Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Get 'em early!

New teachers, whether new to the building or new to the profession, often aren't aware of all of the things the school library and teacher librarian can offer to them and their students. How do you communicate what is available in your library program to new teachers?  Do you have a ready-made packet with the list of services you can offer? Do you make a point of setting up a meeting with each new teacher at the beginning of the year? Do you rely on other teachers to recommend working with you on certain projects? Do you show up unannounced and offer to help with something they are doing at the time?

No matter your method, anything is better than waiting for new teachers to come to you. As teacher librarians, the need to advocate for ourselves and our programs often is overlooked. Just like the new teacher in the building, we are often overwhelmed with how busy we are and can put off things that we don't see as top priority. But just like the books in our collection, if we don't show off, *ahem*, display what we have available, our resources will never be used.

New teachers provide the perfect opportunity for teacher librarians to advocate for the many many things we can offer to all teachers, and in turn to student learning.  Not only do we have a chance to create a career long teaching partnership, but the relationship that is formed could serve as an example for long-time teachers who have not taken full advantage of what the library program has to offer.

So how have you successfully communicated what the library program can offer to teachers? Share ideas in the comments section, or weigh in on our new Facebook page!

Here is one example from Miranda Kral, librarian at Mid-Prairie schools. She created this packet for her secondary practicum at College Community, and then adapted it for her current position. It's a good way to have information "at the ready" for the new teacher and an open invitation for them to ask more!