October 15, 2015

Collaboration Station

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of participating on a panel with other KidLit folks at the Pacific NW Bookseller Association's Trade Show and Convention. The other participants included authors Jane Kurtz and Chris Kurtz, A Children's Place bookseller Billie Bloebaum, and Andrea Milano, youth services manager at the Lake Oswego Library.

The main topic of discussion was collaboration amongst authors/illustrators, booksellers, librarians (both public and school), and educators. We talked about a myriad of different types of collaborations such as:

and collaborations with organizations such as SCBWI

 We also talked about the issue of funding. Here were some funding ideas that were shared:

The panelists and participants were engaged and engaging. Many folks wanted to continue the conversation beyond the scheduled time. I offered to create a blog post about the topic, so that the conversation could continue, virtually. 

Please use the comment section below if you want to converse about this topic (and/or "meet" others who are interested in this topic). I should also mention a longstanding (but not yet very active) Facebook group about this topic, created a few years ago by fellow author, Deb Lund. It can be found at this link

What collaborations have you tried? What collaborations would you like to try? What are your questions or concerns relating to reaching out to various stakeholders? 

I am hopeful this conversation will "take off," but even if it doesn't, hopefully some of the ideas summarized in the slides above will generate inspiration for some authors/illustrators, book sellers, teachers and librarians. And if that's the case, I hope you will share YOUR inspiration and ideas below!

October 6, 2015

School Library Advocacy: An Update

School Libraries Matter: Beaverton Glog Summary
I spent much of last school year advocating for Strong School Libraries. This time last year, although each school in our district had a library media assistant, (LMA), not a single school had a certified teacher librarian. The district only had three certified librarians on staff, stationed at the district office and charged with supporting and serving 39,000 students and the school-based LMAs in 51 schools. That was an unacceptable circumstance and resulted in a passionate parent/community-led school library advocacy campaign, School Libraries Matter: Beaverton.

Our school district started off in a much stronger position this school year. We still have the three district-level librarians and all of our schools still have LMAs, but 15 schools now have LITTs (Library Information Technology Teachers). Although some of these LIT teachers do not yet have specialized library credentials or training, they are innovative, forward-thinking teachers, charged with fulfilling a job description that honors crucial elements of library services, such as information literacy and reading engagement. In addition, the school district now has a top-level official who is charged with overseeing school innovation from a teaching and learning perspective. This leader has a clear awareness of the value and importance of strong, fully staffed libraries. It's our hope (and understanding) that additional schools will gain LITTs in subsequent school years.

Our advocacy work is not done, but we have made important progress. I will be presenting a session entitled, "Library Evangelism 101" at the OASL Conference on Saturday, October 10th.  Although I will briefly reference our advocacy process in that session, some folks may want more details. For this purpose, I've created a Glog, (thanks to a remote tutorial by the fabulous Library Teacher, Craig Seasholes) that provides an comprehensive overview of our advocacy campaign.

You can find the Glog at this link: School Libraries Matter: Beaverton, Glog Summary

I would love to hear your own advocacy experiences. Please comment below or via a direct message using the contact form in the left sidebar.