Middle School Observations: Part 4
This is the final in a series of posts about my experiences during an open house event last month. The open house was for incoming 6th graders and their parents at the middle school where my daughters will be attending next year. In the original post, I introduced 3 observations from that event:
1. The open house was engaging.
2. An understanding of information literacy was present.
3. The media specialist (a.k.a. librarian) was golden!
I love the outdoors, and I frequently get “lost” in my surroundings on a trail, in a forest, or on a mountain rock outcrop overlooking a valley. I could say the same thing about libraries. I love them, and I frequently get “lost” in them. I was very impressed with the middle school library. The entire facility is only three years old, so there is still an attractive newness to the place. Aside from that the library is well-equipped with print resources, technology, and inviting user space. But I was most impressed with the library’s keeper–the media specialist. As a librarian myself, it was invigorating to be an observer of the magic of librarianship that she personified. Her enthusiasm for reading and “research” was evident and contagious. She focused her attention squarely on the children (i.e. her future library users). She drew them into the “orientation” of the library (more engagement). She explained how she works not only in the library but goes out into the classrooms each week to work with the students on their turf (the embedded librarian). She was very clear in the fact that, above all, she is there to help.
I hate to admit it, but there are days that I don’t feel like being a librarian or placing my focus on helping others with their information needs. During such times in the future, I hope I can draw on a vivid memory of how a middle school media specialist offered me a motivational speech on librarianship without even realizing it.
As the media specialist was wrapping up her time with our group, she said to the kids–her future library users [paraphrasing here], “I’m looking forward to seeing you on campus next year. If you ever need help with anything–and not just library stuff–come see me.” Later in the evening I overheard a child talking to her parent. I could tell that she was talking about the visit to the library. She said [exact quote], “I liked her. I’ve never heard a librarian offer to help me with things out of the library.”
I reflected on that for quite a while.
In that 11-year-old’s mind, that media specialist is golden.