I'm doing a couple of things this term that I feel are vital to ensuring that the value of the work I do in the library is recognised and appreciated. I am going to do an annual report for our BOT and present it to them. And last week I gave a 30 minute presentation at a staff meeting.
In the bustle of my work days I have time for neither of these activities. During Labour weekend I made time to practise my presentation and all of the preparation was done at home, in the evenings and on weekends. Was it nerve-wracking speaking in front of staff? YES! Was it worth giving up my own time? Well, the feedback from staff has been fantastic. An experienced teacher said she doubted one of my statistics (the UK's National Literacy Trust found that 48% of low achieving children have trouble finding things to read). When she asked her class (of typical 10- and 11-year-olds) one-third of them admitted to finding it hard to choose their next book. Then she followed another suggestion and once she'd returned the library books for her class she spread them out on the issues desk and invited her students to have a look at what others in the class were reading. About half the books were re-issued.
I've had teachers get their students to write me a letter suggesting books to get for the library, others have talked to their students about the importance of reading for pleasure, and one class earned their first ever special award for having no overdues this week. Many teachers have said that I have reminded them of the importance of the library. How cool is that? So YES, it was worth spending my personal time working on the presentation. I have requested extra hours for next year, but who knows how that will turn out. At least for now I know that teachers and management are thinking about the library and what I do in it. They know I don't just cover books and tidy shelves because I've told them. They know what I can do to help their students improve their academic outcomes and increase their enjoyment of reading. I guarantee you they're not wondering if the library needs a librarian in it.
Here are my presentation slides: