I got the job. Now what?
Each year on the KYLMS Listserv we see emails from new school librarians who have just been hired for their first library position. Beginning the new school year for the first time seems like a formidable task, but it doesn’t have to be. You’ve done the hard part. You’ve earned your degree. You have been hired as a school librarian. Now what? Here are my top ten suggestions on what to do as a new school librarian:
- Meet your predecessor. Often it is possible to meet with the previous librarian. This can be very valuable. He/she can walk you through the facility and show you where items are located and help with procedures. Remember, you don’t have to do things the same way.
- Join the listserv. Once you have access to email, join the KYLMS listserv. You don’t have to post anything right away. It’s fine to just read the discussions happening. The listserv is a great way to find out what is happening in the libraries around the state and the current trends.
- Check out your library. Look to see what resources are available. Check out your collection. Is your fiction genrefied? What library software will you be using? Find out how to log in to your system.
- Try Out Your Software. Once you can get logged in to your system, make sure you are comfortable in doing basic tasks such as checking in and out, adding patrons, adding new books, etc. If you cannot, email the other librarians in your district, if possible, or contact the listserv for help. Another option is contacting the software company. Most have great videos and tip sheets to walk you through.
- Read through the policy and procedure manual if there is one. Look for selection and reconsideration policies. Look for procedures for making purchases in the library. Find out where to obtain the documents you will need to make purchases. If there are no policies and procedures in place, think about what you want to implement. Again, the other librarians in your district and the listserv are valuable support.
- Introduce yourself. Three people you will want to meet and get to know right away are your school secretary, the school bookkeeper, and the custodian. Be nice to them. You will want their support.
- Create a digital presence. I recommend starting with a school library webpage and then expanding to social media (as district guidelines allow). Your webpage is a great way for your students and staff to access resources beyond your library’s physical space. Some school districts have strict guidelines on webpage creation. Others are more open. Check with your school or district technology coordinator to find out what the policies are.
- Join your professional organizations. KASL is our state organization. To join, you must first join the Kentucky Library Association and then choose KASL as your section (http://www.klaonline.org/). KASL has a great mentoring program that I recommend that you become part of. I can’t stress enough how important becoming involved in KASL has been in my library career. I also recommend joining ALA (http://www.ala.org/) and AASL (http://www.ala.org/aasl/).
- Look for professional development opportunities. I highly recommend the KASL Summer Refresher on July 16 and 17 (http://www.summerrefresher.com/). Librarians from all over the state will be presenting sessions. AASL has webinars available to members (http://www.ala.org/aasl/learning). Also, watch the KYLMS listserv for regional professional development events.
- Follow other librarians and groups on social media. Search #KyLChat and #KyGoDigital. Follow @KASL_Librarians on Twitter. Don’t be afraid to expand your network to include other states. #tlchat and #intlchat are two great examples. On Facebook, look for Future Ready Librarians and the Kentucky Association of School Librarians.
Take a deep breath. Let the staff and students know you are there to help them and start showing them how great you are. You are going to have an awesome year!
Dr. Melissa Gardner
Campbell County Middle School