Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Repossessing Relevance: 7 Wonders (Part 1 of 2)

Guest post by Elizabeth Timmins

birthday cake
Image source: Pixabay
I will soon have a pivotal birthday, one that ends in a “0”. You know the one. Where you take stock of where you have been and where you are going because theoretically you are half way through your life’s journey. It is with a happy heart that I realize that I own and cherish the same philosophies, values and missions NOW as I did at my quarter century mark!

This spring, I said “yes” to a series of seven invitations which reaffirmed for me who I am as an educator. I would like to tell you about them with the hope that you, too, can identify with how rich our opportunities are for both self-growth and professional outreach in this amazing field of librarianship.

1) An educator from our high school is working on his Master’s Degree in Reading and decided that our community needed to form a literacy team to orchestrate literacy building projects. He invited me to be a part of this team. We call ourselves “Brain Food”. Our first project was to do World Book Night at the high school. It was a wonderful success. I am thrilled to be included in this intelligent, fun and passionate team that cares about people reading.

2) Sue Abrahamson, our YSS liaison for OWLS, tipped me off to this link: http://www.ala.org/everyday-advocacy/ I am good at advocating for libraries and the ideas shared here confirmed that it is the little things I do (such as writing personal thank yous) which make for the BIG impact.

New Media Training participants
New Media Training participants
(Timmins top row, third from left)
3) In March, I was blessed to be a part of the New Media Training in Green Lake sponsored by the DPI. I had huge expectations for this training and I was NOT disappointed! I literally came back from training and told everyone that I now had a new lease on my career.

This training took pains to clarify that the participants were already experts in their field. It was terrific! As children’s librarians, we are well read. We know good books. We know child development. We know finger plays. We know stretches. We know families and how to work with them. We are talented and creative. We know research. We are smart cookies! We are discerning.

iPad apps
Image source: Pixabay
Taking all that into consideration we were encouraged to reach for the next level meaning take your knowledge and experience base and extrapolate it to apps. Oh, my gosh! Alleluia! Yes, I can use apps as another arrow in my quiver. I can assess them. I can role model using them appropriately. And I can be the authority to recommend them. I can be a “go-to” person of what is good and what is better.

And I don’t have to do this alone. I can do this with my colleagues who I met at the training and my colleagues who led the workshop, Anne Hicks and Carissa Christner. I have many goals after this training and slowly but surely I am getting to work on them. I am so happy that I fell in love with the iPad and apps. (I had been very reticent about this technology until I was able to take this class!)

To be continued in an upcoming post.

Elizabeth M. Timmins
Library Director & Programmer, Muehl Public Library, Seymour WI
B.A. in Education St. Norbert College, De Pere, WI
M.A. in Education Marian College, Fond du Lac, WI