posted November 16, 2012 4:45 PM by Maya Bery
It often amazes me just how transferable the skills I have gained as a school library teacher in training are to the wider world. It brings a measure of comfort to know that should (heaven forbid) I one day find myself struggling to find a position that I will not have a useless degree. On the contrary, I will have a very relevant degree (take that, Forbes magazine!).
For a start, during my two practicum experiences, I have gained a lot of experience creating things. What sorts of things? Brochures. Posters. Website design. Video guides. Written guides. Pathfinders. Sure, these are all topically library-related, but the skills I've learned and honed include design, layout, how to use different software and presentation tools. Between my practica and the LIS460 class, I've also gained experience using WikiSpaces, Tumblr, Prezi, Screenr, Piktochart, Microsoft Publisher, Audacity, Twitter, Wordpress, and more. I've learned how to create materials that are clear and well-written, which some might say is a dying art. And let's not forget the awesome powers of Google-fu we librarians possess. People are eternally grateful to you if you know how to locate relevant, reliable information for them and they tend to be in awe of people who can find that information in a seemingly effortless fashion.
I've also gained teaching experience, which in the business world is known as presentation skills. The ability to be engaging while presenting admittedly dull content at times (how to run a database search, for example - a vital skill, but not the world's most fascinating stuff) is a true skill, and its one that great teachers and great librarians have in spades. There's also the ability to explain complex concepts to people clearly and succinctly without reading off a Powerpoint slide. Let me tell you, when you're faced with a room of 25 kindergartners, it can be a trial by fire. You either know your lesson inside and out and know every point you want to hit, or you don't. As librarians responsible for fostering critical thinking and inquiry skills in our students, we're also excellent at asking questions and conducting reference interviews to get to the heart of a problem and find a solution. If I throw in the skills gained from pursuing the instructional technology license that Simmons also offers, I have just increased my skill set again.
Far from being a stodgy profession, the field of school librarianship is a dynamic, exciting, technology-centric field that equips its teachers with 21st century skills, vital skills needed for success in any field. I fully intend to have a long, satisfying career in a school library of my own, but it's reassuring to realize that this degree has been an excellent choice in more ways than one.