Last year I thought and thought about what my one word to guide my year would be. I narrowed to two, Create & Share, and decided to go with both since they went so well together. It was great to have both words and focus my first year of blog posts around these really inspiring words. This year though, I decided my word early, probably around October. Since then, I’ve been thinking about how to frame this year and some topics for posts came to mind right away. Drum roll, please?
I’m pretty excited about this word guiding my posts for this year, and I think it will give me some much-needed reflection on what I already do, as well as more insight as to how to best service my students and staff.
There are so many things that compete for our attention as librarians: weeding, reading, contests/programs, teaching, technology, making, the list goes on. How do we determine what’s a priority for our users – and our program – if we don’t develop a purpose for our libraries – and ourselves as librarians? Yes, this is similar to developing a mission statement, but not all libraries have one of these. Personally, I think mission statements are a bit too showy; they are intended to show off to others why we exist and why people should pay attention to us. Establishing a purpose is quieter – it’s mostly for you as a librarian – to help make decisions or determine where to best focus your attention.
The purpose for our library and the things we do can’t just be to get people in the doors. It can’t be “we’re here in case someone needs us” or “we have to be everything to everyone.” It has to go deeper than that. Think about your students. Think about your staff. What do they need most from you?
This year, the purpose for my library is to give my users a safe, relevant outlet to learn or express themselves.
I want my students and staff to see the library as a place that is relevant to their academic and personal pursuits where they can explore ideas and topics they enjoy or have just learned about in their classes.
I want my library to be seen as an essential part of the school day and school culture, and no matter the level of classes students take (or teachers teach) or electives students choose, I want users to see the library not just as the storage unit of books, but also a place to learn and use technology, collaborate with others, and further themselves as people.
Thinking about how this affects my library program, it encompasses so much: access, digital and print resources, the makerspace, programs, and so much more. I want each of my decisions to be guided by this purpose: Does (topic) help make my library safe for all? Does (topic) align with curriculum or contemporary teenage interests? The answer will guide the decisions I make.
I’m hoping that this sense of purpose will guide my library program this year. Too often we’re pulled into latest trends or what others are doing. The question is, will it help YOUR students? YOUR staff? What is your library program’s purpose?
Stay tuned: The next post will talk about establishing our purpose as librarians. 🙂