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I'm hoping I'll feel better after I get this off my chest.  Thank you in advance 
for being here.

A local United Way organization is trying to get Battle of the Books started in my 
county.  I thought this was a great idea and I met with my administrators and, 
after assuring them that this would require nothing extra from the teachers, that I 
would do it all myself, I got the go ahead.

Keep in mind that I am volunteering to perform this extra duty in addition to my 
regular full load of classes. I serve as coverage for teacher plan time.  I already 
have one other additional duty that takes me out of the library once a week.  I 
already have no true uninterrupted planning time since I would never turn a child 
or teacher away just because they need help during my "planning time."  The library 
is active and busy most of the time. Good! All of these facts are just part of the 
job and I accept them. 

Anyway,  I've put HOURS into getting set up for Battle of the Books and it hasn't 
even started yet.  It has been so thrilling to see the excitement of the kids since 
they heard about it on Wednesday.  Last night I had a parent meeting with the 
interested kids and their parents.  The excitement was worth every bit of extra 
time I've put in.  

So, what's the problem?  After the last parent left, the principal hung around to 
chat and talk about wonderful this will be, blah blah blah.  Then the bomb drops.  
She tells me that she thinking about how much extra time I will be putting in to do 
this project.  She wanted me to know that she was doing me a huge favor in that she 
was only going to assign me one extra duty each week while other people will be 
getting two.  This extra duty involves supervising a classroom during the last 45 
minutes of the day while the teachers get together for additional planning time 
they need because of Reading First. Babysitting.

After I picked my jaw off the ground I filled her in on the reality of life in the 
library.  The fact that the very nature of the job makes it a double duty job.  I 
am never closed.  I offer help whenever asked, even when I'm supposed to be 
planning.  I come in early and stay late to be available to teachers. As librarians 
we order and maintain equipment, books, and supplies for the entire building to 
use.  No one else has those extra responsibilities.  The art teacher doesn't 
maintain a supply room -  the computer teacher doesn't troubleshoot computer 
problems, etc.  We don't go to the gym teachers for fitness tips during their 
planning period.  Every other person in the building can close their door and work 
when they need to concentrate.  I can't.

She said it was good to listen and hear about life in someone else's shoes.  

I told her I would not be able to do Battle of the Books if I am required to do 
another duty.  She didn't say much.  I don't think she believes I'd let those 
people down, and I would really hate to do it.  

I am so HURT!  I feel manipulated and backed into a corner.  This apparently has 
been it the works for some time.  I would NEVER have volunteered to do Battle of 
Books if I had known that I was going to be assigned to another 45 minutes out of 
the library.   She knew I was volunteering to take on a huge project and allowed me 
to go ahead knowing that she was going to be changing my schedule.

What will happen if they stick to their guns and assign me this duty?  What should 
I do?  I am heartsick.  Thanks for listening.


Molly Clark
Intermediate Librarian
Michael Maroun Elementary School
Phoenix, NY

"When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian." Joan Bauer

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