We are approaching two weeks into most of the school closures with the likelihood of at least another month. From the first, librarians have been doing what we do best, getting information for ourselves and then out to our communities. Many of you quickly tapped into your PLNs and began asking for and exchanging information, but this influx of resources has created an information overload that is adding to already existing stress. What can we do to meet the needs of our teachers and students without becoming more overwhelmed?
A good place to start, if you haven’t done so already, is to make a list of your priorities. Stop and think:
- Are you doing any teaching? If so, you need resources for that.
- What types of help do your teachers need? How can you be a resource?
- Are your providing parent support?
- How are you communicating with your administration and beyond?
In a Google doc, or whatever format you prefer, keep separate files/folders for the different topics. Go for quality rather than quantity. Even before this crisis, teachers frequently ignored what you showed them if you offered too much information. Now they are more overwhelmed. Keep things focused and brief. Add (and delete) to your lists as necessary.
Besides what you create for teachers, keep a separate file with the highlights of what you are doing. Every so often, send this to your administrator, website, and consider posting to the appropriate places on social media. This can be an important opportunity for advocacy.
Advocacy is about building partnerships with others who support you since you helped them. By showing your contribution, others will recognize that the library program is invaluable to the school system, even with the students can’t go to the library. You are the lifeline teachers and students need. Parents and administrators need to see this as well.
And don’t forget to make time for yourself. I saw one meme showing a librarian working on her computer and saying, “I have this feeling that if I just curate everything, I can stop the virus.” While we are working hard to serve, we cannot forget the rule about taking care of ourselves first so we can do our best.
To practice what I preach, I am keeping this blog shorter than usual. Less for you to read and me to write. And since I have been sitting for an hour, and it’s too rainy for me to go out, I am going to walk 250 steps in my house.
Stay healthy and stay connected.