My co-librarian and I are messy and disorganized. We love our work, we love our middle schoolers, but we do not love cleaning. As we’re were doing our end-of-the-year chores, we realized we need to make some major changes and clean up our act.
Our usual cleaning and organizing is tossing everything into a closet, the studio, or our backroom and turning off the lights. This is done when we’re having visitors, and we don’t want them to know how horribly messy we really are.
Our admins are pretty accepting of our messiness. We’re team players and we’re responsible for the majority of our school’s technology, so they generally cut us some slack regarding the state of the library. There have been a few times when one of our admins has mentioned our messiness:
- Our principal once referred to the library office as a dumpster fire.
- A vice principal came by to talk with us. We had to get a chair from another room, because our chairs were so dirty she wouldn’t sit in one.
- Recently a retirement reception was held in the library, and our principal was shocked about how clean the library was and announced we had finally cleaned up our space.
(I guess he didn’t look in the studio where we hid everything.)
In defense of our mess hidden in the studio, we had to clean off/out our current circulation desk so it can be removed and a new desk can be moved into the library. Our current desk has a cabinet, shelves, and two deep drawers stuffed with all kinds of random items until recently when we moved those things into the studio. When we ordered our new desk we declined all cabinet/drawer options in a conscious effort to keep our new desk neater and prevent us from stuffing it full of things we don’t know what to do with so we toss them in a drawer.
I’m guessing that many school libraries accumulate weird, random things as many people seem to think if they don’t know where something goes, give it to the librarian or just abandon it in the library. In our case, we’re the school’s junk drawer, which doesn’t make it any easier to stay tidy. Weird and random items donated (abandoned) in the library include:
- A large box of hay
- Plastic bags of unidentified frozen meat and bone left in our freezer
- A jello mold of an anatomically accurate heart
My co-librarian requested I emphasize our messiness is clutter, not garbage, and the chairs that were too gross for our admin were very old fabric rolling chairs that we replaced with easy to clean lucite chairs. We are aware of our messiness, and even though we occasionally address it, we’ve gotten pretty overwhelmed with the disorganization and overall chaos as we get ready to close up for summer break. We’ve decided to create a chore list, establishing reasonable goals and what we should do every day before we leave the library such as making sure all books are checked in and placed in order on a cart. We’re not entirely sure how we’re going to get organized, but we’re open to suggestions from our organized colleagues.
Are you a messy librarian? If not, how do you stay organized in the library? Do you have any chores you do as a daily routine?
Author: Mica Johnson
I’m a school librarian at Farragut Middle. I like the lib to be loud, messy, and full of student activity. I love tech stuff as much as I love books, and I’m part of an awesome rotating maker space.