On Becoming a ‘Grandma’ and Other Bits About Being an Elementary Librarian (Including That Word!)

TracyLots of you have been so lovely as to ask how my new job is. In a word: AWESOME!

Seriously, how did I nail such a sweet gig? I love my every day at school. This is never ever what I imagined myself doing, but as the principal put it: when there is wind in the sails, sometimes you just have to let it ride. I’m so glad I did and I am!

Yes, I know its only been a month and there is still lots of time for the cynicism to creep in that I was warned about, but for now I am cynicism free and just don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon. This is my fourth year working at the school, first year in this position, and I love it more with each year.

For those of you who imagine me roaming isles of dusty books in my sensible shoes and poorly fitted reading glasses, here is what I actually do as an elementary school librarian. (There’s that word again, more on that later!) Throughout the course of a week I see all 575ish students with a minimum expectation of returning books and checking out new ones.

But I can’t let our heavenly room of books live at such a low expectation so I have the incredible pleasure of creating something educational/interesting/just-plain-fun while they are with me. So far we have learned how to care for library books and watched hilarious BYU clips about book care, learned about germs and the proper way to catch a sneeze, with enhancements by a disgustingly cool Mythbusters video, found out how to choose AR level books using an app called Tellagami, and this week we will create ChatterKid snapshots with Halloween books. Our school is a Technology Magnet, so using tech is in the current of instruction and its so much fun for me to jump on board.

Yes, there is more to the job. But its stuff you don’t care about.

This week a coworker told me that she thinks of the ‘specials’ as grandparents. In our school that consists of PE, music, and library. Her analogy actually fits quite well. The students visit me each week, just enough time to create relationships and have some fun, but then they go back to their classrooms much the same as kids return home to their parents after a visit to grandma’s house. Well I can tell you, being a ‘grandma’ is fabulous. I love it! Of course the students will develop much closer relationships to their teachers and they are who the kids will remember, but from my perspective, being who and where I am is kind of perfect.

Now onto that questionable and awkward nobody-knows-what-to-do-about-it word. Librarian. I think of a librarian as someone who works in a library and aids patrons in finding books. In that sense, and for the sake of the kids who think of it the same way, I am the school librarian. Technically though, a librarian is someone who has completed a masters degree in library science. Of which I have not. So my actual position title is Media Manager. Well, hello! In this day and age when we hear the word Media, we don’t think of books. We think of social media. So the title gets confusing. Why do I tell you this? I don’t know. It just seemed to fit.

You’ve also been asking how it is to be a full time working mom. After eight years of stay-at-home momhood and then three years of part-time, this full time stuff is a bigger deal. Truthfully, its not too bad. I love my job and thrive in the work. Its the rest of life that gets tiring. Cooking, cleaning, sports and ballet, and everything else that has to happen is the hard part. But really, its small beans. We are fine and happy.

So there you have it. My life in a nutshell. A very happy and fulfilled nutshell. Thanks for asking. I love you for caring about the Lil’ Howk Family.



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