Like many school librarians from across the United States, I had an awesome time learning from and connecting with my colleagues during the AASL Conference this past weekend in Ohio. I learned new about resources and strategies for creating guided inquiry lessons, Genius Hour programs, makerspace activities, community outreach programs, and writing centers. Meeting authors, learning about new books and web tools, and discussing current issues in school libraries are always staples at an AASL Conference.
The resonating topic during workshops and casual meetups was the ever-popular "A" word: ADVOCACY! For the rest of this school year I challenge you to not only advocate, but ADVERTISE! We all can learn from one another, but we are preaching to the proverbial choir. WE know what we do...we need to SHOW others what we do. Because, if a school librarian creates a dynamic program and no one knows about it, does it make an impact?
Here are some ideas:
1. Read and share the most current research supporting the effective of school libraries: School Libraries Work!
2. Visit SchoolLibraryAdvocacy.org regularly to learn about innovative tools and resources to develop your advocacy skills.
3. Join and support library organizations such as ALA, AASL, YALSA. Also join the ISTE LIB SIG group.
4. Attend events such as school board meetings, PTA meetings, Curriculum Nights, and Open Houses whether you are required to or not. Help key stakeholders to put faces to names. Wear your school colors and advocacy t-shirts when your colleagues do. We are all in the same union, and we are part of the team.
5. Create business cards and thank you notes to share with other teachers, administrators, parents, community members, board members, and educational companies. Hang a banner in your library highlighting your mission.
6. Learn a "new" language and speak it. Use the current buzzwords such as STEM, ESL, Common Core Standards, differentiation, guided inquiry, and Genius Hour to help your listener to understand how you can support classroom instruction. Embed information literacy skills in the current curriculum, and demonstrate how these skills are essential to 21st century learning.
8. Attend and present at conferences that are NOT related to the library profession. I once presented at a math conference. My participants looked at me puzzled, "Why is a librarian presenting to a room of math teachers?" I soon won them over when I began to share web tools and apps that they would find useful. We have all been trained to find information, evaluate it, and glean the nuggets of gold. Share them!
9. Connect through social media with not only other librarians, but content area educators around the world. As school librarians, we are Jacks and Janes of all trades. Join groups on Facebook, follow trends on Twitter, and engage in conversations on Voxer. Don't wait for your invitation to arrive. Check out these links curated by CybraryMan to get you started:
10. Write for anyone and anywhere about the importance of libraries, especially your program: blogs, magazine articles, books, PTA and school newsletters, the local newspaper, flyers stuck to telephone poles (that one is a joke, but you get my point!)
Kristina A. Holzweiss
Ed Tech School Librarian
Bunhead With Duct Tape
PRAISE FOR "HACKING SCHOOL LIBRARIES"
"Hacking School Libraries is the practical book that I have been waiting for a teacher-librarian to publish! This is the book I will be recommending to school librarians who want constructive and attainable suggestions on how to not only transform their library space, but also their library practices and in turn, their school. The stories and ideas from Stony, Kristina, and other respected colleagues in the school library world spotlight tried-and-true practices that have transformed school library programs across the nation."
"I really like the quick reading style and the focus banners for each hack. This is a very useful guide for new school library professionals or those thirsting for easy, practical, and inexpensive ideas to revitalize their school libraries. My highest praise is that it's written by practitioners FOR practitioners."
The book is clear and understandable and helps put their "hacks" into perspective by introducing a problem and possible solution. I especially like the "What you can do tomorrow" section and even though I am not a new librarian, I plan to incorporate some of these ideas tomorrow!
"WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK IS THAT IT BREAKS EVERYTHING DOWN INTO MANAGEABLE SECTIONS. IN THOSE SECTIONS YOU ARE GIVEN SUGGESTIONS FOR WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY! SUCH AN IMPORTANT RESOURCE ESPECIALLY AS MEDIA SPECIALISTS ARE ALWAYS STRUGGLING TO STAY RELEVANT. THIS BOOK REALLY HELPS!" - CATHY CASTELLI
"THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR SEEING INTO WHAT WE ARE AND OUR MISSION! WELL WRITTEN AND GREAT IDEAS THAT SUPPORT OUR STUDENTS! I LOVE THIS RESOURCE!" - CAROL EVERHART CRITCHER
"THIS BOOK IS INVITING, WELL-ORGANIZED, AND CONTATINS IDEAS THAT ARE EASY TO IMPLEMENT. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE? FROM THE SKETCHNOTE-LIKE ICONS ON THE COVER TO THE CLEAR TABLE OF CONTENTS, THIS INFORMATION IS ON THE RIGHT track for school librarians. no offense to phd candidates, but i'd rather read something that gives me quick usable ideas i can use right now than someone's research dissertation on learning commons model. i have students to help, teachers to collaborate with, and a million other things I am juggling and trying to keep in the air at the same time. - CHARITY S. HARBECK, School Library Media Coordinator/Digital Literacy Coach at Franklinton High School in Franklinton, NC
PRAISE FOR KRISTINA'S WORK
"I am super excited to learn about both high tech and low tech ways to promote literature.
I feel that over the years, I lost myself and my students with the primary focus always being on research. I want to go back to book talks and making library enjoyable (again).
Thank you for your inspiration!"
- Cara Lauber, library media specialist
"Kristina is a librarian's librarian!"
- Ali Schilpp, 2018 SLJ School Librarian of the Year
"Kristina is an engaging guest speaker who offers rich and varied approaches for participants to take part in and contribute. My graduate students leave the classroom feeling motivated, excited and ready to put their learning into practice in their own classrooms."
Dr. Karen Megay-Nespoli, Director of the Literacy and Cognition Graduate Program,
St. Joseph’s College, Patchogue
"i have followed kristina holzweiss on social media for many years. she's always on the cutting edge of the newest tools and activities in education. she was one of the first school librarians i saw who had her students using flipgrid, breakout edu, bloxels, and so many other great resources. i am awestruck by her ingenuity and her passion for helping students and educators thrive. i also appreciate her ideas for empathy and diversity." - tonya fletcher