Together We Can

“Together We Can” is the theme of this year’s PTA “Reflections” project and the theme of my first year in the school library so far.

Two things brought me the idea of this theme. Last Tuesday, I was alone in the library. No clerk (she was at a district meeting) no volunteer (she had other business to attend to) and it was a first for me. I already appreciated them immensely, but Tuesday put into sharp focus just how much we accomplish together and how little I would be able to do alone.

The phone went unanswered for two hours while I taught classes. During this same time, people with questions had to be turned away. I couldn’t leave the library to deliver requested folktales or help the counselor take pictures of the Responsible Students of the Month. I checked lots of books in, but didn’t get many of them shelved. I added to my inbox, but looked at very little. It was a good day, but not as good as when I have my team.

The other thing was some collaboration I’ve been helping facilitate among other librarians in my district. We have a “Reader’s Rally” every year and students must read from a list of twenty books and compete, game-show style, in the spring. Problem is, there are no practice questions for all of these books. We need to read them ourselves and come up with questions. Of course, with modern technology, this process can go a bit easier. Some enterprising fellow librarians began discussing the sharing of questions through email and a discussion board. I stepped in and offered the Google Doc that I’d already created.

At first, they were slow to respond. I’ve never used it. Do I need an account? How do we add others? I answered all the questions, shared the link and assured them that it would be much easier and band-width friendly than a flurry of Word attachments back and forth.

My little private Google Doc with only five books down has suddenly grown to twelve books covered with multiple questions for each book. I added a “Table of Contents” section to the top that can also grow as books are added (to save from time-wasting scrolling).

It’s a small thing, but every little bit of collaboration helps. It keeps us from feeling alone, cut off and less-than-effective. With mentors, email, discussion boards, listservs, and collaborative tools like these you’ll never feel alone in the library again.

Although having an awesome clerk and amazing volunteer makes it even better! Together we can, indeed.

Jim Randolph
Partee Elementary Library
Snellville, GA

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Posted on October 12, 2010, in Ideas, Reflection. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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