Just three years ago I had the opportunity to change my position in my district and become (among other things) a curriculum coordinator in charge of the library program. Since that day I have had the great honor of working closely with 35 amazing educators who serve the district as librarians. They are ingenious, amazing, and up for anything. In the coming year we will be undertaking a program evaluation in which we take a look at trends in the K12 library landscape and analyze our program to make recommendations about our work ahead and where our focus should lie.
I am super excited to start this work.
Even as I write those words, I recognize that program evaluation is often something to be dreaded. It’s a TON of work and can be all consuming. But it also has the potential to change much of the way we approach our work, help to define our role, and provide us with some documentation and next steps as we seek to bring relevance and understanding to the students we serve. In doing so, we will continue to focus on our program’s essential question:
What does it mean to be a librarian in the digital age?
From day one, this question has continued to guide every conversation and program decision that we’ve made.
However, I also recognize that there is a lot of work being done in this area. Last fall at the AASL Conference in Columbus, OH, one of the open sessions focused on Follett’s Project Connect and the accompanying framework. Project Connect is a “national initiative to advocate for school libraries and connect powerful school library programs to the needs of successful 21st-century learning.” It had crossed by desk before the conference but hearing about it reminded me and renewed my thinking about connecting the Future Ready movement from the Department of Ed, with our library program. As I listened to the presentation, it was pretty uncanny how much we had in common in our thinking. Upon my return, we began thinking more intentionally about how this framework could influence the way that we work and that program evaluation was a natural fit with the topics that Project Connect addresses.
We are in early stages right now, but as we move forward, I intend to use this space as a way to reflect on the process and hopefully serve as a model for other library programs across the country.
School libraries are a vital part of the landscape of a school and librarians can help to connect the dots for students and staff alike. To do that effectively, libraries and librarians must be Future Ready.