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Present-day Profile of a Librarian – Attitude and Skills

By General, Librarian's Role, Lockdown - Covid-19 3 Comments

What is the need of a school library?

For every accreditation of the school, the Library is an essential part of school systems. Libraries are built and given importance to support multi-literacies, nurture life-long readers and learners. Thus, placing the librarian to perform a teacher’s role, an information specialist, and the library program administrator. Therefore, the librarian is a necessary aspect of the school system. They are responsible for acquiring resources like books and online databases, organizing and maintaining the resources to meet the school community’s learning needs.

What are the Librarians doing during the pandemic of 2019?

This year of the pandemic has shown that when the librarian has been a risktaker, independent & collaborative in learning, committed, and adaptive, they have been successful in this given situation.

Many librarians have had a reduced number of classes. Some have not had lessons but instead collaborated with classroom teachers, librarians have provided digital resources to support teaching & learning. Some librarians have been co-teaching, teaching other subjects, taking after school activities for reading sessions or engaging in debates, competitions, and school events. Librarians have taken on different roles (not traditional bookkeepers of the Library) which must not be mistaken to believe that the librarian’s position is unimportant, but recognize librarians as adaptive, flexible, and versatile.

Many local private schools administrations requested the librarians to take a sabbatical from work during the pandemic. After ten months, the administration is now offering them to return to work by providing them with the professional training to bring them up to speed with technology and teaching pedagogy. Had the administration, used this opportunity to train all educators and librarians simultaneously, it would have helped them financially and, including the librarians, would have helped raise the librarians’ standards and the Library’s role in the school.

The librarian role, like other educators, is evolving each year. Having the right attitudes are essential for success. Besides the required academic qualifications, librarians need to be adaptive learners and experimental in their approach.

What skills must Librarians have to meet the needs of schools?

  • One of the most crucial skill is finding ways to serve the community of learners, from students to teachers and even parents. So, when students do not have access to printed books, they can find other ways to introduce new eBooks based on students’ interests and needs, as seen during this pandemic situation. Sometimes, teachers need books to teach, but with no physical books available, the librarian needs to identify eBooks and resources to serve the teachers’ needs. Besides, teachers and students, librarians can reach out to parents. For example, during – the pandemic, librarians can provide well-research articles to parents to develop a balanced understanding of print and digital life.
  • Librarians need to be adaptive to revise systems and develop new ways. For example, librarians have started creating websites to provide a one-stop-shop for all users during the pandemic. They have altered the procedures for book checkouts. Some librarians in rural India started sending PNG’s instead of Jpegs because of its small size file through WhatsApp messages to direct students to websites.
  • Librarians need to take new initiatives. This pandemic has shown the librarians and the administration that eReources are essential for learning. Keeping this mind, the librarians should take the initiative by requesting changes in the budgets to support subscription of electronic resources in the form of databases to support differentiation and personalized learning paths.  All free resources may not meet all learners’ needs; therefore, structured eResources for building language literacy and other subjects will need to subscribe. Librarians can take the initiative to learn about the school curriculum, learn about the new databases, request for database trials, and recommend appropriate electronic databases or programs that will support teachers and students. Librarians must restructure and relocate funds for these new resources, make practical suggestions, and allocate a judicious amount spent on books and eResources.
  • Librarians must become familiar with many technology tools, and use it purposefully. Using fancy tools and making glamorous presentations without merit and learning value must be kept in mind and avoided.
  • Most importantly, learning to use technology is not as crucial as knowing and reading children’s literature for primary and secondary schools.
  • Learning, using and helping others use information and media ethically and respecting the copyright works of authors who put in the effort to share their craft and knowledge. And, most importantly, to credit and learn to use information and media lawfully.

What other skills and expectations should Librarians develop?

librarianship as a profession, one must always remember to keep the light of learning alive and relevant to meet new school programs and initiatives that continue to evolve to meet each child’s needs. Librarians must, therefore continue to fine-tune the following skills.
– Learning to prepare reports in written and oral form.
– Learning to interpret the school curriculum and find ways to add meaning and value to the library program.
– Build healthy, safe, and effective relationships with all community members, including students, teachers, parents, supervisors, vendors,       and volunteers.
– Creatively adapt and use best practices to meet the needs of the school community.

Steve Maraboli, a Behavioral Scientist, specializing in motivational psychology, leadership dynamics, and peak performance mindset, says, “Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”

So, I say to myself, what I learn today is good for now, but the wisdom I have gained in the process will support what I will need to know tomorrow. Learning never stops.

How to Prepare for a Library Job Interview?

By Librarian's Role 5 Comments

What can you do to have a successful interview that puts you in the league of contemporary librarians?

It’s this time of the year, starting January all the way to June when job openings begin to emerge in both local and international schools. And, one begins to think about newer opportunities. One of my dear friend, says, “Once in a while, going for an interview tells you, your worth in the market.” scary but true! Keeping this in mind, I did a little research on some of the questions that might come up in the interview, apart from the regular ones we prepare for.

Firstly, send in your CV to the human resource department (HR). They will pass your CV to the right person, that’s the general protocol. You will be called and invited.

Secondly, it is important to read up on the latest trends and the school that you are interviewing with. Don’t be afraid to say you do not know.  The interviewers don’t ask what is already mentioned in your CV, what’s the point? Interviewers want to get to know your educational belief and philosophy along with your strengths and weaknesses, your enthusiasm and the desire to learn.  An interview is more of a conversation to get to know each other.

Here is a list of ten questions to help you think about yourself?

  1. Why do you wish to work at our school? What draws you to this institution?
  2. Tell us about two books that you’ve read recently? (Describe rather more than giving the titles of the books – this tell a lot)
  3. The interviewer might give you different scenarios: Suppose a student /parent comes into the library to complete a school project – what would you do?     
  4. Describe your experience using technology and assisting people with technology in any setting?
  5. In your opinion, what are the top 3 things that libraries can do to impact its users and why?
  6. Describe what your interaction or your class looks like when you interact with students?
  7. What according to you are your strengths and weaknesses?
  8. Describe what teamwork or collaboration looks like to you in your experience? 
  9. Describe your management style?
  10. How do you stay current in your field?

Other topics you may want to consider:  Your views on the use of ebooks,  information and media ethically. Different web 2.0 tools that you have used or learning to use.  How would you deal with a problem situation? A successful project that you have been a part of and what makes you tick or enjoy in your role as a librarian.

Here are some questions you may want to ask your interviewer:

  1. What is the decision-making process or the protocol in bringing about changes in the library? ( This is when the Heads are looking to revamp the library and      you may want to know the protocol of the organization)
  2. What databases or software do they currently use? (This will give you time to learn and prepare for your new role)
  3. What kind of training and professional development will I be offered? (This shows your desire to learn and grow)
  4. Would you share some light on the procurement and collection development philosophy or process? (Only if you are interested)
  5. How does the faculty or students or the community view the library at your school? (This will give you a brief overview of your future role and the current situation)