Yikes! I’m running for AASL District 1 Director

31 08 2014

I am running for AASL District 1 Director and we were asked to write a Statement of Professional Concerns. It was a nice practice in slowing down and thinking about my real goals as a librarian, educator, and member of this professional community. This is what I came up with:

One of my real goals is to help school librarians flourish and become essential contributors to our education system. Librarians have an unprecedented opportunity to be leaders through curation of resources, collaboration with teachers and administrators, and integration of research skills across the curriculum.
It is obvious that the needs of our student populations have changed over the last decade. I believe it is vital that we empower today’s librarians to have the tools, resources, and most importantly, the MINDSET to effectively serve our student and faculty stakeholders.
If elected, I will work hard to ensure that we are all equipped to contribute effectively to the needs of our users even as those needs change.

Let me know what you think and if you have ideas that you would like to share with our professional librarian community.

Killer Library Reports

8 07 2014

Nobody wants to read boring statistics about your library at the end of the year. Find a way to show your stakeholders what you’ve really accomplished with a colorful, data-driven library report.

I’ve recently changed my library report to an infographic. I think it’s important to use graphics, color, and even pictures of happy students using your library space and resources. I try to do reports monthly, but they usually come out quarterly.



I asked several colleagues to share their reports with me.

Jessica Gilcreast shares her beautiful Infographic-style library report here:

Rachel Hopkins uses LibGuides to make her report creative and easy to browse:

The brilliant Sue Kowalski (@spkowalski) also used LibGuides for her Library Report. I especially like the headings for each section like: “Culture of Thinking and Learning” and “Enjoyment and Engagement.” I’m definitely going to take some of those headings and incorporate them into my future reports.


I got a tweet this week from Mary Morgan Ryan (@mmorganryan). She made her library report using a tool called smore. Check out her beautiful report:

How do you share statistics and information about your library with your stakeholders?

Reflections on Library Service

17 03 2014

Being kicked out of the library was not my first time being treated poorly by someone from my local public library. Over the past week many people have shared their stories from the same library.

This is a pretty ordinary list for a non-customer service oriented library:

look it up

  • Circulation desk clerks exhaling with annoyance over overdue books and requests for assistance
  • Asked “did you look it up?” by staff members when requesting assistance while looking for a book
  • Not allowing people to check out books on the shelving cart
  • Parents asked to bring their children to the Children’s Room when they simply need to grab a book from the adult shelves for their own reading
  • Foster parents unable to secure cards for their Foster children
  • Teachers from the public schools are not allowed to get library cards because they might try to “check out all of the books”
  • Requested materials not purchased because the library staff thought nobody else would be interested in “insert interesting topic here”
  • Endless stories of shushing & hushing.

Libraries that conduct business this way are the reason all libraries are fighting for relevance.

Because this happened to me I’m picking on Exeter Public Library, but this is happening all over the country in public libraries, school libraries, and academic libraries. I’m tired of non-librarian people saying to me “I can’t believe YOU’RE a librarian,” “why do you call yourself a LIBRARIAN? you should tell people you are a media specialist/tech integrator/teacher,” and people introducing me as “well, she’s MORE than a librarian.” I’m not more than a librarian, you just have low expectations for what a librarian is. I do believe it’s libraries like EPL that set the bar for my profession and I’m not happy about it.

I sincerely hope that EPL reaches out to the community (not only to their current library users) and forms a library advisory board. I also hope they send the staff to some positive customer service training. Even though they deleted comments on their facebook page with links to this blog and to the NYT article about services changing at the Boston Public Library I have noticed an increase in their online presence. Posts about book clubs, knitting groups, and even a reminder of their free wi-fi have gone up this week. It’s nice to see an attempt to reach out in more positive ways.

Kicked Out of the Library

8 03 2014

Last week I went to the Exeter Public Library with a colleague to work on a project for our high school. We needed Internet access, a table to spread our documents out on, an outlet to plug-in our devices, a spot away from the distractions of our school, and a buzzing atmosphere where we would feel inspired to create new ideas for our project. What better place than the local library?


silent library

We arrived to a very still and silent library. Two women behind the main desk looked at us as we walked in and went back to work. Patrons were sitting in chairs reading newspapers. There were some available study carrels in the corners. No group tables near outlets.

We tried the second floor. We were faced with several empty chairs and study carrels and signs that say “no talking.” There was an empty “meeting room” with no table and no chairs. Another meeting room was locked.

epl meeting room

Rules on the locked meeting room door


empty library

Because it was 10 a.m. we went into the Teen room (which is located directly behind the Reference desk.) The room is empty because it is a Friday and all of the teens in town are in school. We sat at a booth with an outlet and spread out our documents. As soon as we started working we were interrupted by a staff member who said that we are not allowed to work in there because we would intimidate the teens. I jokingly suggested that the fact that we are high school teachers/librarians could gain us access to this empty room. The librarian did not think it was funny and asked us to leave. I asked her for a suggestion of a location where we could work together at a table near an outlet. She said there are outlets all over the walls but could think of no table near an outlet. She recommended we try the second floor and I said that we will need to talk about our project. She reminded us we are not allowed to talk on the second floor.

We packed up and spent the day at Me & Ollie’s cafe where we sat on couches around a coffee table near an outlet surrounded by the buzz of the cafe. A young woman was reading a book next to us. An older man was typing hurriedly on his laptop on the other side. People were having meetings, drinking coffee, and getting business done. We were welcomed by the staff. They made us tea. And we got our work done.

Me & Ollie’s Bakery & Cafe, Exeter NH

My Knowledge Quest Guest Editor Adventure

8 03 2014

This morning my podcast interview was posted on the Knowledge Quest website. I began to reflect on the whole experience and wanted to share it. I was invited to be the Guest Editor of the March/April 2014 Library Spaces issues of Knowledge Quest (KQ) in January of 2013.

My first assignment was to begin contacting librarians and inviting them to write for the issue on a subject related to Library  Spaces. I contacted 17 librarians and had 17 article proposals by spring 2013. Our deadline for finished articles was November 2013, so I asked my authors to submit articles to me by August. Most of them came in on time. A few needed several reminders. One needed an extension (and I was glad to have the time to allow it). Some of the authors needed some slight revisions.


Next, I wrote my guest editor article based on the inspiration of the articles I received. It felt empowering reading the articles from librarians all over the country focused on student learning and needs from different perspectives.

When all articles and images were submitted I found out that we had too much for a single issue- so I chose several high-interest articles to create as exclusive online content. Those articles will be indexed with the issue.

I also worked with the manager editor for KQ and the KQ board in creating a Twitter hashtag. I realized that anytime I’ve ever gone into a library I’ve always seen at least one great idea on a way to create library spaces. I’m hoping that librarians will share their own brilliant library spaces with the rest of us on Twitter using the #aaslkq hashtag.

The last two steps happened quickly: I suggested 5 librarians to do the 30 seconds on leadership video clips for the online issue and then I was interviewed for the podcast.

I’m most proud of the number of NH librarians featured in this issue. Some of the most exciting articles are written by Jessica Gilcreast, Ray Palin, and Caitlin Ahearn. I hope everyone enjoys the issue and tweets some fun library space ideas to #aaslkq.

Let me know what you think of this issue!

Librarians as Leaders

23 01 2014
Ever since the School Library JournalLeadership Summit in Austin TX I’ve been thinking about school librarians as leaders. At the summit we talked a lot about challenges and opportunities facing school librarians. My favorite quote from the conference was when ALA President Barbara Stripling said “We need teach more and librarian less.”
I created this checklist on my flight home, while trying to absorb everything we heard.
I encourage you to read through these questions and consider your role as a leader:
  •  Is there a librarian on the Professional Development committee? District Reading Team? Technology Committee?
  • Do you meet regularly with your administrators?

  • How can we improve access to resources (ebooks, databases, what else?) for teachers, students, and the community?

  • How can we make the Common Core easier for everyone?

  • What is best for our students and how can we achieve that?

  • How do we maintain our currency?

  • How can we show administrators examples of our success?

  • How does this differ between elementary/middle/ and high schools?
  • How can we all take on more leadership roles (with a perspective on using technology and digital information literacy) in our districts and schools?
We need to be indispensable to our schools and our districts. Are you indispensable?

Sink or Swim: Will Your Students Rise to the Challenge of College-Level Research

13 11 2013

Elaine Allard & Pam Harland are presenting “Sink or Swim: Will Your Students Rise to the Challenge of College-Level Research?”

Friday, November 15
3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Our links are all available here: http://srhs.sau17.libguides.com/nhslma12