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Are YOU up for a Challenge?

Doing the same thing this school year and expecting different results? Take my challenge!

     In my last OELMA blog posting, I shared the challenges of all the changes to Ohio Education’s system this year and how it affects all of us in the education system. As I reflected back, I realized I was thankfully able to “roll with the changing tide” as a direct result of OELMA. I don’t know about you-but being part of OELMA’s list-serve is one of the best parts of being part of this organization. The list-serv continues to have a growing list of questions posed (and a variety of answers) as well as book subject lists, tips and tricks, and so much more that can directly help me become a better librarian. So many times I see questions on the list-serv and think—“Wow, I was JUST thinking about this the other day.” It can be difficult being the only certified librarian in our districts (as many of us are), however, the list-serv, and OELMA as an organization, helps bridge that gap that we often times do not even see until the question is put before us via the OELMA emails.

     On this note, I must continue to stress the critical state school libraries are currently in across our country. We need to show we are relevant, open to change, and willing to step outside comfort zones to impact student learning like we never have had to before. This is where the OELMA professional development piece comes in. I for one, know that many times getting out of our libraries is very difficult for conferences and PD, however it is critical to stay in touch with the technology, networking, and general changes happening in our field. If we stay in our libraries, doing the same routines, the same way, there is no way we can show our value considering the evolution our education system is undergoing. And ultimately, we are doing our students and ourselves a disservice. I fear that our administrators may then see our libraries as something not worth funding anymore (and we have seen this so many times already).

      I realize many times money and cost to attend forms of professional development is the issue but I for one find that the lessons, ideas, and networks I take away with me at conference and other events is worth much more than I paid in cash value. We spend our money on so many other items-look at a family visit to the local movie theater for that new movie everyone is talking about, or a weekend trip shopping in Columbus and tell me that the cost for attending a two day conference is just “too much.” I have made a commitment to be part of OELMA not only to better myself as a school librarian, but to also help school librarians in OHIO see that we CAN do better and advocate for our field, yet we MUST take the steps to do this-which includes more networking and staying more relevant.

And that means YOU reading this now—ask yourself if there is just one thing you can do differently this school year to better yourself as a school librarian. JUST ONE THING can make all the difference.

     For those of you who have made the commitment (and sacrifice of time and money) to attend conference this year-THANK YOU and I know you will not be disappointed! Jennifer Flaherty, the OELMA conference chair and Vice President, has spent much of her time this year planning a conference with amazing ideas and sessions across the library and educational technology spectrum. If you cannot attend conference this year for one reason or another-I ask that you make a commitment this school year to try one new idea, lesson, or professional development event as a school librarian that will impact your daily work in your library. Your students and teachers will thank you. And those very helpful OELMA list-serv emails will keep on coming too-so check back often!

Have an idea or suggestion on how OELMA can help you with this challenge? Email me at:!