In returning from Seattle after attending the Association for Library Science Education (ALISE) and the American Library Association (ALA) conferences I have been reflecting on collaboration and wondered if we practice what we preach. At both conferences I observed various types of collaborations taking place ranging from the very formal meeting type to the very informal chat over coffee type. I find these collaboration oppotunities one of the best aspects about conferences – sure there are some great sessions to learn from, but more importantly I think it is about connecting with colleagues. I think it is through these types of collaborations that we can grow and learn as professionals.
I have found in my career that being active in professional organizations is one of the best ways to meet potential collaborators and as a formal way to engage in collaboration. It is this professional collaboration with other school librarians that can grow our PLN, expand our thinking, expose us to new ideas, provide critical friends, and inspire us. As school librarians we are often in a building by ourselves as the sole librarian and we must look to professional organizations, whether it be at the state or national level, as a useful places to make connections. An indeed research shows that school librarians are enabled in their leadership efforts through the relationships they develop in and through professional organizations (Johnston, 2012). Yet, it is also what you make of it – get actively involved in your professional organizations and start making those collaborative connections!
Johnston, M. P. (2012). School librarians as technology integration leaders: Enablers and barriers to leadership enactment. School Library Research, 15(1). Retrieved from www.ala.org/aasl/slr.