It's safe to say that I will win no awards for my efforts to blog. It's been almost a year since my last post, which is a bit shameful. It's also indicative of the nature of being a high school librarian, one without an assistant in a school of 80 teachers and almost 1200 students.
So why do I continue this obviously fledgling effort? Honestly, it's for personal/professional reasons. I want a record of my life in this profession, even if it is sporadic and incomplete. I also want to have a small channel in which to connect with other school librarians. When they (you?) stumble upon my blog, I hope it provides reassurance that we're doing okay; we're all being pulled in a million directions and the job's demands will never decrease. But you're making a difference. I'm making a difference. WE ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE.
That's it. Short. To the point. Maybe that will be the key to me improving how often I blog? We'll see......
Blogging isn't hard, but making the time to do it seems to be hard for me. It's a shame, because the reflection required to write a blog is critical to my success as a teacher librarian. I know this. But finding time - MAKING time - to blog is still a weak point for me.
I have kept up wth the weekly staff newsletter challenge that my AP put forth to me at the start of the school year and I am immensely proud of that. I also think those newsletters help me reflect on the week, my learning, our students, and my teachers' needs. Perhaps this is me trying to make myself feel better about my failure to regularly blog. But it is also true.
By weekly newsletters to teachers have morphed into shorter, smaller, but more effective communication tools. And I have seen a large upswing in collaboration with them and myself as a result, so I'm calling it a win!
Some of my recent newsletters are linked below:
Invitation to Request Materials (Nov)
NC Digital Coaching Leaders Network (Oct)
Crime Scene Investigation as Research Anchor (Oct)
I've been planning for Banned Books Week this past week. Likely most librarians have. My book display includes a book jail, book banners declaring books are banned, and quote bubbles from books explaining some of the details about why they have been challenged. I can't keep the books in the display long enough to complete it. The minute kids know books are in some way forbidden, they gravitate towards them as if being drawn by a magnet. But the best part is the interaction the display has already prompted. Teachers have stopped to discuss the display and books in general. Kids and I have had discussions about censorship, the freedom to read, etc.
I also sent the students and staff a smore newsletter I created explaining more about Banned Books Week. The feedback from this has been excellent. I kept it short and I think this invited more people to stop and read; it only took a few minutes of time. You may view it here.
Next week I will have book quotes from highly challenged book titles placed around the school. (Thanks to the work of new high school librarian and my former student teacher, Leigh Conway!) Students who find and return a quote to me will win a prize: food, of course. They're high schoolers. Food makes them happy. My hope is that the dialogue continues with this more one-on-one interaction possibility.
I would love to hear from other school librarians about your activities for Banned Books Week. Please share pictures, too, if appropriate. I can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My assistant principal challenged me to produce a quick weekly update on life in the media center to share with faculty and staff. It's scary to make a public commitment to a weekly communication tool when I'm unsure I'll be able to complete this each week, but I'm not one to back down from a challenge, so....challenge accepted!
You can see the full newsletter here, but I wanted to share a part of it with this blog post. It took very little time to create, but I think it speaks volumes. I hope these numbers tell the story of how busy the first week of school was in the media center. More importantly, I hope the format allows people to gain a lot of knowledge with a small investment of time. Teachers are always struggling to find time, so if I can give them info without stealing their time, I feel better.
What are your thoughts, fellow librarians?
I'm determined to collect relevant data about the impact of my library on my students. Step one: data collection regarding library book displays. Check out my smore newsletter on how to create a report for book displays in Destiny Library Manager: