Describe how you stay passionate about your job in the library.
Being a librarian is like going on an adventure—every day! I stay passionate about my job in the library knowing that I have the opportunity to integrate practically any subject while still targeting library media standards. I get to explore with students as they select resources, conduct research, and engage in projects. With library services and resources, students learn new content for both educational and personal reasons. It is fun helping students through the process of searching and navigating online. It is even more exciting when I can help students apply their understanding to the creation of their own products. My students’ curiosities inspire me to be the best librarian I can be.
What is the best conference you’ve ever attended that helped you in your role as a library media specialist? What made it so amazing?
One of the things I have enjoyed most about being a librarian is the opportunity for professional growth. The Kentucky Society for Technology in Education (KySTE) Conference has been one of my favorite annual events. KySTE offers such a variety of workshops. Whether you are interested in new resources, instructional strategies, or digital tools, there is something for everyone. What’s more, KySTE is a great place to network with librarians and other educators. The energy at KySTE alone will leave you inspired. After each year’s conference, I go back to my school with a fresh perspective on all that is possible.
If you’ve been successful in increasing your library budget in these troubled economic times, what’s been your strategy?
I am not a professional grant writer, but I have found some success in applying for library funds. First off, Scholastic Book Fairs is critical to the funding of new library resources, especially books for the collection. I host three book fairs a year. The last being a buy one, get one free fair which helps launch our summer reading program. I have had four projects funded on Donors Choose including an LED Smart TV and iPad Minis. The Kentucky Education Association offers Read Across America grants, and I was awarded $1000 from the National Education Association for the purchase of books that reflect diversity. My STLP team was just given a mini-grant through the Kentucky Green and Healthy Schools program for a student-led project centered on water drainage issues around our school. I bet I have had as many grant applications rejected as I have awarded. Be persistent. Do not get discouraged if your project is overlooked. Find a new funding source and go for it!
I pursued a National Board Certification because….
I want to optimize the strategies and resources I use in the library. As the only librarian in the school building, I sometimes feel isolated from other teachers’ professional learning communities. The National Board Certification process was my opportunity to grow as a librarian and to connect with others in my field. My National Board endeavor opened my eyes to the impact we as librarians can have on student achievement through engaging instruction, innovative resources, differentiation, and meaningful assessment practices. The certification process was as rewarding as it was challenging. For those thinking about pursuing a National Board Certification, I recommend starting your journey early and forming a support group. You can find support at the National University National Board Leadership Center and the Kentucky Education Association.