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We Chose to Be School Librarians-Now What?
12/28/2015

Julius Pañares  As I wrap up my Presidential year (which is so hard to believe), I began to reflect about the conversations I have had with many of our members regarding many topics which are affecting our profession. One school librarian brought up something that I still think about: other teachers can teach essentially the same content year after year and their content and expectations really never changes completely (even with testing and standards). School librarians do not have this “luxury.” Our content is always changing and we must change with it. We will never “master” our content, rather, we are learning new resources, technology, content, and we continue to just keep growing in order to give our students the best possible success we can give them for their futures. Sometimes it feels like we are drowning in new things required of us, sometimes it is less overwhelming, but we keep swimming nonetheless. Why? Because it is the profession we chose. 

         We chose and continue to say YES to this profession because we strive to always learn something new and then share it with others. Did we hear about a new tech tool and then try it? YES-maybe even a few times. Did we learn about a new app and then share it with our teachers after we tried it too? YES. Did we attend a conference or webinar and then share the notes with others? YES. Did we pay out of our own pocket and attend a workshop so that we could be better librarians? YES and YES. Do we consistently renew our OELMA membership annually? YES. My point in all this is that there is a cost to our profession-it may be monetary for many of you and it may push you to sometimes re-think why you said yes to going to library school. But if we aren’t the faces of the School Librarians 2.0, then who will be? Will there be a School Librarian 3.0 if the 2.0s say NO? If we wanted to be in a profession where we did not have to try new things and grow with the changing educational culture then maybe some serious reflection is needed.

This past year I have met many school librarians that are deeply concerned about our profession but I can tell you from where I am standing and especially after AASL in Columbus, our future is as bright as we are willing to make it. No one else is going to stand up for us and guarantee us anything without our sweat and determination. Many of our administrators and colleagues do not really get what we do-but one thing is certain: we are the face of school librarianship for today and we need to always remember this and break the sterotypes. And if we want a future where we can make an impact, we need to keep saying yes to whatever comes our way. Otherwise who will really need us?