Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Alumni Interview: Library Media Specialist Deborah

Deborah considered herself to be "non-traditional student", because she returned to school for her MLIS when her children were in middle school. She graduated in 1992, and took many classes while still working as a part-time aide in an elementary school near her house. She feels fortunate to have had stellar professors, such as Dr. Mancell, and to have worked as a graduate assistant for Dr. McNamara. Twenty years later, she says she still hears some of their advice when considering different approaches to a problem, and she feels lucky to still love her career.

What is your current job? Library Media Specialist in a grade 3-6 building (PA).

How did you find your job? Job opening in my home school district, and previous place of employment.

What does your typical day look like? Is this what you expected when you took the job? Rarely are two days the same, except for my half hour lunch which I've worked hard to maintain. I am the only librarian for a building of 1600 students, with two part-time paraprofessionals. We see about 70 groups every week in 15 minute intervals for book choice/exchange. Additionally, I see flexibly scheduled groups for instruction on an "as needed" bass (the classroom teachers are the ones who identify the need). 

I also work on curricular committees for the district and serve as a "leader of integrated instruction". I work with groups of teachers and coaches on professional development programs, and have the opportunity to work with our Literacy Coach to help promote and plan for our shift to Common Core Standards.

What do you enjoy most about your job? Having the chance to work with adult as well as student learners. For example, we have almost completed our first year of faculty interaction in professional learning communities which I helped to plan and implement. 

What are some common misconceptions about your job or your area of librarianship? That I sit and read books, that I know the Dewey Decimal system by heart, and that I expect the library to be a quiet place.

What was the most valuable thing you did or learned while in library school? Attended professional conferences, and worked for a professor (graduate assistant) to facilitate Drexel/Free Library award and conference.

What inspired you to choose this career? A desire to teacher students how to learn, instead of telling them what they need to know. And my own need for order and organization in life.

What do you wish you had learned more about? Rare and aged books and how to care for them. 

Any tips for current students? Get out and see as many examples of working professionals in your field as possible. Everyone has their own "angle" on procedures, etc. and everyone has something of value to share!

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