The Future Ready Librarian in Practice

Photo Courtesy of Weatherford ISD

I have gathered the June 2017 professional development for you. Speaking of professional development, earlier this month I attended a session offered by Shawna Ford about what it means to be a Future Ready Librarian. Ms. Ford is the Future Ready Learning Coordinator for Weatherford ISD in Texas. If you can see her speak, don’t skip the presentation. I enjoyed hearing her talk about her experiences.  I recommend that you visit her homepage to view more resources. In addition, don’t forget that Joanna Gerakios has already written a great post about being a Future Ready Librarian.

Here are some of Shawna’s suggestions:

Empower your students to lead. Students need to “buy in” to the activities in Future Ready Libraries to make the programs successful. Ask them about their opinions. Shawna noted that when she was setting up a new makerspace, she allowed her students to research best practices, plan how the space was organized, and develop the behavioral rules. Because the students were invested in the space, they think of it as their own. They are motivated to use the space and continue to maintain it.

Offer student-led professional development. In Shawna’s school district, students offer professional development sessions for teachers during lunch time. An example of one of these professional development sessions was “How to Use ScreenCastOMatic.” Shawna stated, “When we put the kids at the center, we are still teaching skills. We are just doing it in an innovative way.” Including students in the professional development process presents a winning scenario for the entire school community. Students are developing critical thinking skills through hands-on activities. Teachers are getting the timely professional development they need. The librarian is serving as a facilitator of learning. These interactions bring the school community together.

Be an expert in training. School librarians don’t have to be the expert for everything. We just need to be willing to learn. Shawna noted that she

Shawna Ford presenting about Future Ready Librarians on May 1, 2017

knows a lot about Makey Makey. Yet, there are times when the students know more. Instead of perceiving this to be a problem, she turns it into an advantage. She is never afraid to experiment because she knows that students will become problem solvers if they are presented with directions. Shawna’s lesson to the audience was that becoming an expert includes admitting that you are not one. Be willing to learn as you go.

Embrace challenges. When Shawna wanted a makerspace, she wrote a grant to purchase the equipment. However, needing the equipment for the makerspace was not her only challenge. Her challenges included adapting a space to implement the new makerspace. Whether you face issues with limited space, bureaucracy, or resistance from your colleagues, continue to move forward. Someone must take the first steps for implementing new ideas. When three people tell you no, sometimes all you need is one yes. Don’t be discouraged.

Stop teaching the answer. We are teaching in a “high stakes” environment. Sometimes we are expected to be more involved in preparing students for standardized tests, rather than helping them to explore the topics that they are passionate about. We have to find time to help them to ask questions. Exploration supports creativity. Creativity fuels solutions, cures, and a general sense of well-being. Here is one of the videos that Shawna shared during her presentation.

In conclusion, I wish that more children today could experience the same school environment that I enjoyed. Many of the activities that I participated in are dwindling. I took acting lessons, participated in plays, learned foreign languages, performed in choirs, went on educational field trips, learned to build items in our school’s shop, painted and used a kiln in art, learned to play multiple instruments, and debated fiercely with other students during a mock trial. These activities helped me to be a critical thinker. School librarians cannot do all of these activities. However, we can offer students creative environments and innovative spaces that nurture their diverse needs.

Shawna’s presentation was refreshing. I appreciate her allowing me to blog about her work. I hope her tips will inspire you. I have placed the professional development for June 2017 below. In the meantime, here are some additional resources for becoming “Future Ready”. Enjoy!

Read More About Future Ready Librarians

Evans, S. (2016, October 8). Are we future ready librarians? (Weblog post). Library Media Tech Talk. Retrieved from

Ray, M. (2016, October 25). How librarians hold the key to future ready schools (Weblog post). Digital Promise. Retrieved from

Schaffhauser, D. (2015, July 15). Project Connect develops toolkit for future-ready librarians (Weblog post). THE Journal. Retrieved from

Stanbury, M. (2016, December 16). Are librarians the key to a future ready school? (Weblog post). eSchool News. Retrieved from

Valenza, J. (2016, July 1). Launching future ready librarians (Weblog post). School Library Journal. Retrieved from


June 2017 Professional Development

Title:  Digital Literacy & Fake News

  • Organization: Library 2.0 Network
  • Date: Thursday, June 1, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm CST
  • Description: In this Library 2.107 mini-conference, we start with the foundational relationship of libraries and librarians to media, information, and now digital literacy, and then we ask some pointed questions. How should library and information professionals address the issues of fake news, propaganda, and biased research? What technical skills are required for critical thinking in the digital age? As learners increasingly move from just consuming information to also socially producing it, what are the new requisite skills of critical thinking and decision-making? What are appropriate uses for social media when conducting research? What is digital citizenship in a global, globally-diverse, and often globally-fragmented world? What work on digital literacy is available, what frameworks already support these efforts, what are the perspectives of the leading thinkers?
  • Link:

 Title:  50 Years of YA: Part 1

  • Organization: Booklist
  • Date: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST
  • Description: 50 Years of YA Webinar: Part 1. Our year-long celebration reaches its zenith with several events, including a two-part webinar extravaganza. Part 1, will feature authors Patrick Ness (HarperCollins Children’s Books), Deborah Heiligman (Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group), and David Levithan (Random House Children’s Books). Tune in to hear what they have to say about the past, present, and future of YA lit. Moderated by Booklist Books for Youth Editor Dan Kraus.
  • Link:

Title:  Embedding Purposeful Literacy Scaffolds and Strategies to Support EL Learners

  • Organization:
  • Date: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 @ 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
  • Description: English Language Learners (ELLs) are the fastest-growing student population in our country, and these students deserve to be supported throughout their learning process – especially when it comes to reading and writing. Join this research-fueled session to learn how leveraging targeted and embedded scaffolds as part of a differentiated instruction approach can dramatically accelerate language and literacy gains for ELLs at every stage of English acquisition. Marisa Russo, M.Ed., Executive Director, EL Development and Early Literacy Instruction, at Achieve3000, will share:
    • Critical scaffolds for ensuring mastery of foundational literacy skills such as phonics and fluency
    • Proven strategies for supporting vocabulary development across the content areas
    • Tips for using consistent language and frequent visual aids to support comprehension skills
    • Ideas for providing ongoing opportunities for listening and speaking to ensure students are able to express their ideas and opinions
  • Link:

Title:  Thrifty Teacher’s Guide to Creative Learning Centers

  • Organization:
  • Date: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Early childhood teachers often struggle with creating enticing and engaging play-based environments on limited budgets. In this edWebinar, Shelley Nicholson, PhD, Owner/Director of Nicholson Early Childhood Education Center; and Jessica Martinez, Director of The Goddard School of Austin will explore inexpensive ways to collect and create classroom learning materials. They will share helpful tips and strategies from their book, Thrifty Teacher’s Guide to Creative Learning Centers, including:
    • How to find, choose, and integrate materials into learning centers
    • How to create unique and inviting props for play and learning
    • What children are learning as they play with materials
    • How to scaffold learning with materials
    • When to add or replace materials through observation of children
  • Link:

Title:  Managing, Deploying, and Sharing School-Issued Devices: Lessons Learned

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Thursday, June 8, 2017 @ 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm EDT
  • Description: Managing, deploying, and sharing school-issued devices can be a monumental and sometimes frustrating task – but it doesn’t have to be. Whether your school has already issued mobile devices or is considering implementing or expanding a 1:1 or shared mobile initiative, there are things you can do to make your job – or that of your tech coordinators and teachers easier. Join Matt Bergman as he offers advice and tips for managing, sharing, and distributing school-issued mobile devices. In addition to providing some device management and deployment strategies, Matt will discuss common pitfalls and how to avoid them. He will also cover items to consider such as charging, sharing, storing, and tracking devices.
  • Link:

Title:  50 Years of YA: Part 2

  • Organization: Booklist
  • Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CST
  • Description: Our year-long celebration reaches its zenith with several events, including this two-part webinar extravaganza featuring speakers from Scholastic, Little, Brown and Company, Penguin Young Readers, and Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. Tune-in to hear what they have to say about the past, present, and future of YA lit. This is a free, one-hour webinar moderated by Booklist Books for Youth Editor, Dan Kraus.
  • Link:

Title:  Making and Coding: A More Inclusive Approach to Computing Education

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 2:30 pm EDT
  • Description: Are you looking for engaging, interactive ways to help teach students of all levels to code? Join Todd Beard as he explores and explains Microsoft MakeCode – a new approach to computing education that combines the magic of making with the power of code, in a way that engages every student in computational thinking. Discover how to bring computer science to life with fun projects and immediate results.
  • Link:

Title:  Get Started with Live Online Adventures Via Skype!

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 @ 3:00 pm – 3:30 pm EDT
  • Description: Would you like to inspire, engage, and excite your students while bringing the world into your classroom? Discover how to jump into a world of live adventures with Skype in the Classroom. Join Skype Master Teacher Darcy Grimes as she talks through the basic steps of getting started with this fantastic online community of educators around the world. She will share where you can find Skype Lessons and Virtual Field Trips to cover many different areas of the syllabus. As part of a focus on literacy, Darcy will show how to have amazing authors and writers Skyping live into your classroom!
  • Link:

Title:  Childhood Suicide: Signs, Effects, and Links to Trauma

  • Organization: SimpleK12
  • Date: Thursday, June 15, 2017 @ 10:00 am – 10:30 am EDT
  • Description: Traumatic events are very difficult to deal with, even for adults. Can you imagine how difficult it would be for young children or early adolescents to cope? When something traumatic happens, the shock can reverberate in our thoughts and negatively influence our emotions and perception of life for extended periods of time. It can even lead to suicidal thoughts. Join Tamara Hill, a licensed therapist and certified trauma professional as she discusses the psychological, emotional, physiological, and neurological effects of trauma among young children around the ages of 7-12.
  • Link:

Title:  Mindfulness for Librarians

  • Organization: American Libraries Live
  • Date: Friday, June 16, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm EDT
  • Description: Join library experts and hundreds of your colleagues for interactive discussions on pressing issues in modern librarianship.
  • Link:

Title:  Pinterest & Snapguide For Learning

  • Organization: Insync Training
  • Date: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm EDT
  • Description: One of the unique products to emerge in an increasingly crowded field of social tools is Pinterest—a fun combination of social bookmarking, images, commenting, and public sharing. It’s a great place for connecting with and sharing resources for your own professional development. So, you might be wondering how Pinterest can be used for learning and development. Join Jane Bozarth for a quick example-filled tour of using Pinterest and another very-new product, Snapguide, to support your practice and your professional growth.
  • Link:

Title:  Using Storytime to Grow Executive Function and Self-Regulation in ECE: Setting the Stage for Success

  • Organization: Early Childhood Investigations
  • Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm CDT
  • Description: We know that sharing books with young children helps them gain valuable early literacy skills like vocabulary, print awareness, and letter knowledge. However, it also helps them develop skills that experts say are a better predictor of success: executive function skills. Executive function, or “soft” skills, include social-emotional skills like self-regulation and taking on different perspectives, as well as accessing one’s working memory and more. In this interactive webinar, participants will learn what executive function is, why it’s important to learning and life success, and how it can be developed through shared story time experiences. In this webinar participants will learn:

Title:  Virtual Library Program Development

  • Organization:
  • Date: Wednesday, June 21, 2017 @ 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm EDT
  • Description: This webinar will align learning goals with the tools used to reach them. Formerly called 30 apps in 60 minutes, this session has evolved. Instead of focusing on tools, we will focus on learning objectives and how to use technology to meet them. This webinar is a follow-up on Emerging Tech’s webinar, “Redefining Professional Learning for 1:1 Computing.”
  • Link:



Author: Daniella Smith

Daniella Smith, PhD. is a former school and public librarian. She is currently the Hazel Harvey Peace Professor in Children’s Library Services at the University of North Texas.

Categories: Advocacy/Leadership, Blog Topics, Makerspaces/Learning Commons, Professional Development, Student Engagement/ Teaching Models

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