1) Get to know your staff.
Go to them. The week before students return is usually full of meetings--department meetings, collaborative team meetings, grade level meetings. Go to all the meetings you can--introduce yourself, listen, find out what they want from a library program, learn the culture of the school, listen. Did I say listen already?
Invite them to your place. Host an open house in the library--serve coffee and muffins in the morning or lemonade, iced tea, and cookies in the afternoon. Opening your doors with a welcome smile really sets the tone for the school year.
Connect with the newbies. The new teachers in your building are just as nervous as you are, whether they are brand new to teaching or just new to your school. Stop by their classrooms as they are setting up to check in. You are a great building resource for new teachers.
2) Share resources.
Update your web site, build a new one, and add your content to whatever learning management system your school uses.
Make sure you post your contact info and where to find your library on social media (no presence on social media? Set it up!), Also post FAQs, links and passwords for subscription databases, and other resources that might be helpful to your staff. This will grow and change with time--but you can start with some basics.
3) Focus on students.
You've met your teachers, next up your students are going to walk through the door. If you are on a fixed schedule, you'll meet them all. Plan an orientation activity to introduce yourself and to find out what your students want and need from the library
4) Connect and find support.
Some school districts are large and offer a huge amount of support to new teachers and librarians. If yours does, that's awesome. Make use of it. Reach out to your mentor with questions big and small, stay in touch with the other new librarians who began at the same time as you did, participate in the district's Google community, try to visit other libraries in your district to see how they do things.
However, even in large supportive districts, it's important to look beyond your library walls, beyond your district boundaries for a more expansive view on our practice. This becomes even more important if you are a solo librarian without a huge amount of support. You may already be on Twitter, but if not, get there. Follow educators and librarians, participate in chats and learn from others. Join a Facebook group or a Google Community. Start with something familiar and lurk for a bit as you get comfortable. We have a Take5 post with some specific ideas to help you connect with other school librarians.
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There will be those inevitable down times, especially at the beginning when you aren't sure WHAT you should be doing. These are good times to accomplish some of those other tasks:
You've got this,
(PS- I would love to hear how your year has begun! Tell me the best advice that you have received for staring as a new school librarian! What questions do you still have? What support do you need? Share below!)
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