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School Librarians: Not sure why? Finding that spark...

Updated: Apr 24, 2021

I have spent the last few weeks wondering what my next post should be, and feeling that I don't have much to say that has not already been said before. I suppose I have had an attack of 'imposter syndrome' too. What does it matter what I say? Why would anyone listen anyway? Advocacy is hard, you have to constantly be positive even when you are wondering what all this is about. You may know the difference your role would make to your students but if no-one is listening why bother? I often have a voice in my head that is telling me that I talk a great talk but have I actually achieved any of what I am talking about? Would I actually be able to put into practice any of this if a Head teacher suddenly said, let's do this? I really have no idea!

You all know what this is like I am sure. Some of you will constantly promote what you do in a school and you will be lucky enough that your school 'gets' what you are all about. The Senior Leadership is a strong promoter of your role and will ensure that teachers are engaging with you and your students are really benefiting from what you provide and do in school. However, even at this level all it takes for a change of staff and the coin can be flipped and you are starting all over again. Others will have tried many many times and had some small successes but ultimately failed leaving a feeling frustration and wondering why you bother and many more may not have even started having heard all the negativity about the way school library staff are ignored.

So I have decided that I have to get over myself and focus on what I know I do best. I may not have achieved all I talk about, I may not have yet succeeded in the way I wanted to but I am very proud of the service we do provide. We are still working with our students and some teachers and I am sure one day the rest will come. So for now I will continue to talk, write and blog about what we can achieve if we are given the opportunity, not only will it keep it focused in my head but hopefully it will inspire others on the same journey as me to keep going too.

I will continue to write about the ideal, sharing the big (yes If I am not being too hard on myself, there have been one or two big things I am proud of) and small successes I have had. Researching, reading and sharing the great ideas and successes going on in other school libraries too and believing that through doing this I may inspire just one or two librarians to keep trying, or even to try again. If you have not started yet then I hope to inspire you to set you off on a journey that is exciting, empowering, uplifting and yes sometimes frustrating but so so worth it when it all comes together.

Don't get me wrong, I am still talking and fighting my little corner of the world and if someone did eventually say they understand what I am talking about, I would very definitely work hard to make it happen. I have to continue to believe that we are moving closer to this ideal every day

Our children need us to stay positive, our children need us to continue to talk to teachers about what we do, our children need #GreatSchoolLibraries.

On a side note the Great School Libraries campaign is there for you. Please give it all the support you can. You never know one day if we all come together and support each other, schools and teachers may finally understand your role and once it is embedded in a school it will be there to stay...

Edit: July 2019 - I have just written another blog post about writing your annual report. I think it links nicely with what I wrote here so if you want to read more about raising your profile take a look at this.

Edit August 2020 - Since I wrote this blog I have become an independent trainer and adviser for school libraries. It has been another steep learning curve especially as COVID-19 put an end to face to face training for the foreseeable future. What it did though was to push me into online training which has given me back my 'imposter syndrome' feeling but I am pushing against it and feel I am at last providing something I am happy with. Check out what is currently available here.

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