As someone who has moved across the country several times, I find myself having to start all over again each time I take a new library job in a place that is new to me. This comes with some challenges. For example, what was the librarian like who preceded me? Were they warm and welcoming, or did they keep an empty library? Another important question is: What purpose does this library serve to the school community? Does it support literacy and learning, or is it just a space that houses computers and books? These are necessary questions one must answer when approaching a library space new to them.
The most important way to set the tone of what your library and library’s role in the school will be is to create a vision for your library. Be sure that you are not the sole stakeholder when crafting this vision statement. Input from administration, faculty, staff, students, and community members should all help to develop a vision statement for your library. Make sure that you present your ideas to the constituents about what you would like the library’s function to be, as well as any new developments to the space. For example, in addition to being a space for literacy and learning, might your library serve as a beginner makerspace, or even as a collective for young writers? Be sure to voice your ideas so they help to shape the overall vision. After all, it is you, the degreed and credentialed library media specialist who has the expertise on the possibilities of all that a library space can be.
Lastly, make sure that this vision statement, once crafted, guides all of your decisions for your library. For instance, when making a book purchase, ask yourself, “Is this going to fill the needs of our vision statement for the library?” If it doesn’t, then it’s time to go back and revisit the vision statement to make sure it provides clear and concise guidance for your library. Be sure that it is visible to all visitors to the library, so they immediately know that this is what your library is all about. With a little teamwork and collaboration, your library will be yours with a clear vision statement.
Author: Megan Shulman
Megan is both the middle and high school librarian at Humboldt Junior Senior High School which serves grades 7-12. She has her Masters of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Shulman has been both a classroom teacher and a school librarian. This upcoming school year, she will be entering her 8th year in public education serving Title 1 schools. Her areas of expertise are school library leadership, brain-based learning strategies, and creating maker-spaces in the current library atmosphere.