As an educator and librarian I have embraced change. It is a way to stretch and grow and create meaningful learning. Well, I am about to embrace a monumental change. I will retire at the end of the fall 2013 semester. It didn’t seem right to retire in June 2014 when we have three renovated libraries to stage, along with bids and budgets to complete. I hope I picked a time when a transition will be easier.
This job has been fulfilling, challenging and at times downright entertaining. I love my job, I appreciate the colleagues I work with and while all is good within my district I think it is an honorable time to ride off into the sunset. I’d like to thank those of you who have followed me over the last couple years. The librarian field is awesome and I hope you will all continue the good fight to support librarians and libraries for our future generations.
One of my librarians just sent me this link about an article titled: Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming
- Neil Gaiman at Chapters reading (Photo credit: phoenixdreaming)
Power stuff. Take a minute to read this message from a noted author about the value of libraries.
Last week I was literally sitting on the dock of the bay when along came a kayaker. Hello I shout and she shouts back hello and pulls up to the dock where we proceeded to have a 30 minute conversation. It really is a small world. The kayaker is an English professor at an East coast university and we commiserated about the lack of true research expected of her students and/or the lack of knowledge about how to begin the whole research process. Typically she teaches upper level classes but lately the administration at her university has decided all teachers should have the opportunity to work with English 101 students. I was pleased to hear her say she and some of the other university professors know who can help steer the students at their university…the librarians.
My district and a neighboring district team up every year about this time to have a professional development day for all of the librarians in our area. One of the sessions we will have is called Preparing Secondary Students for Research at the College Level. We have invited four university level librarians and two professors to be a part of a panel discussion covering expectations, academic research, citation tools and ways to develop and boost students’ information literacy IQ’s. When we are in the company of post-secondary librarians we are reminded that our students really are your students.
The circulation desk as we know it is changing. In my district as we renovate our elementary libraries I have reduced the height of the circulation desk countertop to better accommodate our younger students and self-check. I constantly look at self-check kiosks for both elementary and secondary levels but have yet to purchase a free-standing one.
If you follow this blog you know we just opened our first STEAM Academy with a library commons of less square footage than a traditional campus library. I had a smaller footprint circulation desk custom-made and today it arrived. Ah, it is the right size, shape, and texture for that campus. The students will mostly self-check with a laptop we leave on top along with a scanner. We aren’t taking up valuable landscape with a huge circulation desk and it accomplishes its intent…get books in the hands of our students. What do you think?
Our new Academy high school had their Open House tonight with an energized crowd. We have opened this campus with a Library Commons and no librarian but it seems set to be the focal point of the Academy due to its location and inviting presence.
Listening to the parents and students it was obvious they were awed by the uniqueness yet familiarity of the space. There are still physical books along with the normal eBook components and soft seating is suited to the needs of our students. As parents and students wandered in and out of the library I loved hearing one parent say to her children, “Oh, they have books and we still have the ability to sit and read!”
Everyone was excited and positive as they toured this district’s newest educational endeavor. We aren’t sure if this campus will have a librarian (all teachers are at least dual certified) next year as the enrollment grows, but in the meantime we will support it and the needs of our students.
My colleagues and I just spent two days in professional development sessions with our district’s elementary and secondary principals and their administrative staffs. The energy was high and the principals were engaged and dare I say enjoying our presentations. How much better could it get?
With their jam-packed schedules principals can be a tough sell but a unifying piece to remember is we are all in the business of educating our students. The administrators took the information we shared with them back to their campuses…and there they will spread it two-fold.
My advice is to enjoy the connection with these folks when you have the opportunity and make the most of the time you have with them. Win-win.
Rachel’s Challenge was in the DFW metroplex over this past weekend and I was able to participate in one of the sessions. Rachel’s Challenge came out of the death of Rachel Scott in the 1999 Columbine school shooting. This program is committed to preparing students and adults alike how to stop bullying, but it is also about creating a positive school climate. Certainly our libraries can be a major player in fostering a place where students looking out for others is the norm.
The session I attended was presented by Darrell Scott, Rachel’s father. He spoke of a new component coming to Rachel’s Challenge called Awaken the Learner: Finding the Source of Effective Education This module pinpoints the need for teachers to build relational trust with their students. He admits he is not an educator but wants a way to equip educators with the tools needed to bring the message of kindness and compassion to the classroom.
Scott does bring up an educational philosophy that is still used in some schools today, but I haven’t heard about it since my education classes of long ago. The 3H’s…that is the Head, Heart and Hands method… is used to support emotional intelligence as a way to improve academics. I’ll have to research that topic, but isn’t that the point? Grow and learn, learn and grow.
I also came away with two fantastic quotes:
“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.”
“I’m not a teacher, but an awakener.”