Library Re-Orientation

It’s a wild time to be an educator right now. The struggle is real for all of us, and at this point, I don’t even have the energy to write some clever but still encouraging intro about it — so moving right along…

I am trying to use the current state of things to my advantage and refocus our attention in the library. This is year six for me in my current school, and I still haven’t felt like I’ve arrived yet. I still haven’t been able to consistently get the library to have the vibe and focus that it deserves to have. Because of our schedule, high school students have copious amounts of free time and that can make managing a productive library space challenging. I want the library to be a welcoming and inclusive space where all of my students feel comfortable and welcome. That approach has at times taken us too far towards the side of chaos, though. The library also needs to be a space where students can be productive and get work done. Finding the balance has always been a struggle for me.

I listened to Kelsey Bogan’s ‘Don’t Shush Me’ podcast episodes on Dealing with Discipline in the High School Library and it really helped me to get some ideas and focus my plan for the year. In particular, I’m working on addressing issues during our busiest times. I totally stole Kelsey’s use of three simple library rules and using the technique of getting with students one-on-one or in small groups to address issues.

After next week, I will have hosted all of my middle and upper school students for library visits through their English classes. I’m calling this a Re-Orientation this year, since most of them have been with me for years, but the past year and a half has been anything but normal. I’m reminding them about all of our resources and chatting with them about our expectations for this space and the reasons that we are really focusing on maintaining a chill working environment here throughout the day.

Because I’m meeting with so many classes, I put together this overview video to kick off their visit so my delivery is consistent across the classes:

Students are also being introduced to the Writing Center, which was a great addition to our library space last year. I’m so looking forward to collaborations with teachers, the library, and the Writing Center that are on the horizon for this school year!

3 thoughts on “Library Re-Orientation

  1. Hello Tiffany,
    I have just begun my schooling to become a school librarian. Scrolling through your blog has been great for building insight and seeing what is happening in a functioning library in the present time. This post stuck with me because you talk about wanting to have a space that is comfortable and welcoming. A place where students can get real work done. I believe this is what most if us are striving for be it our classroom or the library. I think the overview video is a wonderful idea! I hope it worked for you as it sounds great on paper, keeping consistent to pass along the right message to your students is wonderful. Thank you for sharing what you are doing to to reintroduce your library to staff and students, I may just borrow the video idea myself when I get started!

  2. Hi Tiffany,
    I’m a classroom teacher currently taking a teacher-librarian course to learn all about becoming a professional teacher-librarian. I can only imagine the work and time that goes into running a high school library full-time. We’ve been reading all about the movement of turning libraries in library learning commons, and that sounds exactly like what you’re working towards- creating a welcoming environment, a place for collaboration, and the school hub where learning happens. I can see where you are coming from in regards to a cozy, welcoming environment, but a one of focus and learning. At my elementary school, our school-librarian did a big update of not only books, but library furniture as well. It was a great change, but the kids had to almost learn how to use the comfy chairs and cozy space properly, instead of goofing off and rolling around on the fuzzy carpet. I love the video that you put together! Do you get any collaboration time to work with other librarians in your district or the teachers in your school? I love your positivity and energy that you’re bringing to your school library. It sounds like you’ve really worked hard to make the library a great place to feel welcome and ready to learn.

  3. Hello and thank-you for honestly, sharing your feelings about school start up. It is always a busy and chaotic time of year. Sharing the video about the writing space, conference room, and class spaces, in your library has inspired me to create similar .
    Having the visual with students speaking about what a library space means to them is a great introduction for the year.
    Thank you for sharing and I have figure out how to add a writing center in our library.

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