There are many outlets for librarians to connect with and support one another. Below are just a few that help me in my school library practice.
Citywide Consortium of Librarians
My hometown has seven school districts. Within those districts there are 25 school librarians. Several years ago one of the school librarians from one of the high schools called a meeting in her library after school. She invited all of the librarians from the county to meet in her library.
This group became WeDewey, which meets five times a year at different school libraries and at the public library. These meetings provide a great opportunity to share ideas, problem solve, and collaborate with the school librarians and other library professionals in our community. Through these meetings, several of the schools have collaborated with one another virtually, using Skype and Google Hangouts for book clubs. Several of the school librarians frequently collaborate with the public library. Public librarians participate in school programs by hosting author events at schools, hosting summer reading challenges with Beanstack, and providing e-cards for students to utilize subscriptions provided to all county patrons (Hoopla, Overdrive, Tumblebooks, etc.).
All seven districts collaborate to host an annual countywide reading festival, with librarians playing a pivotal role in planning, organizing, and conducting the event. Many great student opportunities began in these gatherings.
Statewide Librarian Associations
It is very important to be a member of your state library associations. In Arkansas we have the Arkansas Library Association (ArLA), an organization for school librarians, public librarians, and academic librarians. We also have the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media (AAIM), an organization primarily for school librarians. Both of these organizations have journals that keep their members informed of legislative issues concerning libraries and trends and feature articles on exemplary libraries across the state. The organizations also host annual conferences that allow for networking and learning from one another.
National and Global Professional Learning Communities
Twitter offers many opportunities to connect with librarians nationally and globally via Twitter Chats. These are some that I follow:
- #TLchat – Teacher Librarian Chat – second Mondays at 8:00 p.m. EST
- #txlchat – Texas Librarians Chat – Tuesdays at 9:00 p.m. EST
- #ArkTLChat – Arkansas Teacher Librarian Chat – second Thursdays, September-May, at 8:00 p.m. CST
- #vaslchat – Virginia School Librarian Chat – Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. EST
Skype in the Classroom is another great way to connect with fellow librarians. This year I used Skype to meet with author Ellie Terry, author of Forget Me Not, and two other schools that had also read her book.
Future Ready Librarians on Facebook is another great professional learning community that allows us to learn from one another, get answers to questions, and to be encouraged by others that understand what you do each and every day.
I am a better Future Ready Librarian because of each of these connections made at the city, state, national and global levels.
Author: Ronda Hughes
Ronda Hughes is a Middle School Library Media Specialist in Hot Springs, Arkansas. She has 19 years experience in public education as: a Physical Education teacher, 5th grade Literacy teacher and a library media specialist. Hughes has served as Tri-Lakes Reading Council President, Arkansas Reading Association Intellectual Chair, Alpha Delta Kappa Vice President, and Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Board Member. She has been on numerous committees such as; Arkansas Department of Education K-8 Computer Science Standards and Library Media Standards, Garland County READS, Arkansas Diamond Book Award Committee, Charlie May Simon Book Award Committee, just to name a few.