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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Shaking Up Our Profession

Movers & Shakers! Each year Library Journal takes nominations for 50 plus librarians and other individuals to honor as a Mover and Shaker. Take a look at who represents the school library field this year including the amazing Lisa Von Drasek, the passionate Melissa Johnston, the inspirational Julie Masterson-Smith,  the dedicated Gregory Lum, and so many others. Brian Kenney posted about this immediately, but I believe it is required for all of us to go read the biographies of all 50 Movers & Shakers, not just those most like ourselves. We are part of a larger profession.

Last year I was upset because our field seemed neglected. I posted on LM_NET, I wrote to individuals, I blogged, and I went directly to the editor and publishers. If you chanced upon me at a Midwinter party, I was actively campaigning for SLJ to create their own award structure because there was no effort to seek out and include school librarians in the larger parent publication. I also urged people to nominate school librarians because this is the only way for them to get in this list. Library Journal is not going to send out reporters to go find the hidden library experts. They are not keeping tabs of the people who shake our professional foundations. They ARE relying upon us, you, and me to send in those names.

Unfortunately, not enough people are finding out about this award. Due to publisher issues, the lists aren't cross-posted in print. I still believe LJ and SLJ need more cross-publication articles. The newly revised interactive websites are helping because you can TalkBack about any article. But communication comes from individuals not just publications. A trusted individual school librarian who tells you to go read an article means more than a 2×3 advertisement.

Start now. Send in those applications for 2008's Movers & Shakers. The criteria states "up-and-coming individuals from across the United States and Canada who are innovative, creative, and making a difference. From librarians to vendors to others who work in the library field, Movers & Shakers 2008 will celebrate the new professionals who are moving our libraries ahead. Deadline for submissions is October 29, 2007."

Here's part of the dilemna. School librarians don't like to single out individuals to nominate. Far too many of us work in situations where we are the ONLY professional in our work environment who knows how truly amazing we are. We deal in practicalities. We deal in young children. We routinely work to create an atmosphere of learning and inspire students, while repeating many activities yearly with new batches of students and parents. How can we identify those amazing movers and shakers in the school library field? Too many of my colleagues are too shy to speak up for themselves.

Leadership in organizations is one source. The structure of AASL has national elections, plus leaders who arise through state organizations to become the Affiliate Assembly. Posters on LM_NET have a huge audience of about 12,000 school librarians world-wide. In August 2005 I posted about speakers and librarians I'd like to meet in the coffee shop of library heaven. My list continues to grow. Bloggers, authors, speakers, and teachers of the next generation of school librarians.

If you were to sit down and make a quick list of school library professionals that have impacted you in the past and continue to shake your world,  then share this list with others, you might be surprised who appears. You don't have to agree with each of them. You do have to participate. It seems the last time SLJ had a major article of this type was in June 2003 with their People to Watch: Ten leaders who are making a difference in school and public libraries. Thanks to our current technologies we do not have to limit our list to ten people. Everyone can contribute.  

Here is a very short list to spark your mind:

Peter Milbury, Doug Johnson, Joyce Valenza, Sara Kelly Johns, Cyndi Phillip, Judy Freeman, Carl Harvey, Alice Yucht, Shonda Briscoe, Toni Buzzeo, Judy Moreillon, Denise Rehmke, Deb Logan, Sandy Shuckett, Sandra Andrews, Jackie Pierson, Chris Harris, and….

Come on… You know you want to share. Start commenting.