Friday, September 25, 2015

It's Not Your Library

I am a lucky librarian!  I work in a gorgeous, air conditioned two-story 5,000 square foot space.  My administration has always been super supportive and I have spent almost $100,000 of grant money renovating my library.  I have a full-time assistant!  I am never micro-managed, my suggestions are given serious consideration, and my requests are frequently not only met, but exceeded.  Every year has been better than the one before in regards to getting what I need to make my program soar.

In short, I have been very very happily spoiled.

I grew accustomed to always getting what I wanted for my library.  Not in a petulant way.  It was just my normal.

However, this year, things changed.  Things changed without my input.  Things changed that had absolutely nothing to do with me or what would work best for MY library.  Protestations fell on deaf ears and I'm ashamed to admit, I was a little shocked.

I'm sharing this story not because I think my administration made the wrong call.  It's the exact opposite.  I think they made the right call!  They chose what would best serve our students as a whole; not what would just serve my library.  But that can be a hard lesson.

Dear Sucky Librarian

The following blog post is an homage to Dear Sucky Administrator, written by Tony Sinasis on his blog, Leading Motivated Learners, which you can find here.  This is the librarians’ version. Thank you Tony for the inspiration.
Dear Sucky Administrator Librarian,

I am sorry for the choice of words, but you know who you are and you are pretty sucky at your work as an educator and specifically as an information leader.

You are the librarian who gives the rest of us a bad name. You are the librarian who perpetuates the "mean librarian" feeling that permeates many a school community. You are the librarian who creates a "Fortress Library" and sends the message to students and teachers that you are not interested in collaborating, sharing or being transparent about your practices. You are the librarian who spends more time in the back office fixing books, cataloging, and doing "important" work instead of being in classrooms and interacting with students and staff. You are the librarian who does not value relationships with the people around you and is only focused on shhhhhshing people, saying no, and protecting your precious books. You are the librarian who doesn't foster a sense of trust in your school. Basically, you are sucky at your job because you have lost the focus on what matters most in education - KIDS!

Fortunately, it is not too late to turn yourself around and go from sucky to at least halfway decent. Here are some things to avoid in your attempt to exit "sucky-ville"...

Friday, June 19, 2015

Coping with Personnel Change in Your School

Change is scary. It means having to rethink and possibly undo everything you've been doing up until that point. It means revisiting your own incompetence. It means spending a lot more time doing what should be easy. And for a library media center, change can mean the end of your own program. Especially if it's a change in administration. All of us have read stories of amazing library media centers with dynamic librarians at the helm paving the way with innovation and grace. And I would venture to say most if not all of those libraries were able to do the things they do because they had a supportive administration.

 A supportive administration listens to your ideas and then brainstorms with you to come up with solutions. They are willing to compromise and may even have the ability to give you the money you need to get started. A supportive administration recognizes that it needs to constantly learn and evolve, and more importantly will allow you to teach them about librarianship and its ideal role in a school community. In short, a support administration is...supportive. They have your back, and in turn, you have theirs. They help you out, you make a rigorous program and facility that bolsters the school community and positively affects student learning outcomes, and you make the administration look good to boot. It's a win-win-situation. It takes time to create a relationship like that though. You need to get a feel for each other's work flows, management styles, and preferred methods of communication. And even if you have the exact same vision, sometimes it just all comes down to personality. Either way, when you have a school where the library media specialist and the building administrators mesh, it's a beautiful thing. So then what do you do when something threatens to change all of that?!

Monday, June 15, 2015

OneTab Chrome Extension for Teachers

I learned about a new chrome extension (also available for firefox) on the House of EdTech podcast.  It has been such a game changer for me and my work flows that I just had to share it with you.

It's called OneTab:

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

How to Pitch Your Library Renovation to Admin

Most of us don't work in state-of-the-art school libraries with unlimited budgets.  Instead most of us work in libraries that are falling apart, often with no budget at all, at a time when society is doubting whether or not libraries should even exist anymore.  Librarians are being fired.  Libraries are being closed.   In order for your library to not only survive, but thrive, you need money.  Money that you can't access or control without the ok and support of your administration.  But how do you ask your admin for money to renovate your library when you're already pretty sure they're going to say no?

Here are some ideas to get you through pitching a renovation idea to your school admin.