A day in the life in Canada: Guest post from Christine F. Smith

Today’s post comes to us from our Canada Country Coordinator, Christine F. Smith. Christine is the Head Librarian at Bishop’s College School in Quebec, Canada. Christine has linked out to many great photos to illustrate her busy day in a very busy school library.

What’s life like at BCS you ask? Here’s a quick glimpse at what my days are like

7:30 AM: Good morning Bishop’s College School! Head up to the Peter G. Holt Memorial Library to drop off my coat, check my emails and prepare announcements I have for the day.

8:10 AM Continue the day off with a warm breakfast in our school’s the dining hall socializing with faculty, staff and students before the school day begins.

8:25 AM: Leave the dining hall and head up stairs to the morning assembly, called “Chapel.” As the Head Librarian, this assembly is a great time to hear from students and staff about what is going on at school. Often times, there are also library announcements about new books and activities. Occasionally, we will even have students read in Chapel or guest speakers talk about library-related events.

8:50 AM: The bell rings and it’s off to the library.

Period 1: Up in the library, I work with Mrs. Holland, the Library Assistant and Houseparent of Ross Girls – our “house” for female day students. Often times, teachers will schedule research classes in the library; today it’s Mr. White’s Form 5 (grade 10) History research assignment on Upper and Lower Canada.

Period 2: After the class leaves, we clean up the library classroom space and get back to our other tasks. Today I’m preparing Resource Guides for upcoming classes, cataloguing books, reading and writing lots and lots of emails.

Break: Students rush in to check out bookssocialize and just have fun at the library. Once a week, our library clerk holds down the fort at break as Mrs. Holland and I attend the faculty meeting, an opportunity to discuss upcoming projects and collaboration ideas with fellow faculty members.

Period 3: Back from break, more classes come in to build up their research skills! Whether it’s finding plant identification books before science classes go out and do their field research, teaching information literacy basics like proper citation and database researching, or helping students find key excerpts from print sources for their history essays, we have a quite the busy school day!

Period 4: Occasionally, get another lull of visitors and I have time to create and send out our library newsletters and order new books to add to our shelves.

12:35 PM: The bell rings for lunch and it’s time to grab some food in dining hall. Then, I’m off to the Cultural Discussion Group meeting, an initiative co-run by the library and Round Square where students come together to talk about their cultures. This year, our discussions have included students from China, Canada, France, Germany, the United States, Hong Kong, and Australia.

While the Cultural Discussion Group chats, other students use the library space for readingstudyingsocializing or playing quiet games. Each day, the library is tended to by a library steward and apprentice – students who advocate for the student body and perform small tasks to show their support for the space. Then the bell rings again and everyone heads off to class!

Period 5: The school day continues. This period we have an author and guest speaker visiting to speak with an English class.

Period 6: Science teacher, Mr. Wilt, stops by to pick up we have prepared books for tomorrow’s class on biomes and English teacher, Mrs. Carey, sends down her students to take out recreational reading books.

3:15 PM:  The school day ends, but our day doesn’t! The students are off to crease (sports time). After crease, many students come by to do a bit more studying before supper. One night a week, I stay to help them with their work and catch up on other tasks from the day, like cataloguing and upcoming projects. On days when I don’t stay late, our library clerks pick up when I leave at 4:00 PM

5:30 PM: The library closes and everyone heads off to supper. We get a nice hot meal and some down time before prep (homework time) begins.

6:30 PM: It’s back to the library for prep. This is a quiet time when students can sign out of their boarding houses to come to the library in the evening. They have until 7:20 PM to check in and then they’re here to stay until prep is over.

9:30 PM Lights out at the library. Prep is done, the students head out and it’s time for me to go home.


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