How a Meaningful and Personalized Mission Statement and Inquiry Skills Framework Can Breathe New Life Into Your School Library Program
Emily Houston and Kendall Boninti are the librarians at Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, MA and they received a 2018 Web Seal of Excellence Award.
In the year and a half we have been working together in the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Library, the two of us have sought to create a more equitable, accessible, and joyful experience for our students by making big changes to the physical space, programming, and the way we teach and collaborate with colleagues. After weeding and moving our print collection and revamping our website in the fall, we decided our next step was to formalize our mission and create a library learner competencies framework. We’ve already seen the impact that they have had on our program and we want to share our process with school library community.
Amy Fiske is the Librarian at Wellesley High School and winner of a 2016 MSLA web seal of excellence award
As I sit down to write this article, I am partway through a multi-year process to change the culture in our high school library. I am changing it in a direction that will surprise some, who may remember me presenting at MSLA on the subject of Innovation Centers in school libraries. However, not every new trend is appropriate in every setting. What I and my colleagues have learned in the last three years is that it may be far more effective to find the niche that is empty at your school...and then fill it.
Samantha Whitney is a librarian at Gloucester High School
and a winner of a 2016 MSLA President's Award
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, and find your eternity in each moment.”
― Henry David Thoreau
While completing course work in my school library teacher program, one of my professors advised us to lay low, observe behaviors in leadership, identify those with influence and to not make waves in the first couple of years on the job. I often reflect on this advice as I pass the ocean every day on my way to school and how happy I am that I did not completely follow that advice. Getting involved in my community and making waves helped to advance my school library program initiatives and position the library as an integral learning resource. Most importantly, the decision to jump in quickly has made me a confident, knowledgeable, and effective teacher.