#101Woody’s Roundup

Ok, it’s not Woody, but it is a roundup.

These things are the most important issues for librarians in schools, in my opinion.

Get to know the content and structure of the curriculum, if you don’t already. Talk to teachers, staff parents and pupils. Talk to everyone. Network, talk to other librarians. Take every CPD opportunity you can get. Bid for money to supplement your budget, and keep good records so you can make your case clearly and effectively. Try and be innovative, use new technology when appropriate to improve the services you offer. Share ideas on mailing lists, blogs and wikis. Take an interest in your pupils and find out what really makes them tick. Be selective about how you spend your time: if it doesn’t help pupils or school staff, forget it.

Have fun, it’s a great job if it’s done properly.

#100 Keeping It Light

If you don’t have sense of humour in this job, you’re stuffed!

Here’s a collection of library humour and miscellany.

#99 Print Your Own Barcodes

Not suitable for large runs, but you can print off small runs of barcodes here, particularly when you need a duplicate barcode for a damaged one.

It’s very simple, (as long as your symbology is on the list) and you can choose styles, image size and font. Pop in your actual value and generate!

You can either copy the barcode and paste into a word processor for printing, or save the image for further use.

Simple, but brilliant!

BarcodesInc.

#98 Library Thing

If you haven’t come across Library Thing, you should have a look.

It can be used for pleasure, browsing and review purposes. It can also be used as a tool, as books are catalogued on the site. For sure, mostly by amateurs and using Library of Congress cataloguing, but still worth investigating.

You could also use it to network with like minded book lovers, or other professionals.

The site tour is here.

#96 Accessibility

Linked in with Health & Safety and DDA is the issue of accessibility.

When you create materials for your pupils, do you supply alternative versions? This could be a large print edition, an audio file, a flash video, a braille version, or a high contrast copy.

This issue is becoming more and more prevalent in education, and is one that librarians should be aware of.

There are many excellent websites and blogs that deal with this issue, and offer some very detailed instruction and advice, including recommendations for free software. Some are listed below.

TechDis: Higher Education, but the issues are the same.

elearning Accessibility & Inclusion: Further Education, but again, highly relevant.

BECTA & Accessibility

#95 Theme Days

I have mixed feelings about theme days. I find large corporate ones like World Book Day to be a waste of everyone’s time. The £1 vouchers can be seen fluttering about in the corridors and playgrounds for weeks after the event.

On the other hand, a local or regional one can be quite effective if the librarian’s heart is in it, or if the librarian is working in collaboration with teaching staff. You tend to get a better quality of attention from pupils during class time, particularly if they feel they’re getting a ‘free lunch’ and ‘this isn’t really work’.

It’s useful to keep an eye on other school events also. If you’re going to have a visit from a footballer or a chef, there’ll be requests immediately before and/or after the visit for books and information.

I personally created theme days centred round football, chess, poetry, (various) authors, exploration, history and motor sport, of the ones I remember. They varied from non-events to several hits, i.e. pupils who developed, and retained, an interest in the subject.

I remember an event during my own schooldays (1970s, <sigh> ) where I borrowed a poetry book on a recommendation (Dylan Thomas). I still love poetry and seek out new themes and poets from time to time. So it can work!

This article is aimed at school wind-down activities, but has some very interesting ideas.

#91 Careers Information

Some Careers Officers have a very strange view of their profession, and how librarians fit into it. They seem to feel that school librarians will happily accede to being their administrators and filing clerks.

I never accepted this myself, and always ensured that I devoted some time to making sure that Careers Officers devoted some time to improving the service they offered. This varied from the very good to the appalling.

I think Careers advice is too important to ignore, so ensured that there was a good quality Careers library, and helped pupils as and when I could based on my own professional career.

I think Careers advice is far too important to be treated as it is now, i.e. an ‘incidental’ to be dealt with by a part time, peripatetic officer, not based in schools. However, this is a political issue, not a library one.

Careers Scotland have a nice colour scheme they offer schools to display Careers materials, and a website that no-one seems to understand.