Saturday, July 24, 2010

So, WV School Librarians: Do We Have a Professional Death Wish?

I recently read a blog post by Doug Johnson that gave a synopsis of Gary Hartzell's presentation at a Minnesota advocacy workshop. Prefacing his summary of Hartzell's thoughts was Johnson's rant about the professional death wish of the school library media specialists in Minnesota. Of more than 500 LMS in the state, fewer than 30 attended this event that headlined a national speaker.

I understand his frustration and commented with a rant expressing mine. Now it is time for a confession:

I can't claim much of a high road when I seldom attend offerings in my own state, and there have been many quality offerings. Karen Figgatt, Cathy Davis, and Celene Seymour have recently done remarkable work in organizing summer professional development sessions for us, yet I think the last time I attended a session was the time Ginny Franks hosted us at Bridgeport Middle School. Was that in 2007 or 2008?

I know we all have family obligations that take precedence. Last summer I passed up a chance to hear Keith Curry Lance due to family obligations. My obligation? I was dogsitting my daughter's weimeraner will she was on her honeymoon. Don't you think I could have boarded the damn mutt- and by that, I mean my precious granddog- for a few days? KEITH CURRY LANCE!

This summer my reason for not attending were varied. The event took place during my first open library session of the summer. I didn't think the sessions were relevant to my needs. Etc. But were the sessions really irrelevant? Isn't the opportunity to learn and share worthy, regardless of the topic? Isn't the opportunity to just talk with other library media specialists worth the effort?

So, now it is time for a New School Year's Resolution: I resolve to help facilitate discussion and disseminate information by:

  1. Opening up our InfoGoddesses wiki to all library media specialists the state. There we can share and catalog our collective wisdom and concerns with fellow librarians. (Send me your email address, and I will add you to the wiki! Or just request membership on the front page!)
  2. Attend the Fall Conference of WVLA at Stonewall Jackson Resort.  ( Assuming the School Libraries Division will be active, I will volunteer to present!). I will regularly post conference updates to the K-12 Librarians listserv.
  3. Pay my WVLA dues and reactivate my membership. I just rejoined ALA and AASL, and I need to show the same involvement and professional courtesy to my state organization.
  4. Post relevant finds from my daily feeds to the K-12 Librarians listserv. I encourage you all to do the same!
  5. Attend national conferences, including the 2011 conference in Minnesota. (Yes, I am sure I will be paying for this out of my own pocket!) Again, I will post updates to the K-12 Librarians listserv for those who cannot attend.
  6. Create and commit to a schedule of training for all my colleagues.  I'll let you know what is being offered and invite you to join us.

Sent from my U.S. Cellular BlackBerry® smartphone

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