For my work experience week, I chose the Schools’ Library Service (SLS) since I wanted to know more about how it works, and working as a librarian is something that I am open to doing as a job later in life.
On Monday, Becky (Senior Library Assistant (Acquisitions)) took me on a tour of the service and then I was passed on for a not-so-exciting, but essential, fire safety tour. I say that, but there is actually a nice view from on the roof of the building. Later, I went with Catherine (SLS Librarian) to La Mare Primary to help with the book club there. Seeing the children’s enthusiasm to read was a great experience. When they were given their laminated jam doughnut pictures to use as bookmarks (as their book was about them), they wanted to be set more and more to read. Coming from a Secondary school, I see less and less of that, and so being a part of it was refreshing.
On Tuesday, Ellie (SLS Librarian) took me to the Grammar school and Vauvert Primary to show me around their libraries, and at Vauvert I was reintroduced to the Junior Librarian system. It was interesting to compare these libraries since there were many differences in their sizes and workings.
I was with the Guille-Allès all of Wednesday and I learned about some of the behind-the-scenes work that happens in the main library. That afternoon, we went to visit the archives. It may sound a bit dull but was very interesting, especially to see how they blended the old church into the new housing for the archives.
On Thursday, I was back with the SLS, where Alan (SLS Librarian) took me to Amherst primary and La Houguette Primary. At Amherst, we read to the book club and it was once again amazing to see the amount of enthusiasm they had for reading. It was the same at La Houguette, where they needed no encouragement to discuss their current books and show everyone their favourite page from it. Alan then read a couple of books to them, and I learned a lot about storytelling from just watching him.
I returned to my old primary school of St Mary and St Michael on Friday, and after talking to a few of my old teachers before we started, Julia (SLS Librarian) and I helped with classes that were coming into the library. Before long, it was time to go back to town for my final time with the SLS.
In and around all of this, I was doing some processing. I have to admit that I never questioned how all of the books got their blue SLS stickers on them, but this week I learned that each one is hand stuck on by someone – who would have guessed? To me, it is hard to pick out certain things that I liked the most about the week, but I think that one thing that stands out is how much I learned about the inner workings of the service that you don’t usually see, such as the job of processing the books before they go out to schools.
All in all, I really enjoyed this week and it flew by. It may not always have been what I was expecting, but it was what I was hoping it would be like, and so I would once again just like to thank Elizabeth (Head of Schools’ Library Service) and all of the team as I was quite nervous before my first day, but I felt very welcomed and ended up having an amazing time.
By Brent Sharman