Our school year starts back in just two short weeks, and I am so excited! Even though I'm excited, I still get nervous about juggling all of the back to school needs and wants that each new school brings. If this is you as well, I hope this page of resources helps.
New School Librarian? Start Here!
Are you a new school librarian? I created this handbook for new school librarians in Georgia as part of our mentorship program for Georgia Library Media Association, but the overall ideas are good for any new school librarian.
Before initiating changes:
- Learn the school
- Learn your admin
- Set goals
Create a Library Services Menu
Engaging with your new learning community is the most essential thing you can do at the beginning of the year. Whether it's your first year, tenth, or twentieth, your staff and students need to be reminded of how you care for them and that the library is the heart of the school.
Connecting with Staff
One of the ways I do this for staff is through fun little conversation starters at the beginning of the year for staff. I print off my library services menu and share a little gift with teachers during our back to school staff meeting, in their boxes, or hand deliver them depending on the time.
Connecting with Students
Establishing a safe, supportive environment is the first step to building connections with students. Using our social media and signage goes a long way! We also have a Student Library Advisory Board who help advocate for the library to other students through their student-run programming and book clubs.
I spend time getting to know our school and district goals for the year and having an upfront conversation with my principal about their needs for the year. Once I have those established, I work to align our library goals and plans to meet their needs. I also do a needs assessment with staff regarding professional learning and meet with our Student Library Advisory Board at the beginning of the year to get to know what they want to do or plan for the year as well. Using the Georgia School Librarian Evaluation Instrument, Future Ready Librarians Framework, and the ISTE Standards for Students, I align my goals between best practice and the needs of my community.
Tip: If you use Microsoft, I keep a journal/portfolio of support with OneNote!
One other item I use in planning and setting goals is my Library Program Planner. This helps me with MakerSpace challenges and community programs throughout the year.
Get the templates below!
Make Time for You
My biggest piece of advice is to make time for you and your development as well. It's easy in a service oriented profession to feel like you're always on and school librarians are the worst at actually taking a lunch break. I carve out time in my day for lunch and administrative tasks during the week so that it's intentional.
My favorite way to spend lunch is reading or listening to an episode of the School Librarians United Podcast.
Don't forget to have fun! We have the best job in the world!
You don't have to try everything and you're not going to be able to make big changes overnight. Focus on learning three new things for the year and the needs of your community.
Do you have additional ideas or resources? Share them with us below!
If you have any questions or want to reach out, feel free to connect with me on Twitter or Instagram!
Have an awesome school year!
School Librarian Advocating for Student Voice in Metro Atlanta