Monday, December 5, 2011


A few words come to mind when I think of the practice of librarianship...




(we'll leave off cats, tea drinkers, and pullover cardigans for the next list)

I think these words come to mind because, most often, the school librarian is alone in her workplace. There may be an assistant. There may be volunteers. But there isn't often another living, breathing soul who so candidly knows what it is that you do as a school librarian, a library media specialist, a teacher librarian.

To this end, I take great pleasure in those times I get to spend in the company of library colleagues. I read their blogs. I follow their Tweets. But knowing that they're living, breathing, typing (perhaps feverishly) in front of a computer that's connected to mine through this glorious thing known as the Internet at the same time that I, too, am living, breathing, et cetera... well now, that's just a special treat.

I had one such opportunity this evening when I joined 116 other teacher librarians from across the country (globe?) at the TL Virtual Cafe. Tonight's topic: Library World Smackdown: Open Mic Night with Joyce Valenza & Moderator Gwyneth Jones.

This particular webinar was participant-driven through a crowd-sourced call for new tools, practices, and resources to strengthen our library programs. (Chat TEXT archive from the session available here) Participants each added slides to a GoogleDoc presentation showcasing an idea or tool from his/her library world that, this year, has proven indispensable. The content shared was insane with an experience likened to that of sitting at a professional conference and having no less than fifty incredible ideas shared one after another, each with its own special appeal which twinges at the back of your neck and forces you to consider adapting into your own practice. This is powerful stuff without question.

Notables nagging at my brain include:

Wordfoto - an app that turns your photos and words into amazing typographic works of art

If This Then That - (from site) "put the internet to work for you by creating tasks that fit this simple structure: if this then that." Think: If I'm tagged in a photo on Facebook Then Send me a text message.

Proving Your Worth - blogpost from Jennifer LaGarde (aka Library Girl) about using circulation statistics to promote your library and have a wealth of math relevance with your students

Jing - create video tutorials with Jing to help reinforce information literacy skills

In this way, I love that the Internet is making our world so much smaller. It's nice to have such great company and to know there are cool opportunities swarming with amazing people and just waiting for you to join up.

And by you I absolutely mean each and every one of us. 

If there's one thing I've learned, I'm reminded of, and which regularly affirms itself at conferences, in blogs, and through best practices, it's that each and every one of us matters. Your voice. Your unique perspective on the library profession. Your drive. Your devotion to the students and your work.  

Why don't we close with a few new words in consideration of all that's been said, shall we?

solitary. community. (with lots to give, lots to share, and lots to offer)

isolated. connected. (as much as you want or are willing to be)

underrepresented. represented. (hundreds advocate every day for all that school libraries stand for)

You. Matter.


  1. Thanks for the inspirational summary of our Smackdown event, Matthew.
    May the community of connected "YOU MATTER" people represent our future with passion and zest for all the opportunities.

  2. Very Well-spoken @LifeLongLearner! I love that we say "opportunity". You know how much that speaks to a positive attitude and builds the community upward.

  3. Sorry i missed the event, it sounded awesome! Love your summary, our future is in our own hands, we have the power, just depends how we choose to connect in oh so many ways,represent ourselves and the profession and share with the community.
    Thanks for the clarity.

  4. You can have problem statement in research example is something which is is powerful stuff without question.


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