Part 1 – history
Girl, do I love me some parents!
I love how invested so many of them are in their child’s education, how much they genuinely love and appreciate literature in all its forms.
I am also passionately grateful for how they have made me the librarian I am today.
In my first librarian role, I was cast adrift in a brand new (ill thought out) space with no budget and a collection that met no reasonable criteria that I had ever encountered.
I was gifted a teaching schedule (I’m a die hard fan of fixed schedules) but found myself with no time for the mundane yet essential tasks of a teaching librarian with no assistant – reshelving, processing, repairing, cataloguing, displays.
Were my only choices to teach lessons in an unorganised library or work in my own time? (I was only employed part time.)
Oh no, neither of those were happening.
I wasn’t going to give up my own time (we all know teachers would work every minute of the day anyway), and there was ABSOLUTELY no way I going to accept teaching in a space where literature and research weren’t explicitly valued and promoted.
I’m a pretty hard worker but I knew I couldn’t do this on my own.
Being firmly in the ‘have cake and eat it too’ camp, and with no money for an assistant forthcoming, I knew it was time to enlist the parental army.
With the help of two bilingual PTA reps, I created the Friends of the Library (FOTL) program for my school.
(The name was shamelessly copied from the marvelous ES librarian at WAB, John Byrne.)
Over the course of a year, the FOTL was a thriving hub of over 10 parents whose accomplishments were so astronomical, I presented about them at the Librarians Knowledge Sharing Workshop at Keystone Academy in 2016.
To name just a few of their achievements:
- catalogued over 2000 Chinese books,
- promoted (and turned up to) every single library event, especially those during the school’s first Book Week,
- covered and repaired countless books,
- learnt how to reshelve and organise an ever changing collection that grew to almost 8000 titles,
- and, perhaps most importantly, tirelessly helped me push my agenda for reading aloud in mother tongue.
The FOTL did everything I never had time to do and were quite possibly the sole reason I was able to transform a corridor into a fully functioning library, with a vibrant connection to curriculum that created a strong culture of reading.
Read about how the FOTL program at my new school is being revived.