Monday, 16 December 2013

Finding your niche

From the time I became a teacher librarian, I have had administrators suggesting different ideas for the library from changing the name to the Library Resource Centre (LRC) to piloting smartboards.  My library is still called the library and there's not a smartboard to be seen.  Now before you start thinking that I am a stubborn technophobe, let me explain.  Neither the term LRC nor smartboards fit into my vision of the library.  Indeed, neither of the examples fit with my personality and I know that even if we had changed the name to LRC, I'd still be calling it my library.  If we had installed a smartboard (where on earth would we have installed the darn thing?) it wouldn't have been used to its full potential because I didn't believe in the idea of having it in the first place.  While I do agree that libraries need to change to keep up with the times, I caution changing just for the sake of change.

We've seen rebranding the library as the 'Learning Commons' and finding space for 'Makerspaces'.  We've introduced 3D printers, loaner laptops, and ereaders.  We've seen the rise of Flipped Classrooms/Libraries, Understanding by Design and Project Based Learning.  The library landscape is one that is always changing and can be incredibly daunting and exciting at the same time.  It is important with the flurry of new initiatives and technologies that teacher librarians find what works for them and make it their own.

For me, it has taken awhile to trust my own instincts and only take on what I believe in.  I now realize that my personality is intricately intertwined with the library.  I've come to realize that if I do take on a new program, I need to ensure that I have colleague who is willing to try it too; I cannot launch new library programs by myself.   For me, I love the powerful engagement I see with Project Based Learning.  I love the potential I see in 3D printers.  And I love the unknown that is around the corner.  It's taken seven years but I think I have finally found my niche .

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