ON LIBRARIES – Be a Transformer

Back in February I blogged on how school librarians transform student learning. The idea came from an initiative ALA was developing. It has now blossomed into a campaign.  The new website focusing on it, Librarians Transform should be one you check regularly. Also sign up to receive updates.

libraries transform videoThe campaign, in the words of the website is, “Designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact and services provided by libraries and library professionals, the Libraries Transform campaign will ensure there is one clear, energetic voice for our profession. Showcasing the transformative nature of today’s libraries and elevating the critical role libraries play in the digital age.”  Note the emphasis on “one clear … voice.”  This means no matter what type of library you are in, you should be using the wording of the campaign. It ensures that people recognize the value of all libraries and come to value what we bring.

I particularly like the large statement on the home page, “Because Transformation is Essential to the Communities We Serve.” Although AASL first focused on how we transform student learning, it’s important to recognize our role in transforming the entire school community.  It is a big job, but we are the ones most aware of areas rooted in the past that no longer serve the present.  Through our understanding of tech resources we can gently guide others into making changes that will impact everyone within our school and potentially our district.library_word_cloud

Immediately below that opening statement is wonderful short video showing, “The ways in which libraries transform are as nuanced and varied as the people they serve. Physical transformations are easy to spot. Transformations in service and scope can be less apparent, but are ever changing. This video is the first of many sharable tools created to spark conversation on the transformed library and library professional.”  After you have seen that one, you can look at two others.

If you scroll down, you come to boxes explaining Why Libraries Are Transforming including: Because the World is at Their Fingertips and the World Can Be a Scary Place, Because More Than One-Quarter of U.S. Households Don’t Have an Internet Connection, and Because Employers Want Candidates Who Know the Difference Between Search and Research. (Colleges do as well.)

At the top of the page there are three tabs: Because, Trends, and Toolkit. What I just described is part of Because.  If you click on Trends, you see twenty colorful circles each with a trend identified by The Center for the Future of Libraries.  Among the ones most related to school librarians are: Digital Natives, Flipped Classroom, Gamification, Maker Movement, and Connected Learning.  You might also want to explore Drones, Robots, Unplugged, Sharing Economy, and Privacy Shifting.  Or look at all of them.

Each Trend opens with a statement defining what it is. How It’s Developing explores the factors that have combined to make it a trend and how it is evolving. Why It Matters explains what problems it may cause for some people and what librarians can do to help. Since we are librarians, below each trend are links to Notes and Resources.

becauseThe last tab, Toolkit, seems to still be under development.  However, you can download The Top Ten Ways (and One Bonus!) to Engage with the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform Campaign. You can also download web banners and posters of the opening Because boxes in a variety of sizes.

Watch this video of ALA President Sari Feldman and her “Transform” tour in four Washing D.C. locations http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/blogs/the-scoop/libraries-transform-across-dc/

This is a great resource.  Do become part of the campaign and enlist the other librarians in your district and state associations to join as well.

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ON LIBRARIES: Are You Getting Full Value from Your Library Associations?

 

Ivalue1 thought this would be a short blog.  I was wrong. This is important to your future as a librarian and the future of the programs for which we are responsible.

Most of you are members of your state association. A good number of you, although it should be much more, are members of ALA/AASL but only a small percentage of you are getting all you can from your membership.

Are you using the resources our state and national associations provide?  How often to you check their websites?  AASL has a wealth of information and resources—and for most you don’t even need to be a member.

Become an active member. Although AASL has paid staff, and your state association may have some paid positions, the organizations direction an accomplishments are powered by volunteers.  Even if for some reason you don’t feel ready to participate at the national level (and they welcome newbies), do contact your state association to find out how you can be of service.

I can hear you saying, “I agree those are great resources and I would really love to be more active, but I haven’t the time.”  That’s our favorite response to almost everything.  And as I said last week with the stories we tell ourselves, it’s grounded in truth.  You don’t have time, but when you recognize it’s a priority in your life, you are willing to make time.

I keep hearing librarians complain about irrelevant PD offered by their district.  Although I believe you can always get something from these offerings, AASL has webinars geared specifically to areas you need. Do you sign up for them?  AASL also offers e-Academy asynchronous courses lasting only a few weeks on topics of concern to school librarians. I give two six-week e-courses for ALA editions, one based on Being Indispensable and the other on New on the Job. You can’t take advantage of them if you don’t know they exist.aasl

Are you on your state’s listserv?  Their Facebook page if they have one? If you are an AASL member you can be on the AASLForum electronic discussion list.  It’s a great source for getting and sharing information you need every day on your job.  You will also get to recognize the leaders, those who know and use the latest in technology.  Because of my presence on my state’s listserv I had a librarian contact me and ask me to mentor her.  Of course I did so.  Although she is now well on her way to being a leader in her own right, every now and then she still checks in with a question.

Fall conference season is upon us. Several state library associations have already had theirs. In my state, the New Jersey Association of School Librarians will be holding its annual conference from November 15-17, and before that AASL will have its biennial conference November 6-8 in Columbus, Ohio.  I will be at both of these.  Will you be attending any?

Even if you can’t take professional days to attend the AASL and/or your state conference, it’s worth it to take personal days.  When you do, write up a brief report letting your administrator know what you learned and how it will affect what you are doing with students.  It shows you are a professional, and what you receive from your time at conference will inspire and rejuvenate you.  It’s the best PD you can get.

Looking further down the road, and registration has been open for some time, ALA’s Midwinter conference is in Boston this year from January 8-12. Book now since rates go up after November 12.  You needn’t attend the whole conference.  Arrive Friday after work and leave on Sunday in time to be back on the job on Monday.  There is no official programs at Midwinter, but the exhibits are far more extensive than all but the very largest state conferences. (I am thinking of Texas.)

While there you can sit in during AASL’s All-Committee meeting, which I believe will be on Saturday. Round tables are set up in a very large room for the various AASL committees to meet and conduct business.  Guests are welcome.  It’s an excellent opportunity to see whether you would like to serve on one.  If you find one to your liking, let the chair know to recommend you be appointed to it.  You needn’t get to every ALA Annual and Midwinter to serve on a committee.  Most of them have virtual members and a lot of business gets done in conference calls and through ALA Connect which is onlne.

ala midwinterI learned to be a leader thanks to my participation in my state association and ALA/AASL.  I was nervous when I was asked many years ago to run for president-elect of my state association. When I won, I had to figure out how to plan and run our annual conference.  Beyond that, I had to deal with budgets, agendas for meetings, dealing with conflicting views of board members and more.  In AASL I learned about long range planning, advocacy, and strategic planning.  The latter I also did at the state level.  I have been and am on ALA Committees and developed a deeper understanding of how all types of libraries connect and need to support each other.

Each committee, each task taught me more than I ever learned in library school or at my district’s PD offerings.  I became a much better librarian and one whom administrators and teachers respected for what I knew and brought to them and students.

Is that enough of a priority for you to consider becoming active?