“One of the things about being a school librarian is that every day is different,” said Allyson Bogie, the newest addition to Berkeley High School’s library. “It’s unusual to have a job that’s challenging and engaging and also so diverse over the course of the day.” The contributions of Bogie and Meredith Irby to the library are varied and unique, and may be underappreciated.
Librarians don’t have a typical daily routine. A big part of how their day goes depends on what classes they have scheduled to come to the library.
“We’re usually doing a mix of teaching independent reading lessons or activities so they talk about genres and how to select books that are a good fit for them,” said Ms. Irby, “Other classes we do research lessons or something around media literacy.”
“One of the things we try to say as teacher librarians is that we’re not just here to check out books, because what would be the point of having a teaching credential if we are just doing that,” said Bogie.
Both librarians try to accommodate student recommendations so that the library can have an expansive collection which students and faculty will enjoy. “We really try to be responsive to what our students are into.” said Ms. Irby, “I do a lot of book talks on TikTok…, so I have a clearer sense of what students are going to be asking for.”
The least enjoyable aspect of their jobs is when they have to be disciplinarians to students trying to skip class. “Having to be in a role of policing … (students) around passes is not that fun. It’s my least favorite part of the job,” Irby said.
Bogie is new to BHS and is trying to get to know everyone. “For me being new, getting to know everybody at Berkeley High has been just something that I’m working on,” said Bogie, “Students and teachers, you know, there’s like 200 or more adults who work here.”
“I feel like so much of life and work is based on relationships,” said Irby, “(and) when you’re still building relationships with people, it can be challenging to get to a point where you (can) … work collaboratively, effectively.”
The library supplements its staff with student proctors. Senior Ronan Cotter is the library proctor in second period. “My role as a proctor is to assist… the primary librarians,” he says, “I do a lot of things that they do…But generally speaking, you’ll find me behind the front desk or out shelving books.”
Cotter maintains the organization of books by placing them in their specific section. They mainly use the Dewey Decimal System which assigns books to categories marked by a numerical system.
“We have a lot of books…it’s really difficult to find enough room…so the (Dewey Decimal) system has proven itself to work the best,” said Cotter.
As a result of being a proctor, Cotter is enjoying a relaxing senior year compared to what he went through his junior year. “I’d recommend that any student that reaches their senior year to definitely consider the idea of proctoring,” he said. “It’s an experience that allows you to get some insight into the back areas of the school system.”
The library offers lots of special events. “We collaborate a lot with the Central Berkeley public library, so we take all of our ninth graders to the teen room,” said Bogie. They are also hosting their first ever library Comic Convention on Oct. 28th.
Another project that the library organizes is author visits. Author Thien Pham has recently visited the library, and at least three more author-visits are coming.