1. Two students came up asking where they could find books about countries. Barbara did a great job of clarify what they were looking for, asking what class it was for and what the project was. Once she had narrowed down that they were doing research on countries for their Spanish class, she asked if they knew how to use the catalog to help them find what they were looking for. Both said they didn't know since they were new at the school. Barbara then took the opportunity to have the students come around the desk and walk them through how to find our catalog and how to search for books related to their countries including using the subject search. Although the girls seemed a bit in a hurry, the did get to learn the basics as well as find a book before they headed back to class.
2. One of the school secretaries came and was looking for Psychology books. She said she remembered seeing new books that had come in at the end of last year. She didn't remember the exact title, just a few key words and she knew what they looked like. Barbara was able to point out a few sections to look in while she looked up in the catalog a few specific titles based on the keywords. Once she narrowed down which section they were in, the secretary was quickly able to find what she was looking for.
3. An English teacher stopped by to ask if we had access to a specific database. Barbara said that we currently didn't have it, but she would be willing to ask the vendor for a trial period to both help us decide if it was worthwhile as well as help the teacher out. He was excited to hear that we could potentially get the trial. This interaction also lead to a conversation about literary resources as well as an upcoming author visit.
For my first observation timeI thought it was great. It had a nice variety of patrons and questions. I was able to see a good reference interview and one on one instruction with the students. It was also really great to see how as a teacher-librarian, Barbara was able to connect with the teacher about literature and authors and begin a collaborative relationship with the teacher.
One thing that I did notice while I was there that seemed to be a challenge was that both Barbara and the library assistant sit at the same desk. Being new to the school, people are more use to the assistant and her presents and help than the Librarians. It is often confusing for Barbara, the assistant and the patron when they walk up to know who is the most appropriate person to ask for help. If it's simply checking out a book, it's often the assistant, but if it's more a reference question, there are many things the assistant can help with as well. This can lead to some awkward pauses, but hopefully with time, everyone will learn how to best respond to a patron.