Posts Tagged ‘advocacy’

7 Reasons Why Librarians Matter


Film-makers Julie Dressner and Jesse Hicks have created a compelling short documentary on why libraries matter. Libraries, of course, serve many purposes, but librarians are the ones who make it all possible. They offer a human element that is becoming all too rare in our high-tech world. I collaborated with my fellow ProQuest editors to discuss the importance of librarians.

Here are 7 reasons why librarians matter to us:

  1. Caring Mentors: Walking into a library can be overwhelming. Greetings from friendly librarians make the experience more welcoming and a lot less scary.
  2. Equal Opportunity Advocates: No matter who you are, librarians are there to help you access all of the services a library has to offer.
  3. Captain Curators: Librarians select and organize the very best resources, saving us from wasting time and suffering from information overload.
  4. Digital Dynamos: Librarians help us navigate seemingly endless digital tools and resources.
  5. Information Ninjas: Information is everywhere, but not all of it is useful. Librarians promote information literacy by helping us hack through the bad sources to find the good ones.
  6. Community Ambassadors: Librarians not only stay on top of community happenings, they also orchestrate many of them. They strengthen our community ties.
  7. Jacks of All Trades, Masters of Everything: Questions librarians face range from “Where’s the bathroom?” to “Where can I find information about existentialism in Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis?” Whatever the question, librarians draw from an impressive breadth of knowledge to serve the needs of their patrons.

Let us know why librarians matter to you in the comments below or Tweet us at #ProQuest.

2nd Annual FAME Unconference

As editors, we love to get out of the office and go to industry events! So two of us were super excited on June 26 to attend a free event hosted by the the Florida Association for Media in Education–the 2nd Annual FAME Unconference at Palm Beach Gardens High School, FL.


Dynamic discussion during FAME Unconference (Credit: Michelle Jarrett)

An unconference is a meeting that is informal and loosely structured so attendees can learn from one another on a peer-to-peer level through teaching, sharing and collaboration. This is an awesome way to learn new technologies and best practices and falls in line with FAME’s mission:

FAME advocates for every student in Florida to be involved in and have open access to a quality school library media program administered by a highly competent, certified library media specialist. FAME is a collaborative, responsive, dynamic network for Florida library media professionals.

The unconference started with us gathered as a group to shout out what we most wanted to discuss. Then we broke out into smaller groups for in-depth discussion and collaboration. Insights were recorded on poster boards and tweeted at #FAME14. No need for notes–just take a pic with your smart phone. This is our kind of note taking!

Attendees hailed from various regions of Florida and included those who oversaw elementary, middle and high school libraries. Regardless of differing locations, grade levels, and available budgets, we witnessed a group of professionals with one quality in common: a passion for their craft. They all love their jobs as the information leaders in their schools.

FAME Unconference

2nd Annual FAME Unconference: A Place for Connection and Collaboration
Created with PicMonkey. Credit: Christie Riegelhaupt and Michelle Jarrett.

Because of their passion and a vulnerable school budget climate, advocacy was the most important topic of the day. When there are budget cuts in school districts,  this group wanted to make sure that media specialist jobs are not cut or replaced with volunteers. As many in the group explained,  the only way to ensure job security is for education administrators and legislators to be fully informed of the essential role a media specialist plays in the school. Media specialists don’t just check out books and read stories to children. A media specialist offers valuable resources and support for the classroom and curriculum, teaches students how to critically evaluate online resources, aids in transforming students into lifelong learners, and so much more.

Advocacy Infographic

AASL’s Advocacy Infographic

ALA and AASL’s advocacy pages were recommended as excellent resources for media specialists to build awareness of their pivotal role in education.

Other topics discussed included eBooks, makerspaces, benchmarks, QR codes and success stories. A thread throughout each topic was a keen interest in acquiring the best resources for their school, and then promoting those resources so they are utilized and meet the needs of students. One example was a tip to use QR codes in card inserts in the stacks to promote eBooks. Another popular best practice was to give out necklaces where students can earn one charm per each book they read. Even in high schools, students wore their necklaces proudly.

The media specialists spent a hot summer day in South Florida and left with some hot tips they can take back to their media centers this fall. The students at their schools are very fortunate to have such dedicated educators working on their behalf!