Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Making Ourselves Indispensable

Serving as member and chair of our state library association's advocacy committee the last few years has really opened my eyes about the importance of working advocacy into our daily lives. A few things that I've read lately have renewed my advocacy efforts this year. I've been thinking about how I can make sure the library program is indispensable, no matter what technology changes may come.

Just like other school districts, ours is investigating a 1:1 initiative. Everything is in the planning stages at this point, but I'm already thinking about how this will change our library programs. I'm reading blog posts and articles about it and considering proactive steps for me and all the librarians in my district. One post that really struck me was Doug Johnson's, The Librarian Bonus. I forwarded this post to all of our librarians and our district administrators. I feel like a 1:1 initiative is the perfect opportunity to discuss a change to the job description allowing for more instructional technology duties to be included. Many of us already fulfill this need for our schools. An updated job description would allow us to recruit librarians that are comfortable with technology and push all of us to step up our own efforts in this area. For our elementary librarians this could be a chance to revisit flexible scheduling.

A 1:1 initiative could be seen as threatening if you are an old school librarian, but I see this as an opportunity. We can make the library program more mobile. I'm envisioning an entire folder of library apps that would be standard on all devices. Students could have Follett's Destiny App, Enlighten ereader app, Easy Bib, Overdrive for public library ebooks, YALSA's Teen Book Finder, and many others. One of the AASL preconference sessions was on this topic, A Library in Every Pocket. I wish I could have attended, but I did check out their resources and recommend the same to you.  I'm looking forward to more learning from those that are already in a 1:1 school.

We have a librarian meeting with our district administration next month so I'm sure these questions are on all of our minds. I am excited to discuss the possibilities as a group. We recently started a book study together. One of our high school librarians recommended the book, Being Indispensable, after attending a state library supervisor meeting. I ordered the book and as soon as I started reading and noticing the exercises included in the chapters I thought it would be helpful if we read this together. I asked the others if they were interested and after a few positive responses, Monique set up an Edmodo group. We've only just begun because a few are waiting on the book to arrive, but already I've crafted a mission statement, core values and a tag line for the library program. It has been great to hear the opinions of the group as we go through the assignments together.

I would love to hear from you if you are in a 1:1 school. How did it change your library program? What advice do you have for us if our district decides to implement 1:1? Have you updated your job description to include more technology responsibilities? How do you make yourself indispensable?


  1. Tamara, thanks for the info on Being Indispensible. I just bought it for my Kindle reader. Can't wait to start reading it. I hope you will share the info you gather about 1:1 initiatives. I believe we are headed that way, too, and I want to be ready!

  2. Hey, Tamara: Good post, and welcome to the 1:1 world! We're actually now exploring whether we need to go 2:1. I don't think it's changed my job description at all: Libraries are there to support literacy in all its forms--traditional, technological, informational. It also gives us multiple places to embed the library. In a 1:1 school (or any school!) it's key to stop thinking of the library as a space, and more as an attitude or state of mind.