If you know me then you know that I do not usually run out of things to share. However, this month I found writing this post tricky. This is the point of the year when energy is low and things can feel long. So when I sat down to find something to say that would really be worth reading I found myself stuck. I mean the computer cursor blinking for hours kind of stuck. I decided to take some advice from one of my favorite teachers and just write down any random thoughts that came to mind (related to librarianship of course). Here are seven random thoughts from a school librarian:
Small Victories Matter
Lately, I become frustrated when only two people attended a program or when the newsletter is only looked at by half the parents. I have to remind myself that small wins matter! The two people who attended the program will tell two more and then it will spread like a slow burn. If half of the parents read the newsletter that is only half who did not have the information before. I need to flip the negative statement into ones that celebrate the win. As Vincent Van Gogh once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”
So Many Kinds of Tape
Did you know there were so many different kinds of tape? I mean before becoming a librarian. This is a random thought…I know! I went to place an order with a library supply company yesterday and I found myself scrolling through pages and pages of tape. Tape can be used to fix a book, color code a section, mark places on the floor and so much more! It is sort of magical if you think about it. Something so simple can hold so much power. My favorite quote about tape is from the great Richard Scarry, “I’m not interested in creating a book that is read once and then placed on the shelf and forgotten. I am very happy when people have worn out my books, or that they’re held together by Scotch tape.”
The biggest thing I have had to learn about myself is that I have to adapt my teaching style in order to support my students, especially when I am co-teaching with someone else. I work with forty-three other teachers in my building. I have to understand that they are not all going to teach the same way or like me. When I enter their classroom, I have to respect the type of teacher their students are used to and adapt appropriately. This means that I can teach the same lesson in a third-grade classroom with one teacher and it looks completely different when I go across the hall to work with someone else.
You are Never Done
I think this goes for all educators, but in the school library, I feel this so much. I will always be learning and improving the collection. Making connections and building relationships is something that I always need to continue. I will never be done supporting teachers and sharing the importance of the school library with others. Figuring out what is next is always at the forefront. As Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
My focus is all about access. The school community should have access to an inclusive collection of books and online resources. They should have regular access to the school library space. Finally, they should have access to instruction that supports the development of information literacy skills and a love of reading. As a school librarian, it is my job to recognize barriers to access to find solutions that will help all students be successful. It is about opening my own eyes to the inequities and figuring out what steps I can take to fix them.
Shelving is Like Laundry
If I am being honest, shelving is something that I do not get to as often as I should. My priority is supporting learners and educators with curriculum needs and literacy instruction. I usually have parent volunteers who help with shelving, but for the past two years that has not been possible so things can get a bit backed up. The thing about shelving is that it never goes away. It is a constant. Like laundry, the minute you finish there is always more to do. Of course, this is a good problem to have because it means learners are reading and that is the goal!
Be You and Own It
I follow some amazing librarians and educators on social media…like amazing! I listen to podcasts, watch webinars, and attend conferences. I can say that I have learned so much from what these people have to share. Their ideas have influenced what I do in my school library often and I am a better school librarian for it.
Yet, there are times when I fall into the trap of comparing myself to them. Where I feel like what I am doing is not enough. I have to remind myself that we are not the same and do not need to be. I have to remember that I have to be the best school librarian I can be and that may not include everything someone else is doing.
What random thoughts do you have floating around in your head today?
Author: Kelly Hincks
I am the librarian at Detroit Country Day Lower School in Bloomfield Hills, MI. I have worked as a school librarian for the past eleven years. I was a classroom teacher for four years prior to that. I have worked in charter, public, and private schools. My favorite thing about being a school librarian is the opportunities I have to work both with students and teachers. I love the co-teaching opportunities and connections I have been able to make! I have served on AASL committees as a member and chair. I currently serve as secretary of my state association, Michigan Association of School Librarians (MASL).