Interview with a Librarian: The Collaborative Process as a Journey Rather than a Destination

Interview with a Librarian: The Collaborative Process as a Journey Rather than a Destination

Susan K. S. Grigsby (Fulton County Schools, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4361-1.ch018
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Current teacher evaluation systems place value on collaborative relationships between educators. Common Core Standards strongly suggest interdisciplinary units of study and make several references to reading and literacy in all subject areas. While current trends in education point to collaboration and a more holistic approach to learning, the practice remains a hit-or-miss exercise. The school librarian is in the unique position of being able to see connections among the different subject areas by virtue of his or her expertise on the resources available to each of these areas. When he or she is able to assist in the creation of curricular units that incorporate a variety of subjects into lesson plans, students are free to make connections that may have eluded them in single-subject studies. This chapter discusses one librarian’s approach to collaboration that focuses on relationships, connections, and creativity.
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In every school in which I have worked I have put relationships with my colleagues at the top of my focus. I believe that while you can be an expert on curriculum and savvy about technology, if you aren’t equally adept at building relationships that foster respect and the mutual exchange of ideas you will sit idly in your media center. The simple act of being interested in what teachers are doing in their classrooms with an equally enthusiastic sense of service and assistance has lead me to cultivate quality relationships within my building. Sometimes, all it takes is being an active listener when someone comes to me with a problem (personal or professional). At other times it takes a light touch to the arm and an expression of empathy. That said, I have never waited for a colleague to seek me out to ask for my services. Instead, I have always taken a proactive approach to pushing out information, resources, and ideas when I know my fellow educators may need them (and sometimes in anticipation of need). In fact, I feel I have been very successful at what has been called “A Radical Alternative” to collaboration:

It is sometimes possible to jump from cooperation straight to collaboration. If the LMS receives a request for assistance just as the project or unit is beginning – especially a brand new project or unit – the suggestion of a full collaboration is sometimes prudent. In that case, the unit would be team-planned, team-taught, and team-assessed. Sometimes, the offer of a collaborative partnership is the perfect response to a simple cooperative request. (Buzzeo, 2008)

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