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Thanking and Giving from the Library

by Guest Blogger

Let’s face it. The days are getting shorter but feeling longer. Everyone is in need of a break. The excitement of the new year is a distant memory. And sometimes it just seems like we’re going through the motions. But this time of year is also the perfect time to focus on thanking and giving. What can you do to give yourself and others a lift?  Here are a few suggestions.

Offer encouragement

 Librarians see students of all ages and for multiple topics on a daily basis. And librarians know all faculty and staff members on their campuses. Libraries are a hub. Frequently, they’re the heart of a school. What better place to make someone’s day? Share a smile or a kind word. Or make a kind word to go and spread kindness all day long with sticky notes.  Check out this encouragement board in the Lubbock High School library. Don’t want to write all those notes by hand?  Tony Vincent shares how to create your own custom sticky notes in his April 2017 post.

Give one, get one with your PLCs

 Unlike many of our peers’ PLCs (professional learning communities), librarians often rely on digital forums for idea swaps.  Just because you found a great tool or idea, don’t assume that everyone is in the know or saw the same message. Tweet, retweet, blog about, or include great new (or new-to-you) finds.

Share your favorites

 Is it a book you’re super excited about? An amazing app? A cool website? A can’t-live-without-it extension? A brilliant tech tip? Someone out there is going to be just as thrilled as you. Be the one to share via tweet, email, or newsletter. Regardless of your sharing method of choice, just do it.

Be efficient

Everyone is busy this time of year, so now isn’t the time for “one more thing.” Rather, it’s a good time to share hacks and tips to save time or simplify everyday tasks. Offer suggestions that can be quickly and easily implemented and that can make a big difference. For example, instead of a wordy email or a screencast, try the iorad Chrome extension.  It’s an easy-to-use tool that creates tutorials. Sharing it is likely to earn you some friends.

Give your time

One of the best opportunities at the TCEA Convention is the chance to serve as a super volunteer.  Volunteer for two 4.5-hour shifts, and you earn free registration! It takes a lot of help to make things run smoothly, and we can’t do it without volunteers. Even better, you get to choose which presentations or workshops you facilitate! Learn, earn CPE credit, and enjoy the convention at no charge!  

Watch your language

Pay attention to those conjunctions and, but, or. What can you add to conversations? When someone comes to you with a question or need, don’t shut them down with a one-word response.Go the extra mile with a “Yes, and…” or a “No, but…”  Librarians are magnets when it comes to “other duties as assigned.”  Take charge by redirecting or expanding conversations. You’ll find new allies.

Don’t be stingy  

A heartfelt “thank you” can go a long way.  When that student comes back to tell you all about the book they just read, thank him for sharing that with you. When your principal invites you to a meeting, thank her for including you. When a colleague shows you the lesson he just created, asks you to proofread the yearbook page, or comes to you for help with Google Classroom or an iPad, let him know you appreciate being considered the expert. Demonstrating gratitude reminds us that we really do have the best job in the building.

Take care of yourself

There will always be more supplies to order, lessons to plan, meetings to attend, classes to teach, and blogs/feeds/sites to update. Give yourself downtime. Read, rest, exercise, create, or do whatever you need to recharge. Slow down, grab a warm drink, and refresh.  When you take care of yourself, you can take better care of others. And face it – that’s why we do what we do.

This is a guest blog by Kristi Starr. Kristi is the library media specialist and co-campus technology leader at Coronado High School in Lubbock ISD and the President of LIB-SIG. This blog is part of a monthly series of blogs from LIB-SIG. 

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