Currently there is one elementary librarian who teaches 18 different classes on a 6 day rotation. As Barbara is new at the school, she brings a fresh eye to the way things work and has realized while the school has grown from 2 sections of each grade to 3 sections of each, they have not increased staffing for the library. They did increase for all the other specialists, just not the library. She believes that if there was a second assistant to assist in the behind the scenes things like processing books and helping with miscellaneous reference questions from students and parents, the elementary librarian will be able to focus more on the teaching piece.
I find this interesting, because of lot of what takes up her time, or should take up time is her teaching and/or preparing for teaching. This means that many of the reference questions in the library are answered by the assistants. If nothing else, seeing them work in the Elementary has given me a great appreciation for the assistants (not that I didn't appreciate them before).
Through my observations with Barbara and the other time I have spent in the elementary school, I have realized that reference in a school library can be very different then a public/academic library. Although reference librarians do have some of these responsibilities in the public/academic library, their job title/responsibilities are reference. Therefore in school libraries a huge piece of reference does fall on the assistance, so that school librarians, especially elementary, can focus on teaching.
Going back to my time with Barbara, it is a little different for her. She does have a LOT of other work to do besides reference, but she is able to do much of it while being available to people. She is always at the circulation desk and will drop just about anything she is doing, so that she can help a student, parent or staff member. I think this is part of the appeal of being a school librarian; that you are always busy with something.