In December, Carl Harvey, Topic Center Editor for School Library Connection (SLC), asked SLC Advisory Board members and SLC authors to share our “2018 resolutions for school libraries.” In response to Carl’s request, I decided to use my “WHY” (Sinek 2009, 2017), the 27-9-3 messaging strategy, and Angela Duckworth’s definition of “grit” to craft a 2018 resolution for my role in and contribution to the school library profession.
At the Lilead Project meeting held just before the AASL Conference, I worked with Elissa Moritz to further refine my “WHY.” (See my previous posts about Simon Sinek’s work.) After sharing five professional stories with Elissa, she helped me clarify my purpose as it relates to my professional work. This is a revision of what we crafted together:
My purpose is to use my school librarianship experience, knowledge, skills, and service to share my passion and sense of urgency for the joy and power of school librarians to maximize teaching and learning in their schools through building partnerships.
Yes, it’s a bit wordy but it covers all the bases… It also implies several of my strengths from the Gallup StrengthsFinder activity we engaged in to prepare for the Lilead meeting. For me, it summarizes more than twenty-five years of commitment to our profession.
My 27-9-3 Message
At the Lilead Summer Institute in Norfolk, Virginia, last June, John Chrastka from EveryLibrary.org reminded us of or taught us a messaging strategy called “27-9-3.” This is a way to hone your message to twenty-seven words that can be spoken in 9 seconds—a message that includes just three main points.
You can read about this strategy on an advocacy planning site called Power Prism: Developing Your Persuasive Message: “The 27-9-3 Rule.” (This page includes a downloadable graphic organizer.) Patrick Sweeny also has an article on it on the DEMCO Ideas and Inspiration Blog: “Library Advocacy, Part 2: Creating an Effective Message.”
This is my 27-9-3 message to school librarians.
Empowered school librarians:
1. maximize the impact of their teaching, expertise, and library resources;
2. by building connections, partnerships, and capacity;
3. on their joyful leadership journey.
For those of us who are familiar with Carol Dweck’s “growth mindset,” Angela Duckworth’s work with the concept of “grit” may be an additional way to view learning, teaching, and success. Dr. Duckworth’s research grew out of a reoccurring theme in her own upbringing. Her father was known to tell young Angela and her siblings: “You know, you’re no genius!” (Duckworth 2016, xiii).
Although “no genius” in her father’s eyes, it was Dr. Duckworth’s great honor to be awarded a 2013 MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellowship. Her research centered on the relationships among talent, grit (the combination of interest/passion/purpose and perseverance), and success. In her study, Dr. Duckworth learned that highly successful people “were unusually resilient and hardworking” and they had determination and direction (Duckworth 2016, 8). You can access her “grit scale” on the Web site.
Combining my “WHY,” my 27-9-3 message, and my take on “grit,” I shared this resolution for my work with and for school libraries in 2018:
In 2018, I resolve to marshal a sense of urgency to support empowered school librarians and strengthen school librarianship by growing and sharing my passion, experience, knowledge, skills, and service to maximize our leadership and help our profession reach its capacity to transform teaching and learning in our schools.
Thank you for asking, Carl.
Thank you especially to the Lilead Project and Fellows and John Chrastka for supporting my professional learning in 2017. I am looking forward to continuing our learning journey in 2018.
Wishing all the best to the school librarians across the country and around the world who are doing critical work with administrators, classroom teachers, students, and families every day…
I invite you to share your #schoollibrarianleadership resolution in the comments below.
All the best in 2018,
Duckworth, Angela. 2016. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York: Scribner.
Sinek, Simon. 2009. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action. New York: Penguin, 2009.
Sinek, Simon, David Mead, and Peter Docker. 2017. Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team. New York: Penguin.
Image Credit: Wordle.net