I just got back from NCTIES19 and can't begin to tell you how much I learned! I tweeted out some of those like the digital interactive notebooks. I can't wait to try those. Gina Webster told me about SmashBoard. Another thing I can't wait to try. I've already been to their site and ordered a deck of cards. And I met dozens of new people in the Playground demonstrating how Padcaster might be used in schools.
Even better for me was the networking. I saw so many NCSLMA members and had multiple meetings about items we should pursue. I even had a great phone conversation with one of our county superintendents about the value of school librarians. I don't know about you, but conferences allow me a chance to reconnect, rethink, revise, and regroup. While it may be hectic, it is truly a precious time.
The State of NC School Libraries
Now, I've got to shift my focus and think about our Executive Board meeting in May. We've got to think about the future of school librarians in a thoughtful and significant ways. We need a specific plan for shedding light on the value of our profession. There is a frightening trend in NC right now to ditch the school librarian. I haven't heard of one (yet) that's ditching the library - just the librarian. So why is this happening?
- smaller counties cannot find one.
- they need to save money.
- they don't understand the value that a trained librarian brings to the job.
I'm happy to talk with county officials, but I don't know who to pinpoint. And if I did, do I have the time to call them all?
Here are my short answers to the above:
- Did you know that you can move a teacher into the library with a provisional 076 licensure? They can attend an online program. Maybe you have a teacher in the building that would love to do this and doesn't realize it's a possibility.
- If you use your librarian as curriculum support, working hand-in-hand with your instructional facilitator, curriculum coordinator, etc., you will see enough growth in learning that will make that money a moot point.
- Librarians are uniquely trained to develop a high-quality collection, deal with privacy issues, advocate for intellectual freedom, and support literacy. AND they can still support instructional technology.
I have to admit the last one is the hardest sell. If a school or county has made up their minds that technology is the answer to all their wows, they may well be resistant to shedding the image of a little old librarian with a tight bun, big glasses, and a cat cardigan.
So where do we go from here?
In our May Executive Board meeting, we will be working on a strategic plan to move forward. We need new vision and mission statements. We need to figure out a way to help with the problems mentioned above. Keith Curry Lance is applying for grant money to look at the changing roles of new librarians and NC will be part of that study if he gets the grant. I've been talking with Teresa Gibson from the Friday Institute about recruiting greater numbers of librarians for NCSLCN, a program that easily adds value to our roles.
There are several ways you can help!
- Join NCSLMA if you haven't already.
- Share a pix of an engaging library activity. In her NCTIES session, Kathy Parker mentioned that we could use these as leverage in our districts and schools. Find one that shows what you'd like to do and share how you would implement and what kinds of funds you need.
- Fill out a survey to help us get a clear picture of the state of libraries across the state.
Go to the new website! It's much easier to maneuver than the old one. Special thanks to Cindy Sturdivant and Laura Long for the untold hours they have put into making it a reality.
Check out the new forum! It's set to replace the old google group later this month, so go ahead and start posting there! We also have Round Tables so you can join a smaller group of people in similar positions.
The Awards, Grants, and Scholarships Section has opened applications on this page. Check out the AASL Travel Grant for first time attendees! Deadlines for all awards are 5/31.
Registration for Spring Regional PD is also open. Visit the Events page to register. PDs will be held across NC April 2nd - 8th.
Crystal Joyce and Lila Morel are planning a NC Legislative Day in May! Stay tuned for info on that.
Would you like to become more involved with NCSLMA? It's election season and we are looking for a few good librarians to run for President Elect, Coastal Director, and Piedmont West Director. if this is a role you want to pursue, please fill out the nomination form.
School librarians = school leaders! How will you lead today?
#NCSLMA19 . Connect . Create . Curate.