I’ve been thinking a lot about a session at TCEA’s Library Sig group meeting, where Barbara Jansen and her former principal Marla McGee did an excellent presentation about ‘five things librarians would want their principals to know about their programs’. (See Dr. Mary Ann Bell’s excellent summary of the session).
Barbara emphasized the importance of identifying what your ‘five most important things’ about your program are, and then not only telling your principal, but “showing them.’
Ok, this gets to one of those complex trackbacks, but worth it. A recent thread on Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk blog about librarians and technologists working together to implement 21st century information literacy skills (which tracks back to a series of posts by guest bloggers Justin Medved and Dennis Harter on Dangerously Irrelevant) led me to think about Barbara’s “five things” in relation to other aspects of our roles as librarians.
I’m thinking that part of improving our partnerships with teachers or with our technology departments is identifying those “five things” that we want each of those constituents to understand about our programs. Having a focused message is part of making it “stick.”
We need to, as Barbara and Marla did in their presentation, join forces to understand one another better.
But, we also need input in order to do that–not just telling our own stories but hearing the stories of others.
So maybe we should be asking teachers five things they want librarians to understand about their work, or asking technologists five things they want librarians to understand about theirs, or asking students five things they want us to understand about their use of the library.
Finding ways to open dialogues with our customers through surveys, questionaires, and face to face discussions is a way to enhance and grow our partnerships.
Because we are instructional partners, all of us. Our goal is helping students learn. When we all understand our piece of the partnership and how we can best contribute, the whole school is stronger because of that. What can we do to support one another more effectively? Because ultimately, good partnerships end up helping students learn more meaningfully.
What do we need to know about your jobs, and how can we partner with you better?
And in return, how can you partner with us better as well?
(Much thanks to Barbara Jansen for the idea.)