Friday, October 22, 2010

The Power of Doing

I want to be the Luke Geissbühler of school librarianship.

Luke Geissbühler is the guy who (with very little money) built a space craft out of a digital camera and a few balloons; and then sent it into space where it took these amazing images before returning to earth. It's, literally, the perfect example of what one person can do when they chuck out all of the reasons why something CAN'T be done and, instead, concentrates on what CAN be.
 


Homemade Spacecraft from Luke Geissbuhler on Vimeo.

And so, I repeat:  I want to be the Luke Geissbühler of school librarianship.


I can't snap my fingers and restore all of the school library jobs that have been lost in the last year or so. I can't wriggle my nose, Bewitched style, and suddenly find my-own, or anyone else's, library budget restored.  And I can't magically produce library clerks for all of my colleagues who now have to do their terribly difficult jobs with no assistance. 

But there are things I *can* do.


As part of my role as lead media specialist for my district, I have the privilege of visiting other schools and observing their media programs in action. I may not be able to remove some of the barriers that these library professionals face, but I CAN keep a record of these visits and reflect on what I see using Google Maps.

I CAN also share this map with others - particularly those in my district whose decisions directly impact library funding and staffing.

About a week or so ago, Joyce Valenza published the Manifesto for 21st Century School Librarians.  I'll be honest, my first reaction upon reading it was something along the lines of "Holy crap! I suck!"  But those feelings of inadequacy were soon replaced with ones of empowerment.  I may not be an accomplished 21st Century Media Specialist in all of the areas she listed (YET!).  But I CAN use the manifesto as a tool to both celebrate and improve, not only my practice, but also the practice of other librarians in my district. 

There's no doubt that the obstacles we're facing are big and complex. What's more, there's no point in suggesting that if we all just think positively, they'll magically just go away. But for right now, I'm taking a leaf from the book of Geissbühler and concentrating on what I CAN do rather than what I can't.

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