin and scarpered back to the relative safety of my desk and shouted again at the boys who were chatting nearby.

At this point I'll revise my former statement in another post. I don't shout usually in the day time, but after school baby-sitting sessions are quite another matter.

A more cynical person could say this was a ploy. Now could it be that she gave me a hug so I would be nonplussed and wouldn't tell her off for talking or is she just a sweet girl with a lovable nature? You decide!

Librarians 4, Children 2

Don't mess with a Librarian!


Today has been yet another busy day but there was something worth writing about this time!

I arranged for the careers service to come visit me at 11.30 to help me get to grips with the new system. For those who don't know, it has changed from the CLCL to CLCI although it might have gone the other way - the initials are so similar!

Anyway, Since I have only been a school librarian for just over a year and the careers section has its own way of organising itself, I didn't know how to organise the old system or the new system. Hence the request for assistance. hey at least I'm honest - If I don't know the answer I can admit it and know where to go!

So I booked them at 11.30 knowing break ends at 11.20 thereby giving myself 10 minutes of grace. Yep you guessed it they came early. At about 11.15!

So there I was checking out books, answering questions, keeping an eye on the kids and generally trying to hold it together without exploding at the misbehaving lot in the corner, I know we are good at multi -tasking but school librarians should really get medals for this!

I go over and solicitously ask them if they would like to take a seat as I was in the middle of break. I mean duh, it was a bit obvious. They agreed and sat down while I went back to my desk to check the time. I've got to be honest I closed the library for break a tad earlier than I normally would, but then the kids left pretty much on time give or take (take) five minutes.

The usual way of clearing the library means the 50 decibels shout, "OK everyone time to go back to class. Pack up your stuff. Log off the computers....." And then the walking around the library just to get the message across that the noise they heard was indeed me telling them go back to class and not for the benefit of my health.

So I got to the other side of the library and saw a group of three. I noticed one boy had a bag. I don't allow bags during break because of the trip risk. So I ask him if he was going to be in the library for the lesson. He says no, just waiting for his friend. So I say, OK, wait for him outside. He says Ok but just stays there staring at his friend. I say now please. Stil in a nice conersational way you understand. He puts his bag on his shoulder and says he was going anyway, so I turn away thinking job done.

I scootch around to the reading zone - nobody there, make sure that no one is hiding behind the free-standing shelving and lo and behold the boys are still there and the one WITH HIS BAG. Now this has now become a threat to my authority. He has obviuosly flouted the rules and taken advantage of my good nature and ignored my instructions. So I stalk up to him and say, really loudly:


He looks at me as if reevaluating me and scarpers for it. Now that was a job well done. future trouble maker put in his place.

The library is now empty apart froma couple of giggling sixth formers (I never normally shout so it was quite unusual) and the careers people. I walk over to them and they say:
"Wow, I wouldn't mess with YOU".

I wonder if I can get them to tell the kids that?

Bit of fun...


Perusing my e-mail while eating my breakfast I came across a fun website someone sent me. I like my zen reading. course if it was horrible I just would have ignored it but hey if 'anyone' says anything nice about me it's good to share. :-)
Your Karmic Alignment is: Zen Intuition!

Score: 16

You have a direct perception of truth. You are very keen and don't use it to take advantage. When you commit positive deeds, you don't do them to get ahead, you do positive deeds simply because it makes you feel good. Your intentions are almost always meant well and all this positive karmaic energy is bound to come back to you in a great way!

Busy, busy, busy


I've had a monster day today so I thought I would write all down to see if I actually achieved anything!8.30Go straight up to the library. I haven't got time for the staff meeting today.Put all the extra missing things the cleaner found in the lost property box and the books back on the shelves (Will kids ever learn to put things away?).Put computer onPut the other computers on + photocopier/printerUnlock all doorsThe computer finally has the log on screen. Log in.Wait another five minutes for the screen to come to life.Open thunderbird. Swear under breathe as computer takes another five minutes to open it.Get a couple of books to catalogue and open firefox because our catalogue freezes in Internet Explorer.Let the little darlings into the library.Sort out riddle of the day.Ring up accounts to order new chairs for the library. Get told that I need to provide an estiamte of the library's value by the end of the morning.Save the cataloguing done so far and put to one side.Do some photocopying for the children/teachers.Open up evaluation already started by pure luck. Aargh its break-time.11.00Shout at children not to run in the library as they try to grab a computer.Listen to anane but faintly amusing conversation about girl's pet horse. Smile politely and try to sneakily to do a bit more on the valuation while they are not looking.A girl wants to take out the Jane Austen Emma DVD. These come in pairs and I don't allow them to take more than one DVD at a time. Especially as a really expensive one has been 'mislaid' lately. Spend five minutes searching for said DVD. Under the shelf, on the shelf, on the desk, in the box. To be told, "you meam the one the other librarian put in the box ready up there?" GrrrCheck out/check in about 10 books.Accept donations for the library by one of the pupilsShout at the kids break is nearly over. (They can't tell the time by themselves.)11.20Peace at last. Finish evaluation - pat myself on back.Rush to loo - am desperate by this time.Send valuation to accounts with instructions to order chairs and get quote for other thing.Ring up to check they've got it. Yep, but forgot about stuff that belongs to other departments which they dump in library in other room.He deletes e-mails and tells me to send it again - except there was other stuff on there!Finish valuation and send of making sure the other stuff is on separate e-mail. I'm not checking to see if he's got it - too much to do.More people come in and ask me to do photocopying.Enquiry to find out if we have a book. Is very urgent need it for coursework. Not in library. OK will order.Processed books for teacher who wanted books urgently. Stamped and covered them.More photocopyingPut an order together for some more books - tunnels, the looking glass wars etc and sent it off. Processed purhcase order etc.Put some memos together telling teachers of new additions in the library relevant to their departmentsProcess some invoices of books that arrived yesterday.12.00Assistant arrives. Woohooo - LUNCHDrop off post in teachers pigeon holes at lunch while looking at Softlink catalogue and eating hurriedly and sneaking a peak at the Times.Received another book package.12.15Back in libraryOpen up book packageProcess invoice. i.e. stamp, put date on, photocopy, put arrival on computerCheck vent is on later.Ring up another school to confirm attendance at Carnegie Shadowing event in April.1.00Juniors come incheck in and check out booksReply to enquiry regarding Barrin[...]

Books, books and more books


It's that time of year again when all librarians get really excited about awards. Nope not the Oscars, not the BAFTAS, not even the Golden Globe Awards. Say hurrah for the Carnegie Awards.

The long list is out and we are just waiting fo rthe short list and its full steam ahead for the shadowing events. There is even a shadowing site you can go to:

Go on have a look - you know you want to. :-)

...and when I say long list, I mean loooooonnnnngggg. The current list is over forty books! Luckily it gets whittled to arond 6 books each year. Luckily for me that is. I have to ask for book reviews from the kids to know who to take to the Shadowing event. Last year I had about ten reviews for each book - that's sixty reviews to read. Did I mention I work part-time? The kids weren't the only ones doing homework! I'm definitely thinking about doing a quiz this year.

So if you're stuck for a book to read at the moment why not look at the Carngie award nominees for inspiration. That's what I'm going to tell the kids anyway...

There's something strange going on...


So it's monday afternon. we've got a new set of children hanging around the desk wanting to chat (it varies on the monitor behind the desk) and I'm helping the new pupil librarian how to use the library software for checkins and checkouts. The giggle girls saunter over.

I'm suspicious of these at the best of times but as they took out my classics a few days ago they are in my good books at the moment. The 'leader' goes

'Libwarian, you're the best librarian in the world.' That's not a typo by the way. And my response?
'What do you want?' in a world weary tone.
'No Miss libwarian, we think you are the best libwarian ever. Why do you think we are up to something? That's what the other librarian said when we said it to her.'

Ahh, well it was nice for a moment there. Apparently they had been following my assistant around the library as she was shelving for the past ten minutes telling her how lovely she was. Still as games go, this is the nicest I've seen!