Thanks Susan. Take it away.
Recently, at a Legislative Town Hall meeting promoted by the Clark County Education Association in Las Vegas, I had the opportunity, along with other teacher librarians, to promote information about what teacher librarians do, how we aide student achievement, and the 49 schools in the Clark County School District which do not have either a library or certified teacher librarian and what individuals can do about it. People, the public have no idea what’s happening! They were surprised and discombobulated. It is evident that we need to get word to the public that teacher librarians DO MORE than check out books, read a story, have a book fair, and supply computers for research. So, what do we, as educators, do to promote ourselves and the purpose of school libraries? Here’s a start:
When you walk into a space, there is an energy you feel; make the energy in your library welcoming and helpful.
You know McDonald’s slogan, “I’m Lovin’ It”; create a branding slogan for your library.
Who doesn’t love a great commercial? Create a commercial or segment on your school’s weekly tv broadcast.
Have humdrum announcements? Spice it up! Create an announcement for the library and add expression and music!
Reach your audience; create an: Instagram, Snapchat, FaceBook, Youtube account, website, or blog (get students to write for your blog)
Attend School Organizational Team meetings (school meetings in CCSD), PTO/PTA meetings, School Board meetings and promote the importance of school libraries and certified teacher librarians to promote student achievement.
It’s not just book clubs anymore! Consider a STEAM Club, Makerspace Club, Digital Club, Fanfiction Club, or create more than one book club that appeals to: assigned reading for AP/Honors classes, genre clubs, subjects like art, music, sports, math/science and books,...
Need I say more than Pinterest or Google to find AMAZING displays to get books noticed? The more books displayed with the cover showing, the more apt they are to be checked out.
Fun, colorful, announcements, on the web or printed, about what you and your school library offers. Consider using: piktochart, s’more, canva,...(?)
Get out of the library
Give inservices to grade levels, departments, student clubs (other than those advised by you), and parent organizations, other teacher librarian colleagues, on: the databases, literature, student achievement, learning strategies, lessons you coteach, lessons you teach, collaboration, clubs, ebooks, how you can help,...
Have lesson ideas for teachers which includes co teaching! You, work with all teachers; be their learning strategist. Connect technology tools to the lessons that will help students navigate the real world. Incorporate your state standard objectives and common core. Teachers are not the only educators with objectives.
School Wide Events
Promote reading through school-wide events where everyone gets to participate!
Teen Read Week, Nevada Reading Week, National School Library Month, Poetry Month, Teen Tech Week, to name a few. Bring authors to your school to speak. Have a donuts and dad or mom and muffins morning. Yes, book fairs are wonderful! Have activities that bring the community in to your library. Work with your public library to promote their summertime reading programs and other programs they offer. Work towards a goal of fundraising and include teachers and administrators to “kiss a pig”, “pie in the face”, “silly string wars”,...
With GSuite our resources continue to soar! Conduct a Google Hangout with schools throughout the world! Find out what other students are reading...GLOBALLY! Start a novel on Google Docs and allow for sharing with editing and comments and then send it on a trip around the state, your country, your world!
Granted, budgets are often reduced if not eliminated at many schools. So, what can you do? You could write a grant, speak with local businesses, use gofundme.org, find out what talents or connections teachers, students or parents have to help you. However you get funding, bring your library up to the 21st century. Find new furniture, start ebooks, purchase databases and useful apps to service your students and teachers, decorations, signage, chromebook carts, and more. Make your library a place where students WANT to be. Remember, your personality plays a big part in your environment, too! Libraries today are not what they were 15 or more years ago. They are active learning spaces where student collaboration happens, discourse and debate, inquiry learning, media centers and reading centers emerge, makerspaces, and more. There definitely are times when quiet is appropriate, but don’t let it rule your library.
CCSLA is our local Clark County School Librarians Association and AASL is the American Association of School Libraries. Be a part of your professional organization. Read professional journals and magazines to spark innovation. AASL has the best conferences for school libraries! Check out the AASL Conference: November 9-11, 2017 in Phoenix, AZ. Not only do they have excellent conferences, but you can also access their website for a plethora of school library information. Your local association is your opportunity to network with other teacher librarians in your area to bounce ideas off one another and advocate for your profession.
National School Library month is a perfect time to celebrate your library and what you do, but remember; National School Library is one month and what you do for your school community is lifelong...adapt!
Steven Bickmore <http://www.yawednesday.com/>
"Jennifer Gonzalez" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mighty Little Librarian <http://www.mightylittlelibrarian.com/>
The True Adventures of a High School Librarian <http://www.nikkidrobertson.com/>
The Daring Librarian <http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/>
The Unquiet Librarian <https://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/>
Annoyed Librarian <http://lj.libraryjournal.com/blogs/annoyedlibrarian/>