During our discussion I was struck by how professional development is something that a librarian can choose to take on and if they wish really focus on yet if they don’t pay attention to it, it won’t be as obvious to anyone else. Since if a school doesn’t have a culture of professional development, there’s no one who will prompt a new librarian or teacher or administrator to continue it. Yet if you’re willing to take up the work then bringing professional development into a school or district can do a huge amount to change for the better and others will be encouraged.
In terms of the example of Michigan and how easy it is to be isolated when there’s not the money for the professional development, I was thinking of how if that kept happening slowly, an administrator might not even be aware of how bad things are. It just creeps up on you as there’s no money for conferences but if there’s nothing to replace them than the school ends up paying heavily. I found it hopeful just how much is now available online so that there are ways to keep learning without the great cost. Also the MAME conference was a good example of bringing the change and development where it needs to be and finding ways to cut the cost but not cut the knowledge that’s brought in. Since it seems like one of the most powerful parts of professional development is being aware of the outside world and how the simple act of interacting with other people who do the same thing in a different place can shift and change how someone might approach a topic.
The other fact I found fascinating is all the various avenues of development that a librarian can choose to focus on from politics, literacy to curriculum and all the various ways that they intersect. It seems like one of the most beneficial things that a librarian could do is find out what they enjoy and what is lacking in their community and work on how best to improve those two things. Since there’s no reason that the development work can’t be enjoyable, because one of the reasons that we choose to become librarians is a desire to keep learning.