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Elementary Library Routines: The Back Story

I asked Keisa Williams (@keisawilliams) if she’d mind sharing a little about how Elementary Library Routines, that cool new crowd-sourcing wiki I blogged about the other day, got off the ground.

Her story reveals the power of our growing tribe to collaborate and empower:

This wiki began when someone tweeted about Harry Wong and I responded by saying how helpful his book was when I was a new teacher and it’s still a book I turn through at the beginning of each year.  I’ve always thought that classroom management is yet another “invisible” “magical” thing that happens in the library, but it’s something we never talk about.

I never get to see other elementary librarians in action and I know we aren’t all doing it the same way. (I’m the only librarian in my district.) I DMed some of my procedures to @lovemylibrary and she encouraged me to tweet it out to everyone.

Instead, I began to build a wiki. I used Picnik to create the image and I populated it with my ideas. I added my 3 twitter librarian friends as admins. I was a little nervous to open the wiki but then I thought about our smackdown wiki and how much everyone was willing to share, I took a chance.

It took off from there. I am so amazed by the generosity of my elementary library colleagues. I wish I had something like this during my 1st year.

I began on July 4th and today we have over 9k page views! Over 35 librarians have joined our wiki. There was no money in the budget this year to pay for any PD. So in a way, I brought the PD to me 🙂

Here are quotes from the other founding librarians:

From Jamie Camp- @connect2jamie (speaking on crowd sourcing) it’s evidence of the power of th PLN. In 3 days, such a useful resource has been born b/c of the power of the tribe.

From Catherine Trinkle- @lovemylibrary
This project started through the normal conversations on Twitter. Someone asks a question, help is provided, ideas are shared. What is making this wiki so successful is that through our combined networks, we can get the word out so that anybody who sees this project  addressing a need can go there to get information and ideas and to leave them while they are there.  Seeing new and familiar teaching methods shared from people all over the country is both comforting and inspiring.

From Regina Hartley- @RSHartley We seldom get to visit our colleague’s libraries to see how successful elementary school libraries really work. This wiki makes it possible for us to share what works best for us and add more effective techniques and routines to our programs. My younger students thrive on structure and that means more time for learning. I am really geared up for the new school year because of the great contributions on the Elementary Library Routines wiki!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Thanks so much Joyce, for helping us grow the Elementary Library Routines wiki! The more teacher librarians who know about the wiki, the more great ideas we all have access to. Elementary librarians out there–please join, share and collaborate with us!

  2. This is truly the wiki I’ve been waiting for and I use it daily. THANK YOU!!

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