I am a librarian. Connecting readers with books, interacting with students during read-alouds, prompting discussions on genres, teaching students how to navigate databases and cite sources--it's what I do. I enjoy my job so much that when I am in my library, these responsibilities feel like privileges. Seven years in, and I still pinch myself sometimes, grateful that I found my niche.
Library lessons didn't stop in March; they went online. I helped students find books to read--but only the ones who asked. It would have taken a lot of digital detective work to hunt down which of my 1250 students was aimlessly wandering our virtual aisles of ebooks without checking anything out. I did read-alouds--but they were pre-recorded, no faces looking back at me, no vibe to prompt where I should pause and interact. I had a few virtual read-alouds and discussions with classes and book clubs--but they were stilted due to technology restraints. I provided links to databases and password sheets, offered personalized screencasts to help students navigate online--but I wasn't there looking over their shoulder to point out details, encourage them to dig further, remind them where the citation tools were located.
There's a very good chance that at least part of my job will be virtual in the fall. There are some details that are absolutes, such as quarantining book returns for 72 hours before making them available again, and disinfecting the library in between classes. That's assuming that we'll have students checking out books and receiving in-person, socially distanced lessons. Education has veered toward collaboration as a standard, but we'll have to learn how to teach elementary students to do so in a virtual setting.
I will be on a different campus next year, faced with the task of building relationships with a new group of readers. But will I be able to adequately do my job, especially for the readers who need this relationship the most? I'll spend the rest of my summer thinking about it.