Advocating for Texas librarians

The Texas Senate has proposed a $5,000 raise for all classroom teachers in Senate Bill 3 (SB3). However, the bill doesn’t include librarians or counselors for this raise.  The Austin Statesman had a good article on the bill today.  Today, several librarians spoke at a committee hearing to advocate for us– asking for librarians to be included in Senate Bill 3.   (Thanks to Nancy Jo Lambert, Jennifer LaBoon, and Sara Stevenson.) However, the bill was still voted out of committee to go before the full […]

How do books get our attention? Library purchasing stories…

Recently I had the opportunity to be part of a panel of librarians at the Educational Books & Media Association conference in Austin, Texas.  Why were librarians there?  It was an experiment to allow publishers to get more in touch with how librarians discover book titles and how our ordering processes work. Whenever we have the opportunity to build bridges between librarians and other professionals it is a great chance for improved understandings!  (This is an example of why saying “yes” leads to unexpected learning […]

Reality check — When good ideas go awry

How many of you  have planned a program, a lunch and learn, a book club, etc. and not had many patrons show up to participate?  Online, we tend to share our successes but less so, our struggles or dilemmas.   In the interest of being “real,”  I wanted to share a recent anecdote. Our campus is trying to build a culture of reading, in line with Penny Kittle and Donalyn Miller’s work.  We’ve been working on daily ISR in the classroom, building classroom libraries, and other […]

Being a reflective leader

“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”  — author Peter Drucker “Failure is my teacher. One step forward, two steps back.”  @RonGrosinger How Do We Handle Failure? When you are a leader, spearheading initiatives of any kind, there are bound to be bumps in the process, and amidst successes, discouraging moments that didn’t work out like you planned.  How we learn to handle those challenges can give us the opportunity to make them moments of growth.  […]

What is “news”? Strategies for teachers and parents

Our campus Educational Technologists (Lisa Johnson and Chris Hanson)  are conducting a series of webinars for our district parents.  Two weeks ago, I collaborated with them on a session on fake news/media bias and how libraries can help students.  This is geared towards parents, but much of the information would be useful background for teachers or librarians.  First, our edtech, Chris Hanson, shared some excellent information on new books about media bias, and in the second half, I share strategies for parents that would also […]

We can be the helpers…

I’ve been an anguished observer on Twitter since the shootings in Parkland, Fl.   For those readers not on Twitter, many of the students involved have used Twitter as both a rallying cry as well as a deeply personal forum for their grief and love.  It is an amazingly raw and personal, never really seen before window into the recovery process after a school shooting as well as a powerful testament to the rallying power of social media.   So many of us have watched in amazement […]

New Year’s reflections–on tending our own gardens

“Transformation is a process, not an event.” – John P. Kotter, author of Leading Change “To be leader, start with yourself.”  Jacob Morgan, INC Magazine In a recent article in INC, Morgan cites Harry Kraemer, who suggests that part of being a leader is attempting to lead yourself.  He suggests four strategies for that:  self-reflection, balance, true self-confidence, and genuine humility.  For several years, I’ve both enjoyed offering leadership but also struggled with issues on a day to day basis — issues that I suddenly […]

The world beyond our schools, or a research journey

A research adventure One of the real joys of my work this fall was a real world research trip I had the opportunity to take with our Art History Independent Study students.   Inspired by last year’s Independent Study students’ fascinating final presentations, their teacher and I had the brainstorm to take this year’s students to the Library of Congress and Smithsonian museum libraries for some real world, close-to-the-art research.   It was a bit of a pipe dream getting from Texas to D.C., but […]

Designing Collaborative Learning Spaces — Webinar!

Join Shannon Miller(moderator), Georgia’s amazing Andy Plemmons and yours truly for a Future Ready Webinar on Tuesday, August 15th!  We’ll be talking about designing collaborative spaces for students, particularly libraries, and have lots of suggestions!  I’ll also be talking about how to involve students. More details here!  Sign up online here!

Becoming a better leader — Joining the Lilead Fellows

We know librarians are leaders, both in the library and “beyond the library” as the Future Ready Framework points out.  But we all need help to improve our leadership skills.  I’m fortunate to be part of the The Lilead Fellows this year, a program that pulls together library leaders from around the country to build their leadership skills and to tackle an important project in their own districts. I am part of the 2017-2018 cohort of librarians, who met last week at Old Dominion University to […]