Making Connections at the Beginning of the School Year

This month the BACC cobloggers will share ideas about the various types of professional development opportunities school librarians can offer for  faculty, staff, and community members.

Unshelved_Quiet_LibraryFor librarians who are new to a school and for librarians reaching out to new faculty members or administrators, first impressions count! As this Unshelved cartoon so accurately (and yet so unfortunately) shows our profession continues to struggle with long-outdated stereotypes. (I began my career as a school librarian twenty-five years ago. We NEVER had a “quiet” sign or “shushing” in our library!)

The wise school librarian presents herself, her work as an instructional partner, and the resources of the library in an open, friendly, and upbeat manner. He will want to show his commitment to students’ and teachers’ success and follow through with actions that reinforce his words. She will want to show she is smart, flexible, and ever-ready with a bag of chocolates in her office drawer…

Len Bryan, School Program Coordinator, Library Development and Networking Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, recently posted this information to the Texas Library Connection distribution list: “Instead of reviewing rules, policies, and procedures with teachers and staff, why not present how the library can make their lives easier? This is a great opportunity to reach out and form friendly, collaborative relationships – the foundation of excellent library programs on every campus.” When he served as a school librarian, Len put a letter in every teacher’s mailbox. (He gives credit to retired librarian Lori Loranger, from whom he “stole” it.) This is the Google Drive doc link to Len’s “What Can the Library Do for You?

Experienced school librarian Becky McKee is now the District Librarian for Mabank Independent School District in Texas; she is new in this position. After reading Len’s post, Becky created the handout below to share with teachers at the intermediate, junior high, and high school campuses she will be serving this school year:

You might need a librarian when…

…you have a seed of an idea.
…you need curriculum resources as you develop a unit.
…you need an instructional design partner.
…you need library time for your class to do research.
… you need someone to assist small groups in research.
…you have a recommendation for our library.
…you need a new/different twist for a lesson.
… you need technology in your lesson.
… you need a read-aloud in your classroom.
… you need clarification on copyright laws.
… you need stories or book talks related to your lesson.
… you need personal or professional reading materials.
… you need someone to revel in your enthusiasm for your subject!

Becky gave her “you might need a librarian if” document to her colleagues along with some additional face-to-face outreach. Read about it on Thursday.

Thank you to Len Bryan and Becky McKee for giving me permission to share their work. You can reach Len at: lbryan@tsl.texas.gov and Becky at: rsmckee@mabankisd.net

Unshelved cartoon used with permission

This entry was posted in Advocacy and tagged , , by Judi Moreillon. Bookmark the permalink.

About Judi Moreillon

Judi Moreillon, M.L.S, Ph.D., has served as a school librarian at every instructional level. In addition, she has been a classroom teacher, literacy coach, and district-level librarian mentor. Judi taught preservice school librarians for twenty-one years, most recently as an associate professor at Texas Woman's University where she taught courses in instructional partnerships, multimedia resources and services, children’s literature, and storytelling. Her research agenda focuses on the professional development of school librarians for the leadership and instructional partner roles.

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