From Keeper of the books to Collaborator Not your parents' school librarian


Writing for Our Lives

After 13 years as a language arts teacher , I transitioned to the position of school middle school librarian in 2009 and in 2014 I became the head librarian at Eastmoor Academy High School. There was anticipation and excitement due to the opportunities and possibilities it offered. High school was the next level before young people start post secondary school or vocations. In either case, it's the dawning of a new role as young adult . Not only was I pumped to introduce great reads but I am also a lover of research. The art and science of learning inspire and motivate me to grow personally and professionally. Sure I have my favorite topics of study but Im never afraid to learn something new that's totally different or distant from my comfort zone. In fact I've found the teachers have done a great job of separating knowledge when in reality there's always a connection between disciplines that can be made through your exposure to new content and its delivery

"When being INthe middle was enough"

As much a I enjoyed teaching and being a school librarian at the middle school level I realized I wanted more as I grew in my position. I saw the impact of my teaching on students and I increased my ability to collaborate to with other staff members.


The Keeper of the Books

Not surprisingly I thought I 'd be well received by the students. After all Eastmoor Academy High School is one of the top high schools in Columbus City School district and I knew students surely would pour into the school library begging for the latest , greatest reads and best sellers. Imagine my surprise when one of the first students to enter the library asked " Does anyone ever check books out?!" Why lie? Right? My official answer consisted of explaining to the students that this was my first year in the building and I would run statistics to review patterns from last year but certainly I was hopeful that students do indeed check out books.

What to do? What to do?

Now I had a dilemma. Do I take on the task of promoting titles within the school library? I could always conduct a needs assessment and determine how to best utilize the space for not only the student body but also for the entire school community( administration, teachers, staff, students, parents and community members). I realized throughout the year that building relationships with students, teachers, staff, administration and parents was the best way to effectively resolve the issue of an under-utilized school library space. I was forever reminded that the school library as we know it , no longer exists. It was a thing of the past; previous generations I'm sure enjoyed what they offered. In fact the school library will need to take on a totally different role as it must cater to the academic and social needs of the school within the 21st century and beyond. The reality of low circulation statistics does not and cannot overrule the necessity of a sound learning hub where student meets student, staff member meets staff member, staff member meets students, and community meets school. It can become "the place to be " through transformational thinking. Here is a sampling of events and activities sponsored by and within the library space.

  • Brown Bag Lunch workshops and special presentations - I provided a brief sample of this event my first year during Women's History Month. I invited professional women in the community to speak about their professions and expectations while students ate lunch in the library. Yes! They ate lunch in the library. Soon there were collaborative efforts with guest speakers for workshops, conferences and service learning projects . The list goes on. The library became the hub for learning
Collaborations with community professionals
Collaborations with Service Professionals: Women's Empowerment Conference
Awakening Purpose: Collaborations with Alums
Service Learning with Community Nonprofits
BUT helping students become BETTER WRITERS was my passion. I was also extremely honored and excited when students solicited my assistance when writing personal essays, college essays, resumes and informational reports. It was a pleasure and I learned much in the process. A student led writing center would be great as honing writing skills is crucial. In fact I learned that writing both creative and informational was something students craved to better express themselves
  • One day I had a wonderful conversation with a colleague who told me about a new leadership initiative entitled the Teacher Leadership Institute ( a collaboration with NEA - National Education Association and CTQ Center for Teacher for Quality). She had been observing my work within the library and knew I could impact not only students but other teachers. It seems I was leading from within and she encouraged me to become apart of the first cohort of teachers for Columbus City Schools
Growing !!!!

My experiences within TLI has taught me that teachers can be empowered to become change agents within their school communities . I learned to develop a needs assessment, identify problems and seek solutions. After attending workshops, webinars and working closely with coaches I developed a plan to create a Writing Center that would serve to be a model for the 16 high schools in the Columbus City Schools district. It was my goal to transform the library from a place that circulate books to one that of a learning hub

After completing my year as a TLI fellow I expanded resources that I provided to both students and staff. My opportunities to communicate and write about what I do as a school library was increased through blogging as well. SERVICE LEARNING. #EWOpinionhttp://www.edweek.org/tm/articles/2016/10/17/community-service-in-schools-from-feeling-good.html?cmp=soc-edit-tw … WRITING CLUB@EdWeekTeacher http://ow.ly/8u2u303Xu2E #CTQCollab


Created with images by jarmoluk - "book exposition composition" • US Department of Education - "_JMH3051" • StockSnap - "books shelf library" • matt edward - "Paper Bag" • JimileeK - "journal, pen" • JerryBunkers - "Black woman in law library" • Got Credit - "Learn Key" • Seniju - "grow" • hang_in_there - "Leader"

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