Friday, June 21, 2013

Happy Trails to Tennessee

I was honored to be asked to present at the Tennessee Association of School Librarian's summer conference.

The two presentations I shared are Learn to Love Nonfiction and PD With a Twist.

Pd with a twist from bibliogerman

You can see Monique's presentations on her blog.

The three of us presented the keynote: The Care and Feeding of Your Administrators.

After our research, we decided to focus on these four rules: recognize what we have in common, communicate and build strong relationships, seek out principal's concerns and find out how to help, and let go of misconceptions and stereotypes.
We shared our efforts to find common ground with our principals and communicate to build that relationship. Try to keep communication positive, share what's happening in the library and be aware of nonverbal communication like dress, signs, and body language.
The portion of the presentation that I shared was to seek out principal's concerns and find out how to involve the library program. If you don't know what your principal's priorities are, find out and then determine how the library program can help meet those goals. Even if they are not obviously connected try to find common ground. For example, my principal focuses on reaching our students in poverty so I've done reading and research on the topic and I have library policies and programs that serve those students. For many principals the Common Core standards are a priority so we discussed some of our strategies for helping our schools and districts prepare for the new standards. No matter what the issue, there are ways that the library can be involved in the mission of the school.

We shared the results of our administrator survey and the top five priorities of administrators. We asked the librarians to think about where they spend most of the time and energy compared to what the administrators value. Do you spend most of your time checking in, organizing and purchasing books? Notice that none of those tasks are on the top five list. Of course, it is part of our job, but we need to be sure we spend effort and energy where it will be noticed.

We really wanted to emphasize that librarians have to be leaders in their school. Be bold and don't wait on them to ask. Step up and volunteer. We hope that we inspired them to think about how they can work on that relationship next year.

If you want to read even more about working with administrators please read this post from Doug Johnson.

We had a great time meeting the Tennessee librarians. Big thanks to Karen for inviting us and all of the TASL members that made our visit run so smoothly.

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