A Day in the Life of a Head of Library Services
Sarah Love is the Head of Library Services at Mandurah Catholic College, Mandurah Western Australia. The school library caters for students from Kindergarten to Year 12.
Sarah agree to answer our questions to give us an idea about what a typical day looks like for someone in the role of Head of Library Services.
What three words that best describe you?
Loud, busy, positive.
What do you spend most of your time doing?
Teaching - either for my classes, other classes I attend to teach research and referencing skills. Or planning library activities/sessions such as parent and child reading sessions, or Study Skills sessions.
What tasks are the next biggest spenders of your time?
What do you fill in the rest of the time with?
Admin - answering emails as a Head of Learning Area, liaising with staff in other Learning Areas about using library services such as LibGuides, databases, referencing and anti-plagiarism software. Attending meetings with other Learning Areas, Leadership Team, Middle Leaders.
What are some things that you only do occasionally? Liaise with the wider school staff community - we have nearly 160 staff members.
What would you do if you had more time?
Read more to and with students, and teach more primary classes.
What is the coolest project you have worked on or the coolest thing about your day?
Coolest project would definitely be our annual Book Week celebrations - we go all out with an author in residence, Book Character Dress-up Parade and dance party. Every primary class has an extra lesson with the Teacher Librarian that week. Dads (and father figures) come and read to groups of children. Classes buddy-up for reading sessions. Guest Readers (staff) go to every primary class. We also have Homeroom quizzes, recess and lunchtime activities, quizzes and competitions.
What’s the best thing that has happened to you in your role?
The best thing for me is when students who say “I don’t read” come in all excited about a book that I have given them and want the next book in the series!
What made you want to be a Teacher Librarian?
I think I was destined for this job, I was the little girl who made library cards for the front of all my books and ‘loaned’ them to family. My first holiday job at university was helping move the campus library and I spent most of my time in the library finding out how the computers worked and how I could use them to make my life easier. I worked in International Schools for 8 years as a teacher and my best friend at one school persuaded me being a Teacher Librarian was the best job out there and encouraged me to retrain - she wasn’t wrong!
What is one thing you would really like someone to know about your job?
I rarely have time to read at school, our library is busy and noisy a lot of the time. We like to think the noise is purposeful.
What does your typical day look like?
In a typical week we open at 8am and close at 4pm. I’m on duty from 8 until homeroom at 8.20 and then again from 3-4pm. I have homeroom 3 mornings a week and run Reader’s Club for the primary school between 8.10 and 8.25 the other 2 mornings. I teach 8 lessons of my own to the Year 7s each week. I teach 5 primary classes each week - rotating between the year groups. I teach on average 3 other lessons each week to High School classes where teachers ask me to teach research, referencing and anti-plagiarism skills or talk to students about the benefits of reading and give Book Talks to students from Years 7 -12. I take a Study Skills Session weekly during recess for Year 11 students. I run a weekly Relax and Read session after school for primary children and their parents. At recess and lunchtimes we have students playing board games and card games or using our giant chess board, and we have a number of students for whom the library is a ‘safe space’ out of the school yard with 1700 students. We generally have at least 1, usually 2 or 3, classes booked into the library, up to 20 students on study lessons, primary students changing their readers or borrowing library books every period of the week.
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