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A tip to Barbara’s hats

I met Barbara Braxton when I was traveling in Australia a couple of years ago, but I’ve admired her voice for so many years.

When I think about it, she may have been the first of the truly networked librarians. An ACTIVE member of LM_NET from the beginning, she continues to be both visible and active on a variety of social networks.

Around a year ago, Barbara began to share an inspiring series of essays in her 500 Hats blog.

Each post combines a little bit of research, links to relevant examples and media, checklists, and the wisdom of Barbara’s own vast experience to illustrate our roles by the hats we wear.

Here’s a list of the hats to date:
In her first post Barbara writes:
2012 wrapped up the end of my 40th year in education and over that time I’ve learned a few things, theoretical, practical and pragmatic that other TLs may find useful so this is an effort to give back to the profession and the professionals who have given me so much.
I am pointing to the hats into a variety of modules of my new library management course and I thought you might also appreciate this big-picture view of our practice.
I asked Barbara why she decided to reflect so deeply and share at this particular moment.

Why am I sharing? 

To encapsulate that in a quotable quote is tricky.  But in a nutshell, it was because so many teacher librarian positions were disappearing, depriving students of an essential element in their education, because their role was not seen as valid, valued and valuable by principals, parents and politicians, often because the teacher librarian themselves is locked into a pre-conceived perception of what the job is about. 

It’s a form of advocacy because if the teacher librarian sees the potential and can demonstrate new elements in their day-to-day work, then perhaps that will have a ripple-in-the-pond effect.  

It’s a way of mentoring new teacher librarians who might be so focused on their studies, shaped by course requirements and the passions of their course co-ordinators, that they might not see the full potential of what they can offer students and the privileged position they have in their education because they have the big-picture overview of the whole process, and it’s also a way of giving back to all those who have offered me so much since I became an apprentice teacher librarian in 1998!

Thanks, Barbara!

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


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