Isolation is Now A Choice For School Librarians

I was recently struck by the title of a blog post about blogging: “Isolation is now a choice educators make.”   I found this title provocative, not just about blogging, as I thought about choice, isolation, and the word “now.”  Choice seems to be an important aspect to Judi’s discussion of co-teaching versus coaching.  Teachers and school librarians choose to collaborate, teach, and assess student learning together.  Willing partners may choose to take risks together and to support each other in those endeavors. Co-teaching is a choice that we make.
But isolation is also a choice. Isolation is a choice that some educators and some librarians continue to make.  In libraries, we make the choice to work in backrooms when students and teachers are in our building and in our library.  They find and check out books by themselves or with a clerk or volunteer.  Librarians choose isolation in school buildings when they remain in the library instead of working in classrooms, hallways, or labs.  Isolation is a choice if we eat by ourselves instead of in the cafeteria or teacher’s lounge.  We may be the only librarian in our building but isolation is a choice if we don’t belong to listservs or professional organizations.
I also find myself putting emphasis on the word “now.”  The word “now” has an immediacy and urgency. Isolation is now a choice. We now have so many other choices with blogging, twitter, and other forms of social media that we can now choose whether or not we are isolated.  Judy’s description of how the Vermont School Library Association used Skype and Google docs to work collaboratively is a great example of using social media tools to overcome isolation and work collaboratively and productively now. We now live in times of abundant choice.  And in each moment we can choose to become engaged with each other, with teachers and staff, and with students.  Can we now afford to make any other choice?

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