Friday, June 20, 2014

Not in it Alone

I intended to write this post immediately following the Alabama School Library Association Conference, but life got in the way. In the end, I think that might have been for the best. This really allowed me to reflect on the experiences related to my first keynote address.

Back in January I mentioned during the TL Virtual Cafe that it was always good to find that friend that challenged you. It probably comes as no surprise that the person who challenges me is Jennifer LaGarde. She is great about nudging me in just the right direction at just the right time. Needless to say her encouragement was critical to my first keynote address for the Alabama School Library Association.

It was such an honor to be asked to share my thoughts about Meeting the Challenge @yourlibrary. This is such an appropriate topic for school libraries at this time. I will probably post more about the specifics of my speech in another post, but today I want to focus on something else.

In talking with the teacher librarians of Alabama, it was easy to see that the concerns for school librarians are the same no matter the location. Yet the thing that stood out to me is that involvement in your state's professional organization is critical. It is easy to begin to feel as if you are working in isolation, but active membership in your state's professional organization provides you with the opportunity to connect with others who understand your day to day life. What's even better is that often others have found solutions to problems you face every day. Additionally,  your professional organization can really help promote advocacy activities that are critical to helping others understand the importance of our work.

I know adding one more thing to your plate can sometimes seem overwhelming, but can you really afford not to be a member of your state's professional library/school library association? Better yet, don't just be a member, be an active participant. Help navigate the course of school librarianship in your state. 

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