In my first year out of university, I worked in high school libraries. And for the last two years, I’ve been working in an academic library. For those who are just starting their career journey, and are interested in this type of library work, I thought I would write about what its like working in each of these environments.
At one of my school library positions, I was solely responsible for designing, creating and maintaining a new library webpage using LibGuides.
This system is used by many school and university libraries for an array of purposes. LibGuides can be used within a university’s website to create individual subject guides. For example, the Law Library at a university may link to individual LibGuides for Criminal Law, Tax Law, Writing a Research Project, Finding Case Law etc while still sitting within the larger institution’s website (run by another vendor). I have helped with some guides like this while working at a university library, as well as other e-learning systems such as Moodle (creating quizzes for students and online tutorials etc).
However at the school library, the LibGuide constituted the entire library website, linked over from the school’s webpage. Here I will briefly discuss the functionalities of such as system and my experiences in using it to create a website from the ground up.
A few months back, I attended a full day workshop through the School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV). It was called ‘Cultural Weeding’ and was run by Kevin Hennah, who also authored the book ‘Rethink’.
Kevin is a consultant, originally from the retail field, who works with libraries to rethink and upgrade their layout and culture for the 21st Century. His workshop “showcases forward thinking and innovative initiatives. A collection of ideas that…need to be embraced or at least considered in order to keep libraries relevant for many years to come.” While I focus mainly on the school library, these ideas are also easily applicable to public and other libraries.
One of my favourite things about working in a high school library is using my creativity to engage the students to come in and enjoy our collections and events. I want them to view the library as a safe haven, and a fun place to spend their time. I want them to know they can come to the library whenever they want to relax, read, play, or need help with school stuff. This post will discuss the programs I have run, and some ideas I have for the future to continue to engage youth in the library.