Looking back to look ahead: planning for a new year

A school year exhales. You catch your breath. It’s hard to comprehend that the year has already passed. Fittingly, I end my first cycle as a blogger for Knowledge Quest much as it began: my library sits hushed as the students abscond for a well-deserved break. Meanwhile, I reflect, plan, and wonder how I can work to help the library fulfill its promise upon their return.

This break will prove necessary as we all prepare for new challenges (seen and unforeseen). While I wouldn’t want to repeat this year, it certainly proved instructive. Through the challenges the past year presented my library grew, adapted, and persevered. Blogging serves as a minuscule archive of ideas, inspirations, and actions that helped me gain traction in a challenging time.

Below is a reflection on my last 11 posts and a plan for the year to come. Upon reflection, almost all of my writing focuses on literacies, collaboration, and learning.

I thought a lot about literacies including: artifactual literacies, information literacy, information literacy again, transliteracies, and even more information literacy. This focus on literacies helps me to situate my library space and define its values. By looking at multiple strains of literacies, I am able to broaden my scope of acceptable and commendable use of the library space. My goal here is to make the library an inviting place that challenges and supports students as they apply themselves, complete a rigorous curriculum, identify enthusiasms, and pursue passions.

I also wrote a bit about collaboration. Quite a bit. To thrive, a library needs to feature a “Yes, And” mentality as well as a rich sense of fellowship. I described the way a library can act as an incubator and bring people together in pursuit of study. I also explored how a library might extend its reach with outside institutions.

Finally, I explored different types of learning that might occur in and around libraries, including: experiential learning, connected learning, independent study, more independent study, and the ways in which independent study might promote formative justice.

I plan to pursue these three threads again next year. Each of my posts featured some sort of link to academic literature and I plan to maintain this practice as well. I would like to become more systematic and strategic in my approach to supporting literacies, collaboration, and learning at my school.

What are you planning to focus on? I’d love to hear your ideas. This could include big-picture thinking or even more mundane details. Please leave your ideas in the comments below.


Author: Mark Dzula

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

1 reply

  1. I really appreciate this reflective piece. It takes me quite some time to process and write my thoughts and feeling and facts about – anything really- but especially the school year. One thing I have reflected on however, and have taken responsibility for, was my overall affect this year, especially after November. I think I’ve gone through Kübler Ross’ stages of grief this past year and it took a toll on me, which of course spillled over into the library curriculum. In addition the fact that we test from February to the end of May is a massive tree in the road of progress. So these are things I will be looking at closely, and find other roads around. Collaboration is a key piece to this – finding those ‘kindred spirits’ in education and create new and exciting curriculum for the kids. And I so believe that more will want to gravitate towards and not away when they see the progress made for and by kids.

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