This week I had the opportunity to work with two wonderful groups of school librarians in upstate NY. Over the last two years, I've spent a lot of time in this part of the country, getting to know the school systems, gorgeous geography and even more beautiful people of New York state. It's always an honor to be a part of the professional development journey of educators, but I feel especially connected to the librarians or NY state now. What a pleasure it has been to learn and grow with these fiercely dedicated educators. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, I really am the luckiest librarian around.
That said, part of what I was asked to do this week was introduce librarians, from two different regions, to the #FutureReady initiative, as part of two days of PD focused on "Creating The Libraries of Tomorrow for the Students of Today." The agendas for these events can be found here, including links to the BreakoutEDU experience that I created as an active way for these adult learners to dig into what it means to be #FutureReady. I'll be honest, I intentionally made the #FutureReady Breakout uber difficult. [Insert evil laugh here.] Overall, there were a total of 8 (digital and physical) locks to be broken and the fastest group over the two days took just under an hour to breakout. As I told the teams before turning them loose to solve each Breakout puzzle, I would never EVER design an experience this complex, or intentionally difficult, for students... but I wanted these librarians to see a variety lock types as well as explore different ways to engage with content in order to find the clues. Needless to say, I was referred to as "evil" more than once during the course of this activity, (which only made me giggle a little more maniacally as I refused to help them without swiping a hint card). It was all good fun. And we learned a lot. But the best part of the BreakoutEDU experience wouldn't even have been possible without the help of a lot of awesome librarians!
During the Breakout, participants explored the different Flipgrid contributions and then, in order to receive a necessary clue, they had to leave a response for one of the librarians whose words meant the most to them. Unsurprisingly, the librarians in NY became wonderfully lost in the array of stories shared by their colleagues from around the world. Over and over again they expressed how much it meant to them to hear from people "in the trenches" sharing their work, experiences and plans for the future. Yay! Victory!
I'm almost ashamed to admit, however, that when I started collecting testimonials for this project, I didn't think beyond the Breakout experience itself. I totally underestimated how powerful these collected voices would be. Listening to all of these librarians share how they are creating libraries of tomorrow for their students now is overwhelmingly joyful and so, so inspiring. In the end, this flipgrid really isn't about the term #futureready so much as it is about how librarians continue to evolve in order to be the very best resource they can for their students. I am so inspired by the testimonials collected here and so very grateful for each generous contributor. Thank you so very much to everyone who has added their voice to this resource, and to those who haven't yet, but would like to: a) contribute their own story of what it means to be #futureready AND/OR b) respond to someone whose words speak to you AND/OR c) share the flipgrid as a part of your own PD journey, my response is... PLEASE DO! The more people who get to hear these stories, the better.
Finally, let me just close by saying how proud I am to be a part of our PLN. Our global network of librarians never ceases to amaze and delight me. I am so inspired by all of you, every single day. Thank you for helping me become the best "library girl" I can be!