Who deserves our intention more than children?
When librarians heard that Stephen Colbert, host of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, would interview Jason Reynolds, Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, many stayed up late to watch the segment. When Colbert asked Reynolds, “Do you write children’s books?” He was really asking if it was his intention to write for children or if it was perhaps a happy accident. Reynold’s response was beautiful: “Personally, I think this is a task of intention. This [writing] isn’t something I did, and they placed me here. It is something that I do continuously and intentionally every single day. Because who deserves our intention more than children?”
The upcoming Knowledge Quest print journal is about intentionality in school librarianship. And this is an important question for every person seeking a graduate degree in library science. Who indeed deserves our intention as librarians more than school children? Though school librarians are desperately needed, and children deserve those individuals who practice school librarianship with intention, many librarians are leaving the library either returning to the classroom by choice or perhaps getting out of education altogether. Not to mention those who are forced to teach core classes, thus neglecting the school library and library instruction. Another reason for some departures is that in some states, school librarians have become a target. This persecution primarily comes from book challenges, accompanied by inane legislative efforts, and even personal attacks.
School librarians persevere with intention
Despite all of these difficulties school librarians need to persevere. First, our mission is to support literacy and provide resources and access for all children. An additional goal should be to encourage fellow school librarians to continue in the profession. Because the lack of access to a school library and a school librarian is unfortunate. Finally, we should do what we can to encourage new librarians to consider school librarianship. It is not always an easy path, however, I have found great fulfillment specifically in the school library and I will tell more of my personal and intentional journey in the Sept/Oct 2022 Knowledge Quest journal.
It is our desire that this issue will give you hope and inspiration to continue your practice with purpose and intentionality. Alicia Abdul will speak to how “reading is the core” of her practice. She emphasizes readers’ advisory and the art and science of book-talking. Michael Rawls, The Book Wrangler, explains his intentional practice solving problems in his elementary school library, creating positive signage, wayfinding and genrefication systems. Megan Musick, a school librarian and vlogger writes about her busy library and all of the things she learned about intentional practice and library leadership from Hilda K. Weisburg.
About the Content Expert
Hannah Byrd Little is the director of the library and archives at a top independent college preparatory school. An ALA, AASL, and ACRL member, she writes a monthly article for the AASL Knowledge Quest website. She is the 2022–2023 chair of the AASL Independent School Section and. She was recognized as an AASL Social Media Superstar in 2019 for Sensational Student Voice. She co-authored a local history book for Arcadia Publishing in 2019. Hannah also served on the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) Executive Board from 2009 to 2013 and was TASL president in 2012. Before working in schools, Hannah spent nearly four years in an academic library. She began working in technical services and then added instructional work with the university’s information literacy team.
A School Librarian’s Purpose, Hannah Byrd Little
I’m The Lucky One, Alicia Abdul
When to Lead and When to Manage: Balancing Lofty Goals with Day-to-Day Tasks in the School Library, Megan Musick
How I Solve Problems in the School Library with Intention, Michael Rawls
Power and Possibilities of Partnerships for Schools and Students, Neil D. Grimes and Debra Matell Cohen
Librarian in the Huddle: Student Book Clubs for Athletes, Leaders, and Reluctant Readers, Jessica Fitzpatrick
Research into Practice Column:
KQ Editorial Board Liaison Column:
“‘There’s Nothing Wrong With Us’ – Jason Reynolds Says Normalizing Anxiety Is A Way To Beat It.'”
Video. YouTube – The Late Show With Stephen Colbert. Posted by Stephen Colbert and Jason
Reynolds, December 2, 2021. Accessed September 21, 2022. https://youtu.be/nNzYE_4DdtA?t=73.
Author: Hannah Byrd Little
Hello, I am the Library Director at The Webb School of Bell Buckle. I use my past experience in college and university libraries to help my current students in school libraries transition into college, career, and life. I am currently the lead Senior Class Adviser for the Capstone Project. I also served at the state level with the Tennessee Association of School Librarians executive board from 2009-2013 and was the TASL president in 2012. I am certified as a Library Information Specialist for PreK-12th grade, have a BS in Communications with a concentration in Advertising and Public Relations, a BS in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Education and Information Systems and a Masters in Library and Information Science.