The Transformation of a District
As the coordinator for 58 school libraries in Lincoln, I don’t have the typical transformation story. I don’t have a single space or primary program that I focus my efforts. Rather, I’m working on ways to transform libraries across our district, which is a uniquely different job. It means working with 58 different librarian personalities, their school administrators, and the many curriculum specialists and district administrators that impact and can be impacted by our school library programs.
Here are a few of our milestones:
I published an article in the April 2016 edition of Teacher Librarian titled “MOSAIC: Multicultural Literature Selection and Promotion.” In LPS we conscientiously work towards identifying, promoting, and growing our collection of multicultural resources that speak in a meaningful way to students, teachers, and curriculum designers. This year we are amping up our work to create a new interactive traveling display of multicultural resources that will give students and teachers at all of our schools a chance to connect with multicultural resources in interesting and memorable ways.
Last year our district was recognized by the White House for our work in introducing Makerspace to our library programs. We have continued to expand our Makerspace Kits and have worked hard to spread the message of our Maker Movement to community groups and invested parties. As a result, many of our school libraries have invested in permanent Makerspaces and our librarians are designing creative ways in which to incorporate making into their weekly routine. We recently purchased green screens, additional iPads, and software for each of our library programs so that they can continue to model making in their schools and neighborhoods.
We are currently building a brand new elementary school and a middle school. We have been integral in the design and decision making regarding the libraries, meeting with architects and district facility administrators. As we thought about the space design, ordered equipment and furniture, and created a layout, we labored over the decisions that could potentially influence the very nature of the programs that would take root in these spaces. We have been very deliberate about creating a space that encourages flexibility, collaboration, and multi-functionality.
Additionally, we are in the process of renovating five of our older school libraries, which requires creative collaboration between school librarians and their administrators, as well as a close working relationship with our facilities department. While budgets are always limited, we’ve seen some beautiful new library spaces emerge from the dust and chaos. We are very proud of these libraries, and we believe these new spaces will be homes to progressive and impactful library programs.
Much of our focus this year has been assisting in the smooth integration of 1:1 devices in grades 3-6, which will expand in the next two years to include every student in grades 3-12. We are working with our librarians to transform their programs to support a reality in which nearly every student has a device and where the walls of the library expand well beyond their physical space. We’ve been designing essential lessons, leading conversations about digital citizenship, and throwing ourselves head-first into the realm of student data privacy and media literacy. I am part of a district committee that reviews and evaluates any and all apps and technology tools that district staff want to use with students. We’ve designed a process for our district to approve the apps & technology tools that students will have access to according to COPPA & FERPA requirements and the terms of service required by content providers. I’ve been busy this spring and summer providing professional development on the role of the librarian in protecting student data privacy, understanding Fair Use, and the multitude of digital products our library program provides to students, families, and teachers.
I’m not sure I fit within the mold of a TYSL Transformational Librarian, but I believe I’m empowering our librarians and library programs to be transformational in their own schools and library communities.