A whole week’s worth

At least I am doing what I said I would do…think about and reflect on each tip, that is. Not happening every day, but that’s okay. Remember, “build and rebuild.” I’m revising my plan with this as I go.

 Tip 8 “Don’t Assume…Test”

This one hits home to me, and is something I am trying to work on right now. After a professional development workshop with teachers earlier this year, I learned that you cannot assume EVER. I assumed something that was not correct and my intentions were not taken for what they were. That is because I assumed that my teachers were doing something one way, but not thinking about other ways. I obviously don’t want to go into very much detail in this blog, but I really learned to put myself in their shoes and to think about professional applications in terms of the classroom teacher—and not as a “we love to read library warrior” all the time. It was a learning experience to say the least and looking back, I”m happy that it happened. I think in the future I will be able to plan better professional development workshops and I will be more “open” with my users in getting their help and advise on the professional development.

Same goes with students. You cannot assume they know something or that they are thinking something…always put yourself in the shoes of your audience before you lose them.  

Tip 9 Observe

I like this tip. It is something I do without really realizing it and perhaps I need to take  it a step further. Our teachers “kid watch.” That is basically observing what students are doing during writer’s workshop or reader’s workshop to see how you can help certain students with specific things. I often observe students searching for things on the Library Catalog or on the Internet, however, many times if I see them searching something the “wrong” way, I jump in to help. I think what I will try to do is watch what they are doing. If I see them on Google, I will give them time to actually search. See what they put in as a search term. And then take it from there next time I teach search strategies. By jumping in everytime, I don’t think I am allowing them to become independent users of information. I am not at their home when they are searching for something. They need to be able to do it on their own. I can learn what they know now by quietly observing them. I will try to do that more.

Tip 10 Have a Vision and Dream Big

This tip is about moving forward. Don’t remain static. Don’t be happy with the way things are. Continue to have a vision that you update. Dream big when coming up with new ideas for your library program. This summer, I want an “extreme makeover” of sorts in my library. This is the 5th year the decoration has been the same. Many of the things I do, from my newsletter to my signs to my lessons are the same every year, except with a few updates thrown in every now and then. I think that I will start to Dream BIG and rethink my vision for the library. I love the public school schedule for this very reason. Every year you are able to start over. Change things that went wrong the year before. Revise things that worked….almost. Dream Big.

Tip 11 Ask the Three Magic Questions

What keeps you awake at night?

If you could solve only one problem at work, what would it be?

If you could change one thing and one thing only, what would it be?

These certainly are “magic” questions. I wonder if they would work as survey questions?

Tip 12 Never underestimate the customer

I don’ t think I underestimate my customers. I may underestimate their needs at times, but not the customer themselves.

Tip 13 Seek the real customer

This tip is important. Whenever I get stressed out and I think to myself that I could maybe try the public library for a little bit, I remember why I am a school librarian. It is not for other school librarians, it is not for administrators at the district level, it is for the students. THEY are my real customer. My teachers are another REAL customer. Students and teachers at DFES are the customers that I need to keep in mind and do things FIRST. Everyone else is a customer…they use my services. However, they are not the first priority. My students and teachers are. I have to remember that.


About Valerie Byrd Fort

I live in South Carolina. I am passionate about libraries, books, and reading. I am also a mom. This is my blog about those things.
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