Well, this will be a School Library Month for the record books. Like most of you, I have been uprooted from my school library and have set up a remote library headquarters from my dining room where I wrestle new furry office coworkers and grieve the loss of connection with my colleagues and students, as I try to grapple with our new reality. A few folks have reached out to me asking how we are supposed to celebrate School Library Month when we have no access to our school libraries and in some cases, our school communities. School Library Month is AASL‘s celebration of school librarians and school libraries and despite circumstances, I believe we have a lot to celebrate right now. School librarians across the country are stepping up and leading in this crisis. While listening in on AASL’s Town Hall on Tuesday, March 24, I was inspired by the actions some of you are taking to serve your students in these unprecedented times. These were some of the many ways that school librarians are serving their communities:
- Checking out as many books as possible before school closures
- Curating resources for teachers and students who are transitioning to remote instruction
- Delivering books alongside meals in conjunction with school food services
- Addressing equity issues such as broadband access
- Stocking little free libraries in their neighborhoods
- Collaborating with public libraries to expand digital access
- Providing tech support for teachers and students
- Creating numerous e-resource tutorials
- Adapting school library websites to include items such as chat boxes and video tutorials
I would argue that school librarians have cause to be celebrated more than ever. Last week was my first full week of remote librarian-ing. I found myself providing tech support over video chat and phone. I met with students through virtual library flex times using video conferencing. I made phone calls to parents as a new member of our educational support team. I set up a video chat with my usual lunch group on Friday to check in with my colleagues and friends. I even broke out my husband’s Nintendo Switch to play the same game as a student and just chat because that’s what he needed from me then.
Your School Library Month committee has organized a collection of resources for you to design a School Library Month celebration that works best for you. Our collection is filled with many resources including themed playlists, articles, webinars, and more. I have also added a COVID-19 playlist with content from AASL that has been published in recent weeks.
Consider creative ways to deliver programming and services despite our circumstances. Use this time to participate in virtual professional development. Meet yourself where you are. I encourage you to add to our conversation and share ideas on AASL’s Member Forum space in the ALA Connect.
These are unprecedented times but I believe this too shall pass. Be safe, be healthy, be proud of your work.
Author: Shannon DeSantis Gile
Shannon DeSantis Gile is the solo school librarian at Peoples Academy Middle Level and High School in Vermont. She wears many proud hats in the school library world including AASL School Library Month Chair and Vermont School Library Association board member. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram (@gileslibrarian) or on Facebook.