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Teacher Librarians Make Magic

Written By: Susan Yutzey (Retired)

Among the many thoughtful and compassionate ideas and comments I heard at OELMA’s inaugural Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, April 29, it was “librarians make magic.”  I think it was Jessica Klinker who went further to suggest we use it as an OELMA t-shirt slogan.  In this unprecedented time of sheltering-in-place, I think we can count on school librarians to make magic for our learners whether it be our administrators, our teachers, our students. 

I monitored the Chat in yesterday’s Zoom session, and was captivated by both the thoughtful questions that emerged and the promptness of helpful responses in the Chat.  A shout out to Gayle Schmuhl for calling out some of the questions and comments to the larger audience - before I could even unmute myself, Gayle was on top of it.

In the 116 pages of transcript, here are some of the many ways OELMA members are making magic for their learners.
My teachers are feeling overwhelmed with the resources I’ve sent them.
  • Create short videos showing them how to use the resources in their own classroom
  • Screenshots with easy instructions
  • Screenshots work too, it just depends on how your teachers learn :)
  • Screen recordings so the students and teachers can see my face
  • Create tutorials and curations (Wakelet, Smore, etc) that are easy to deploy multiple times, so that it might come at the “right time”
  • Webinars in the late afternoons that you watch “live” or afterward for CEU credit.  I make the title of the webinar the answer to a problem not the tool - “How to access engagement with EdPuzzle
  • Keeping videos short then teachers can come back and look at the resources on their own
  • The other tech folks and I take turns so there is one every day. Small turn outs but people come back later and ask questions once one person has success
  • I have been making Screencasts to show how to use digital resources. The one I made to get kids to BookFlix through InfOhio is the most popular. I have been doing a lot in my Google Classrooms, Storytimes (video), curating resources to teachers, etc.

How are you collaborating with your teachers?

  • For collaboration: I get in as many of their team meetings as possible then send them resources for whatever they are doing. I've been emailing those department groups that haven't invited me in and asked "What are you doing right now?" then send them resources.
  • I attend department meetings. We even did one at the school parking lot in our car trunks
  • I work with a team of students and we do virtual school announcements twice a week.
  • Weekly Smore with tips, tours, free stuff etc.

How are you promoting SEL?

  • Monday - mindfulness, motivation, Tuesday - tech tip, Wednesday - weird word
  • Thursday TBT, Friday - first page friday
This first OELMA Town Hall meeting was cathartic for all.  It gave us an opportunity to listen, to contribute either verbally or through Chat with our colleagues who are all facing the same issues - returning books, Zoom burnout, engaging students through virtual tours, breakouts, book clubs, read-alouds, job security.  OELMA heard you loud and clear that you would like another Town Hall in May.  We are on our way to scheduling one in the afternoon.

Yesterday through the listserv, you should have seen an email from President Brandi Young that included the transcript of the Town Hall meeting as well as the Padlet. We would like you to continue to add your ideas to the Padlet so that Ohio’s school librarians can continue to make magic for our learners.

Be Well,