Saturday, October 8, 2016

Are We Future Ready Librarians?

This week I had a wonderful opportunity to present to my teacher librarian friends on a TL Virtual Cafe webinar. I have to admit that I was both nervous and excited to speak to colleagues across the nation using this presentation format. The topic I was requested to present was Future Ready Librarians. To prepare, I researched the topic online. I discovered a blog article by Joyce Valenza that revealed the background information on Future Ready Schools. Superintendents that take the Future Ready Pledge are agreeing to make meaningful changes in their district's curriculum toward a digital learning transition.

I also discovered a lot of excellent information on the FutureReady.org Librarians Page.  



There are numerous Future Ready components that we can strive to provide for our learning communities through our library services. In fact, if we could aspire to show evidence in each of these areas, we would have an exemplary school library program. In our school library program at Lakeside High School, we still have several components that need growth. It is a continuous cycle of improvement. We never arrive, but we must always strive to improve.

I want to show you the components and evidence I shared on the TL Virtual Cafe webinar:

Future Ready Librarians... Design Collaborative Spaces

We must work to provide flexible spaces for our learning communities. Earlier this year, we opened our newly renovated school library with its many reimagined collaborative spaces. A complete renovation isn't necessary to accomplish success in this category. We can merely rethink and reorganize our existing furniture to create more flexible spaces for our learners to use in new ways.



Future Ready Librarians... Build Instructional Partnerships

Since 2012, we have worked with teachers to develop immersive library collaborations with the intent to bring content to life using library resources and technology. Two of the most successful have been our Dust Bowl collaboration and our Crucible program. There are so many ways to partner with our colleagues to integrate library resources and deeper learning. It takes a village to make changes through instructional partnerships. Why not help lead change from the school library?



Future Ready Librarians... Empower Students as Creators

I love finding ways to empower students in our Makerspace. I've decided I don't need to be the expert in every area; the students get to be the experts! We love using Jenga, Legos, Minecraft, 3D Printing, coloring, deconstruction, and more in our Makerspace. The school library is the perfect place for learners to explore, create, and present their products.



Future Ready Librarians... Curate Digital Resources and Tools

We all curate resources in various ways for our students and teachers. I enjoy putting links to our numerous databases and research tools in one place for our students to have easy access.  Another example is to create a Google Classroom or Microsoft Classroom to curate content to help teachers transition to using digital tools in their classroom. We recently did this (with partner teachers) to help our school transition to Google Classroom. By using a teacher only Google Classroom for support, we can effectively model how they should be using the tool. There is always room for improvement in this curation category.



Future Ready Librarians... Facilitate Professional Learning

This is one of my favorite categories since I love to share new tools with teachers and students! We must all work to learn new technology and approaches to support learning. It is not enough to learn it ourselves, we must also share what we learn. Each year I have been asked to present new technology tools to our history department. This year I had learned about Breakout EDU and I couldn't wait to share it during my annual session with history colleagues. Then I thought about how powerful it would be if a student presented it. I was so excited to empower one of our Lakeside students to create and present his own Breakout puzzle to the teachers. There are so many ways to facilitate professional learning from the school library.



Future Ready Librarians... Cultivate Community Partnerships

We all have access to endless community resources in our cities and towns. Some of my favorite community partnerships have been with local organizations. One of them is how we worked with First Step to have a disability awareness program in the library. Another great collaboration was when we invited local jazz musicians to bring the music of the 1930s to the library for an all day performance. When we have such collaborations, it is a great opportunity to share photos and videos via social media to advertise the value to our learning community!



Future Ready Librarians...  Lead Beyond the Library

I get so excited seeing our learners connect to distant places via Skype and Google Hangouts. Recently, Caroline (a 10th grade student) connected with a new student friend in South Africa. Anytime we have opportunities to connect to other places using a webcam, we should tell our teachers and administrators. This is an opportunity to show how we can "knock down" the physical walls for our learners. There is so much to be learned in this big world, and the library can connect learners to information physically and virtually! There are many ways to lead beyond the library.



Future Ready Librarians... Ensure Equitable Digital Access, Invest Strategically in Digital Resources, and Advocate for Student Privacy

These are the three categories that I must work harder to capture evidence. I know I work to provide each to our learners; but in the future, I must log evidence of these. Maintaining a school library program is a journey and a balance.




After learning more about the Future Ready movement, I can see the areas where we have strengths and the areas we need to continue building. As a teacher-librarian, I will now be more mindful of these categories and will work to create better services for our learners. Perhaps, the Future Ready components could serve as a rubric for our library program. I'm considering sharing these components and evidence in our annual report at the end of this school year.

Be sure to listen to the recorded presentation via the link on TL Virtual Cafe. My portion of the session was only the first half. The second half was a powerful session about OER (Open Education Resources) presented by Andrew Marcinek (@andycinek). I encourage you to check out Andrew's thoughts about OER and our role in this movement!

To my TL Chat colleagues, thank you for inviting me to share about Future Ready Librarians. The preparation to present this content has changed me. It has caused me to think about what I can do better to support our learning community through library services. I hope that all teacher librarians will work to be Future Ready. This is what is best for our learners. Are you Future Ready?

My first webcam connection with a Spanish speaking teacher using Skype Translator!

Reflecting on a year of connections in our school library.


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