Monday, April 2, 2012

A Day in the life of a school library

A day in the life of a school library, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Friends Academy, Kumar Wang Library

It’s 7:30 am and MaryAnn, archivist and middle school librarian unlocks the library as the first students begin arriving on campus.  Soon, almost all the junior classes’ 100 students have gathered in the large open main floor of the library.  Most of the desktop computers are already being used by students, many rushing to print work they need to hand in today.  Faculty advisors chat with their advisees and take attendance.    At 8:05 am the school day begins with a moment of silence.    Ms Carballo, junior advisor and college counselor, leads the weekly “College of the Week” game and several students and teachers make school announcements.   Two other members of the library staff who are junior advisors have also arrived.
At 8:15 am about 75 kids walk, race or stroll out of the library to their first class of the day, shouting and laughing all the way.  The rest must have a free because they are still hanging around looking for someone in their class who can help them with last night’s homework that isn’t quite done.  Carol is staffing the main desk, checking out textbooks and laptops while Judy is fixing the Xerox copier and coaxing a few seniors to sit down and get to work. 
By nine am library staff members Laurie and Laura arrive and the day is in full swing.  MaryAnn’s 7th grade research class wanders in and heads downstairs to the Middle School Library area to work on their World Cultures papers.  Laura is uploading the latest student book reviews into our online catalog.    Judy is in the library lab with a ninth grade English class teaching them to find sources for an essay they will be writing on technology in schools.  Most of the students brought their own laptops and the others grab one from the library’s laptop cart.  By the end of the class the kids are loving ProQuest and have already found a few good articles for their essays.  A few ask if Judy can email the notes to them.  By mid-day Laura has put the notes onto the library’s portal page so the students can access them from home.  This works better than emailing them.
By 10:00am  the library is getting crowded again, students who are not playing a sport this spring head off to PE class and many other upper school students are free.  As usual, the freshman and sophomores settle in upstairs while the juniors and seniors head for their favorite tables on the main floor.  There is lots of milling around and it’s pretty noisy at the beginning of the block but five minutes into the period the library staff has cajoled most kids into a seat.  Any students still roaming around get the boot!
The first lunch serving has begun and for the next two hours there is a constant ebb and flow of students and teachers through the library.  So far today the circulation desk has checked about eighty textbooks out and in.   Several teachers have checked out DVDs for their classes, almost every seat is taken, a group of students have borrowed Flip cameras for a class project, every Calculus book is being used, one AP Gov book is missing and another section of the 7th grade research class has come and gone.   It seems like every electrical outlet is being used by a student to charge their MacBook and every study carrel in the quiet reading area is occupied.  Teachers have started coming by to borrow audio books for spring break travels and Carol is meeting with a Follett sales rep about E- books.
By two pm everyone has had lunch.  Laura, who works part time and is a graduate library student, leaves and heads off to her class.  Mrs. Garry’s AP English class arrives to put up their annual display of reviews of their favorite books.  Laurie, who manages the school’s textbook program, is out of the building and Judy is staffing the main desk and deleting VHS tapes from the collection.   There is an eerie silence, where is everyone?  Crash, bang, three senior boys are chasing each other down the stairs.  Those junior girls who could not contain their laughter earlier are back again and rushing off to practice.  Another few moments of silence and here come the usual middle school kids who stay after school to do their homework before taking the late bus home.  It’s 5:30 pm, Carol’s day to lock up, everyone else is gone.  Three more days until spring break.   


  1. This is great! The chaos and the fun all resonate. Those moments of silence are precious, too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You're right! I did just live this day!