End of an amazing year: Reflections of a librarian working with school libraries





I like to look back over my year in order to understand the good and the bad. Reflecting on what I could have done better but more importantly what I have learnt about myself to move forward.


(Whilst I wrote this my husband was flicking through the newspaper and said that he hates reading reflections of the year and I had to laugh as this is what I am about to do. It did make me wonder if this was a good idea then I realised that this is for me and not really for the readers so if you continue reading I hope you find something useful!)


Writing


Keeping up with my regular columns for CILIP Information Professional. It is not always easy to keep it new and fresh but I enjoy the challenge. I really enjoy writing for a purpose and this has fulfilled that. I feel that this has helped me grow in confidence as it is no longer just my thoughts on a blog.


If you get the chance to write for your professional magazine take the plunge as I really think it is worth it both personally and professionally.


I was delighted to be asked to write for ic3 Western Australia School Library Association, SLIV CILIP School Libraries in View. Having had the experience of writing for CILIP Information Professional I stopped wondering why they were asking and felt ready to share my thoughts more widely. I even felt confident enough to offer to write something about school libraries for UKedchat hoping the message that school libraries are essential might get out to a wider audience.


Although I do enjoy writing I don't always find it easy. I definitely find it harder if I am asked to write something specific so I need to work on these skills. I am very lucky to have a colleague Julia Bichard, who is willing to read and give me feedback when I need it. If you are writing it is always good to find someone to share it with if you are unsure.


Presenting


I presented at BETT this year, through Google education, and although it was a great experience I now know that this one is too tough for me and really out of my comfort zone. I learnt is that it is ok to say when something does not work for you. There are many other opportunities out there and pushing yourself to do things for the sake of it does not work.


Research Ed national conference and Practical Pedagogies conferences really pushed my boundaries and whilst I do believe that school librarians need to talk at these conferences I need to make sure that I am doing it for the right reasons (Toulouse and Cologne were great places to visit!). I often question if one librarian voice is enough to highlight the impact of a school library and librarian. I am not saying no to these conferences in the future I will need to be sure I have the right resources and messages to share.


JCS Digital Literacy conference reaffirmed that I like the librarian conferences but running workshops are so much harder than just giving a talk. I need to make sure that I have my timings right and that my technology works properly. I know that this is not always my fault but maybe I need to consider presenting the information in a different way.


If you are ever at a conference thinking to yourself that you have as much to share as the people you are listening to then it is time to try putting in a proposal. It is not as difficult as it seems, the first step is understanding what you have to share. Yes it is scary but everyone who does this is scared. It is only the brave that achieve it, not because they know more than you it is just because they were prepared to step up and talk. The more you do the better you get at it and the easier it becomes. (That's what I am hoping anyway!). Go on I know you want to give this a go...


Working parties and committees


I am exceptionally lucky to work for a service that understands the value of their staff collaborating with other people and services outside Guernsey. Due to them letting me have the time to travel to the UK this year I was able to take part in a couple of really important groups that are working towards change in school libraries.


I worked on the Theory of Change document with ASCEL and Sharon Markless. This document is the starting point for Schools Library Services in England to provide evidence of their value. It will be interesting to see where this leads next year. I also joined the Great School Libraries campaign working party this year and hope to see evidence of change over the next three years.


I have been invited to join the CILIP SLG committee in 2019. I know that this is not this year but I put myself forward this year so I think it counts. I am delighted to have been voted in and will enjoy find out more in the New Year.


The longer I work with school libraries I am learning that it is no good moaning that things don't change unless you are willing to help those changes happen. If you feel that you have something to share then go for it. We all make mistakes but learning from them is what makes this journey exciting. There are so many people out there willing to support and mentor, there is just no excuse not to try.


Book club


After posting a comment on twitter last year about running an online book club for school library staff to read non-fiction books for CPD. I set it up in January not really knowing what I was doing but I am happy to say that it is still going. Is it perfect?, no. Is it hard work?, yes. Is it worth it?, yes. On a purely selfish level it makes me read non-fiction for my own CPD and I have met some really interesting librarians online who are willing to share this journey with me. Annie Pinto @AnniePinto1 especially has kept me going so thanks Annie! If you are interested in joining in at any time take a look at my book club page to see what we are reading.


What next?


I hope you have found my blog posts useful and engaging this year. I'd love to hear what your year was like. Please share some of your highlights below.

Photo by Srivatsa Sreenivasarao on Unsplash

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