Sunday, January 18, 2009

Center of a School

I've recently come to the conclusion that the librarian is a significant hub at any school. In our school of about 750 students, the librarian is the only person who sees every single student every week. That alone is daunting, but when one considers all the other responsibilities inherent in running a school library the job seems exceptionally difficult.

My second year at our school we got a new librarian. She had been at other elementary schools and at least one high school. She was fabulous. Her lessons tied into our content and engaged our students. She invited teachers into the library as equals in terms of looking for new books to order or organization or any host of other issues. When I attended meetings around our district and spoke with other librarians they always mentioned her name with respect and awe. We were blessed!

She retired in December. She was planning to retire last June, but remained for an extra six months so that her replacement could be ready. That would be Tree. She needed one more semester to have enough credits to be our librarian. So our previous librarian stayed. Our amazing principal made it possible for them both to be in the library for that period. Talk about blessed.

I think our new librarian will continue to raise the bar. She's already met with my team to talk about her plans for our students. She's not constrained by the need to do things the way they've always been done. Most importantly, her first thought is always, "How will this help our students?" I am amazed at how much I think a school gains from having a strong, brilliant librarian as a leader.

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