I chose the Schools’ Library Service for my work experience week as I was thinking of becoming either a librarian or a primary teacher, and I thought that the SLS would offer experience in both of those fields.
For brevity’s sake I will be relating the highlights of my week with the SLS (although it was so busy it felt much shorter). Before I go into detail about my time with the SLS, however, I also had some experience in the Guille-Allès itself, with the most notable aspect being working on the social media aspect of the library.
Now, this was a totally new experience for me as someone who is utterly atypical in this day and age in not having a Facebook or Twitter account, so it was refreshing to see something so original being done on the former platform. I took part in the library’s initiative called the Bookface, a somewhat corny play on words of Facebook, but it’s apt nonetheless. It involves taking a book (or any other form of media) and placing it in front of someone’s face with the aim of the cover of the media article suiting its backdrop. It’s easier explained through example, so below is an example of my Bookface.
These are not only done with faces and there are some that are much better than mine, so if you would like to see more take a look at the Guille Allès library’s Facebook Page.
My work with the SLS involved doing some admin work, helping out with classes that came to use the children’s library, and going out with various SLS librarians to different primary (and in one case secondary) schools – listed in order of enjoyment. In the primary schools, my task was to assist the SLS librarians in reading the Greenaway award picture books to the children and having discussions about them, while in the secondary schools it was to encourage discussion amongst students in regards to the novels shortlisted for the Carnegie medal.
While I thoroughly enjoyed working with all of the SLS librarians in all of the different schools, the most transformative and eye-opening day was by far Thursday, on which I visited Le Rondin and Amherst with SLS librarian Lucy Bearder. At Le Rondin I felt that I genuinely affected the children’s day in a truly positive manner and was met with a slew of requests to read them another book, heart-warming ‘thank-yous’, and even a couple of hugs. I was incredibly moved by the experience and eagerly asked to help out at the school again, and with the help of the SLS I will be undergoing more teaching work experience with the school.
The Amherst group were completely different and amazing in their own right; never in my life have I seen the concept of being quiet in a library thrown out of the window so relentlessly. The year 3 Greenaway group that Lucy and I worked with were so eager to read books and converse about them (as well as a myriad of other random topics) that their levels of excitement would never even be seen in an adult who has just won the lottery; cliché? Maybe. But wholly appropriate.
All in all, my week with the School’s Library Service has been incredible, and I have garnered a huge amount of respect for what they all do while simultaneously feeling like I genuinely belonged in the environment in which they work. My week has far surpassed any expectations I had coming into it, and I am now dead-set on the idea of becoming either a librarian or a primary teacher, as I have been shown how enjoyable and rewarding both professions can be.
Written by Cameron Duckworth.