On Librarianship: Angela Friel


People sometimes ask me what does a school librarian mainly do? So I was quite amused when I came acrossauthor John Townsend’s description in the School Librarian SLA journal, based on his observation of librarians in schools over the years (I have added 1 or 2 of my own for good measure!): “ author expert, agony aunt, administrator, bibliophile, book bargain hunter, cataloguer, chewing gum scraper, coat finder, data manager, display expert,events organiser , form filler, grammarian,helper, hat-wearer,IT trouble-shooter, information literacy consultant, interior designer, jam tart maker, Kindle expert, literacy co-ordinator, learning resource manager,lift-controller, loudness monitor,money raiser, motivator, memory stick rescuer,nagger, nurse,online librarian, photographer, proof reader, phone confiscator, query handler, researcher, social worker, storyteller, social media advertiser, shusher, supervisor, tissue-provider, utilities provider ( have you got a stapler Miss?) vocabulary expert, websiteevaluator, Xmas tree decorator, (I struggled with X!) youth worker, yummy cake-maker and zip file creator (and Z!).” (SLA, 2012, The School Librarian, volume 60, no.4).

Isolation can sometimes be a problem for school librarians, but this is overcome by the great support I get from the English team and am also very well supported by the LSE (Gloucestershire Council’s Library Services for Education, whose role is to provide learning support in a range of educational settings). It’s a great opportunity to share ideas and problems, and I usually return fully recharged! I also like to collaborate and get involved as much as I can with what is going on in the wider world of literature and librarianship. We have worked with the public library quite a lot and taken the year 7 students down this year to check out resources. We have also been involved with the Reading Hack – providing student volunteers for projects within the public library such as the summer reading challenge. Carnegie Shadowing also widens our horizons, uniting students and librarians across the UK for 3 months of the year and another highlight of my year is our annual trip to the Hay on Wye literature Festival where we meet a range of famous authors and experience the very special atmosphere of the festival.I also really enjoy being a judge in the BBC 500 words competition as it is something really different and fun.

As a school librarian there is always some new competition or initiative just around the corner. The role of the school librarian is evolving and changing rapidly in line with digital changes and away from the former traditional role. There is no end of projects to get involved with, not enough hours in the day and no two days are ever the same! Whoever said being a librarian was boring?

“Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.”
Neil Gaiman

Author Profile

Wyedean CPD

Wyedean CPD

Evidence-assisted CPD, prioritising professionalism and learning.

9 stories


Carina Smith Carina Smith @carinajsmith87 5 months ago
Angela we are so lucky to have such a fantastic Librarian who I know has played that multitude of roles listed above! Jam tart maker is perhaps my favourite! The school library is a different place and space and the energy which you bring everyday to every event, big or small, is never unnoticed. Thank you x
{{ modalTitle }} {{{ modalData }}} {{ modalTitle }} {{{ modalData }}} Join the conversation
Sign in or sign up to post comments, follow colleagues, recommend stories and build your own professional profile.
Staffrm is the professional network for educators passionate about their work.
Please Sign In {{ modalData }} Sign In