School libraries are all about change. One of the best parts of being a school librarian is that there are never two days that are the same. There is always something that makes today different from yesterday and different from tomorrow. Sometimes the variety is planned and some days are just gifts we never saw coming. Part of that variety comes from new tools, new resources, new initiatives, new ideas, new…new….new. There is always something new coming down the road. As school librarians, we have to make choices about what to do with all those new things. And, often the first question we have to ask ourselves is:
It is such a short powerful question, and yet one that can stop us all in our tracks. Without answering it we can't move forward. We can get stuck (or maybe even stopped) right there with that question. But, what we have to do is make a decision to not let us hold us back. We have to make a conscious decision to move forward and make a decision. So, here are some ways to get started.
As librarians we are great investigators. We read articles, research, and search online for examples, ideas, and strategies. Sometimes just the exploration will give you the idea or spark to decide where to go with implementation. Once we've read what the experts are doing or experiencing, it can help us decide how to best move forward in our own schools.
While this goes along the research, sometimes just talking with our friends (either face to face or virtually) will give us the idea of where to start. A conversation, an email, or even a tweet from those we know, can help move us forward with a project. Sometimes just a little friendly nudge can help us get started.
Sometimes when you aren't quite ready to release it to the whole school, you find that teacher who is willing to try something. You know they aren't going to be upset if it doesn't work perfectly, and they are willing to help work through the bugs of trying something out. We all have those teachers in our buildings who are up for anything. So, working with one of them can be a good place to start.
Last, but certainly not least, there is the jump in method. Sometimes there isn't an easy way to begin, or there isn't much research out there, so you have to just decide to jump in and try it. Sometimes we have to just take that leap and pray it works (and be ready to adjust and change along the road).
No matter what method you use, the important thing is to move past the where to start question. Once you've done that, you are past the biggest hurdle. You've started. Moving forward there may be hurdle. There will be things that work well and things that don't. There may be places you have to change course or things you decide don't work at all. There is still a possibility that the new thing you are trying may be a total failure. However, you never succeed at anything that you don't start.