As my piece of the May 19th Building a Culture of Collaboration Webinar, I will share and invite you to share the many ways school librarians can collaborate to support powerful student learning in our schools. As a former school librarian at every instructional level, I have served in schools with as few as three hundred students and as many as eighteen hundred. Regardless, I always made relationships with students a top priority in my work in the place we called “our” library.
Student library aides, drop-in students, before school, lunchtime, and after school “regulars” may respond to the library’s welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. Student clubs, formal or informal, may choose library spaces for their meetings. School librarians have the opportunity to reach out to the students who frequent the library to build caring and supportive relationships with them.
Through coteaching with classroom teachers, we can show caring and support in other ways. We can advocate for real-world, relevant research and inquiry learning, for thoughtfully integrating technology tools and devices, for student choice in reading and topic selection. When we coplan, coimplement, and coassess student learning, we have a great deal to contribute to student success.
I invite BACC readers and Webinar attendees to conduct an environmental scan of the physical and virtual spaces of their school libraries. Here are some questions to consider:
1. What would a member of your community who hadn’t been in a school library in years see when she/he walks through the door or happens upon your school library Web site?
2. Where is student input reflected in various learning and social spaces in the library or on the library Web site?
3. Where is student learning evidenced in the library? Are final projects on display or linked to the Web site?
4. Are students participating in reader’s advisory by contributing book talks and trailers that are on display or accessible to schoolmates via QR codes, the library catalog, or the Web?
Bring your self-assessment to the Webinar on May 19th. Learn what others may be doing to build a culture of collaboration in their schools through their work with students.
Remix image from Thurston, Baratunde. “I Am A Community Organizer.” 7 Sept. 2008. Flickr. 29 Apr. 2015. <https://www.flickr.com/photos/baratunde/2837373493/>.