Being a Librarian

In year 11 (2010) at school I became the 'Student Library Shelver' which meant I was in charge of shelving the returned today books at the end of each day, stamped and barcoded new books, helped with textbook distribution and a few other things.

Even after I finished school, I stayed on at the school library until I decided to focus on my last year of study at university (until 2015).

What I wrote in 2012

Being a Student Librarian at school for the past few years has taught me a lot. It taught me how messy people who read joke books are, the dewy decimal system, and also it taught me about learning.

At school you get plunged into 6 hour time where you do nothing but think. During that time your brain gets tired, and eventually stops absorbing information. Anyone who's had calculus last period can tell you that our brain just needs a little time to think. But we head home and (hopefully) do an hour or so of homework. I'm not sure this is the right thing to to.

Shelving at the library after school has shown me how an hour of time where you do nothing with your brain, and work only with your hands lets your brain process that information. I've learned and understood more during this time, just going over what I've done in the day, and thinking through the concepts we are being taught about.

So while some may consider being a librarian during lunch, interval or after-school a boring, repetitive job that takes you away from your social life, I consider it part of my study.

What I wrote in 2013

Even though I've now left school, I still go into the school library, and shelve books. Things have changed, particularly my status. Few students know me (though all the teachers do), but most significantly, I am now more staff than kid. Funny how a single holiday can change that much!

When I was a student, I was occasionally kicked out of the library because the staff were having meetings there. Now I'm not. Instead I can listen to the teachers talk about managing their classes. You know what? It makes me admire them. We all know that teachers have to write reports on students, but did you know they do the same on their class? Or that they also have to submit things furthur up. They put a lot of work into the kids under their leadership, and in my opinion they do a great job. In a recent meeting they discussed how to improve the amount of work done in a classroom, and tended to center around distraction. But I think they missed the point there. Students will create distraction only if they are not paying attention. Distraction doesn't distract kids, it's made by them. The solution is to make sure that people are interested in the material. Then no matter what games they have on their cellphone, or what funny poster is on the wall, they will focus on the teacher and what they have to say. In my last year, information was coming so slowly through school that I slept through much of two of my subjects, and managed to pass with ease on the summary of the previous lesson. That bores people like me. I could have learned so much more, wasting 40 minutes out of a 50 minute class.

Aside from meetings, other things have changed. What I think about has changed. During school, I would think throuhg the material. After a day at uni, I've already learned it. Instead I focus on applying it: How can I use newtons method? Where does analysing a truss by sections come in useful? Can I apply it in other places? Occasionally I'll have a good idea then, write it down, and do something. Other times, I plan out whole assignments in my head, and then go home and write the whole thing quickly.

After being a librarian for four years, I now know the library pretty well. In most libraies, I can find books on what I want without a library catalog. Unfortunately, the university library is not a dewy decimal system. Whatever system they use still baffles me.

But on the whole, being a librarian is still part of my study. Just as before, it is a time to review the day, and reinforce the learning.

What I think now in 2016

I now look around at the people doing university with me. Something like 90% of them work at university all day, and then go home and ... study. Then they'll watch youtube or netflix. Maybe they browse facebook. However, a few do other things. One of my good friends coaches gymnastics for many hours per week. Now that I've stopped working at the libarary, myself (and a few of my other friends) build things in our respective free time.

When I come home at the end of the day, I do not do any univeristy work unless it is absolutely required (deadlines), and it has made a huge difference. While I do not get the best grades as I work less, that time goes into practical skills. Can anyone focus on a task 24/7? Of course not, but that is what the people who try to study in the evenings are trying to do, and as a result, when they relax they have no motivation for learning in the real world. Because I do not expend all my energy into study, during my time at university I gained far more than a book education.