Library Connections

Entries Tagged as leadership

Advocating for School Libraries: Carl Harvey's Thoughts to the White House Response

May 01, 2012 · 3 Comments

Now what…..

A few weeks ago we got the official White House reply to the We the People petition we started for school libraries in January.   It was a team effort to get the 28,000+ signatures for the petition and we had been waiting patiently (ok, maybe not so patiently) to see what the reply might be.  You can read the petition and reply by clicking here.

Right after the reply came I wrote some initial thoughts on my blog.   In that post, I highlight three benefits I saw from the White House Petition. 

•    We were successful!  We got school libraries on the White House radar.  Their statement clearly shows a support for school libraries and the critical role they play in schools.

•    We saw what happens when we all work together.  In my career, I’ve never seen such an amazing job of coordinating libraries of all type to work on a single issue.  This is a clear example we can succeed when librarians advocate for each other (regardless of what type of library they are).  We need each other and have to be willing to work together!  This was a great example of doing just that.
•    We continue to work on being a more vocal and visible presence.  With the AASL Congressional Briefing, the White House Petition, and now in a few weeks with National Legislative Day, we continue to raise the important issue of school libraries to our nation’s leaders.  We still have a long way to go, but I think we are moving in the right direction.

As I reflect on that post, I guess the million-dollar question is where to do we go from here?

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I think we continue to move in the right direction.  Each step has been a step forward in helping to educate Washington about the power and potential in today’s school libraries.  I think the petition is just one teaching tool.  Just as we use different strategies and techniques with our students, we have to do the same with leaders in Washington.

We each have to take some ownership of this process – librarians, vendors, community members, parents, students, etc.  We can’t assume that someone is going to do it.  When we hear we need to call Washington on important library issues, we need to pick up the phone and do it.  We need to send those emails.  We need to make those contacts and make our voices heard. 

The same can be said at the state and local level.  They have to hear from school library advocates!  They need to hear how important the community thinks libraries are to the school ecosystem.  They need to hear those voices loudly, clearly, and often. 

There is little doubt there is much work to do with all types of education and government leaders to help them see the impact and importance of today’s school libraries.  But, we can’t give up.  We have to keep working on a variety of strategies and use a plethora of teaching tools until they understand completely!

Carl is the librarian at North Elementary School in Noblesville, Indiana and the 2011-2012 President of the American Association of School Librarians.  He can be reached at or @caharvey2 on Twitter.  He blogs at Library Ties.

If you enjoyed this blog post, then read these posts in Carl Harvey's series on library advocacy:

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3 CommentsTags: leadership · library advocacy

6 Destiny Districts Recognized by NSBA for Ed Tech Leadership

April 11, 2011 · 8 Comments

When the National School Board Association’s Technology Leadership Network unveiled its most recent “20 to Watch” list, we were proud to note that no fewer than six of the innovative educators honored work at districts that are Follett Software Destiny customers. The “20 to Watch” honorees were singled out, according to the NSBA, because “they are finding different, effective and exciting ways to engage students through the use of technology.”

Buffy Hamilton, media specialist/teacher, Cherokee County School District, Canton, Georgia. Buffy uses a wide range of Web 2.0 tools to engage students at Creekview High School in literacy activities. Her school library, which she has named The Unquiet Library , emphasizes inquiry and a participatory approach to learning. For her efforts, Creekview has been honored as the Georgia High School Media Program of the Year. Among Buffy’s proudest accomplishments has been the introduction of Media 21, a participatory, transliterate learning environment for research projects. It has helped earn her a Cutting Edge Service Award from the American Library Association's Office for Information and Technology Policy. 

Paul Andersen, teacher, Bozeman Public Schools, Bozeman, Montana. To date, Paul’s “Bozeman Biology ” podcasts have been viewed more than 280,000 times. Anderson also shares his knowledge by holding weekly “Tech Junkies” meetings for teachers and students who want to learn more about technology. He recently was named the 2011 Montana Teacher of the Year.

Dr. Debra Howe, superintendent, Rochester Community Schools, Rochester, Indiana. Debra spearheaded the creation of the first New Tech High in rural Indiana. Not only are high school students learning in a 1:1 technology rich environment, but also all K-12 classrooms have interactive white boards, SMART document cameras, laptop computers and digital cameras.

Ryan Hurley, English teacher, Warren County Schools, Warrenton, North Carolina. Ryan has turned his classroom into a paperless learning community using a wide variety of free online resources. Working with a high number of impoverished high school students, Hurley goes beyond his curriculum to teach students how to use classroom technology.

Jeffrey McMahon, academic technology officer, Indianapolis Public Schools, Indianapolis, Indiana. Jeffrey led the development of a 1:1 laptop model, which put laptops into the hands of more than 2,500 students. The program involved a Problem Based Learning Curriculum, in which students had to use their laptops to identify and solve real and significant problems in their communities.

Terri Simpson, teacher, Calcasieu Parish Public Schools, Sulphur, Louisiana. Terri is a 21st-century teacher who believes in diving fearlessly into new territory. She has led efforts to incorporate GoogleDocs, iPods, Palm hand-helds, digital cameras, iPads, student-response systems and one-to-one computing at her middle school, and has secured grants and other funding to help bring this technology to the school. 

Follett Software congratulates all the honorees, as well as their districts, for giving these creative educators the tools they need to work magic with technology and inspire so many.

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8 CommentsTags: edtech · library-classroom connection · leadership · library advocacy