Inquiry, reading, curiosity, exploration, coding, makerspaces, research, storytime, collaboration, personalized learning …

Images of students and fellow teachers engaged in these activities swirl through my head as I prepare to take the biggest step so far in my graduate program at Syracuse University. I’m beginning my internship as a Library Media Specialist (LMS) at J.T. Roberts Pre-K-8 School here in Syracuse City School District.

Even after almost a decade as an ESL teacher, with one Master’s degree already under my belt and half of the LIS: School Media program at SU done, I feel like an undergraduate who is student teaching again as I anticipate what my work as the summer school LMS will be like.

Site Visits to the J.T. Roberts School Library

I have visited Roberts several times already and furiously scribbled copious notes as I followed around the current librarian. She very generously gave of her time to me so I could prepare. For example, one of my responsibilities is dealing with the 1000+ items on the Roberts AV Inventory Excel spreadsheet.

I met the principal, observed classes, and started solidifying some of the goals I have for myself and the library for these upcoming four weeks. I will also be attending a two-day long professional development workshop put on by the district for the incoming summer school teachers before the session starts. During that time I will hopefully be able to get into the library and start tackling the long but exciting to-do list I have already made for myself.

Applying My School Library Coursework

I am taking courses at the School of Information Studies this summer as well. I’m looking forward to finally being able to implement what I learn in my classes in my own library.

The author, Heidi, at 10 years old with her mother, dressed up as bookworms for Halloween

The author, Heidi, at 10 years old with her mother, dressed up as bookworms for Halloween

The readings and group discussions on weeding, the Dewey Decimal system vs genrefication, and collection development already occurring in IST 612: Youth Services in Libraries and Information Centers in particular have me longingly browsing through Amazon and Barnes and Noble for potential book orders. I’m itching to pull old books off shelves to breathe new life into the library.

The classroom management, unit and lesson planning, and collaboration skills that I have gained in previous classes will serve me well. During my first few days, I will emphasize library routines and approach teachers about working together.

Becoming a Teacher Librarian

In less than a week, a lifelong dream of mine to step into the role of teacher librarian will finally become a reality. I’ll work with an entire school to promote multiple literacies and a love of learning. I can collaborate with teachers to increase their capacity and teach inquiry and 21st century skills. And I’ll get to order a ton of amazing books and play with new technology with no accompanying guilt.

I am trying to temper my expectations. There will also be many struggles and some misunderstandings as I get used to this brand-new position at a different school. But I know that the 10-year-old me who loved service work, finding answers, and getting lost in a novel is secretly jumping up and down inside.