As part of School Library Month, the American Association of School Librarians sponsored a “Social Media Superstars Recognition Program.” The goal of the inaugural program was to acknowledge “the role social media plays in school library promotion” and to recognize “school library professionals who enrich the profession and its work on behalf of students by sharing information, expertise, ideas, encouragement, dialog and inspiration widely via a variety of social media channels” (Habley).
The Social Media Recognition Task Force announced three finalists in seven categories:
1. Sensational Student Voice
2. Advocacy Ambassador
3. Tech Troubadour
4. Program Pioneer
5. Curriculum Champion
6. Leadership Luminary
7. Social Justice Defender
The Task Force will review the comments made in support of the finalists and announce the overall Superstar in each category on Thursday, April 27th at 6:00 p.m. Central.
I was honored to be nominated in the Leadership Luminary category along with Jonathan Werner and Joyce Valenza.
I have followed Jonathan on Twitter for several years. He frequently shares his involvement with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). In addition to the outstanding teaching and learning in his own school library, Jonathan fills me in on the activities of an organization to which I do not belong. It is vital for our profession to be well represented in highly influential technology and education organizations like ISTE. I especially appreciate Jonathan’s commitment to making sure school librarians are at the table when educational technology is being discussed and exemplary practices are being shared.
There is no doubt in my mind that Joyce deserves the Superstar designation in this category. For over a decade, Joyce’s Neverending Search blog has been a go-to source for so many (everyone?) in the school librarian profession. Joyce generously shares her thinking about issues and practices related to teaching and learning in school libraries. She also writes for a wide audience about her own learning and application of technology tools and digital resources. Joyce’s influence extends far beyond the school librarian community. Her expertise is recognized nationally and internationally. Her blog’s placement on the School Library Journal site ensures her expansive reach. For many school administrators, educational leaders and decision-makers “Joyce Valenza” is synonymous with “extraordinary school librarian.” Joyce shines a positively luminous light on our profession. She is most deserving of this recognition.
As a “Leadership Luminary” nominee, it was informative to me that by far this category received the fewest comments. I believe that members of the profession who commented understood the specificity of the other six categories. Perhaps it was more straight-forward for them to note how finalists in other categories influenced their practice. I suspect that for many the “Leadership Luminary” category lacked that clarity.
To my way of thinking, all of the Social Media Superstars finalists are leaders. In fact, there are many, many additional school librarian leaders who use social media to “enrich the profession and its work on behalf of students by sharing information, expertise, ideas, encouragement, dialog and inspiration widely via a variety of social media channels” (Habley).
As the subtitle of Hilda Weisburg’s Leading for Librarians book proclaims: “There is no other option!”
Through their work, which they promote via social media, these social media superstars have positively influenced their colleagues’ practice of school librarianship. They have promoted our profession and educated others on the essential work that school librarians do every day.
In his 2009 Ted Talk, Simon Sinek said this: “We follow those who lead not for them but for ourselves.”
This recognition program has helped me identify school librarians whose work was not as well known to me as it should have been. I look forward to following and continuing to learn from all of the finalists.
Thank you for your passion and dynamic contributions that promote our profession and help us all grow more knowledgeable and become more recognized for our vital work.
Habley, Jen. “AASL Social Media Superstar Finalists Announced!” Knowledge Quest, American Association of School Librarians, 22 Mar. 2017, knowledgequest.aasl.org/superstar-finalists/. Accessed 17 Apr. 2017.
Sinek, Simon. “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.” Ted Talk. Ted.com. Sept. 2009, https://www.ted.com/talks/simon_sinek_how_great_leaders_inspire_action?utm_source=tedcomshare&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=tedspread Accessed 1 Apr. 2017.
Weisburg, Hilda K. Leading for School Librarians: There Is No Other Option. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2017.
Image Credit: Super Librarian by Becca
Used with permission (and with apologies to the men who serve admirably in our profession)
P.S. If AASL and the Social Media Recognition Task Force are seeking feedback on this inaugural program, I would ask them to consider that all of the Superstars in the other six categories are leaders and that the “Leadership Luminary” category may not be necessary in the next round.
Thanks so much for bringing more attention to these new recognitions by writing about it here, and for your input to the task force. I especially liked that you said “This recognition program has helped me identify school librarians whose work was not as well known to me as it should have been. I look forward to following and continuing to learn from all of the finalists.” As a task force member, it is my hope that many people will do as you are, and follow and learn from all 21 finalists, since they all have so much to offer.
Thank you for your comment, Jane. I also appreciate the work of the task force. I do not envy you your decision with regard to selecting just one finalist in each category!