Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A New Year Of Goals And Celebrations

It seems like the first few weeks of school are always the equivalent of drinking from a fire hydrant! Now that the rush of the first few weeks have subsided, it's time to start setting the course for the year. First of all, I would like to share some celebrations. This blog is nearly a year and a half old. It is the direct result of being inspired by Shannon Miller at the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media conference in 2014 (a prime example of why we should attend professional conferences). I remember listening to her talk about networking on Twitter and sharing her library happenings on the VanMeter Library Voice blog. After I heard this, I couldn't wait to start reflecting in the same way! 59 posts and 17 months later, I'm more excited than ever to plan and write these articles. I'm convinced that blogs and social media are important "digital billboards" to show evidence of what we do in this wonderful profession!

I want to celebrate some of the monthly statistics with all of you that read this blog. A year ago in August 2014 we had a total of 602 page views. At the time, I was so excited about this number! However, over the summer of 2015, views have skyrocketed to all time highs of 3936 in July and 7955 in August! It inspires me to see that other educators value our reflections. I have also enjoyed making new friends in other states and across the globe as a result of this continued practice. Our library team will continue working hard to share the best library activities and collaborative lessons in 2015-2016. Thank you for viewing these pages. I also appreciate the emails and comments of encouragement! I always share these with my co-workers. If you have ideas for articles you would like us to share, please, feel free to contact me via email or comment on the blog below!
7955 Page views in August! Thank you!

Another celebration for this year is our library renovation already underway. I plan to share the photos of progress and some of the details of this renovation process. The refit will feature a gaming/ coding room, a cafe theme, 3 computer labs, a dedicated Makerspace, custom movable shelving units for collaboration space, and more. I cannot wait to share the images of this new library for our learners. Construction should be complete by January 3, 2016.

3D concept of our library renovation!
One additional celebration for this school year. I will be contributing a few articles to the new School Library Connection publication! (Misti Bell and I are currently working on one together.) We are grateful to Mrs. Paige Jaeger and Dr. Rebecca Morris for this wonderful opportunity. I'm so thankful to them and ABC-CLIO for giving Lakeside High School and our library media program an opportunity for a national voice. If you haven't subscribed to School Library Connection, please, visit their site here! Follow them on Twitter @SLC_Online.

Now, about those goals...There are so many potential goals for this school year. Do you ever feel overwhelmed with the large number of things you want to try in the library? Time is always the enemy since there is never enough of it! First of all, Misti and I want to bring in authors this year. We are currently brainstorming names! We hope to either have them come on site or Skype with them. We want to continue igniting an interest in reading for our learners.

We also want to use the library as a space to connect classes to other states and countries. I connected with Angels Soriano (@Angelssoriano74) in Valencia, Spain on Twitter this summer. I hope to connect some of our Spanish classes with Angels' students for a rich cultural exchange using technology. After our successes with MysterySkype and Lakeside Squared last year, our learners want more. I can't think of a better place to facilitate this than the school library.

Lastly, I want to continue building my Twitter Professional Learning Community this year. I want to connect with more motivated educator friends like Tiffany Whitehead (@librarian_tiff) in Louisana, Becky Calzada (@becalzada) in Texas, and Rik Rowe (@RoweRikW) in Massachusetts, to name a few. Please, consider following these leaders if you aren't already. Twitter networking has had a profound effect on me professionally over the past 12 months, and I can't wait to see how it helps connect me to new ways to impact student learning in 2015-2016! If you aren't on Twitter, check out this 2 part article for a brief tutorial.

This will be the best year ever. The reason I believe this is because we have so many great resources to make us better! All we really have to provide is our knowledge, experience, creativity, and innovation to the classroom to make an impact. I encourage everyone to take risks and try something new in 2015-2016. That is what I will be doing and for some details on these adventures, keep coming back to the current URL. Have a great year, friends!

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