I Love Being a Librarian

As the summer was coming to a close, I had a thought that I never imagined would enter my head:  maybe retirement wouldn’t be so bad.

Who I Am at the Core

I am now in my 36th year of education.  Education has been, and continues to be, part of my core.  I am a nerd from the tip of my auburn head (not so much my natural color now)  to the hot pink polished nails at the end of my toes.  As a classroom teacher for 29 years, I loved interacting with teens and our discussions about literature. I loved reading their writing (well, maybe the research papers tested my soul) and discovering the individuals behind the faces in my room.

When the opportunity to leave the English classroom and head into the largest classroom in the building was offered to me, I was both excited and hesitant.

Excited because now I would have the chance to interact with more students, collaborate with more teachers, and guide both through problems they were having with technology.  I would be able to recommend books to more students and be surrounded by books and technology all day long.

Hesitant because I worried if I would still be able to form that teacher/student bond when I didn’t see the same students every day.  Relationships are the core of education.  I love teens and want to help them through the angst of the teenage years and celebrate with them when they achieve their goals. I had this discussion with my mentor, Sally Hursey, who promised me I would still have those bonds.

CC Image Attribution:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/47823583@N03/4382573949

Best Career Decision EVER!

The first three years as the lead librarian at my school were stressful as I was also taking courses at the University of South Carolina‘s School of Library and Information Science.  Fortunately, I had a wonderful mentor to guide me through the transition from the classroom to the library.  (And for those of you who haven’t made the transition, let me tell you, it is a different world!  That is a blog post for later.)

However, I loved every minute of librarianship (well – except grappling with the budget).  I have never been more fulfilled by my career than I am now.  School librarianship involves ALL of my passions:  students, teachers, education, reading, technology, collaboration, teaching, and forming relationships (I needn’t have been hesitant about taking this position!).

I was reminded of this today as I began going through the posts that have collected in my Google Reader through the first week of school with students.  One of my favorite blogs is TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox.  In yesterday’s post, “Libraries Are the Beating Hearts,”  one of the blog’s authors shared how libraries/books/research have helped her through some of life’s difficult times.  She ended with this, which sums up my feelings about libraries and being a librarian as well:

I love being a librarian.  I love walking in the doors of a library.  I love opening the pages of a book.  I am honored every day to be a part of the beating heart of a community.  Support your libraries just as you would take care of your heart.  Healthy libraries are the same as healthy hearts, and without them our communities die.

Fleeting Thought

So, back to the beginning of this post:  I was amazed that I even considered retirement.  After two weeks back at work, I am pleased to say that I still love every moment of my job. Meeting new students who love reading is so rewarding, as is meeting those who don’t and being able to put the right book in their hands.  Twenty-one classes came through the library this week to check out books and I loved working with each.

Summer?  Yes, I enjoyed the freedoms it offered.  But now I am back where I belong and couldn’t be happier!

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ALA and ISTE: Attending Conferences Vicariously

Cold Light

Ever feel like you’re on the outside, looking in?  It’s not a bad thing!  If, like me, you are not attending either of the “biggie conferences” this weekend, you can still keep connected to those who are and learn vicariously though them.

Getting Live Feeds

First, you need a Twitter account.  (If you have never used Twitter, now is the PERFECT time to see this powerful learning tool in action – promise!)

Have no idea how to get started?  Visit David Wees’ “Eight Videos to Help Teachers Getting Started Using Twitter.”  He includes information on not only how to sign up for and customize your Twitter account, but also videos on how to use Tweetdeck, an application that simplifies and organizes your Twitter experience.

The Twitter client I use is HootSuite which is an online application (you don’t have to install anything on your computer).  There are many YouTube tutorials to help you get started with HootSuite, but I’ve embedded one below you might want to watch.

HootSuite

Using Hashtags

Once you have chosen your Twitter client, you want to set up columns, or threads, based on hashtags.  Then either Tweetdeck or HootSuite will do all the work of finding the conference tweets for you and you can sit back and let all the conference updates come to you!

American Library Association Conference – #ALA11, #ala11

International Society for Technology in Education – #ISTE11, #iste11

HootSuite Conference Columns

Let the Learning Begin!

Some of the best professional development of the year is about to begin.  Are you ready?

Image used through a Creative Commons license

“Cold Light” by Scott Ripton (Quasic) http://www.flickr.com/photos/ripton/3108800277/