PASSIONATE ABOUT SCHOOL LIBRARIES

Tag: School libraries (Page 1 of 19)

Student-Driven Collection Development

If there was one thing I would suggest every single school library to enact it’s to move to a student-driven collection development. It is the most powerful process I know to increase engagement with a school library, support reading for pleasure and improve the collections in a school library. Who better to decide what to have on the bookshelves than the students and staff who are going to be reading those books.

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Professional Learning: June 2024

Professional Learning Opportunities June 2024

Thank you to everyone who reached out and offered their kind words of support and understanding to my message in last month’s PL list. I am happy to report that these lists will continue for the time being. I love being able to put them together and ensuring I make time for them also brings a little more balance into my life between work and other things I love to do. So, here is your Professional Learning list for June 2024. 

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Reducing Barriers in the School Library

We are all aware of barriers. Some are for our benefit and safety – Railings to prevent falling from tall buildings, metal strips along roads to reduce the impact of crashes. However, other barriers are societal problems that cause great harm – stairs instead of ramps, door widths inaccessible to wheelchairs.

Barriers exist in our school libraries as well. In her presentation with EduWebinar in early 2023, Krystal Gagen-Spriggs shared research around influencing reading culture and spoke about the importance of removing barriers to promote reading and prevent readercide. I love that word. Readercide. Though, of course, I don’t like what it represents, but I do think it captures so accurately the severity of the act and the fact that it is an act, it’s something we do, intentionally or otherwise, to the students or staff who frequent (or avoid) our space. Killing a love or interest in reading. Killing the desire to be seen or identify as a reader.

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Professional Learning: May 2024

Professional Learning Opportunities May 2024

May the Fourth Be With You. Yep, that means I am sending this on the 4th and that means it’s quite a few days late. Some months just seem to throw everything they’ve got at you. That was the past three weeks for me. So, it’s made me question if putting these lists together is achievable anymore. I’d love to hear from you. Do they help or are they something you could do without? I’d love to know. For now, I am thinking this might be the last of these lists I curate. So, here’s a (shorter) list of webinars, podcasts and articles for school library staff professional learning.

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Every Day Advocacy

Every Day Advocacy: Little things you can do that you don’t even realise are advocating for your school library

Advocacy, it’s a word I use a lot. It is vitally important for school libraries and school library staff to advocate for their spaces, services and positions. But sometimes I think we believe advocacy just refers to the big actions – writing a letter to the principal or school board about securing funding for the school library, or fighting against censorship. And yes, these big things are definitely advocacy and most definitely super important. But that’s not all advocacy is. Here are a few little things I think count as advocacy, little things that can be done every day to advocate for your school library.

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Professional Learning: April 2024

Professional Learning Opportunities April 2024

Happy April. I hope this post coincides with a term break for you. It’s been a busy first three months of the year. But downtime hopefully also means a bit of time to let your mind wander and learn new things. If that’s the case, I have the perfect list of professional learning opportunities for you. From AI to supporting reading for pleasure, webinars to articles, I hope you find something to encourage you and what’s happening in your school library. 

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Getting It Wrong

Getting It Wrong: A Lesson in Reflective Practice

I don’t think I talk enough about the times I get things wrong in the library. I’m all about celebrating successes, but let’s be real here: I mess up, I make the wrong decisions, and I say the wrong things. Owning and sharing our mistakes can be helpful for reflection and making sure we don’t repeat these, so here goes.

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Cultivating Innovation

Cultivating Innovation in the School Library

School libraries need to be places of innovation. They and their staff must innovate to remain current in a rapidly evolving world. They need to embrace new innovations and trends. They need to support staff to look for innovative ways to educate. And they need to provide a space for students to learn to be innovative thinkers, solve problems, approach life creatively and constantly strive to add value to the world. I wrote last time about what innovation is, what it looks like in an education and school library setting, and why it’s important. In this post, I’ll share some of the elements to foster in your school library to cultivate innovation.

Take risks

Innovation requires taking risks. Stepping beyond the expected or doing something without knowing what the end results will be. Sometimes, in a school library, taking a risk is the last thing you want to do. Risk is best undertaken from a safe and secure environment, not a place many school library staff find themselves. If you are not comfortable taking a big risk or unsure of leadership support, find opportunities for new initiatives through the relationships and connections you have within the school (Bentley, et al., 2016). Innovation can happen within these areas and with people you know who will take on that risk alongside you.

Leadership and leading change

If you are going to innovate, you need to be able to bring your team or the teams of people you work alongside, on the journey with you. Leading change, particularly behaviour change, can be extremely difficult. Increase your leadership skills, learn more about managing change, and involve all members of your team and community in the ideas and push for innovation so they have buy in. Remember, innovation does not always require leading from the front, you can bring great innovation no matter what role you have.

Professional Development

Continuing to develop our professional practice is key to leadership and innovation. Being exposed to new ideas will make you more likely to give new things a try in your own space. It’s also important to monitor trends in the school library sphere, best done by connecting with and sharing ideas with others in the profession. Up-skilling and learning may help give you the confidence to implement new ideas. Schedule a reminder or subscribe to a few sources who provide professional development to establish ongoing engagement or draw upon your professional learning network for inspiration.

Record, collect data and maintain evidence

It’s important to collect data through every step you take. Measure your library at a starting point and then again at intervals while you continue to try new ideas and approach your practice creatively. Having this data will let you see if the ideas you are  implementing are having a positive impact on your library and its users. Data can come in many forms, from loan statistics, patron or class visits, survey results, anecdotal data, social media followers and more. Maintain a record of proposed ideas and successes that provide evidence for impact.

Look beyond the library

A great place to get ideas is to look beyond the library into other sectors for inspiration. You might look to public or academic libraries for program ideas, health sectors for information on how to best reach people and change behaviour, bookshops for promotion and display ideas, book influencers for tips on social media skills, or the business and marketing world for ideas on how to reach your students and market your services. Be open-minded when exploring what other industries are doing and what works for them.

Just try something

At the end of the day, the only way to innovate is to start and to try something. If you are not sure where to start, try these steps and questions.

 

Reflective Questions

Start with reflective questions and look at your current successes, weaknesses, and areas for opportunity.

What do we want to do?

Who will benefit?

Who can we involve?

How can we make it happen?

Where will the time and resources come from?

What impact will it have?

 

Create a space to write down your ideas and track these, the things you implement and what impact they have. Then share it, with your school community and the school library profession. Who knows what you might innovate.

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