Get out of your library

ckdobrez —  April 5, 2013 — 5 Comments

BEHIND WHICH DOOR, (Photo credit: marc falardeau)

Some days there’s nothing you want more than to get out of your library, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  One of the most productive moves you can make sometimes is to do just that. Get out of your library. Good leaders have perspective and you can’t get that without changing your view, literally.

Years ago one of our elementary librarians shared one of his strategies with me. During the day he was captive in his library with scheduled classes arriving like clockwork, but after school? He would take a walk down the school hallways at least once a week and walk in the classrooms and look at the white boards to see what teachers were in the middle of teaching. And then he acted. Books or videos appeared on their desks to support their curriculum, he would incorporate supplementary information in his library lessons with their students and he remained connected to their curriculum.

It’s easy for school librarians to feel isolated when no one else in the building is a librarian. One of most painful parts of the budget cuts that gave me two middle school libraries to run instead of one, was the loss of the colleague I got to plan and scheme with. There’s a natural excitement in developing ideas together and it’s great to have support in problem solving difficulties. So, if you find yourself alone in what you do…get out of your library and find a kindred spirit. It might be that you physically leave your library, or perhaps you take a stroll on the nets to find what you need.

When I stop in at the public library branch after school there are always some of my middle school students there (on the computers). They always seem shocked to see me. “Whaaa? Our librarian goes to…libraries? Whoaaa.”  Hmmm…that gives me an idea…I should scheme with the public library for a joint teen program.

I could list some ideas about places to go when you get out of your chair, your office, your library, but I’d rather hear from YOU.  What’s the best thing that’s come from a time that you got out of your library? Do tell.



I'm a middle school librarian who embraces books and technology and information in any form. I successfully got the word "cybrarian" listed on the 2000 Lake Superior State College Banished Words list. @cdobrez

5 responses to Get out of your library


    I’m all about the late afternoon stroll. It is refreshing to get out of the building and get some fresh air. I find it also helps get me more familiar with the community–things like street names, neighborhoods, new businesses and generally whatever is happening around town. When I get back to the office I can tackle things with a clear head.


      Agreed. I rarely get to eat lunch with other colleagues as I keep the library open for students while teachers are at lunch, but when the weather is nice I take 10-15 of my 25 min. lunch and get outside a couple of times a week.


    The School Library Journal Think Tank is happening today in NYC. They’re talking a lot about partnerships between school and public libraries. Our Teen Librarian Joanna Axelrod is there. I can put you in touch with her when she returns if you’d like to brainstorm some ideas.

    Also, you can follow along with the conversation on Twitter by following today with this hashtag: #sljtt


    We collaborate with the school libraries a lot – we both help with joint programming, we share collections, they advertise our public library programs and we help with things like judges for reading competitions. We also share teen volunteers! We’re always looking for new ways to work together – it was interesting to see the school librarian’s side. Thanks!

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