Looking at a library space in a small elementary school; discussing the issues surrounding collections, spaces, and technology, and especially budgets and how they affect library services; and looking through elementary-level books (something I haven’t done since I was in elementary school) all offered some of the important practical knowledge and experience I am lacking. Mrs. White was wonderfully open about the challenges and benefits of working across two small elementary schools and about the collections in the library and her approach to its management. Having a look at RICAT and seeing how she created circulation lists was also informative– I think in many respects it is the day-to-day operations that make me a bit nervous about running a library, and being introduced to some of these things gradually is a great thing!
I also found it very useful to really dig into the shelves in our chosen section. What did kids’ literature really look like on the shelf? What would I find in terms of condition and content? How well-used would these titles be? I was pleasantly surprised at most of the usage statistics– it seems students were using these books, many of them quite often. Looking through professional and commercial websites for book reviews and user feedback, scanning through publisher lists, and finding some interesting digital content was very helpful; discovering good digital content was a bit more difficult than I thought, but now I have a sense of where I can go for these resources.