Moving on #blogjune 21

I’ve been dreaming of leaving this job since about 3 days after I started. I try not to think of anything as a “mistake” (because everything’s a learning experience, right?) but that’s certainly what it felt like here for about…oh, the first 12 months.

Preschool storytime 2016
Action Shot

Yet now, as I sift through work files and school event photos on my laptop and start to Trash and Burn, I have a sudden rush of … feelings.

This is the second-longest job I’ve held. Not necessarily because I have a short attention span – sometimes I’ve moved on in a hurry, but general Life events have also played their part (study, travel, child rearing). My last job before this I stayed 3 years, and it was the first time I left a position because it was the right thing to do, rather than to escape a tyrannical boss or poor working conditions. I was wholly unprepared for how leaving would feel. In the past I had left under cover of darkness, or in such rage against the machine that there was no room for feelings of sadness.

Primary library lesson
Listening intently, which students always do, whenever I speak lolololololololol

Here is a little of the latter, but it has been a long period of my life. And there have been some great moments, and some fantastic people – coworkers, students, random old ayis in the street. It’s also my last school-based teaching job (although, never say never as my teaching college buddy always said). At least by choice. And possibly my last librarian job for a little while. In a few days I will officially be unemployed.

So it’s all a bit emotional. And it will be a bittersweet farewell to China and all who sail in her.

IMG_1863
Not the most inspirational 21st century library environment, but I’ve stared at it every day since August 2014. Incidentally, what is it with me and getting jobs in ugly libraries? (Ayi joining the shot…)
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Final week #blogjune 20

Last week at school. Racing to get my bi-annual report done before Friday, book my tickets for our 2 week train jaunt around China, pack our bags, prepare gifts, clean the house, finish updating the Library policy, clear my desk…

And I get this page:

Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 12.02.51 pm.png

What do you think the Chinese Government have against infographics? Every single site seems to be blocked. I’m even trying with the VPN on (which we are not supposed to use at school) and it still won’t load. *cry cry cry*

At least I have an outline for my bi-annual report – I’m borrowing the headings from my Library Policy, which I think is a stroke of genius but is more likely biting off more than I can chew (a particular skill of mine):

Library Mission, Aims, Goals etc

  • community profile

Library Services

  • Teaching and learning (or curriculum)
    • Overview
    • Library orientation
    • Collaborative teaching
    • Development of resources
    • professional development/training
  • Reader Services
    • Book Week
    • Panda Book Awards
    • Displays
    • Book talks, discussions, book groups
    • Reading lists
    • Classroom support e.g. guided reading
  • Tech support
    • ICT lab
    • laptop / ipad loans
    • Library website
    • Recommended sites and tools
    • Training
  • Use of library space
    • Bookings

Collection development

  • Collection snapshot
    • new books
    • new collections (home language, graphic novel)
    • new digital resources

Circulation

  • circ stats e.g. top 10 primary, top 10 secondary
  • top borrowing homerooms

Staffing

  • Snapshot
  • Professional development and training attended

Evaluation and Goals – moving forward

  • Library services
  • Collection
  • Circulation
  • Staffing

Can I finish for this for Friday?? If not, I will blame the internet 🙂

Exit strategy #blogjune 16

Only 6 1/2 days of school to go. I’m tidying my desk, my Inbox, my Documents folder…and I’m sifting through the “Things I Started But Quickly Discovered Nobody Cared About So I Stopped” pile. It’s an unfortunate side effect of this role that I have developed a Very Bad Habit that goes completely against my character: I have stopped completing some tasks I know to be important when I’ve learned nobody cares about them, or worse, if I learn that other staff, or managers, mock me for doing them. It’s last minute, but I am so disappointed to make this realisation that I am going to try to rectify it to some extent by setting myself the challenge of creating an annual report for the Library using infographics.

I’m testing these sites:

Canva (can’t get the templates to load without VPN *cry cry cry*)

Piktochart (like a lot. Easy to use, pretty templates, loads without VPN)

Infogram (could be great, but templates won’t load without VPN)

Easelly (already annoying because weird layout and templates won’t load without VPN)

So I reckon I’m pretty much stuck with Piktochart, but that’s cool because it is cool! There’s some excellent advice about creating interesting annual reports here and here.

While I was playing about with them, it suddenly occurred to me that an infographic would make an awesome CV. It seems I am not the only person to have this thought! There are even companies who you can pay to create amazing graphic CVs for you, like Story Resumes, the people who created my favourite below:

lucyin

Wombat poo in Tasmania

So, UTas is on my list for potential Masters by Research. And there are a few uncanny little ways in which this would be a very fitting location:

  • I’ve always been drawn to Tassie. It’s cold and it’s an island – just like the parts of Scotland I love.
  • A few years ago I discovered my maternal grandmother was born in Launceston, as was my great-grandmother, Eileen Littlejohn.
  • I carried Eileen’s leather-bound KJV around Europe, destroying the cover in the process. That drew me to bookbinding, and I found a leather artist in Tasmania that was a dream life goal of mine just before I became a librarian.
  • Again, before I was a librarian – I travelled to Tasmania for a library job interview in Burnie. We stayed in a grotty old hotel, and I managed to squeeze Matilda into a lovely childcare for a day while I went off to be grilled by a panel of 4 or 5 beige-dressed, dour looking council staff, for what I think was a 12-hour-a-week library assistant role in Strahan – a sort of town from where you can quite possibly see the end of the earth.
  • While researching sheep poo paper, I came across Creative Paper Tasmania, who hit the headlines by making paper out of wombat poo. They’ve also been mentioned by famous paper artist, Helen Heibert. Turns out, when we were in Burnie for that job interview, we stumbled upon the visitor centre. The exhibition was an amazing paper display – life sized paper mâché people and all sorts. I remember it gripped my soul – I was possessed with the idea that I would get the  Strahan job, work part-time and become a paper artist, maybe even a book-binder.
  • Burnie is fascinating because hand papermaking began there as a “work for the dole” project, in part to combat the closure of commercial papermills…which links to my research!
paper burnie tas
Discover Burnie

I didn’t get the job in Strahan. Seems funny now. I wonder who did? Nobody I’ve ever met in Library land. They took months to get back to me as well – months and months to the point of ridiculousness.

 

 

 

News: International School Librarians recruitment season is beginning…

9/10/15 –  Fall is the beginning of the recruitment season for international school librarians which, by far, offer the most opportunities for overseas work and living for librarians. If you have experience in this area or think you might enjoy this for a few years in order to gain international experience it is possible to […]

https://sarahpgibson.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/news-international-school-librarians-recruitment-season-is-beginning/

International library jobs

Speaking of recruitment season… Reblogged from Traveling Librarian (it won’t let me reblog properly)

Hiring Fair: ISS

9/10/15 –  International School Services (ISS) is one of the large recruiting agencies for international educators including librarians.  They offer a range of hiring fairs as well as online fairs: Link to the in-person fair dates Link to the online fair dates

International School Services, International Librarian recruitment, International Jobs, International school, ISS, International Libraries, International School Libraries, International School Librarians, International Librarianship

https://sarahpgibson.wordpress.com/2015/09/11/hiring-fair-iss/

Fall

Too many Americans at our school this year. I’m starting to pronounce things with a twang. My daily blog posting is out of this world. Perhaps monthly would be a better aim?

dole queue

Apparently it’s recruiting season for international schools. A few of the other staff are in a flurry of CV writing and awkwardly asking SMT for references. I’m not sure what I’m doing. I’ve never had to worry about it before. My jobs have always come along when I needed them. I think qualified and experienced Teacher Librarians are a rarity.

Other teachers have registered with Search Associates and ISS and are heading off to job fairs. Kinda wish there was such a thing as an international librarian job fair. Not just school libraries, but all libraries. Imagine!
This time last year I was yearning to be back in public libraries. Now, I’m no longer 100%. I still miss them and miss loving going to work each day (wondrous feeling), but I’m also curious about what library life might be like if I actually worked at a decent school – one with a state of the art library, well resourced, a workable budget, technology in the library – and maybe even another librarian on campus.

Part of me is also curious to see where I could end up.

#blogjune 5 : travel planning

So far this #blogjune thing is boring the life out of me. I think we must be a little down at the moment. It’s almost the end of the longest school term in history, and as we went to Xi’an very Easter break we haven’t left China since early Feb. I think we have cabin fever.

We wanted (well I had anticipated) that we would do a lot more travelling on weekends – just roll up to the airport and fly wherever the winds took us. Unfortunately the city we are in is actually a satellite of another city, so it can take 2 hours to get to the airport. And you can’t just run out the front and hail a taxi. There’s some fascinating rule where they won’t cross the tunnel or bridge. So you have to figure out a myriad of buses, or book a driver. It sucks if you’re actually on the Qingdao side, at night, in the dark, with a child, and you cannot hail a taxi to get home. The school transport coordinator will book drivers for us, but that’s not always convenient. I’ve tried booking the driver myself but as lovely as he is when he drives us, he never shows up when I message 😒

So we feel like we haven’t really seen much. I am booking flights home for summer and wondering if we should stopover in Shanghai. We’ve been there a few times before, but am thinking we could stay in the French Concession or even on Suzhou for something different. No plans to go to Beijing at all – ugh! Our other options are Guangzhou (done), Shenzhen (done), Hong Kong (expensive & done), Seoul (some kind of flu virus scare there just now), Bali (hmm)…

 

 

#blogjune 4 : LMS

We have been in the process of upgrading our crummy 90s LMS to Follett Destiny library since November and IT finally sent the link today. My last library updated their software right before I left last year, so I have a little bit of experience, but mostly I am winging it. The difference is that this time nobody else knows any more than I do, so it’s all a little hectic. 

Earlier today I migrated Z sources into our database. Felt very librarian-y

  
I am glad to be learning this. I now understand and appreciate what my previous boss was going through when we updated Spydus. There are so many intricacies to it. And librarians don’t always have tech support or training, we just kill along figuring it out on our own. And still people (teachers, principals, local government managers and councillors) think we are only competent on scanning books.

The whole culture of people (in ignorance) looking down on librarians really gets to me. Sometimes to the point it makes me want to leave libraries. 

#blogjune 2 : Flat Stanley

Trying #blogjune with photos to see if that s low maintenance enough! Here is our current library display. – The Flat Stanley Project. Have worked with Years 1 – 4 this semester to make Flat Stanleys and send them around the world. We’ve sent to Ireland, USA, Scotland, New Zealand, Taiwan…

Our Flat Stanley display in the Library

We used this site to find partners for sharing our Stanleys: Flat Stanley but there is an official site by the author. 
Flat Stanley Project – official
I like the first one as the interactive map is great for teaching geography skills. We also learned email, using atlases and Britannica Online to research destinations, and how to create good questions.
The most exciting part was when a Stanley arrived at school!
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