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What I wish I'd known as a new librarian - a meme?


Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.
Oscar Wilde

Leigh Ann Jones over at Shelf Consumed offers 10 things she wished she'd known as a new librarian. It's a great list. Go read it right now. Subscribe to Leigh Anne's blog while you're there. I'll wait.

I love these sorts of lists. I'd played with them myself from time to time.

I'll add my own "Wish I'd known" items to Leigh Ann's list. I don't know if I can get to 10, though...

  1. I am the librarian's custodian, not its owner. The library belongs to the staff and students. I am there to help them achieve what they want to achieve, not to create MY idea of a perfect library.
  2. If you don't actively engage in long-term planning, you will never improve.
  3. Assessment of the program is critical if you want to keep your job. (1 and 2)
  4. Reporting are as important as program. You can't just do great stuff, you have to have a real plan to let staff, admin and parents know about it.
  5. Shared policy-making is the only way to have more influence.
  6. The principal has to be your ally, and you have to be his/her ally.
  7. Copyright counselor is a better role than copyright cop.
  8. Kids can teach me as much as I teach them.
  9. If your parents and teachers won't advocate for you, you are doomed.
  10. Collaboration is a means and not an end - and you will never get every teacher on staff to work with you. And it's not you.

OK, I did make it to 10!

If I could add an 11th, it would be that the best impact you have is having an impact on individual kids and teachers. You don't have to change the world - just the world of another person.

Add your "Things I wish I'd known to this and Leigh Ann's blog!

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Reader Comments (7)

I wish I had known that there are never enough hours in the day to get everything accomplished--so you need to priortize and stay focused.
I wish that I had known that there will always be some one who will not be happy with you and that it is not something that you did.

I love my job even though it changes every year and the learning curve is steep..the faces of the students as they come back and discuss their favorite books makes it all worthwhile.

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRati Singhal

Your list "Top 10 Things Baby Teachers Should Know About School Libraries" is just what our Manitoba School Library committee needs as we prepare a presentation for Manitoba's newest teachers. Thanks!

September 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJo-Anne Gibson

Hi Rati,

I agree with both your comments. The last one especially is true - the profession has changed and will continue to change dramatically. It's never the same job two years in a row.


Hi Jo-Anne,

Nice to hear from you!

Please use the Baby Teacher's piece as you can. I think it is also a part of Joyce Valenza's Power Tools book.

All the best,


September 13, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Point number 1 is my favorite on your list. I would add that I wish I would have known there was no one right way to do things in the library.

September 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDonna Bills

Hi Donna,

Thanks for your suggestion. It's a good one. I'd also add that there is no one right way to be a successful library program!


September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

I wish I had known that someone will not be happy with you and it is something that you did! Things like lots of computers in the Media Center, books and materials on a wide array of topics (especially the ones that fit the needs of the students but are unpopular in the "community"), and a student friendly decorated Media Center complete with worn out couches and furniture that won's last fifty years. :)

September 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMary Jane Jones

Hi Mary Jane,

Well, I've never found the secret for making everyone happy so I make decisions on what I honestly believe is best for kids and let the chips fall. Seems to have allowed me to sleep well at nights even when not very popular!

All the best,


September 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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