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Here is my HIT regarding teachers--new or otherwise--using the media center
office as a ''sounding board." Thanks for all your responses. You all are

Lots of times I feel the same way, but look at it as a wonderful way to
network - get to know staff, develop a rapport, and let them know you can
help.  Think of it as PR for your library program.  Be flattered and not
annoyed.  In the long run it enhances your image and the image of your
program with the staff.

Have you ever thought you might be the magnet for your teachers and not the
room.  Maybe they feel that you are a good person to confide in and they get
good advice from you.
You have the experience of the whole staff to draw upon.  Try making
appointments with those that really need your help, so you can control your
time better.  Other than that I don't have a good solution.

Please please please let me know what you find out.
I am in the middle of the school - next to the room with the mailboxes and
copy machine. I can't tell you how many times someone has opened upsetting
mail and comes in to tell me (I am the nearest person). Monday I had three
first grade teachers huddled at my desk because they couldn't get down to
their rooms. I finally have to find something to take to the office or mail
room and I get up to leave. I feel rude doing this but PLEASE!!! I can't get
anything done!
This happens in the morning, too. People come in to say hi, and everyone
stops to Meet and Greet and I am stuck trying to get them out of my way!

I love most of these people - we have been together for 8 or 9 years and we
are close friends. But being the Club Leader is tiring. At least I have
first period free while they are doing lunch count and starting their day
with the kids.

I thought I was the only one!  I usually just let them get it out and go on
with my work.  I am not a person to gossip or repeat so that's why I thought
I "caught" all the gripes, they know it won't go any farther.  I find it
trustyworthy and rather comforting that they feel they can come to me.
Maybe we librarians just have a friendly, warm personality that attracts
everyone -  good and bad!  :)

I always try to encourage teachers to come in for whatever reason! ( we
are not in the center of the school so dropping in isn't too convenient)
I've only been here for three years so I know how is feels to be new.
Everyone needs a place to blow off steam or to just be told that it's
going to be ok or be given a suggestion of where to turn for more help.
Since I sorta know the rest of the staff I can suggest that they see
soandso who really is good at this.Maybe its because my mentor was/is a
person who started the same day I did and is at the district level so I
don't even see her much less get any mentoring--but that is a whole
'nother story-- LMNET is my mentor now. Anyway if I can get them into the
library for any reason maybe they will see something going on that
catches their eye or a new book or idea that they can use or that they
will see the library as a place that can help them teach. Whatever. I
find that the people who use the library the most and are the most
creative (sometimes more than I wished for) are the newest people on the
staff who feel comfortable being there. I figure if I take a few minutes
to commiserate it is well worth it-- you can alway break away  with some
errand you have to do if it seems there is no end in sight. Since most of
us don't have a prep hour or a break, I kinda look at the time spent as
my break in the day. Just my opinion--who else's would it be!

I agree that this is very hard.  I often feel like I'm being quite rude to
teachers as I continue working at my desk or walking around the library with
them trailing me!  We must meet some need for them though if they keep coming

And what I thought when I read your note was that being "the pulse of the
school" is not a bad thing.  Knowing that others deal with this same thing
gives me the support I need to think about it as part of my job description.
Thank you!

I often say I am the 'bartender' of the school!  Anything said here does
not leave here.  I rather like it.  Yes, I have work to do, but I really
like to have teachers feel comfortable enough with me to say anything.

I just let them talk, they need a friend and I am always here, plus I am
the union rep

Please post a hit if you get some good suggestions.  In 10 years of working
in public, corporate and now school library - I've always felt that as a
librarian I serve a similar role to a bartender in the listening/advising
department.  Perhaps in a school environment it is as you say a relatively
private place but also- I found this in an enormous public library in very
public spaces  - I too find it very difficult to not lend an ear and make
sympathetic   noises.

Wow!  I thought you were describing my high school LMC.  I was hired
several years ago to make the LMC "user-friendly."  It quickly became
the hub of the school.  I am okay with that but I agree with you...I
can't get MY work done.  I end up staying after school when all the
teachers have left and it is quiet.  Soooo...I don't have any solutions
for you, just empathy!

I know that these things take time away from your
day........................However I think you are doing something right, or
why would they trust in you?  I really don't think you want to push people
out of the library, maybe you should look at these people as opportunities to
collaborate??  Collaboration isn't all business, it is relationships too!  I
think you actually have a good thing going, sometimes it may be difficult to
see through the fog!  You go girl!!!!!!!  Counsel, counsel,
counsel........then colaborate a little at the same time!
Something possitive may come (or already have come) from this!

I would consider it quite an honor that all of these
people consider you so kind and trustworthy that they
feel comfortable enough to do that.  Although it may
sometimes come at a bad time, I would spend time with
the teachers.  It is important to network and to have
the teachers feel as though you are part of the
teaching staff.  What's the worst thing that happens
if a box of books doesn't get processed today?

At my last school, we had coffee going and food around
(a lot of the time).  Teachers often came in for
griping, chatting about this and that, etc.  It was a
good way for us to get to know the faculty on a more
personal level.

Be glad that you have that rapport with your teachers and be there when a
colleague needs a shouder to cry out but try to just be simple and direct and
explain that this is not the faculty room and griping is not allowed - look
for humorous posters for you office - I saw a banner that said this is a
positive thing area...it might work...

I been at this for over thirty years. The "problem" as you see it is part of
the job, just like shelving books. Use 'judo" e.g.. their complaining to get
them on your team and pro-library. I have done this with Assist. Supt who
needed a spot to 'hide out " and have a cup of coffee in peace. Sorry, but
it goes with the territory.

I believe that you ARE the pulse of the school.   At least, on a lot of
levels I feel that I am.  It's a huge responsibility keeping up the morale of
a building, but I've been working on that for 22 years, kids and faculty.
well, I've been working on that for about 15.  before that, it was our
beloved cook, and she passed away.  I picked up the job from her, after
watching her do it so masterfully.  I haven't really found it to be
time-consuming, but I'm a kind of affective person.

I know what you mean.  I know more garbage that goes on in my bulding than
probably anyone else!  I would rather not know these things.  On the other
hand, I feel somewhat flattered that they think they can come and talk to
me and know that that's as far as it will go. I figure as long as they're
griping about someone else, they're not griping about me!

I can imagine the time, space and other issues can be an aggravation.  On
the other hand, if they are specifically if indirectly coming to you as
opposed to the place, it may be that they trust your judgement, empathy,
suggestions, ability to maintain a confidence.

Smile, sympathize, nod, say "uhhuh" and keep on working!!!!  After all,
didn't we invent "multi-tasking?!!"  :-)

Dianne Stokes
McClintock Middle School
Charlotte, NC

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