Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What do 8th graders know about a librarian?

On my campus, one of the community outreach acitivites we participate in is to host 8th graders from several counties for career days,usually for several Fridays in the Fall. During these tours, the students visit our campus and the local vocational school - they get college prep, tech prep and vocational prep exposure while we try to make it fun for them. While on our campus, several activities are created to give them some career information. (The library, by the way, hosts Library Jeopardy, where the kids learn about library skills and research as well as some information about both our schools and win prizes). We usually host over 800 kids during this time.

One activity that I enjoy working with is "What's My Line" where professionals in the community come and the students try to ask us questions to guess our profession. There are usually 5-6 of us in a session and the students rotate among us in groups. They play as a group for prizes. I love doing this because it's fun to see how the kids ask us questions and because most often, they cannot guess what I do. We are only allowed to answer yes, no or sometimes, so how they ask us questions depends on how we answer them. I am known as the Queen of Sometimes, because 90% of the time, that's how I answer! The questions themselves are interesting as are the interactions of the kids in the groups.

What I see the kids learning from this is that jobs are not always clear cut or black and white. They slowly realize that many jobs use a variety of skills and knowledge and you can't always assume that if you work around books, you are a librarian (we've had lawyers and real estate folks answer yes to that!).

Does this sound like some of you? - Do you have an office (yes); do you do physical labor (sometimes - when I move displays and furniture around); do you work with one person (sometimes) or large groups of people (sometimes); do you work outside (sometimes - when we are doing welcome week activities); am I in the same place everyday (sometimes), do you have to wear a uniform (no!); do you work with computers (yes); do you work with food (sometimes if I am hosting an an event); do you need a college degree for your job (yes- for my job as director); is your job boring (no!); are math skills important (yes!); is your job dangerous unless you are properly trained (I say no, but I pause and wonder if that is really true); do you train others (sometimes); do you work by yourself (sometimes); do you work with others as a team (sometimes). Sometimes they will look at me and say I look like a librarian; most of the time they think I am a bank manager or the head of a hospital or something like that. When you were in the 8th grade, what did you think a librarian did??

No comments: