Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Maybe I should have been a librarian 50 years ago

Let me just start by saying that I really do like a lot of things about my job as a school library media coordinator.  I particularly like working with kids and teachers, collection development, and of course reading the new books and helping students find books they love.  However, lately, each day seems like a battle with our equipment and technology.

Technology is great -- when it works.  I'm certainly a lot more comfortable working with all the various computers and projectors and camcorders and video/DVD players than I was a year or two ago.  I am, however, a digital immigrant, and I am not a gadget person by nature.  But it drives me absolutely crazy when equipment works fine one day and totally messes up the next.  

This week my school has been showing movies as a reward for good behavior.  We've done the set up many times before, the test run when we got the equipment set up went well, and then today (of course) the sound system went haywire right as we seated 150 wild seventh graders and we started the movie.  It did not help my frustration level when one of the APs at the school was really ugly to me (yelling) about the fact that the stupid microphone and speaker were suddenly on the fritz and no one could hear the movie.  Which was "The Game Plan" starring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, so I'm not sure this was much of a loss. 

 (Keep in mind that there are home karaoke machines that are higher quality equipment than our microphone/speaker system.  We have one 2-ft. speaker to project the sound to the entire school auditorium.  We are not talking a Dolby digital surround sound system here, people). 

To make a long, annoying story shorter, we (me and my assistant) finally determined that the battery was dead in the cordless microphone.  No one in the office bothered to order extra 9-volt batteries as we requested a month ago, so we had to make do with what we had.  Which is -- one dying microphone and one that barely works because it appears to have been used as a soccer ball in PE.  This is what teachers are used to anyway, right?  I did feel slightly vindicated when our instructional technology specialist, who was there to tutor, checked out the problem and agreed that it was the battery and not anything we failed to do in the set up.  

This is the latest in about 2 weeks of nonstop equipment "issues".  Frankly, I'm tired of it.  Give me a book any day -- it's cheap, portable, will not suddenly get a virus, need an extra cord or batteries, or just not work.  (I'm also wondering if maybe this is a sign from God that my school administrators need to cough up the bucks for a movie license so that we quit violating copyright every time we show a reward movie.)

I'm ready to go old-school librarian for a while.  Give me a bunch of books, an old-fashioned card catalog, and a filmstrip reel and I will weep with delight.  But I draw the line at wearing my hair in a bun.   

1 comment:

Sarah said...

My husband and I were just talking about the fact that our kids will never have to use a card catalog. It got me wondering what they have done with the enormous room at my home town library that used to house it (I haven't been there since high school 16 years ago.) I wonder what the technology will look like in another 16 years?