Conflicted Thoughts about a presentation that was “Mostly True”

Remember the last time that you heard a speaker who challenged your thinking and perhaps made you question your role in your profession? Sometimes, like with professor Eric Mazur who keynoted FCIS a few years ago, I didn’t even realize I was paying attention until I noticed how often I was changing my lessons to match his ideals. Recently, the county library system sponsored David Lankes, Director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science. His talk was “Mostly True: A Knowledge Organization in an Age of Alternative Facts.”

Abstract: Communities need the public library now more than ever. In an era when neighbors are more divided than ever, and even the nature of truth and facts are in question, how do librarians best serve their community? This presentation makes the argument that our communities do not need more information literacy, a greater emphasis on quality information, or a neutral institution. Rather our communities need trusted partners helping weave together common understandings of events and priorities.

You can watch the entire presentation here with audio and slides at

Lankes believes that public libraries are safe places to explore dangerous ideas and that librarians must change their mindset from serving the community to being part of the community. We should work off of emotional intelligence (EQ) and not just facts.

He talked about the difference in the statements “How can I help you?” and “What are you interested in today?” The first implies that we are serving patrons, and the second gives them ownership over their interests. Get out from behind the reference desk.

Basically, the setup of the talk was that our field’s response to the current news situation has been three-fold: information literacy, promotion of quality, and neutrality. He disputed that this was the best response and asked listeners to instead worry less about “truth.” All information is contextual. Instead of thinking about information, we should think about knowledge. Knowledge is social. It’s about trust. “Trust doesn’t come from neutrality but from consistency.” Lankes believes that there has been a rise in credibility by reliability rather than authority. This makes sense to me as so-called experts are called into question by those in authority, and people find sources that confirm their own biases. There isn’t always an objective “truth.”

In particular, in relation to school libraries, he questioned the information literacy courses that we teach and value. This is difficult for me. I love teaching information literacy skills, and I think that they are valuable for our students. In fact, I’m still not sure that I buy his argument. Lankes said that some of the fake news controversy that we’ve been confronting over the last year is a result of such courses. Information literacy training leads to greater confidence in one’s ability to evaluate information, but not necessarily greater ability. This struck a chord with me. I’ve seen it with my own students. His other reason is that “every tool we give to evaluate is one people can use to manipulate.” There are marketers and political analysts who will utilize what information literacy courses teach to make their sites seem more legitimate or more neutral. When making websites, these individuals will make sure that it appears to pass the CRAP test or whatever checklist your school uses. This is true, but there has to be an answer in how to teach students to be more effective information consumers who can interact critically with sources across the ideological spectrum.

Librarians should:

This is a paradigm shift for librarians. Even if we don’t agree wholeheartedly, it’s important to have conversations about information literacy and librarian neutrality. Thoughts?

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Let’s give them something to talk about

I want to share with you some really good books that I’ve been reading that you might like to consider for Black History Month, or an all campus read, or maybe you’re looking for a book to anchor your mental health awareness discussion.

[Will update this post first thing in the morning with an original review, but I have to go coach a volleyball game right now and I don’t want to wait to post this as it’s already a day late. Did I mention that I’m having a crazy week? Here’s the synopsis from Amazon:]

Winner of the NBCC’s John Leonard First Book Prize
A New York Times 2016 Notable Book
One of Oprah’s 10 Favorite Books of 2016
NPR’s Debut Novel of the Year
One of Buzzfeed’s Best Fiction Books Of 2016
One of Time‘s Top 10 Novels of 2016, Winner of 2017 PEN Hemingway award for debut fiction.

Homegoing is an inspiration.” —Ta-Nehisi Coates 

The unforgettable New York Times best seller begins with the story of two half-sisters, separated by forces beyond their control: one sold into slavery, the other married to a British slaver. Written with tremendous sweep and power, Homegoing traces the generations of family who follow, as their destinies lead them through two continents and three hundred years of history, each life indeliably drawn, as the legacy of slavery is fully revealed in light of the present day.

Effia and Esi are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

SUCH A GOOD BOOK. Perfect choice for your BHA group or to feature in a display in February.


The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas is the first YA title I’ve read that addresses the Black Lives Matter movement. You will devour it like you devour a John Green novel. It is the story of Starr Carter, an African American girl who lives in the same impoverished neighborhood that her father was raised in, but who attends an elite private school a half hour away. One Friday night, when Starr attends a neighborhood party, a fight breaks out, shots ring out, and she flees with her childhood friend, Khalil. As they are driving away, Khalil is pulled over by a white police officer. You can guess how it goes. The story that follows is like a many-layered onion, you have Starr dealing with the trauma of losing her friend (and being the only witness), her interesting relationship with her family, her frustration over having to have a split personality–not wanting to be the “angry black girl” at school and for “acting too white” when she’s in her neighborhood. You have the trial of the police officer and Starr’s interesting relationship with her uncle who is a police detective. I could go on and on about the writing, the empathy that Thomas creates for her characters, just how REAL the story feels, it’s as horrible to experience as you might imagine it is for those we read about in the news. For those of you working with upper schoolers, this would make for an AMAZING community book discussion. We’re working on bringing it to my school now.

Some recent articles on the book are here, from NPR and this review from The Atlantic.

Note: we just ordered, All American Boys, that deals with similar issues. I plan to start this tonight.

And lastly,

You guys are already reading this, right? I sat down and read it on Saturday. And then my son asked if we could watch “My Girl”. I think he wanted to see if I had any tears left in me?  Shockingly, I did. This book is as painful as “The Fault in Our Stars” but in a completely different way. Stuck inside the head of a young girl with severe anxiety and OCD, JG does it again, crafting a young adult book that is the perfect blend of witty dialog and smart teens dealing with heavy things–like the death of a parent, our place in the universe, philosophy and mental illness.  Sixteen year old Aza suffers thought spirals and has profound fears about microbes waging war on her body from within. She questions who the “real” her is, judges her wellness based on how far the space is between therapist appointments, debates whether to medicate or not, and wonders how she will ever be able to go to college, live on her own, or maintain a relationship with a boy she really likes when being close to him sends her into total panic attack.

Oh, and intertwined in the story is a quirky best friend, Daisy, who writes love story Fan Fic about Chewbaca and Rey and also a mystery–where has the billionaire father of Aza’s love interest disappeared to? Who will claim the $100,000 reward for information leading to his return? How could $100,000 change her and Daisy’s lives?

Your students will be reading this book. You should too.

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on messed up library lessons…

Sometimes, when I plan and execute information literacy lessons and things go well, I feel like the…


I pat myself on the back and write about it in the AISL blog and I’m all, “Yay! School libraries rock! I rock! Look at us saving the the world from information illiteracy one child at a time! I deserve a raise!”

Then… A week later, I plan a lesson and I’m ready to save another class of souls from the pit of information illiteracy despair and…


When this happens, it feels like, “OMG… How will I ever again manage to make it to work with pants on, clean underwear, socks that match, and with all of the buttons on my shirt placed in the appropriate corresponding button holes?!?!”

In the scope of an entire school year, I feel like I get very few opportunities to work with students on information literacy lessons so I HATE going home at the end of a day feeling like I squandered a precious block of face-to-face contact time with students on a bad lesson. I think about these failures. I think about these failures a LOT!

My first instinct when this happens is to preserve my self-image and my self-worth. “That group of kids are pills.” “That group of kids is SO immature.” “That group of kids…”

If I stick to it long enough to get over my ego, sometimes I can get honest enough with myself to get to, “I think that lesson went wobbly because…”

Last week I had three cohorts of frosh come through to do background research on Papua New Guinea. They are cohorts in our cross-disciplinary, project-based learning program. It was a rather tough experience for all involved. Students ended up frustrated, lost, and excited to get away from the library as soon as possible; Mr. Wee ended up frustrated, sweaty, grumpy, and saying counter productive things to frosh; and two different social studies teachers new to our school ended up shell shocked by a negative experience in our library. “Welcome to the Mid-Pacific Library, gentlemen!” Ugh!

What else is there to say, but… #Sad

Here at Mid-Pacific, though, we try, in various ways to understand that, “FAiL is a First Attempt in Learning” so when we FAiL we need to reflect on the experience, pick ourselves up, and set out to do it better the next time.

I’ve finally come to realize that most of my FAiLed information literacy lessons FAiL when I attempt to present TOO MUCH and to do TOO MUCH in my lessons. The perception of the scarcity of face-to-face instructional time makes me feel a little desperate so I attempt to teach students too much. In this case:

  • NoodleTools set-up
  • Database searching (in FOUR different databases)
  • Database citation in a shared NoodleTools project with 4 student collaborators
  • Notetaking
  • How to notate which notes came from each source in the collaborative note taking document.

Our classes are 85-minute block periods, but when you see the desired outcomes for the lesson bullet pointed out like this, you get the picture.

That’s just STUPID instructional design!

So what do I do?

I apologized and explained things to my newly shell shocked, new colleagues who were, of course, incredibly forgiving (teachers are really kind people).

I resolved to dial back my obsession to make EVERY SINGLE information literacy lesson about EVERY SINGLE information literacy skill that my students will need to know before they go to college.  It’s a long game. We don’t need to go for a touch down EVERY TIME we touch the ball so EVERY SINGLE LESSON doesn’t have to be about formal academic citation. There are lots of ways to build information literacy that moves students toward being skilled, thoughtful, effective users of information that don’t, ultimately, end in a formal works cited lists so I’ve got to get over my obsessive compulsive desire to see a works cited list for everything my kids ever do…

Finally, I resolved to work on repairing my relationships with my some of my frosh students that got hurt by my words and actions that were not helpful or productive to their growth as learners. They weren’t perfect in their behavior by any means, but the truth is that I set them up to fail and I have to own that.

If I had a do over, given the parameters of the project and the research at this point in the unit, I’d probably have students brainstorm their research questions as a group in a collaborative document, research in ONE database, have them take notes in their collaborative shared document, and model locating the preformatted citation in the database.


Repeat with a second database as time allowed.

We would, of course, work on incorporating NoodleTools and formal citations in subsequent projects, but we’d have exited this particular project with a lot more trust in our relationships than was the case this time out. I think the trust that got lost is, perhaps, the thing over which I’m agonizing most.

The silver lining in the black cloud here, is that I have 3.5 more years with these frosh so there’s time to make a come back. There are silver linings in black clouds when we look for them hard enough.

I messed up. Now my plan is to forgive myself, dust myself off, and to show up tomorrow prepared to do better.

This isn’t the end. It’s the beginning…

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Search Alouds: Showing Not and Telling the Search Process

When I have the opportunity to work with students within the the core subjects I attempt to make research sessions active for students. I have noticed from the past when I was doing most of the talking and pointing out resources eyes would glaze over, and I knew the tricks and tips were fleeting for them. So I decided to borrow a pedagogical process I used when I was a reading coach helping secondary students breakdown the complex process of reading by retooling the “think aloud” as a “search aloud.” A “think aloud” is sharing the often hidden mental process of academic work by talking out loud the steps. Many teachers intuitively model “think alouds” within their teaching, but I want to draw attention to how useful it is to be intentional and explicit with sharing aloud cognitive processes; especially, as it pertains to seeking information in research.  I think many teachers assume students have searching skills, but students have limited exposure to hearing and seeing the process in action. As librarians when we get the opportunity to “search aloud” with students we can share explicitly our pathways and processes; all our years of training in searching for information. This method can be adjusted at all grade levels; just adopt the level of language for the age group you are addressing.

An example of this recently was when I was working with a 11th grade English class on searching skills. Additionally, with the “search aloud” modeling I created a template chart with search tasks so that the students were active in searching and had a blueprint to the searching process related to my “search aloud” examples. I modified ideas I found from the book, Teaching Google Scholar: A Practical Guide for Librarians by Paige Alfonzo.  I created a comparative chart for searches on general Google, Google Scholar, and then our database JSTOR  using the search queries from the book. So, instead of me telling them which site would get them to accurate information most efficiently- the process of them going through each site with the same search terms let the students see for themselves. Then the students share their searches aloud and talk about their observations (see image below). Overwhelmingly, they were more excited about using Google Scholar in conjunction with the JSTOR database when they witnessed the search results in comparison.

Search task questions based on chart in Teaching Google Scholar by Paige Alfonzo

Another example of creating an active “search aloud” exercise  I did with 9th graders in a social studies class. The 9th grade social studies program wanted uniform lessons and research skills across three classes of different teachers.  So I had created a library resource page specifically for 9th grade with history links embedded. But I wanted the students to be active in using the page and not just me point and clicking through it. So I devised a simple What-If game through a basic slide presentation. I gave them a search query conditional on a slide and the students had to look for the library website route that would get them there. I had them use old-school whiteboard slates to share their search process out to all. By doing this I could quickly see misguidance; and in some cases, other pathways I had not intended. I could then share a “search aloud” when they were wrong and quickly move away from a long repetitive knowledge lecture. A variation on this could be sharing their iPads or laptop screens through airplay too. I noticed that the students were much more engaged than when I would be directing from the front the whole time.

Click on image to go to slides of What If…

Students showing markerboard answers

I have also shared with teachers to do “search alouds” with their students when they have an article or website that are using in class. This is just as simple as remarking on why they are using the sources. Who the authority is in the subject matter. One of the upper school English teachers links JSTOR articles as examples, so I told him that is great way of modeling research for students. It reinforces the work we do them in our library sessions. I find “search alouds” to be a nice complement to the times when we do need to explain through lecture or when we are in reference question mode. I hope to continue to increase my discussions with students on the process of searching for information when there is an opportunity.  Like the writing adage says, “show, don’t tell,” in order to get an invested reader. Or in this case an invested researcher through sharing the search process out loud.

Works Cited

Alfonso, Paige. Teaching Google Scholar: A Practical Guide for Librarians. Adobe Digital  Editions ed., Lanham, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016,

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Self-check out with Lower School

One of my favorite aspects of teaching and working with children is learning how to eat my words and ideas as gracefully as possible. When I arrived in my Pre-K-12 library in 2014 I had a lot of limits- never buy branded books, not to become one of those dress-up librarians, and the like. While I try not to buy too many branded books, I do not hesitate now to get Lego easy readers or a Peppa Pig if it bring a reader to a book. My days of dressing in all black all the time are waning; I have special ordered mermaid leggings for our Under the Sea reading event and my unicorn light-up slippers for Pajama Storytimes are prized. This is to say that experience has taught me what theory leaves out. This year my workload expanded and I heard myself saying to a 1st grader at one point, “Sometimes I forget my own name.” Another student heard this and looked at me with all the earnestness available and confidently told me: “Your name is Miss Rivka.” Something had to give and that first thing was check-out.

Our library software (Surpass) added a self-check out app this summer as while it was set up on our server I began the transition. To be honest, I wasn’t sure how it would go, especially with the younger Lower School students. But the feeling of unknowing is another thing I’ve learned to lean into. Here is the process for how self-check out got up and running, slowly and in increments. For the first few weeks, while the software was being set up on the server, we practiced using a print version with names and bar codes only so that each student could maintain their privacy. In the 1st and 2nd grade classes, I had a student from the class act as my assistant librarian. I handed the clipboard to an eager helper in 1st grade and watched the color drain from her face. “Oh, I can’t do this, she told me. I’m not going to be able to write everything perfectly.” I told her that was exactly the point- this was just a chance to practice and no one expected her to do anything perfectly except try. It was sweet to see the kids practice spelling each other’s names. Having the iPad is still relatively new, but so far so good! Each student is now tasked with helping the next with the process and it has been lovely to watch. It’s also made the students more keenly aware of the books they have out since their records pop up on the screen with each transaction. It’s provided some new vocabulary, too, like “patron” (I’ll save why I’m not a fan of that term for another day).

Without having being pushed to let go of control, I wouldn’t have been able to see the subtle social emotional learning opportunities that this process included in addition to the greater sense of ownership that the students now have in the library.

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“Worms” In Literature and Beyond…

Last year one of the books on the list for the Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award books was The Worm Whisperer by Betty Hicks. The story is about a boy who spends lots of time outdoors with animals and who thinks he can actually talk with them. He discovers a caterpillar that he thinks he can train to follow his directions. Since he is also trying to solve all his family’s problems, he decides to participate in the annual Woolly Worm Race, hoping to win the $1,000.00 prize money.

During one of the weekly grade level meetings, I suggested to the third grade teachers that I had a great follow up activity that involved science and worms. One of the teachers took the” hook” and decided to join me in the makerspace for a fun and educational activity using Worm Goo. I had purchased a kit from Steve Spangle  ( to make Insta-Worms. There are step by step instructions and lots of different ways to experiment with Worm Goo. Students each made their own worms and they actually took them home in a plastic bag!  Even the classroom teacher enjoyed this lesson and this year she told me she already put it in her lesson plan book for us to do it again. You can see how excited they were in the pictures above.

In fact, you can use this for any children’s book with a worm or worms in it. The sky is the limit!  I guarantee you will be the “media specialist ” of the year….the children will love it, and this really is a lesson about the science of polymers. Be sure to take lots of pictures and remember….linking books to science is a magical thing! Enjoy!

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Trouble With Simple Advice

Never teach something that will need to be unlearned later. This seems like such simple advice, and in today’s world never more important. In a diverse world still searching for social justice, we cling to our myths and the traditions we have around them. As the Lower School Library and Technology Teacher as well as the Lower School Diversity Coordinator at a progressive Quaker school the myths and half-truths from my own education are constantly crowded in my head as I select books for the library, teach media literacy, create workshops for teachers and most importantly build lessons for my students. And yet, there are times that I wonder about how to best approach preparing students to be the kind of compassionate, empathetic truth seekers we strive to help nourish. 

All schools work to value the light within each child, and as a librarian, I take very seriously the need to not only have a wide range of books that reflect our population but just as important, the faces that aren’t represented in our student body. Finding books from diverse authors, representing a range of people in all of their humanity, has become somewhat easier over the years. I have a growing list of resources to support me in this endeavor which includes The School Library Journal, Embrace Race, Teaching Tolerance, The Brown Bookshelf, and The Advocate to name a few. It is a task I enjoy. It allows me to feel as though I am having a positive impact, I know how to find the books, and I know how to order them. I am lucky enough to work in a school where this is the expectation so there is nothing revolutionary about my actions.

Buying new books is easier than revisiting old favorites. Often when I pull out a cherished book from my childhood or even a newer favorite book, I find stumbling blocks. How am I supporting the myths, stereotypes and simplistic narratives that are playing out over and over again in our society? Even if I am not overtly teaching them, am I allowing them to go unchallenged, even supported through the books and materials I have? And although I can stand in front of adults and talk about the power of teachable moments, this hard line becomes blurred when I look out into the young faces in front of me. A diverse group of learners also means representing various levels of awareness. For instance, some of my first graders think boys wearing pink shoes is a non-event, while others would find it uncomfortable to the point of silliness.

The truth is in any one day I can have a fabulous discussion about stereotypes with the fourth grade, using the book A Boy Named Queen by Sara Cassidy, and inadvertently reinforce the same gender stereotypes with a younger audience by reading a book about a boy putting on his friend’s pink shoes. This causes great hilarity in my one of my younger classes. Except for the child who didn’t find it funny.  That child simply became quiet. And I don’t know why. Could this child be gender fluid?  I felt ill prepared to facilitate a conversation about gender stereotypes. I made some weak points about how pink sparkles can be for everyone, but this was greeted mostly by giggles.

And therein lies the problem. Much like our student body, our library represents society over years of development, with all of its stops and starts. For older students, this very much feels like an inroad to difficult conversations. For younger students, students that are sheltered and think of the eighties the way we think of ancient times, this perspective seems elusive.  And a strong part of me feels they have the right to giggle at pink shoes, as much as they have the right to laugh at girls going in the boy’s bathroom by mistake. It is meant to be silly. Except when I look into that one student’s eyes. And then it doesn’t feel so funny.

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Button button, who’s got the button?

As part of our low-tech makerspace, we recently purchased a button maker. (An informal poll indicated that kids were more likely to make and wear smaller buttons, so we went with the 1″ model).

This week is the first time we’ve made it available: with our Terry Fox run scheduled for tomorrow, we invited students and staff to stop by the Library and make a button in memory of someone they’ve lost to cancer:

Of course I neglected to take a photo of all the students in action, so here is a shot of when we cleaned it up after the morning break rush:

It’s been very well received, and we look forward to using it with groups (our Gay Straight Alliance has already made a request), as well as for reading promotion.


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Using Asana in the Library

Hello from Mercersburg Academy! My name is Alexandra Patterson and I am the Director of Library Services at Mercersburg Academy. I’m so excited to share about what we are doing in the Mercersburg Library with everyone.

It’s funny that Katie’s post earlier this week was about getting things done – I’m here to share a tool that I’ve found incredibly helpful for managing my every growing to do list!

After starting the position as Library Director over the summer, I began the daunting task of figuring out how to manage many projects and many moving pieces. At a boarding school, we serve as school library, public library and community center so we’ve got a lot going on!  I tried a lot of online systems, but for my library Asana seems to work best.


Asana is a web-based to-do list manager that can be used by teams. You can create projects and individual tasks related to them. Each tasks can be assigned to a team member and can have a separate due date.

Though we are still figuring out the system here are 5 ways I use Asana in my library:

  1. For reminding us of recurring tasks – Sometimes things like updating a Libguide can slip through the cracks. I’ve created a recurring task “check all history guides for working database links” for each month to make sure we don’t forget.

  2. Planning for the future – Our display calendar now lives in Asana. It allows us to look at the year ahead and plan things, then link to books we’ll use, assign the task of pulling the books, and ordering the decorations! Tasks lists can also be downloaded by project or by team member to gCal and iCal.
  3. “Passively” moving projects along – As long as I spend a few minutes inputting tasks, I can schedule them for months in advance. This means that I can do one small step today and then forget about it until my next task for that project is due. Asana helpfully reminds me and I get to take it out of my mental filing cabinet!
  4. Fielding questions – I love that Asana has a feature for discussion. It’s nice to be able to answer questions about a particular task or project and have the answers stored in a place everyone can access. Goodbye email chain!
  5. Storing files related to a project – Asana lets you upload files and link to Google Docs. Having all of the files for a project accessible, along with any tasks that might need to be done, has been invaluable. No more hunting for the information — it’s all right there!

What are some other tools you use to get things done?

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When will I finally…

I don’t know about all of you, but I do not feel I have fully mastered the whole getting-it-all-done-and-with-flair-too thing. With every new school year, I feel that sense of excitement and promise and opportunity, and then, “How is it already Banned Books Week!?!”

As much as I am fascinated by time management strategies and tools (really, in spite of myself, I am), it’s still something I feel that I struggle with. I don’t think I’m alone considering all of the time management webinars, apps, conference presentations, articles, and books I’ve come across geared specifically toward librarians, even school librarians. Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done (Business Plus, 2011) spoke at AASL four years ago. All of this is reassuring and disheartening at the same time. Has anyone figured this out? If they haven’t, how will I? Or, if they haven’t, can I stop worrying and just get on with it?

In searching my tags and folders for the many resources I’ve collected and bookmarked on this topic, I found two things, one of which I remembered writing, the other I did not. About three years ago, I was feeling that I had multiple competing priorities at school and, except for those tasks that called for my immediate attention, I was feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start.  I sketched out a general plan for figuring out what to work on when, and it still helps if I’m feeling a little adrift during the day in between students’ questions. (I would REALLY like to know how all of you out there have handled this.)

Well, here it is:

  • Monday: Curriculum, lesson planning
  • Tuesday: LibGuides/curation
  • Wednesday: Professional development
  • Thursday: Collection management, book reviews
  • Friday: catch-up, yearbook, peer tutoring, Cum Laude Society, etc.

The other thing I found was a draft of a blog post (for a now defunct blog) I wrote on this topic — five years ago! And guess what; the guilt and frustration and specific items that I feel are so important but get brushed aside by daily business – they were all the same. I can’t tick off the little “done!” box on any of them. That didn’t help the old imposter syndrome too much. However, it also served as a real eye-opener, and, in a weird way, reassured me. My professional values and philosophy have not changed a whit, and that makes me feel that re-centering my focus on these is true to my practice.

I returned to this 1.5 year-old blog post from one of our heroes, Joyce Valenza, to help me get over myself:, and this one, which you’ll remember from our own David Wee: Both still make me feel grateful as well as empowered to choose a focus, and to see that achieving balance and mastery of the different hats we all wear in terms of a year, or even a whole career, rather than a day, week, or month is the ultimate goal. Really, the ultimate daily and career-wide goal is to serve and teach the students as best we can, and that happens in large and small ways.

So, here it is – this year I will focus on redesigning and improving our LibGuides and further embedding the library in our LMP. Maybe I won’t do more book-talking, or design/choose the perfect research framework for my school, but I can make some progress in those areas while really getting one part of our house in the order our students need it to be in. Luckily, I can do it with a little help from my friends; namely, all of you!

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