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It looks like I will be by myself next year in a 900 student library. (The paraprofessional position is very likely to be cut.) Anyone have any advice as I close the year with help in preparation for next year?

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Comment by Bob Hassett on May 24, 2007 at 3:54pm
Bless your heart, Cheryl. For 3 months I was all alone in an 1,800 student high school library and also had to handle half the school technology coordinator duties, including a certain amount of network administration and workstation support. The short answer is that there is only so much one person can do, so you'd do well to set your expectations appropriately. You will be sprinting from one thing to the next and struggling just to stay ahead of the curve.

One thing I did (and still try to do) is to stay out of my office and off the circ desk as much as possible, which allows me to supervise students and help them find books, etc., while doing selection and web development work on my laptop.

I'd advise you also to document as much as you can -- make sure your administrators know how much work you're doing and what effect it's having on student achievement. Then you can make a more effective case for getting you some paraprofessional help. Of course it can cut both ways because if they see you're doing just fine with no help, why should they hire somebody else, right? I don't know how your relationship with your admins is, but I'd cozy up as much as I could.

Finally, don't hesitate to ask for help. Your colleagues mostly will know you're shorthanded. If someone is spending a free period in the Library and you need to go get some work done or teach in a classroom, ask if they mind keeping half an eye on the kids who are in there.

You asked about preparation: Plan as much as you can over the summer, but be ready to get flexible when the school year hits. There's no way you can plan for every contingency.

Hope that helps.

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