Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Let's #tlchat About Collaboration and Advocacy

I love being a media specialist.  It's one of the best jobs in the world.  I get to share and interact with every student in the school.  It's an amazing opportunity to make a difference in a child's life.  But, this job can be a little lonely, too, especially when you are the only one in the building doing what you do. 

Most people only get a small glimpse of what goes on during the day in the media center as they are passing through. And so it can also be a misunderstood position, as well.   That is why it is so important for me to connect with other media specialists and teacher librarians as well as to spread the word about what media specialists and teacher librarians do and why we are a vital part of any school.

Being the only one doing my job in my building, even though I do try to work with the teachers in my building to create lessons that go with what they are doing in the classroom, I often feel like I am on my own for lesson planning.  But when I go to conferences and consortiums, I am with "my people" and the ideas are shared freely.

One of my favorite things about going to conferences and consortiums is getting to collaborate with other media specialists in my area.

Unfortunately, I don't always have the time or funds to attend as many conferences as I would like.
That is why I love that there are virtual opportunities to connect with others in the field.

Below is a list of some of the ways that you can connect with other library media specialist and teacher librarians as well as ways to get the word out about what we do and why we are NEEDED!

Be social online.
Join a social media group or community to connect and share with other library media specialists and librarians.  You can find these groups on facebook, Google +, and other online communities.  There are several that I a member of and I find tons of great ideas being shared.  Here are a few to check out...

Librarians Network
Teacher Librarians Diigo Group
Global TL: Librarians without borders

HERE are some other groups you might like to join, as compiled by the Global Teacher Librarian Network.

Get on Twitter.  
Seriously.  You can make some great connections on Twitter.  Just do a search for teacher librarians or media specialists and you will find someone to follow.  Once you find some peeps you like, snoop around in their lists of who they follow.  That is a great way to find others you will enjoy tweeting with. Here are some of the media specialists and teacher librarians I follow...

@librarian_tiff  (Tiffany Whitehead)
@plemmonsa (Andy Plemmons)
@cybraryman1  (Jerry Blumengarten)
@cathyjo  (Cathy Jo Nelson)
@THLibrariZen (Lynn Kleinmeyer)
@librarianprblms   (for a good chuckle)

Hash it out.
I use the Twitter hashtags #tlchat and #edtech when I tweet  about media center and library "stuff" and I also search for those hashtags.  I have made some great connections just by doing so.  You can search for other hashtags as well.  Here are a few other hashtags you might try...

#LibrarianProblems   (for more good chuckles)

Cybraryman has created a list of educational hashtags that you might find helpful. You can find that list HERE.

Participate in Twitter Chats.
There are tons of twitter chats going on nightly/weekly/monthly. They usually last about an hour and go by surprisingly fast.  Pick one that tickles your fancy and check it out.  If you like what you see, jump in the conversation.  If the pace of a twitter chat seems too fast, don't despair.  Some Twitter chats are archived so you can always go back to look at something you might have missed.  If you're not sure what a Twitter chat is or how to take part in one, you can check out THIS helpful info compiled by Cybraryman.  Cybraryman has also created a neat little page that lists the current day's Twitter chat and what time they take place. You can find it HERE.  Another great resource to check out is the TL Virtual Cafe.

Share the love.
Read, follow and comment on fellow library media specialists' and teacher librarians' blogs.  While many of us read and follow blogs, leaving a comment on a post that you found interesting is a way to encourage more posts from that blogger.  I have to admit that I don't comment as much as I could on posts that I read.  However, I know that personally, as a blogger, I feel more motivated to blog and blog more often if I know that someone is actually reading what I post.  It's nice to know there is someone out there who values my ramblings.  =)

If you need some suggestions for blogs to follow, you can check out my blog list on the right hand side of my blog.  I also have listed some in THIS Collaboration and Advocacy LiveBinder.

Collaboration is important, but so is advocacy.  Sure, "it's all fun and games" in the library, but if we want to keep it that way, we need to be sure to let others know about what we do. We need to be our own advocates.

Toot Your Own Horn.
What are you doing in your media center?  I bet it's something awesome and I bet other media specialists and librarians would like to hear about it.  Get the word out.  Tweet it.  Post it on facebook.  Share it on a blog, on Twitter, on Facebook, in a group or in a listserv.  Just let people know what you are doing.

Spread the word.
If you find something interesting about school libraries that you think others should know, share it.  Tweet it. Blog it. Facebook share it. Let's spread the word about what we do and why what we do is important.  Here are some things to get you started...

School Libraries Transform Learning (digital magazine)
School Libraries Transform Learning Infographic
A Nation Without School Libraries (Google map)
Are Librarians Still Important?
Advocacy Tool
27 Things Your Teacher Librarian Does (infographic)
AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner
Empowering Learners:Guidelines for School Library Programs
Free Online PD for Teacher Librarians (infographic...and the graphics are hyperlinked...score!)
Teacher Librarians at the Heart of Student Learning (YouTube video)

So MS and TL peeps, make your voices heard.   Let's each other and to everyone who will listen.  Let's share ideas.  Let's encourage one another.   Let's tell the world who we are and what we do!