Friday, May 27, 2005

The Things We Do In Summer

It is inevitable for my co-teachers, well meaning as they are, to ask what we, school librarians, do in the summer. That perennial question was dished out to me one day and I felt it coming. It seems that teachers are always “wondering” at the work we do. Teachers have the impression that school librarians must be the luckiest people in school. School librarians do light, clerical and stress free work.

Sigh. Yeah, right.

This time around, a rookie teacher was brazen enough to ask what a school librarian can possibly be busy with during summer work in school. I would have wanted to humor this rookie teacher. I wanted to say, “Oh, we do nothing. We count the books and surf the Internet all day from Monday to Friday.” But I told myself, “You’re a senior faculty of the school. Take the question seriously.”


So I replied, “Librarians are busy with inventory work and evaluation of school library services and programs.”

The rookie teacher looked clueless. To rescue the poor young thing, I said “We’ll be teaming up soon for curriculum planning. We’ll have a nice chat about our programs and services. Then you’ll realize, we can be very good friends!”

The teacher nodded and said, “Oh, ok.”

Librarians and teachers collaborating is a rare phenomenon in schools, particularly in the Philippines. The work we do in the summer is a preparation for the coming school year. And it will have meaning to teachers when information about the inventory work is articulated during team meetings and curriculum planning with the different departments. Information from inventory work goes beyond numbers, losses and discarded books in the collection. From inventory reports, librarians can draw out conclusions on the utility of resources by its clients. It is also a tool to evaluate the existing collection. It has a great impact on readers’ services particularly the circulation of resources in a given school year.

At times like this, I am reminded to take inventory work farther than the four corners of the library. The technical work librarians do does not end in completing the task itself. Thinking of how clients will benefit from the information culled out of all the technical work makes a difference.

Only then can the question change.

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