Posted by Lindsey Hill & Susan Brackney

Some remarkable teacher librarians—Matthew Winner, Andy Plemmons, Shawna Ford, Sherry Gick, and Shannon Miller—recently joined us at Evanced in Indianapolis for an intensive 24-hour think tank on the future role of school libraries and librarians in engaging kids in reading. We also discussed their early adoption of relevant technology.

So, just what did they have in common? They are all on the forefront of personalized, problem-based learning, and, if you work with kids in any capacity, you’ll likely be inspired by the philosophies and ideas they shared. Here’s a digest for you, but our visitors offer their own detailed accounts about the think tank on their respective blogs, if you’d like to learn more about their individual points of view.

Interestingly, each of them fuel their libraries through “meaningful failure.” Despite our fears of the unknown, it’s important to try new things to impact kids and the people who care about them. In particular, Andy Plemmons challenges us all to “expect the miraculous” with kids—even if it means making mistakes along the way.

 

Overcome your fears.

“We should also give ourselves permission to dream and create something entirely new that we build together as we go.” —Andy Plemmons, Teacher Librarian at David C. Barrow Media Center in Athens, GA and 2014 Google Certified Teacher (@plemmonsa on Twitter)

“We might not like to fail, but the fear of failure generally doesn’t keep us from attempting something new.” —Shawna Ford, Teacher Librarian at Curtis Elementary School in Weatherford, TX (@ShawnaFord1 on Twitter)

 

Create an inviting space and encourage participation.

“One of my goals in the library is to make sure our space is welcoming and that every student finds a place there.” —Sherry Gick, Middle and High School Teacher Librarian in Rossville, Indiana (@libraryfanatic on Twitter)

“ . . . Creating a participatory culture that gives all students an opportunity to contribute.” —Andy Plemmons, Teacher Librarian at David C. Barrow Media Center in Athens, GA and 2014 Google Certified Teacher (@plemmonsa on Twitter)

 

Really listen and value kids’ voices.

Listening is one of the most important gifts we can give another person.” —Matthew Winner, Elementary Teacher Librarian at Duckett’s Lane Elementary, Elkridge, MD (Let’s Get Busy Podcast and @matthewwinner on Twitter)

“I value the voice of my students and ask for their input daily.” —Sherry Gick, Middle and High School Teacher Librarian in Rossville, Indiana (@libraryfanatic on Twitter)

“Literally give a voice to those that don’t have one. I purchased a 3D printer and [a student named Troy] became the expert. I had him speak about the value and now he calls people by name and sees value in himself. He no longer things of himself as a kid with autism.” —Shannon Miller, Van Meter School Teacher Librarian, K-12, Van Meter, Iowa

 

Keep your “why” close by.

“Everyone should be able to communicate their why. It’s one of the most important advocacy tools in your tool belt. —Matthew Winner, Elementary Teacher Librarian at Duckett’s Lane Elementary, Elkridge, MD (Let’s Get Busy Podcast and @matthewwinner on Twitter)

“Even if we experience failures or frustrations from time to time, we are passionate about what we do . . .” —Shawna Ford, Teacher Librarian at Curtis Elementary School in Weatherford, TX (@ShawnaFord1 on Twitter) 

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