Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I am the Decider

Having thought a lot about the dilemma posted here yesterday (What the heck is my job anyway?), I've made a decision about the direction this semester must take. I needed a focus and now I've got one. I plan, in a positive way, to withdraw from campus life. Well, no, not exactly. Here's the thing - with a few dozen secondary libraries already closed or staffed with clerks only, there's a decent chance my days are numbered in this position, right? So, do I want to push forward with projects I'll never complete, only to be unprepared to pass the torch to someone (or no one) else at the end of June? No, I do not. Not to mention the fact that forward movement is totally out of the question on this campus right now anyway.

Yesterday ten or more teachers at our school learned that they would no longer be teaching what they have been teaching all year long. Why? No one really knows. Some district-level loophole closing (or opening) meant that Mr. Q had to move from 8th grade Algebra to 7th grade history and science, , Ms. C moved from 8th grade English to 7th grade something and a brand new first-year teacher who JUST got her credential was hired to take the 8th grade class (WHAT???), and so on. In addition to those confusing changes, another teacher is out on leave for two months and so has a sub, another has taken a position elsewhere and so a science teacher has become an English teacher to fill that position (wait, who's taking the abandoned science class?), and so forth.

So really, how am I going to innovate or collaborate under circumstances like these? Our poor, under served students. This is really and truly a tragedy for them (the teacher shuffling, not my lack of innovation).

Instead, I will get this library in ship shape. Every unfinished project I will either finish or dismantle. I will finally, after five years, go through the previous librarian's file cabinets and bring them up to date. I will catalog all of those pesky, strange materials that have been hiding in cabinets and drawers for ages (like the authentic Egyptian papyrus a teacher brought back from a trip). I will clean up the links on the library's web page, diagnose the problems with computers #2 and 14, weed out the unread and obsolete biographies, properly store the school's archival materials, and basically tie up every loose end that's been dangling since the summer of 2006 when I arrived on campus as the librarian. The previous, wonderful librarian left in a major medical rush and I spent a year tying up many of his loose ends, many that stretched back to the school's opening days in 1998. That was sort of fun, really, because I had to act as a detective, which I liked. However, it prevented me from getting a proper start here. I do not have to leave things that way (if I really do have to leave this summer), and so I won't.

This feels right. It's focused and it's not dependent on the participation of others. It's just me finally getting to the end of my To Do list. And hey, if I get to stay, I'll get to work in a pristine library for the first time! Not bad.

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