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Presented by State Library Victoria

The Importance of a Good Relationship with a Librarian

I’ve been wanting to write this post for quite a while, but I kept getting super distracted! But FINALLY, I am here writing this and it is a thing.

I really wanted to have an open discussion about how important building relationships with librarians is. Here are some points:

– Personally, I grew up going to libraries all the time. They’ve always been a constant in my life for which I am extremely grateful. I remember going to my community library when I was younger back when we used to have to hand our books to physical librarians to borrow out books rather than self-borrowing. I always really valued the conversation I had with all of the libarians, although I can’t remember all of their names. They were always super friendly, constantly gave out recommendations, and were quick to tell you if you’d accidentally borrowed a book that wasn’t a first in the series.
While we still have real librarians in schools, I really miss having that relationship with librarians in local and community libraries.

– Another important role of librarians are helping out students at schools. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a well-read, kind and enouraging librarian working at schools. At Primary School I always had really, really good librarians and I spent most of my time in the library because it was full of like-minded people, plus I really enjoyed having conversations with the resident librarian. They would always encourage me to read more, and more widely as well, always open to new suggestions themselves about what books to buy and read.
When I got to high school, the first librarian we had basically didn’t read at all. He was this really old man who never seemed passionate about books at all, and when people asked him for recommendations, they were all old books from before they were born. Needless to say, the library during his time was never particularly popular, so lots of students hardly felt encouraged to go read. Thankfully eventually the school employed a new librarian and it was literally one of the best things that has happened at that school. I was reminded of how good it was to have such a good role model and person to talk to about books. The librarian was super pro-active, always insisting on coming into classrooms and running projects where students had to pick out a book or two to read in the younger year levels, and even creating little competitions for those who read. Plus, she also always bought books for the library that students requested, and was always looking for new ways to reach more students, such as using eBook programs!
It really brings to light a conversation we need to have about the people we have employed at schools to help further student’s education, and what we can do to continue to encourage students through the most important years of their lives.

– As I mentioned in reference to my librarian in my later years of high school, it is so incredibly important to have a pro-active and enthuasiastic person in a position like a librarian. One of their jobs that is extremely crucial in today’s society is having new books that are relevant to all children – that being books that are inclusive of different races, backgrounds and sexualities. If children don’t have that representation in their books around them or presented positively in their community/school, it can really take away from that child’s livelihood, their self-confidence and self-esteem as well as self-awareness. It’s a lot to think about, but it’s important that we do think about all of this, both in the schools we are in/went to but also particularly in schools in rural and remote areas that often don’t have this!

What are your thoughts? Please comment down below, and lets have a discussion!

7 comments

ladybird

My mum is a librarian and worked/is friends with some of the librarians at my school and local library which is great because I get lotssss of recommendations and even my mum’s colleagues often buy books “for the library” with me in mind!

26th Jun, 18
otaku

That's so cool - I'm jealous :')
There is nothing better than getting a whole stack of books "for the library" that you wanna read (≧▽≦)

26th Jun, 18
julianne Centre for Youth Literature

Great post! As someone who works in a public library I am always emphasising the importance of building up relationships with kids, teens and families. When I was a teenager the school librarian was really mean and often wouldn't allow me to borrow certain books! Can you believe it? When I was in year 7 and 8 she wouldn't let me borrow any Shakespeare!
At the public library we always display the latest books and make booklist pamphlets for relevant books. Don't ever forget that access to information is part of the Untied Nations declaration of human rights and that a library is doing just that - giving free access to information.
Can you tell I love libraries???
#ilovelibraries

27th Jun, 18
otaku

Thank you!!
I'd love to work in a library at some stage - it sounds like such a fun and rewarding job!
That's absolutely crazy that your librarian never let you borrow out Shakespeare! I would've thought that that would be something they'd be more inclined to approve of.
I completely forgot about it being a part of the United Nations declaration of human rights. :O

28th Jun, 18
bookwithbane

I would love to do work experience in a library.

29th Jun, 18
bookwithbane

I'm kind of a socially anxious extrovert(wait what) so I always avoid interaction if I can. But if someone else initiates a conversation... well let's just say I talk their ear off. I always self checkout at public libraries and tbh librarians at my public library are scary. But at school I have a good relationship with the librarians it's fun.

29th Jun, 18
otaku

Hahaha I can understand that!
I think a lot of the librarians that I see at my community library now are less interactive with all of the actual readers/borrowers, so it builds a scary wall in which talking to someone isn't a necessity. It used to be quite soothing and exciting to borrow out books and hear what the librarians had to say.
But that's good to hear that you have a good relationship with the librarians at your school!

29th Jun, 18