The perfect librarian: is it about focus?

Philip Williams

Sometimes a day in the life of a librarian is like sitting in a swivel chair with everyone else deciding which way you turn. The day swings from tranquil moments to inundations of inspirations that need attention. I guess I am my own worst enemy since being interruptible has been a key focus of what I am about. The day to day running of library is always interruptible ensuring that our customers never feel unsure about if it is ok to come into the library spaces or to ask for assistance. The message is subtle and often unsaid but if the library has an open door that welcomes any inquirer at anytime, the library is much more likely to be seen as an extension of the classroom and a natural part of the workflow of students and teachers. This means that many times, important administrative tasks in the library are interrupted and postponed due to a need to attend to a student, teacher or parent inquiry. Most of these important administration tasks will never be seen or appreciated by library visitors and since there are no other librarians at my school, there is really no one else who understands what it takes to keep a library ticking along. Indeed, the better I do my job, the less people are actually aware of what I do because their access to the “good stuff” is seamless. Yet, this is actually how I like it but this brings me back to the title of this post. The perfect librarian: is it about focus?

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Thanks for the introduction Dianne,

Dianne McKenzie of fame very kindly invited me to write a guest post on her site to help kickstart my own blog. I have also included the post below to complete the loop. I was recently lucky enough to attend a workshop lead by Dianne and her colleague Gary Green where I was inspired (and gently pressured by Dianne) to begin this blog to document some my thinking, frustrations and successes, to pose questions and engage in a wider conversation about the unique role of the library in the communities they are a part of. We can never underestimate the library element in our communities and never shy away from connecting to librarians across the world.

So here is my guest post on Thanks Dianne!

>> Imagine creating the library you have always dreamt of.

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What is “The Library Element”?

Welcome to new The Library Element blog. I have poured myself into renovating, developing, refining and honing our library here are Vientiane International School. After often being asked about the redevelopment process, I have decided to begin The Library Element to document and share the many details and facets about the what, the how and, most importantly, the why behind what we have done. Please feel free to contact me if you have any comments or questions about anything you read on The Library Element.

So why “The Library Element”? The word “element” has multiple meanings in different contexts so it is suitably ambiguous for the purposes of considering the many different elements of the library.

We can find ourselves in our element in the library. The library is a unique space not found in other physical or social structures in our community.

Never understimate the significance of the library element in our communities. The connection between student achievement across all ages and a well resourced library with professional staff is unarguable. The correlation has been reinforced through numerous studies [ala; alsa; NY Comprehensive Center; IOE London]. We are not just talking about student achievement but also a personal and community sense of wellbeing is enhanced by the presence of a cultural centre such as the libary. Without the library element we begin to lose the very fabric of our community and society as a whole.

The library is an element in our community that cannot be reduced to a simpler form. In fact the role of the library in the information age has only expanded [New literacies; IASL; ASLA Learning without frontiers] .

The library is a primary constituent of our society. There is a reason why any despot, tyrant, marauder or dictatorship targets the destruction of the library as a means for control and the suppression of independent thought and free speech [Books on Fire].

Welcome to The Library Element.


Element: Oxford dictionary (British & World English)

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