Just before Thanksgiving break, I attended my state’s media specialists conference, FAME (Florida Association for Media in Education). It was an amazing, enlightening experience. I got to mingle and network with other library professionals, attend some great breakout sessions and workshops, and meet up with some fabulous authors. I look forward to this conference every year, as I always get great ideas and inspiration.
Here’s some of my favorite takeaways from the conference:
- Know what your students think of your space – Observe how they use it. Informally and formally survey them. Get an idea of what they’re looking for. After doing this when I got back from the conference, I decided to rearrange one of my reading nook areas. I found that students loved sitting there so much, that it would get pretty crowded. I moved some nearby shelving to provide some more space in the area so that students don’t feel as cramped.
- Brand your media center – Susan Ballard’s workshop opened my eyes to how important it is to create a brand for your library. I’ve since created a logo, new business cards, and revamped my media center signage to have the same color schemes and fonts. Not only does it look more professional, but it gives students a sense of brand loyalty. This may sound cold and business-like, but it works.
- Think outside the stacks – If you treat your library like the books are all that matters, you’ll simply become a warehouse of books. The media center is much more than a book storage room. It should be a dynamic, welcoming, inviting, flexible, multi-use space. I’ve been working on rearranging things, getting rid of unnecessary shelving to add a bulletin board display, and gradually switching out heavy, static furniture with flexible, mobile furniture that can accommodate many uses.
- Embrace student leadership – Students are the main clientele of the school library. They should have a huge say in how things are done in your media center. I’ve used a student advisory board for bookfairs before, but not for other purposes. I plan to start meeting with these students once a month to get them to start taking charge of the media center – what programs do they want to see? what books would they like us to get? what improvements would they like to see to our physical space?
I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference 🙂