I began the 2015 – 16 school year with great optimism, and a spirit of adventure. It was wonderful to be back at SCS after a year away for my second maternity leave, and I was thrilled to finally be involved in Cohort 21, a program that I’d heard so much about and had followed from afar.
My action plan: To design an effective library calendar / booking system which meets the needs of users, and allows for effective collaboration and planning was an excellent real-world topic to tackle; it had been on my to-do list for many years, and applying the principles of design thinking seemed to be an obvious route to a satisfactory answer.
And then, life happened. As the school year draws to a close, we are starting to make plans for a very different 2016 – 17 school year. I am leaving St. Clement’s after thirteen years, relocating to Minneapolis with my family, and my colleague, @lmustard, is expecting her first child in the fall. The library will look very different on the first day of school in September, with all new library staff, teaching philosophies and perspectives. There is no doubt that now is not the time to change the library calendar. In order to maintain as much structure and continuity for next year, we must continue to use our tried and tested policies and ways of doing things, at least for the foreseeable future.
I’ve learned so much this year through Cohort 21, both professionally and personally. Investigating my action plan truly made me realise how integrated we are, and just how essential the library is to the effective functioning and running of the school; we truly are the hub of SCS. Even making a small change to our booking procedures (and believe me, I had BIG plans) had a knock-on effect that would affect so many other people and departments within the school. In investigating this issue we also realised that the collaboration that occurs when people come to the library office to book time is key to the success of our program. Even bookings made by email do not allow for the same collaborative discussions; I will be passing this gem onto my successor as we work towards an effective handover next year.
So where to next? The issue of bookings and schedules is still front of mind, but making a change for the new school year is no longer a priority. I am advising the new librarian to continue as is, but to continue researching how other libraries schedule their spaces, with a view to making some changes in a year or two. I’m looking forward to sharing my action plan on Friday, and continuing to consider feedback from other Cohort 21 members.
I have learned so much from other Cohort 21 members, as well as from the larger #cohort21 community, particularly on Twitter. It never fails to amaze me how collegial people are, working across disciplines and schools (and, in some cases, provinces). I’ve been able to evaluate my teaching, and rethink some of the ways I design assignments and present information to students. I have valued being part of a longer-term PD experience, and love how it has shaped my philosophy of teaching and learning over such a short time. I shall continue to follow Cohort 21 from afar next year, and will no doubt continue to learn from those whose adventure is yet to begin…