Well, it is a rainy week here in California, and I have just returned from CSLA (California School Library Association) for their annual conference inspired, excited, and. . . . .sick. Darnit. I would love to start running about putting some of my inspiration to use, but, alas, I am just trying to make it through the day today. My assistant is out ill, and I have my first classes coming through tomorrow and the next day for BreakoutEDU. Oh, and my daughter starts with her new nanny (a former student) on Friday. So. . . . . .it's going to be a long week!
But I thought this minor and temporary setback would be a good chance for me to sit down, take it easy for a day, and process all of my thoughts. So I have my cup of tea, a new desk chair (!), my piano music playing, and my pile of cough drops. Here was go. . . . .my big takeaways from CSLA 2017.
Well, if you want to get a room of librarians into a tizzy, go ahead and say that! I will admit, even I turned to my colleagues and said, "Yeah, that would work for elementary or middle school libraries, but a high school one? Forget it!"
So later I was accessing Tiffany's presentation materials from the keynote and the workshop I attended, I just started to browse through her presentation materials on "Ditching Dewey," a session I did not attend. . . . . .and I began to open my mind to the possibility of it.
And now, I'm in the planning stages of implementing it next year! I have made the compromise that I will not shelve fiction by genre. Fiction will stay separate, but my nonfiction. . . .we're going to have a date with weeding first, then color coding, ditching Dewey, and shelving my genre.
Exciting things to come! I'll be sure to chronicle my journey here. I'm looking forward to getting to know my non-fiction collection better.
#2: New Ways to Promote Library Services
A few interesting ideas came to light throughout multiple different sessions I attended on the role of librarians and how best to promote our services with our teachers and students. A few excellent light bulb moments happened that I plan to implement next year.
Light bulb idea #1: Ask my principal if I can be at the new teacher's orientation next year.
It was an excellent point someone made in a session. Many new teachers fresh out of high school may have no idea what a librarian can do for them because. . . .they never had one! California is ranked 50th (!) in the country for TL to student ratio! So these teachers may have no idea what a 21st century library looks like. It would be even better if the new teacher's orientation could happen in the library!
Light bulb idea #2: See if I can embed myself into a new cohort of teachers
Next year we have a history teacher, and English teacher, and a science teacher coordinating their units to use common language, common themes, crossover units, etc., and they will have the same set of students. I need to embed myself as a partner with these teachers! Help them bring in library resources, teach research skills, etc.
#3: Some Meetings I Need to Make
In addition to these new ways in which I would like to reach out to teachers, I have some ideas about how I would like to reach out beyond the walls of my library. . . even out of my district. . . . .to make my library better.
Meeting #1: Meeting with community college librarians
I attended a very revealing session on students that are placed in a remedial class when they enter community college and their success rates. To put it in a nutshell, if a student enters into community college and is place 2 remedial levels below, they have only a 14% chance of graduating. Those numbers are fairly staggering! So my fellow librarians and myself have decided that it's time we meeting with our local community college librarians to find out what we can do to help bridge the gap.
Meeting #2: Start going to the school board meetings of feeder schools
We are very fortunate in our district that we have four full time librarians and assistants in each of our libraries. However, our feeder schools are a completely different story. And our entire state is a completely different story! As I mentioned before, California is 50th (!) is TL to student ratios. And there is some very important legislation coming down the pipe to change all of that. So we need to start speaking at the school board meetings of our feeder schools, letting them know they are out of compliance and advocating to TLs in our middle and elementary schools, not just our high schools.
That's all for now! Another one of my promises was to keep up my blog more often. It's something I enjoy and want to get back to more. So hopefully you will join my on my genrefication process starting here soon.
Now to prepare for a rainy day lunch. . . . .YIKES!
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past five years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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