The Forgotten PD: Meeting Face to Face
But, in my opinion, there is a type of professional development that is under-celebrated that I have recently revisited and need to shout about.
Talking to your neighbor!
And I kind of mean that literally. As Library Media Specialists we are "islands of selfdom," as described by Frank Herbert. We are usually the only people in our buildings who not only do what we do, but know what we do! If we're good little marketers, we are hopefully changing that in our school communities. But no matter how much we hit the streets, there's just nobody like another librarian who understands what you're going through.
Finding someone who teaches in as close to an environment as yours is key though! Meeting with other librarians in your district who teach other grades is obviously vital, but it's just not the same as talking with another librarian who teaches your level. You will probably have similar challenges and can compare how you have both overcome those obstacles.
We all have our strengths too, and sharing those strengths is so empowering! One librarian might be a killer cataloger while the other is really great at classroom management. Meeting for a morning chat with another high school librarian provides me with so much inspiration and encouragement. I leave full of ideas and the knowledge that I'm doing a better job than I think I am.
Look at your school, program, and demographics. Then look at the other schools in your town, county, or state. Find a good match, and see if they're up for a chat. You'll probably be surprised at how excited they'll be to speak with you. Visit their school. Observe their normal day. See how they use their space and talk about how you maybe would do it differently. Bonus points if you can schedule a reciprocal visit!
I for one am hooked on visiting my neighbor librarians now. Care for an exchange of ideas? Let me know!