While I've been busy with the baby, reading arcs, and fighting a diet...... I've also been working my tail off for the upcoming year. As I have mentioned several times in the past month I am a 'library aide' for a middle school. I love my job, I am proud of what I do, but I find most people do not know what it is I actually do. So for those of you who are looking into book-related jobs, or are just curious what a school 'library aide' does, this post is for you!
Top 6 myths about my job:
1. I read on the job.
2. I have down time on the job.
3. I sit at my desk all day.
4. I can buy books whenever I want.
5. I am paid a teacher's salary.
6. I do not have a degree.
(Yes, I ran out of room for the 'D'. However, I love how the faux flower bouquets look!)
Did you already know these are false? Good job! You know more about my job than some of my colleagues.
So, what is it I do? Well, here are the big things (non-daily) I do:
1. Host Chess Club
2. Host Book Club
3. Host Lunch-time Chats
4. Create all posters for the school
5. Collect and take care of Labels for Education points
6. Update/Create honor roll lists and posters, along with honor roll bulletin board
7. " " Student of the Month
8. Take care of all school's lamination, die-cutting, and paper-cutting.
9. Research for colleagues
10. Set up for monthly staff-meetings, parent meetings, or staff work days.
11. Book Fairs
12. Maintain 5 bulletin boards
13. Organize March into Reading month.
14. Organize yearly reading challenge.
15. Maintain computer lab.
16. Research new titles to add to collection.
18. Update book binders.
19. Update yearly inventory of books. (We have over 12,000 in our collection, of which I must enter each barcode by hand during the last 2 weeks of school.)
20. Check out and keep track of equipment given to faculty.
21. Monitor and maintain the bulletin paper offered to teachers.
22. Maintain teacher's 'currently reading' signs in the hallways.
Here is what my daily schedule looks like:
8 classes for 20-60 minutes each: Checking out, fines, reshelving books. (Basic library functions.)
30 minutes 3 times a day: Starting and maintaining school-wide showing of Channel 1 news.
30 minutes: Fixing damaged books, writing damaged book notices, making files of fines.
30 minutes: Organizing and cleaning up the library and computer lab
30 minutes: Doing misc. work for the main office. (I.E. organizing papers by homeroom, handing out yearbooks, contacting parents, etc.)
Did I tell you that I work only 24 hours a week? The library isn't even open every day! (Although I wish it were!) My work is crazy busy. I have things going on at the drop of a hat. This past year I have had an entire gym class I had to keep calm, while a student collapsed in class. I framed and hung posters in the lounge, I hosted a rained-out career day and civil war reenactments. I hosted the students who did not go on their D.C. trip. I had a gaggle of girls I had to 'babysit' during the talent show who thought the dress code wasn't in use on the last day of school. 0.o I guided incoming 5th graders on their tour of the school, and even stepped in for a teacher who took a sick day.
All of those things were done at the last minute, in addition to what most people consider the basics of my job. I still needed to find time to take care of the classes coming in, as well as take care of the first list. This past year, I organized our fiction section into 3 'main' genre's. I did not have time for this during the day, so I put in over 40 hours unpaid volunteer time to do so.
The biggest and most important thing I do however, is something that can't be measured in time. I work to create a love of reading for my students. I am working towards creating a stress-free environment where they can find a story, and find enjoyment. I talk to my students, get to know them, and make them feel wanted. I validate their feelings, and strive to give them the opportunity they deserve. When they come to me, when they come to my library they will find no judgment. They will not feel pressure. They will not feel un-wanted. When they come to me I want them to feel safe.
I am NOT a librarian. I am a library aide. I am the sole care-giver of my library as we do not have a librarian. I hold a degree in middle school education and have no experience in media sciences. I am not paid as one, either. In fact, to have my job all that is required is that I had to have graduated high school. Due to the hours worked I very likely would make more money weekly if I had accepted a job at McDonalds. However, I love my job, and I don't find the work meaningless. I love working with students, and I feel they deserve someone like me.
(Cloth or paper, my daughter and I love them all!)
So the next time someone tells me I 'just read' all day and I have their 'dream job' I will just nod my head and agree. While I know their idea of my job is incorrect, I will agree. My job is a dream job. MY dream job. I wouldn't and couldn't ask for anything better.