FAME Annual Conference will take place October 21-23, 2015 and for those who have already attended FAME, we are looking forward to the time to focus on our professional practice. If you haven’t heard, FAME presents the only professional development conference specially designed for school library media specialists. But, while we know what we will receive in benefit by attending, our administrators may not. I still face the dilemma that every media specialist has when embarking on a learning expedition off-campus, "But why, are you going for three days? Isn't one day enough?" This is the resounding question as I prepare to leave my media center closed for three days, since we no longer have assistants, or other staffers willing to manage the space in our absence. The answer is yes, I need all three days and here are the best reasons I can give for my three days of attendance.
(Please feel free to use this post as evidence when negotiating your attendance.)
1. Media Specialists live and work in a bubble, the media center. The conversations and contact we have happens when someone walks into the door of our media center, on the phone or email, or on the rare occasion that we break from tradition and exit the door into the mysterious world of the school outside the media center. If you are lucky, you have a district that provides a regularly meeting PLC for media specialists, (I do in Osceola County) but this may only be once a month or once a quarter. We know we simply can't learn everything we need to know in those few stolen moments for a couple of hours 3 or 4 times a year. We need more opportunities to be exposed to learn the best practices of other professionals working in this field.
On Wednesday of FAME Annual Conference, thought leaders will provide intensive 2-4 hour paid workshops to engage media specialists in better library practice.
2. Media Specialists are called upon to be literacy leaders in their schools and communities. How do we make this experience “new” every year? What new ideas, programs, products, apps, concepts that are out there that I have not heard about yet? The sessions on literacy at FAME offer the ideas that I need to continue to be a leader in my school.
Media Specialists are often asked to fix a technology usage problem after an implementation in the classroom has been attempted without the assistance of the media specialist and a failure has occurred. It is at this point that we are consulted for a strategy that will repair the breakdown in learning and a strategy for restarting the learning so that the instruction may move forward.
Sometimes you just to have to find a teacher who is willing to be open to the possibilities of alternative spaces for instruction. This week in the media center, differentiated instruction with biology classes. The media center offers the "space" and resources needed for successful differentiation
Hi-tech and lo-tech options for student instruction. Self-guided web-based tutorials, paper-based review, collaborative processing, and one on one time with the teacher. In this scenario, the media specialist serves as a resource and an assistant for troubleshooting that does not take time from the teacher's instruction.
100% engagement and better still, the teacher nor the library media specialist are working harder than the students.
This month I received the opportunity through a stipend from YALSA to attend National Library Legislative Day in May. Below are my thoughts on advocating for school libraries.
As a member from Florida, I am keenly aware that we are fighting a battle of words for the programs that contribute to the better education of our students. In Florida, there is minimal mention of library programs in statute. Title XLVIII, Chapter 1006.28 which describes the duties of the school board, states each district must provide some type of media program, whether it is provided through a school media center or a public center or a circulating library. In other words, our students may not have access to a media center or a certified media specialist in their school. We must fight to eliminate the “temporary parking zone” sign at the “intersection of inquiry and information.” The only way to solve this problem is to make sure that we “show up” and educate our lawmakers about the benefits our students receive from quality media programs with certified library media specialists (tech-savvy information navigators) and offer suggestions as to how lawmakers can through legislation insure equal educational services for all students. I hope to lend my voice and my face to the personal conversation that will lead to success for our children. I hope to show my students and my colleagues that change begins with conversation and the willingness to go the distance for the future. I hope to learn what we need to do and say to make what we provide more transparent to lawmakers so that they will have the information to make informed choices about funding our programs.
We must fight to eliminate the “temporary parking zone” sign