Today I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the first ever Administrators' Day at the Upstate Technology Conference with Kristen Hearne and Monique German.
We have dubbed ourselves the Librarians in the Middle. Kristen even made us a super cute logo that we've talked about putting on a Moo card, a la Gwyneth and Tiff.
When I found out that the Upstate Technology Conference was adding a day just for administrators I immediately thought that it would be a great time to present something about librarians. We often present to each other and never reach out to other groups and who has more power to change the landscape of librarianship (other than ourselves) than administrators. So I went online to submit a session proposal. I didn't see the Admin day listed on the drop down choices. Did that deter me? NO! I just put in the comments section that we wanted to present this at the Admin Day. A few days later I spoke with the conference organizers. Originally the entire day was going to be led by staff from Discovery Education, but when they saw my session pop up they liked the proposal so much that they agreed to let us come to speak that day. Hooray!
Let that be a lesson to those sitting back waiting to be asked, just go for it! We have valuable information to share and a worthy message to spread.
We wanted our session to attract as many administrators as possible and we know that Common Core standards are so important. We know that we have worked hard with our administrators and teachers to prepare for this change so we had lots to share about it. Our session title was "Your Common Core Secret Weapon."
Jennifer LaGarde to share with them what we really do and what they should be expecting. If their librarian wasn't living up to these standards ask yourself why. Do they have time to collaborate? Are they included in staff development plans? Do they have the staff, support and funds to provide adequate services?
We talked about our standards and how they overlap with the Common Core standards. Then we dove into providing ways their librarian can help them transition. The first suggestion we had was for the librarian to evaluate her collection. We wanted to emphasize to administrators that full shelves doesn't always equal a quality collection. All of our librarians submitted data that was compiled into infographic that simplified collection analysis. We urged them to ask their librarians to share the status of their collection and they in turn put trust in their librarian and allow her to remove books without being chastised at the dumpster. We wanted to emphasize that the goal of promoting recreational reading was more important now than ever since the Common Core places such an emphasis on nonfiction in the classroom. The good and bad of fixed vs flex schedules were discussed.
Administrators have the power to encourage classroom teachers to collaborate and we highlighted the value of those relationships. We followed that discussion with some of our professional development offerings and asked them to consider their own librarian as a resource for quality PD. Finally we ended with the request that they encourage their librarian to attend conferences and bring back what they learn.
I feel like this may have been one of the most important sessions that I have ever helped present because it has the potential to influence so many schools. I hope that the administrators left with an excitement about how they can involve and appreciate their librarian. I know many did because they stayed after and talked to us about it. My worry is that some of them will want to see these ideas implemented in their school, but their librarian will not be receptive. I wish that all librarians were as passionate about the profession as my PLN, but we all know that isn't always the case.
We had a few people ask for our contact info so that we could visit with their librarians. I'm excited to see where this goes. The past two weeks have been extremely busy, but extremely rewarding. Now my summer can official begin and I can focus on the Level Up Book Club, #bookaday Twitter challenge and the approaching #summerthrowdown reading competition.