Empowering Learners choice of the word Advocacy to anchor this section about making sure that both the school, community and those outside it are aware of what the library does and can do is powerful and effective. Also the mentions of various types of evidence based ways to show what the library is achieving reminds me of our library defense paper. One of the thoughtful choices that was made was in how the evidence based things weren’t just test scores but products like student webpages. I think this addresses an important part of the education world where it can be so easy to fall back on certain type of assessments since that’s what brings in money and support. Other types of assessment can be powerful, but I think it requires a librarian who knows how to explain and how just how key they are, more than just using the shiny tech, but having real thoughtful products.
I found the Elevator Speech article captured just how key it is to be able to quickly get everyone on the same page as you are especially with how rapidly the world of libraries is changing. The exercise from MAME sounded like it was interesting, I would be curious to know what were some of the speeches that people came up with.
In terms of the other article, I was slightly surprised by how defensive the speeches come across as. I heard in them a lot of this is what I’ve done, aren’t I busy, just point me in the right direction. This seems to be the difficult balancing art of school librarians, how do you say what you can do without seeming to push or brag or cross that line between helping and being in the way.
The AASL Toolkit for Advocacy is a wonderful resource, I like how its organized with explanations and clear lists of check with these people and make sure they know this. Just reading through it was calming since it was very clearly saying, here’s a plan and you’re not alone.
My favorite part of the AASL definition is “turning passive support into educated action”, which sums up advocacy so well since its positive and full of action. I like the idea of saying, we know you want to help and support us, here’s how. Same with marketing, its really about serving the community best with the most thoughtful use of resources.
In the other toolkit, I love the idea of you’re a student advocate, I think its something that librarians and teachers can’t hear enough off since its empowering and true. I found this toolkit even more useful than the other one for how it lays out so clearly why and how to be an advocate.
I found all the readings this week quite interesting in terms of how they looked at what does a school librarian do that no one else in the school does. The feeling that I really ended up getting was that a good administrator and school librarian when working together and using the various standards that are laid out then together they can be more effective. I liked how so many things focused on using self assessment and goals as a way to not only improve how the library works but show teachers and administrators exactly what’s happening in the library.
I’ve never thought about how assessments can become such a huge tool for communicating what you’re trying to achieve. This seemed to me to be a very powerful idea because assessment is a huge part of the world of education and also complicated in terms of self assessment and student assessment because its hard to get right. So I liked especially the Weber article and Woolls where they took all these lists of standards, goals and missions and showed how they really connect in the day to day business of running an effective library. When I read through all the various standards, and roles they seemed powerful and like useful goals, but I needed Weber’s thoughts to help me see them move into the real world.
What’s above represents the tasks that I think are most important to do a School Library, as you can see they’re grouped in a way that made sense to me. Since I worked on this spectrum in class, I’ve combined a number of things that seem to fit together better so that I feel this is a good representation of my thoughts for creating an effective and welcoming library environment. I think they all need to be done and when it comes down to the day to day running of a library, all of these will be mixed and changed depending on how that school is run and what they feel is key.
To connect to that, in class we spoke about mission statements, which can be a really powerful way to connect to people working within the school and also from outside. Its really fascinating how a mission statement is trying to do so much and how sometimes the way it connects to the goals is not as specific as it could be. So in groups we worked on putting together mission statements for imaginary schools. The one that I and LibraryGirl chose was called Sacagawea Elementary School; a forward thinking magnet school with a focus on holistic and collaborative learning.
The mission of Sacagawea Elementary School is to develop the child’s identity as a whole individual and to encourage collaboration between students and teachers.
To expand on this and create a mission statement for the library is actually quite hard since I think that a library within this school wouldn’t actually have that many changes from their mission. Since the library would hope to be at the heart of all of the collaborations between the students and teachers. Perhaps the wording might be slightly altered to give a sense of the library’s place.
Sacagawea’s Elementary School Library strives to be a place which helps to develop the child as a whole individual and be a fertile ground for collaboration between students and teachers.
In terms of the class discussion, I agree with LibraryGirl that I never realized just how much of what a school librarian did was connected to evaluating technology resources. I think that I was aware of how libraries tend to be the place where technology is really put into use, but thinking about how the librarian is truly the leader in choosing and understand how and why they’re used was a nice thing to learn.
Also the discussion and all the distinctions between visions, mission statements and goals really helped me get a better sense of how hard they are to get right and how effective they can be.
The readings for this week made me think a lot about something my mother talks about which is the elevator speech for something you’re doing. An elevator speech is a small speech hopefully not more than five minutes in which you sum up a project or a thesis and someone should know exactly what you’re onto. The idea of Mission Statements seems very tied into this idea of being concise and powerful, which is so difficult. As a writer, I found the different ideas that were presented for how to go about making a mission statement quite intriguing though I was a little disappointed in how some of the articles seemed to rely on little tricks to get across the idea of what a mission statement is. I guess I find it kind of worrying that many mission statements are created more to have one then perhaps to use it as a real rallying point and way to be able to say to anyone, this is what we do.
I think the AASL discussion of how they went about crafting theirs was actually the most useful to me of all the readings because it was dealing with how they created an actual mission statement versus more generalities. In my experience the idea of titles and mission statments and such really need to hang on a thing and they’re very hard to practice in the abstract because they are such powerful tools which work best when they’re grounded in something real.