A Day in the Life of a Library Aide #1

Meet our next guest library staff member. She is a library aide. She works in a school in Queensland that teaches students aged 3 to 18. She gave us a rundown of her day and what she loves about her job.

I love the flexibility of my role. Some days I am getting textbooks for students, organising digital textbook licences and liaising with heads of learning areas about resources, and other days I am creating fun and interactive displays to encourage students to read more (or sometimes all of this at once!)

Three words that best describe me are motivated, creative and excited.

If I had more time in my role I would run a parent-student book club, create more interactive displays and after school events and clubs (like a club where you could come and make items from books, like Harry Potter wands or dragon eggs or old maps for epic quests).

I start my day at 9am, which is perfect for heading to the beach before work. When I get to work, the library has already been open a few hours, manned by other library staff. I start my day by catching up on emails, fielding any requests from teachers for specific titles, checking for subject changes and students that will need new textbooks, and catching up on publisher emails who let me know about new books and resources.

At 9:15am I place an order for the library supplies one of my fellow librarians has requested. Then I jump back into the work I have been doing planning a display for our primary library. I gather resources, make a list of books I can display, and start creating a poster. I receive an email from a teacher requesting teacher resources for their subject, so I do a bit of research about the title, and draft up a request for a quote.

9:45am - a Year 8 class comes into the library for quiet reading. The teacher has requested a book chat, so I give the students a quick reminder of the library sections and show them some new books, pointing out some of my personal favourites and some that I highly recommend, then I help each student find a good book.

At 10am a teacher enquires about a book that a colleague has mentioned to her. It’s currently on loan, so I direct her to the State Library of Queensland. I write her an email with the details on joining and finding the resource she needs. Then it’s back to my display design.

At 10:30am I grab a few new books we have and head to a small conference room for our high school book club, leaving the other librarians to man the circulation desk and library area. For the next 45 minutes the students and I talk about the books we have been reading, things we liked or didn’t like about them and the stories we have been writing. We argue, talk really loudly, laugh a lot and have heaps of fun.

11:30. Time for morning tea. I grab something to eat and take a few minutes to jump back into reading the book I’m enjoying. Halfway through my break, a teacher comes looking for me and I go to help them find the textbook they need.

12noon. I get our national library network digest delivered to my inbox. It has a host of reviews, requests for help, ideas, tips, links and fun ideas. A quick read and then I mark it for follow up. I help do the returns and loans for a junior class that comes through for borrowing and answer a few requests for help finding books on the shelves.

1:00pm - Time for the student’s second break, so it’s out to the main library area to supervise, help readers find books and do a bit of reshelving.

1:40pm. Lunch time for me. Finally. A busy day means I’m pretty hungry (actually, I’m always hungry!!). I duck outside with my food to enjoy a bit of sunshine and fresh air while eating and reading my book (seriously, the only time I get to read as a librarian is on my breaks).

2pm: Back inside, I grab the pieces I have ready for a new display on sustainability, pulling down the old one we had up for Library Lovers Day. I find some new books about recycling and add them to the display stands. Then it’s back to my desk to update the digital textbook licence spreadsheet, working across three data inputs. Some students come up to my desk to ask to borrow (my desk has awesome wobbly chairs on the other side that are a big draw card to borrowers at my station). I manage to get the spreadsheet updated, so I shoot off an email to the textbook supplier, hitting send just as the bell rings.

At 3pm it’s back to the main library space to supervise students as they come in after school to study, do homework or read. While doing that, I’m reshelving books, talking to students about what they are reading, adding books to shelf displays and tidying furniture. Phone calls come in about students who need to meet their siblings or make it to the bus. I field questions about finding books and what a decimal fraction of 150 is (answer: no idea).

At 4pm everyone has settled in their homework and study enough that I can finish that email I was drafting about a newsletter featuring the latest library event and send it to the marketing person. While doing this, I loan out a few books, help a student track their reserved item and find pencils for the students who don’t have one.

4:30pm. Time to stock up the printers, order new paper, shut windows, tidy the furniture, and get the library ready for shut down.

At 4:45 we remind borrowers that the library will close soon and make sure younger students have someone coming to collect them. We do a few last minute loans and get ready to shut the library at 5pm.

5pm: head home and rest up for another exiting day tomorrow.



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