Along with other essential personnel, school librarians start the school year early. The librarians started back to work, this week, in my neck of the woods.
The first day on contract is spent checking in with the other important folks who have turned up, the financial clerk, the school nurse, the attendance clerk and the principals. They all enjoy a sort of reunion, bringing each other up to date with family news, vacations enjoyed and health reports.
They fall into that fellowship that comes from experience, mutual goals and the camaraderie of soldiers in a foxhole. This solidarity and support is essential in order to get the job done each school year.
Back in the library, automation systems must be updated with the new school calendar, new faculty members must be added and of course the students' names must be imported. The library schedule must be devised and new district edicts must be incorporated into the routine.
Boxes of new books, which were delivered over the summer, must be checked against the packing slips. Glowing new covers must be caressed, new titles must be exclaimed over, marc records must be shined up. There are bulletin boards to cover, reading programs to prepare and lesson plans to write.
The teachers arrive early, long before their contracts start. Overhead projectors, cd players, globes and other life sustaining classroom equipment will be mustered in the library and moved into teachers' rooms. After the first or second day, the library staff is not working for itself anymore but for the teachers, so it should burn rubber those first few days.
Just as you start to get some things done, you realize that the building is still on summer hours so you will be booted out just as the work begins to flow. Frustration.
Before you know it, there will soon be new faces to meet, new reading interests to learn. There will be kindergarteners and first graders who cannot wait to learn to read. There will be fifth graders who do not care to touch a book.
They are waiting for you to make this the year they fell in love with books and reading.
The year ahead beckons and you can't wait.