="Title" content="Issues and challenges of a small library">

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Service Delivery

Valuing your time and giving the best service

To follow are three posts made to a library listserve of which I am a member. Names have been removed and my reply is at the end.
First Posting
I am wanting to know what others do with regards to their library timetables. For the past 12 years I have operated a fixed timetable, ie. each class in the school had a set library time which meant each class saw me for several weeks each term. This was done because staff wanted a regular timeslot and it did ensure I saw all classes.
However, I am seriously considering switching to a flexible timetable next year for Years 4 - 7. Teachers are becoming so busy that many of them can't fit a visit to the library in when they are scheduled to come or they forget. I am so busy that I don't chase them. They are supposed to come and see me before each term's lessons begin so that I can fit in with what they're doing, but most don't.
I guess I'm questioning the value of what I am doing and would like to know what others do with regard to scheduling of lessons. I am in a pretty big school - over 800 kids so that adds to the problem of fitting everyone in and keeping everyone happy and satisfied.
Any feedback, ideas, suggestions are welcome.
Second Posting-
I was new to the job as TL this year and have had no prior experience as I was a graduate Early Childhood teacher who was appointed to teach Preschool and do the Library. I have a fixed timetable as I thought this was the easiest for me being new to the job etc. Most classes attend, and I plan with the classroom teacher as to what they are doing etc. I am finding that I need set time to get my head around the rest of the job and catching up with loads of accessioning and covering that has been sitting here for as long as 12mths.
My younger year levels are happy to just have a book read to them and group discussion as they do not have much time for general shared reading with all the classroom requirements that have to be met these days.
I am open for any suggestions myself as I have no formal training in the library department.
Third Posting-
I know my situation is different because of the secondary department at (School Name) but I have run a flexible timetable for many years. This way I find I am working with teachers who have planned to use the library and not just using me as a baby sitting service. This way if a teacher wants to do block work in the library, say 3 or 4 sessions in a week for a couple of weeks then not again until the next trimester that's the way we work it.
The only classes that have fixed times in the library are the 1's to 3's. We find it easier for them to do it this way as we usually combine borrowing time with the lesson time and they are less likely to forget if it is a set day.
You will find some classes will rarely come, except for borrowings, under this system but over the course of their school life you will still see them and probably in a more effective way than previously.
My problem now is that since I am 0.5 NCT & relief my teachers are finding it hard to make bookings as I NEVER know which days I will be used for relief in any fortnight and the two days I know I am not used for relief are already fully booked. 'Not happy Jan' but what am I supposed to say?
My Reply-
I am in a small school this year and they are used to a very structured approach. I am only on campus 2 days per week and one day is for teaching and the other day is for admin.
So it has evolved that the timetable is structured, but it does change from term to term.

What I am finding though is that the planning and preparation for this small school takes as long as what it did in a bigger school. There is still the planning for 6 different class groups, and finding resources is quite time consuming. I am sourcing a lot of online material as our own collection is very limited, and building these into a website as I go.

I think we have to be a bit realistic on what type of service we can provide with limited resources and time. And to also be ruthless about getting rid of the stuff that is not being used or in continuing to provide services which are not utilised well.

If teachers do not have the time to visit the library or plan the sessions so they are part of their teaching and learning programme it might be time to think of more time efficient ways to support their class activities.

I am working towards this by building and collecting online resources that can be used and reused, and can be put into place when the teacher has time to involve the class in them. (It also supports them I am not on campus). The days of just popping into the library to find a few things with the class is something we cannot cater for so delivering to them in a reusable and flexible fashion might be more appropriate.

Just a few ideas, hope they help.


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