We interviewed Mrs. Behnke at Highland Ranch Elementary School, and this is what she said!
How long have you been a librarian? Have you had other jobs that have helped you be a librarian?
I have been a librarian since March 1, 2000. I just started in this position, but my past experience helps me in this job. For the last seven years I have worked at a high school in the classroom as an Instructional Assistant. Working at a school and assisting students helps me now in my new job. Before that, I was a Bookkeeper for a company that sold computer software (learning programs) to schools. This experience helps me with the record keeping I do now with all the books.
Did you have to have special training or schooling to be a librarian?
I did not have to have any special training to be an elementary school librarian, although some libraries do require a college degree. I was required to have experience working at a school. And probably the most important qualification to be an elementary school librarian is to LOVE CHILDREN and to LOVE BOOKS!
How do you choose what books go in the library?
I choose new books for the library based on what the teachers and students want and need. When a student or teacher requests a book that they would like our library to have, I write the title down. Also, all the elementary school librarian in our school district have been working together to select some new books. Sometimes, book publishers will bring or send books for me to preview. And I love going to the bookstore in my neighborhood to look at and find new books for the library.
How are the books paid for?
Every year I am given a budget to buy some new books. And next year, I will receive money from a District-wide grant that will help me buy lots of books. That is why all the librarians are working together right now to pick out new books.
Do you lose many books each year? How do you replace them?
I do not think we lose very many books each year. I think students are very responsible about bringing their library books back. If a student thinks they have lost a book, I will send a bill home for the parents to pay for the replacement. Sometimes, this will cause everyone in the family to look extra hard for the book and then they will find it! If not, the student's family is expected to pay for it so we can buy a new one.
What are the most popular books - fiction, non-fiction, and biography…
Based on what I've seen, the most popular fiction books are: The Dear America Series, The American Girls Series, Cam Jansen Series, Great Illustrated Classics such as Little Women and Tom Sawyer, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books, Harry Potter books and Boxcar Children Mysteries. The younger students check out quite a few Clifford books and books by author Tedd Arnold, such as Parts and Green Wilma and Frank Asch, such as Happy Birthday Moon. In the poetry section, Shel Silverstein is very popular and for non-fiction, the most popular seem to be books on all sports, how-to draw books, I Spy, and books about animals and different countries.