Teen Librarian Toolbox
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Things I Didn’t Learn in Library School: Thoughts from a second year school librarian (guest post by Rachel Kammerer)

I sent an email to Karen Jensen thanking her for this site. I get so many great ideas and book reviews that I just wanted to let her know that I was reading (and thankful). She responded to me and asked if I’d write a post explaining what I didn’t learn in library school or how the reality meets up with my expectations. ACK! The pressure began. I read this site daily. What can I, a second year librarian, offer to the readers? 

While getting my library science degree, I kept a folder of “ideas and tips” for when I became a librarian. I thought I’d change the world. Then I actually started working in the library.
To help you understand my situation, I am a “one woman show” with a few student aides during the day. I literally go in each morning thinking of the ONE task that I need to do and if that gets completed by the end of the day, I’m thrilled. There are so many interruptions. I wasn’t expecting that when I became the librarian. 

My expectations going into the library were not sugar coated, though. The librarian who retired shared with me an accurate picture of what my life would be like in the library. I was happy to have her counsel. There are things I still want to do, and I’ve put them down on paper. I think my focusing on a few items a year, I can complete my list, knowing that my list will evolve. I hope to even look back at those ideas and tips I collected while in library science school.
During my first year, I just tried to keep up with what the previous librarian had done. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so I kept the same policies and procedures.

I did make one huge change to begin my career in the library. I attended a session at my local service center about “genre-fying the library” (special thanks to Tammy Burns at Granbury High School for leading the session!). 
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you
I spent over 20 hours of my own time going through my fiction books and putting stickers on them. I used the CIP or book jacket summaries to help guide me. Even though it was a lot of work at the beginning, I think the pay-off for me was worth it! One, I got to see what my fiction section held. Two, I got to make notes of books in series that I was missing. Three, once I rearranged the books and put them into the sections, I was able to make recommendations to students much easier. 
During the first year, I learned more about the circulation system than just checking in and out books. I kept a journal. I’m glad I did this, as it was fun way to see my growth and emotions as I progressed.  I kept a phone log (the primary source of my daily interruptions!). All of my notebooks that held my “library knowledge” (class assignments, PPTs, notes) stayed almost undisturbed on my shelves. Who had time to refer back to that stuff? I did look at my cataloging notes one time when a book I ordered did not have a MARC record download. I decided that I didn’t have the time to do the monographic worksheet , so I’d just put the book in a “to be done later” pile that was growing rapidly. 
I just finished my second year as a high school librarian. I feel a little more knowledgeable, creative and assure of myself. I decided that my student aides could (and should) do more. After all, I was training them to work in the library. They should see more of the behind the scenes and not just be circulation clerks for me.
One of the biggest gaps in my library science education is not knowing how other libraries run behind the scenes. I’m not sure, though, I would understand and appreciate knowing until now. As I grow in my profession, I ask questions. I enjoy reading what other librarians do. I visit other libraries and look with a different lens. On my family’s vacation this year, I visited a major city’s library. I took pictures, copies of their handouts and spoke with two librarians. I wasn’t looking as a patron, but as a colleague trying to improve her own systems. 
Using sites like TLT and following blogs of librarians, I get book recommendations, programming ideas and just a chuckle every now and again. I also get validation that what I’m doing is what others are doing, too, and we share some of the same struggles. 
So what can I offer you, the reader of TLT? 
1.       Whether you are a new or seasoned librarian, we need each other! I get so many good ideas and wise counsel that I’m thankful for our library community. I hope that as a new librarian, I can reignite the enthusiasm you had when you took over your first library.
2.       Perhaps you’ll get a good idea from me as well. 
3.       Make some time to reflect on yourself and your job. They are not the same. My journal lets me vent without hurting others’ feelings, document so I will remember what happened more accurately,  and put pen to paper all of the great ideas I have floating around in my head.  
I think my overall degree plan was solid. I’m glad that I had to take some courses that I thought I would never need (as I have!). As it turns out, this summer I accepted an additional job as Library Consultant to a local college. Even though most of my elective classes were geared towards the school library, I do have some knowledge of the academic library for which I’m thankful. 
One thing I wish I had learned more of was how to repair books correctly.  Right now, I’m repairing as I know how or not at all. There is a growing pile of “how in the world do I fix that?” books. Again, as a one woman show, the repairs get a low priority. 
I expect to be a great librarian with a great library. I need to realize that this goal will take time. I can’t do it all my first year, my second year or even my third year. However, I enter this third year with high hopes. I will work towards a few goals, implement some new ideas and continue to grow.
I did learn in library school that the reality of this profession is to help others, and for that I’m grateful. 
Rachel Kammerer is a second year school librarian.