I’m feeling a bit like a slacker since I ended 2017 with a resounding lack of blog posts (only 12 in 2017, compared to 20+ in 2016 – sorry!). However, 2017 was my greatest year yet in the online blogging world: over 4,200 visits to my blog and 2,600 unique visitors last year! (So thank you!)
Last year’s #oneword was purpose. I talked about my purpose as a librarian, an unintended purpose for my makerspace, and how genrefying helps further our purpose of helping students become lifelong readers. While I feel like I did okay in keeping that my focus last year, I am truly set on this year’s #oneword: Community.
To me, community almost seems like a synonym for library. Truly, communities created the need for libraries – a place to gather, learn, and share with others. Librarians and libraries serve communities with our resources, our teaching, and our spaces. We can build community through programming with events, speakers, and opportunities for people to gather in the name of a common interest. As librarians, we must have an understanding of our community’s needs and interests so we can stay relevant if our libraries are to be successful.
Thinking about my school’s community, I have a few goals this year:
- Getting to know more of my staff personally. This is year 4 for me in my middle school, and while I’m getting there, I want to break more into the personal, tight-knit communities my staff has in their departments. (It can be lonely as a librarian with no in-house team to work with!)
- Getting ready for renovation. Our school is beginning the renovation process soon, with a brand new library (complete with a new location in the school!). I want my focus in figuring out the layout of the new library to be how it will foster community and strengthen the communities we already have.
- Getting more into genres I don’t like. This doesn’t necessarily seem like it equates with community, but I want to stretch myself more to read the genres that aren’t my strong suit (here’s looking at you, fantasy and realistic fiction!). Fantasy is the #1 genre my students read, and it is my #1 least preferred genre (okay, #2, behind horror). I need to stretch myself more with my reading so I can make better recommendations and get some lesser popular titles into kids’ hands.
- While I have to still figure out the logistics, I want to start some kind of book club for my readers to meet other readers. There is nothing better than meeting someone who shares the same opinions as you about a particular book, and my students are such voracious readers that I’m sensing the need for this. As of this writing, I have no idea what it entails, its focus, or anything else; I just know that it’s probably on the horizon.
I am so grateful this March to be hosting the Virginia Association of School Librarians’ Potomac Regional Conference, where our theme (which is the same as our annual conference) is Libraries for the People. I’m looking forward to creating opportunities for new branches of our community to form and enhancing the community of amazing librarians we already have.
Finally, I feel strongly about my community of fellow librarians. Whether we know each other in person, through an association like VSTE, VAASL, or AASL, through Facebook and Twitter (@rgrov1013), I believe I am only as strong as those I surround myself with. I couldn’t have the impact I do on my school’s community without my librarian community. (stay tuned for an entire post on this!)
So answer yourself this: Which communities to you really, truly, help build? I would wager that we help build up the ones we are part of, and the ones that have the most impact on us. This year, I want to focus on the communities around me, not only becoming actively involved in my own communities, but helping to build community for those I interact with everyday: my students.
It’s going to be a great year! What is your #oneword for 2018?