Last Updated on February 12, 2022 by Laura
I don’t know if there’s ever been a time in my life that I’ve seen so many people ready to kick the current year out the door and welcome a new beginning! The new year brings new goals in our professional lives as well as our personal lives. Are you as eager as I am to reimagine your school library in the new year? I’ve got 5 tips to help you aim in a positive direction as you consider making improvements in your school library program.
Advocacy helps us build relationships with our supporters and stakeholders so they will be able to help our library program in meaningful ways. Advocacy doesn’t have to be a formal presentation. Regular communication through your school’s newsletter, your library Facebook page, or your school website is a form of advocacy. When we communicate with administrators, families, and community members to remind them why our library program is important, they will be ready to assist us in meeting shared goals in the future.
Team work makes the dream work! And collaboration can take on many forms within your school library in the new year. There is a reason that “Collaborate” is one of the shared foundations of the National School Library Standards. School library collaboration can bring many benefits for our students. There are a variety of ways to collaborate with classroom teachers or content area teachers in your school. I personally have seen the most results and benefits for my students when I collaborate with my specialist teachers (the collaboration efforts spread throughout the school this way!).
- Students Benefit from Collaboration in the School Library
- More Ideas for Collaboration in the School Library
- Specialists Collaborate for School Wide Engagement
- Energize Your School Community with Specialist Collaboration
School Library Events
If one of your goals is to make your library the center of your school, school library events can help you do it! School library events build excitement throughout your school community. Whether it’s a book fair, book tasting, or Harry Potter Week, events have the potential to get everyone involved in your library. They can spread a culture of reading and can involve parents and families. Special events inspire creativity and can help your students make connections beyond the walls of your school. We really need to think outside the box in order to plan events right now, but virtual events can be engaging and uniting experiences too!
- 5 Reasons to Plan School Library Events
- Harry Potter Week for Distance Learning
- May the 4th Be With You While Distance Learning
Incorporating music and movement into my lessons made the biggest difference in my youngest classes. Music and movement can set a fun atmosphere that encourages participation, whether you are in person or virtual. Before you dismiss this because you are “not musical,” let me assure you that your kindergarten and first grade students (even the older kiddos) do NOT care if you sing off key! What they do care about is that you are keeping them actively involved and motivated to learn. Using music and movement in your classes keeps learning fun and that keeps your students wanting to come back for more!
Perhaps the biggest lesson of the year is that we need to be ready for anything, because our circumstances at school can change at any time. As school librarians, we have all had to pivot and stay flexible as we work hard to meet the needs of our students, teachers, and families. It’s been important to keep up on the latest research regarding the safe circulation of physical materials, while also providing education about the availability of electronic resources so that our students and teachers still have access to vital resources needed to continue their education. Many of us have adapted to teaching virtually, or from a cart, or in our spaces with social distancing protocols. Some of us have had to take on a different role (hopefully temporarily) while our schools adapted to providing education in new ways for this year.
I want to encourage you to be a team player, to work with your colleagues to keep your school community unified. But I also want to encourage you to keep your library’s mission and vision in mind as you adapt and prepare for the future. It will take some creative problem solving to continue to evolve and be flexible while providing the resources and services that our students and teachers need.
School Library PD for the New Year
If you’re ready to dive deeper as you prepare your school library for the new year, I can help! This professional development series is just for school librarians. What’s even better is that it’s completely online, on demand, so you can learn from the comfort of your own home. Take a look and start learning and planning today!
Be the Light!
Dee Anderson says
Is there a charge for your online courses?
Hi Dee – The link in this article will take you to the PD bundle in my TpT store. Yes, there is a cost. You can get the first module for free at that link as well, and you can see if this professional development is a good fit for you. Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you for taking the time to pen this informative and very timely post. Not only are these ideas important as we enter a new calendar year, but I think it is also equally important to revisit them throughout the year. If 2020 has taught us anything it’s how important flexibility is in our roles as Teacher-Librarians. It was inspiring to see how quickly colleagues were able to grow and adapt to the new challenges faced last year. As we enter the latter half of this school year, I will be looking for new ways to advocate for my school library and stress the important role it plays in the lives of my students. With quarantines, lockdowns, remote learning, and more, equal access to literacy resources has never been more important.
Hi Samantha – I agree with you! Best wishes for continued success!
Thanks for your practical library advice. I came across your blog for an assignment for a Teacher Librarian course. While I have been teaching for over 20 years, I am brand new to the world of librarianship. There are so many aspects to the job, and this post in particular is very helpful.
I found myself particularly drawn to two of your points: advocacy and collaboration. I want to be able to be a voice for our school library…not just because of job security but because of what an effective learning commons can do for our students, academically, socially and emotionally. And it can be much greater when there is collaboration between the TL and the classroom teacher!
I will continue to check out your blog for other tips and suggestions!
I agree, Ellie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!