by Jordyn Horner
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a rough time for all of us, but it resulted in many wonderful things. Educators and school librarians are needed now more than ever. Classroom teachers adapted their practices in new ways. This year allowed school librarians to officially transform into library media specialists.
Before the pandemic, my library was just a library. I had regular library hours, students and classes visiting daily, and I promoted the library as much as I could. I sent educational resources, tips and tricks, and book recommendations each week. I created displays and bulletin boards to pique interest. I knew that I wanted to transform my library, and had many ideas, but just needed the push. Enter the pandemic.
The pandemic pushed me to adjust my practices to work in both an in-person and virtual setting. I developed an online Canvas page, my district’s learning management system, where my students accessed resources, materials, and fun things to do in their free time. I reached even more students through that online setting than I was able to see in-person on any given day. I hosted virtual writing clubs and book clubs. I promoted all of our eBooks much better than before. I created a book mobile to bring the library to classrooms and common areas in the school which generated excitement and anticipation each week. I regularly researched educational resources that benefitted my students and teachers, and sent those out in a newsletter or email. In the past, I felt like many of these were ignored because classrooms did not have regular access to devices. This year, I spoke to students and teachers each day about resources they could use in their classrooms. I had more teachers wanting to collaborate than ever before.
Not only have I transformed the library, I became a technology resource for the school. Students and teachers regularly came to me for help with their devices, or questions about online resources. This was wonderful because it brought so many to the library, some that might not have stopped by for anything else, and it taught students who I was and what I could do in my role. Students called me a wizard, which always made me smile. Not only could I help them with their devices, I answered their questions, whatever they may be. I built relationships that will last beyond this unusual pandemic year.
Am I the only crazy person that feels this way? How has the pandemic transformed your library and library practices?
Jordyn Horner is the school librarian at Karns Middle School in Knoxville, TN. She was chosen Teacher of the Year in 2020-2021 and was recognized as the TASL Librarian of the Month for East Tennessee in March 2021.