Three years ago a legislative aide asked us on our very first trip to Olympia, "What would you have us do?" We answered, "Stop the hemorrhage and please don't let librarians go extinct."

In the 3 years since we first sat around a kitchen table wondering if anything could be done to save school libraries and librarians, the world has undergone a metamorphosis. The rapid rate of change, the sheer volume of new technologies and information overloading ... these present either a massive opportunity for librarians or a fatal blow to the profession.

President Obama's recent failure to include school library funding in his budget proposal or mention teacher-librarians in his new education blue-print represent a wake-up call and a reckoning -- quite literally a sink or swim moment -- for every single teacher-librarian in the country.

We wondered if survivor theory might help better the odds for the best outcome possible.

To get in the right frame of mind, begin by watching survivor theorist Laurence Gonzales' survival checklist for librarians video. We called him up out of the blue and he graciously made the video just for you. People love libraries. We have found they are absolutely willing to help. . .they just need to be asked!

Love, Lisa, Susan and Denette

The Moms' Challenge: What will you do to see that Library Information & Technology programs flourish?

  • What should you pioneer?
  • What will you captain?
  • What will be your legacy?
  • How will you nurture and feed your community's taste for wonder?
  • How will you make communication better?
  • How will you make the library (virtual & physical) and its program enchanting?
  • Whom will you guide through chartless realms?
  • Will your work consciously seek to increase the number of people able to explore and leverage the resources of our times?
  • What will you document?

1. Website Challenge: Design a Compass: This is the #1 change the Moms' believe in, send us your links please!
Upgrading your school website to reflect the interactive and dynamic time that we live in is quite simply a must.
Here's a great place to start

An unmoving compass is a broken one. Recalibrate content on an ongoing basis (allow traffic analysis to teach you what sections are the anchors).
Design & deliver content for parents, legislators, teachers, students, administrators. It's not complete unless all these partners are served.
For immunity:
Let the students take ownership and showcase their genius.
Advise a web-design club with students managing/producing content.
*Immediate action: make sure your library website is on the district's homepage

2. Physical Space Challenge: Design the Right Vessel
What are you planning on using it for? What should it look like? Feel like? Sound like?
Define specific vision/mission/goals and revisit them quarterly/annually. Stasis is not an option (= sinking ship).
Actively leverage community resources (create shared ownership/community footprint).
For Immunity:
Become a grant-writing maven, a resource-sleuth.
Become the Warren Buffet of your community; build a solid record, aggressively seek out opportunities,
show you are saving the district money & 'making' it.
Enlist help in crafting and achieving goals (kid-centric) and make them transparent.
Try to have a 'Blue Chip' return. Show you are an investment that makes an impact.
Accomplish things that are worthy of a front-page story and get it published there.
reading/literacy: reading scores low/population with grave limitations to printed word
achievement gap
college preparation: presentations/design work/
*Immediate Action: Have your PTA fund something that transforms your physical space. Ask community group if no PTA available. See pictures of the Unquiet Librarian's space for inspiration.

3. Emerging Technologies Challenge: Teach them to Surf
Emerging technologies -- your greatest risk or greatest asset.
Save yourself so you can save others -- become a master-class emerging technologies expert.
Be proactive and disciplined about training; don't wait for someone to bring it to you.
Initiate, germinate and sustain collaboration -- assume they will benefit (no one asked, 'Would you like to be in a lifeboat?').
Lead your school, lead your district, lead your community as emerging technologies mentor and leverager-extraordinaire - for parents, administrators, l
egislators, students and teachers.

For Immunity:
Champion digital portfolios for students & staff and then help them create and build them.
Become an emerging technology guru in your community. Start a blog or a column
if your town still has a newspaper.
How many people can you introduce to the intellectual side of twitter? Start with your legislators.
Bridge the gap for parents -- cultivate confidence in everyone that knows you.
*Immediate Action: Contact EdLab Group to research becoming a certified Peer Coach of Technology Integration
(we're thrilled to report WA/MT are piloting big peer coaching certification for teacher-librarians)
http://www.pugetsoundcenter.org/tl/index.html or email Director Les Foltos lfoltos@peer-ed.com

4. Portal Challenge: Provide Aqua-Lungs for All
Develop new, convenient portals to showcase teaching and learning for stakeholders (parents, legislators, administrators).
Fundamentally and continually improve communication & awareness.
Design mediums for making different types of information accessible and central to a varied audience with wide-ranging interests.
For Immunity:
Create blogs/classroom wikis/pathfinders for all teachers, students and administrators.
Tweet what classrooms are doing. Provide a fishbowl view. Become a family staple.
Create a virtual newsletter showcasing students, highlighting teachers, sharing what is needed/desired by parents, grandparents & beyond (think 'Friends of xxxx').
Facilitate a weekly video blog for your principal.
Have students test and review (in the newsletter or on the web page) new technologies every week.
Week in Preview/Review: connecting parents to an unknown world -- what their children are learning.
Facilitate parental 'help': ideas for speakers, fieldtrips, resources. . .
*Immediate Action: Create wiki's for teachers who are willing and update them by unit. Load with interesting links for students (parents will love you for this!) Make it more interactive than a pathfinder. Make special wiki's for field trips, send students with Flip cameras. Help students produce and create information. Share their work via all mediums.

5. Lookout Challenge: Keep your Eyes on the Hoizon
See the storm in advance; predict, project and leverage.
What policies, procedures, practices, systems, strategies, and structures need to be in place or adapted in the name of equitable, free, and safe teaching and learning?
Navigate the social media terrain for administrators, teachers, students and parents.
Strategic planning and vision; alignment and integration -- help write it, don't let it happen to you.
Help the system adapt; lead in incorporating and leveraging emerging technologies. Be the reason that things don't '
sneak up' on your community.

Help inform adoption cycles and guide district actions across areas:

  • acquisition of of district resources
  • creation / adoption of policies (privacy, intellectual freedom, social media etc)
  • tools
  • credentialing
  • roll-out of new initiatives
  • 1:1 Computers
  • District Strategic Plan
  • Digital/Participation Gap

For Immunity:
Issue a 'horizon report' (chronicle emerging trends, challenges, precedents).
Influence District Strategic Plan
Put your district's filter on a dimmer switch.

*Immediate Action: Start drafting your 'Horizon Report'- send us a copy please! This is something Legislators would appreciate seeing.

6. Connectivity Challenge: Making a not so subtle case for collaboration

Presentation Powerpoint