Communication – what?

Okay, this week I’ve been reading lots of concerns from teacher-librarians worried about new wireless Internet connections invading their private spaces in their school libraries. People are asking about the health and safety risks of having even more (and larger) electrical cabinets humming away in the background throughout each school day…

Yes, I realise that sometimes teacher-librarians can be completely left out of a school’s decision making processes, but my two random thoughts of the day are:

1. You know, I can’t recall the last time I actually sat at my desk in the library office. It’s a tiny place I race into, to put a spoon of instant coffee into my cup, once a day, before heading off to the staff room at morning tea time. Or, it’s where I attempt to answer the telephone (which usually hangs up just as I reach it, breathlessly – although running in a long, double-portable library is definitely not good for the brand new interactive whiteboard). Or, I also go to the office to snatch a book out of Teacher Reference. If I do any sit down work in the library, it tends to be out in the main library area, since nobody would notice me squirreled away in the back office.

2. Yeah, send all this hardware back, I say, and make the little blighters do their research on slates, with authentic slate pencils, like in the days of yore. (Or is slate a deadly toxin, too?)

Seriously, if someone is insisting that a big, ugly, noisy box is moving into somewhere where you usually work, find yourself a change of scenery! Create yourself a new alcove, on the opposite side of the building. Very few library desks are nailed to the floor. There are ways around everything. But the key to any of this is surely communication. If you (and your principal, OH&S committee, Fed Rep, cleaning staff and teaching colleagues) have not established satisfactory communication skills at your school, then you have much more to worry about than electrical emissions from a new bit of machinery.

One thought on “Communication – what?

  1. Of course, my clerical assistant is only in the library one day a week, and the distribution box is in a teacher reference storeroom next door to us anyway.

    However, if I were in a situation where a clerical assistant was forced to share a room with a buzzing electrical box beside them, I’d be asking the principal to do an office swap with your clerical officer for a day, and see if they can concentrate with the noise/emmissions.

    It’s still a major OH&S issue and perhaps permanently relocating personnel, laminators and phones from the vicinity of a new cabinet is going to be easier than moving the cabinet.

    My library is tiny compared to most school libraries, but I can see several places I could move people out to, and create new alcoves if ever necessary. (In fact, our book covering table is in a corner the main library because the helpers needed room to swing a roll of plastic around without hitting a wall.)

    As I said, it’s communication that is paramount. If communication is lacking, then there will always be problems that seem impossible to solve.

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