by Dorcas Hand
Last week in Austin, 130+ library leaders of Texas gathered at the annual Texas Association of School Library Administrators for two and a half days of meetings. The overall theme was leadership in all its aspects – as inferred from the conference title STRETCH!. We were inspired to reach for new heights by six of our colleagues in Round Rock, and by Susan Ballard from New Hampshire, Past President of AASL. TASLA is grateful to Miriam Gilbert of Rosen Publishing for sponsoring Susan’s trip. We were briefed by Gloria Meraz of TLA and State Librarian Mark Smith. Len Bryan of the State Library and Donna Kearley, Co-Chair of the TX School Library Standards Revision Committee asked us to make comments about the Vision, Mission and Core Beliefs for the proposed standards. And these are just the beginnings of the speakers we heard.
Marty Rossi from Reg. 20 talked to us about the need to build our school librarian ranks to fill the increasing number of job openings across the state. Every program we heard offered us tools we need to make our own practice as strong as possible, whether at building or district level, so that our community will know we are essential to student success. That public awareness is one step along the path to convincing teachers to become librarians; we need strong teachers to become librarians because we need to build our ranks of strong librarians. As a step in that direction, there is work afoot to initiate Bring a Teacher to TLA Day at conference 2017, where the tag line will be Own Your Profession. Part of ownership is ensuring that school librarians endure and thrive.
You will see blog posts from many of the speakers from this TASLA conference in coming weeks – use them and any other advocacy tips you notice elsewhere to build your practice. As the summer rolls on, plan new approaches to this ongoing need to advertise your contributions to student achievement. How will you speak out to teachers, to administrators – and to parents and community members? It matters. Don’t hide your light under a bushel – let it shine. STRETCH into leadership.