by April Stone, Librarian at Four Points Middle School in Leander ISD, TxASL Talks member
In March 2020, Steve Crawford (the principal of my middle school) and I were invited to TLA’s School Administrators session at the annual conference. Travel plans were set and we eagerly anticipated using our learning to create new goals for our school’s library program. I was especially looking forward to visiting my hometown of Houston for TLA that year. As you may already know, the conference moved to a virtual setting last year and the Administrators session was postponed. Fortunately, TLA extended the invitation to us for a second time in 2021.
The School Administrators session is a unique opportunity for school administrators to learn about issues and trends impacting school library services, and how to leverage the expertise of their school librarians to impact student achievement. It is free for those who register for the TLA Conference. Librarians recommend their administrators for this session.
Perhaps the most valuable part of the experience was that my principal carved out an entire afternoon to focus on our library program. So often administrators are incredibly busy and interruptions are the norm. We were able to collaborate during and after the sessions. I took some time to ask him about his impressions of the experience.
Stone: What were your thoughts going into the conference?
Crawford: I wanted to learn about how to include the library into the epicenter and culture in everything we do. I wanted to learn how our library can reflect the needs of our current kids by updating the space to reflect spots for the curation of books, MakerSpace, etc. I wonder what a modern library looks like that still includes traditional things.
Stone: What did you learn?
Crawford: I am well equipped to reinforce and I am reassured that I can handle a diverse library. It has renewed my interest in what we can do to update the library to serve the needs of a new generation. The library is the hub of all things. How can the librarian enhance instruction beyond that?
Stone: What surprised you?
Crawford: The challenge of books is not only here. A lot of people are trying to diversify their libraries, not only culturally, but also in content. It is throughout the entire state and nation.
After 13 years as a librarian, this was the first time that I had considered inviting my administrator to this conference session. I feel our working relationship and our vision for the library allow us to collaborate effectively and imagine a world of possibilities. Please consider recommending your administration for next year’s TLA School Administrators Conference Session.