My Media Clerk of the Year Application Letter

Our district has a Media Clerk of the Year Award.  I encouraged my amazing full time Media Clerk to apply.  Here is his application letter:

“My name is Jim Randolph and our Media Specialist, Mr. Randolph, has asked me to apply for the Media Clerk of the Year Award.

He showed me the letter he wrote and I must say I think he’s being a little over-enthusiastic but I am happy he is nominating me for this and am honored to be considered at all.

I don’t always have all the specific items you mention in your application in mind as I’m doing my job.  I’m simply trying to support the students, teachers and parents any way I can.  If that “advances effective services” or “increases student achievement” so much the better.  I’m just trying to help as much as I can while I’m here.

It is true that I make an effort to work with the PTA on the Book Fairs. I used to work in the children’s department at a big bookstore so know a thing or two about merchandising, scheduling staff, and running a retail operation. I don’t think of it as “community outreach” but I suppose that’s what it is since all of our wonderful families are involved.  I did make an effort this year to get more teachers to make wish lists for the book fair.  Last year some parents wanted to buy items for their student’s classroom teachers but not all of the teachers had filled out a wish list.  I think they were under time constraints and weren’t expecting to actually get a book.  But many of them were pleasantly surprised in the fall by how many donations they actually received.

How do I encourage reading?  I guess by talking about it so much.  I specifically wanted to work with elementary students because I believe this is when you decide you are a reader.  I know that this is an idea I share with Mr. Randolph because we’ve overheard each other talking about this to anyone who will listen!  I also try to read as many children’s books as I can so I can better talk about them with the students.  I’m glad I do.  When the Hunger Games movies started coming out we’d get requests for those exciting but overly violent books.  I love them myself but they are clearly not appropriate to buy for an elementary collection.  But since I’d been reading through our collection I knew that the author, Suzanne Colllins, had written a series that is just as good and just as exciting but intended for a younger audience.  When I tell students about the Gregor the Overlander series they snap it right up!

I also make sure at least all of the K and 1st classes get to hear most of the Georgia Picture Book Nominees along with all the other fun books Mr. Randolph likes to read aloud.  He’s a big proponent of reading aloud and we’re always trying to put good read alouds into the hands of teachers.  I also help students branch out and find books they might not have considered when I think they might be in a reading rut.  Mr. Randolph showed me the NoveList database and that’s especially helpful with our 4th and 5th graders.  It shows them books they might like based on things they already know they like.  I used it to help a girl the other day who had read all of the I Survived books find The Night of the Howling Dogs which she liked very much.

I guess the way I try to provide access to information for all is just to show everyone how to use the great resources Gwinnett County provides and where to find them.  I am forever showing them how to find things on the portal and the databases and use more than just PebbleGo.  I also show them the Public Library website and how to use it to find things either that we don’t have or that we have but are always being checked out.  One girl I showed how to reserve a copy of one of the Dork Diaries books and she looked grumpy about it.  What’s wrong, I asked.  “Why haven’t you shown me this before!?”  Ha ha!

I must say that my one weakness on this application is my working with other media clerks.  I know Mr. Randolph shares as much as he can with other media specialists so I guess my ideas are getting spread that way but I have not actively been involved in the media clerk community in our district.  Some people say that’s because I’m the same person as Mr. Randolph!  They claim that they never see us together in the same room at the same time.  Like we’re Clark Kent and Superman or something.

That is a whole lot of foolishness.  Mr. Randolph runs an excellent media center and there’s no way he could possibly do it all alone!  Would it really be possible for one person to collaborate, teach lessons, work on book orders, run the morning show, the Reader’s Rally team, weed, troubleshoot, check in, check out, sort, shelve, be on the leadership team, the building team, the counselor’s community outreach team, mentor another media specialist, run reading incentive programs, deal with photos and videos, deal with broken equipment, train and support volunteers, be on the tech team and not have a clerk?

Don’t be ridiculous.  That’s just crazy talk right there.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jim Randolph”

I’m seriously sending this in.  I’ll let you know if I get a response.

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