Our fellow teacher-librarians can be a valuable network of support. Some of them are giants in the field.
We live and work in beautiful British Columbia. Politics aside, it is a lotus land of a kind. It is ‘Cascadia’, the informal maybe mythical place of towering trees, ice crested peaks, rainforest valleys and plateaus that stretch forever. When I need to refuel, I seek this magical place wherever I can. These past few weeks, with elections, collective bargaining noise, and staffing worries added strain to a lifestyle in need of detox. Your work life needs detox too. It needs nutrition and exercise too. It needs a network.
Our fellow TL friends can help directly and indirectly in many ways. Here is a few examples from awards week:
1. The BCTLA award announcements. OMG for those of you who have not met any of the star recipients, I am in awe of how fortunate we are to have the talented, hardworking committed family of volunteer TL’s in BC. BC TL’s! We have a dynasty here of sorts. If you look back at the list of BCTLA/Diana Poole Award winners the quality of people honoured is remarkable. All TL’s should be proud of such tradition and merit.
2. If you study the CASL awards history the list is full of BC stars. This year was a clean sweep! Watching Judith’s, Heather’s, Moira’s names get announced as winners brightened my day and soothed the those Gods that sleep in the stacks. Previously, Karen, Pat, Bonnie, Mary, Michele… all have been national award winners. In 2009, the BC Exec was selected! Unbelieveable. I knew and/or worked with all these women because I volunteered to get involved. I am the benefactor. Medicine.
3. I was the inaugural winner of the New BCTLA President’s Award last week. A delightful shock. I’m honestly not a front stage guy, but it felt very good to have peers recognise ‘commitment and achievement of teacher-librarians who have made outstanding contributions’ Salve for the soul. I honestly volunteered because I had colleagues and partners who did the same. It made sense to serve some time in hopes of strengthening ( or protecting ) what little leverage TL’s could muster. We all know in our hearts and minds what value there is. Us old timers remember the heady days of well funded, trained and staffed school libraries that offered rich reading and learning environments for kids. Too many of our new leaders are not aware of the power those environs had on our children. Memories and relationships can be strong healers and invigorating change makers.
4. I received hundreds of congratulations this week, it was overwhelming. I was honestly taken aback. From Tweets to FBupdates and emails galore, people were so generous. Thank you to all you kind folks! Wow! I received a card from my School Board Chairperson today. His handwritten congratulations was a nice lift when you often feel taken for granted. He was my sponsor teacher during my college PDP. We serve breakfast each February at the KSS Western basketball tourney. He supports our schools’ Cancer Week and many other projects. We have a real relationship- maybe old school but real. I also received a couple hand written cards from TL’s. I was taken aback. What was so up lifting about these cards was- I never met them. They were colleagues from the online world. Those posts and replies to inquiries in the Forum on in the email that clicked away on my keyboard at God awful hours of the night touched people in some way. My hesitant, insecure, foggy words helped another teacher-librarian progress forward or work through a crux. Maybe it was just a bandage but the effort help in some way. We need to all reach out with little steps or large bounds of energy- which ever comes natural and honest. That is what a PLN is intended to develop. My poignant moment was that with all the speedy gadget and devices available to people, the vintage scribed card in the mail from a stranger is the one that made me cry.
As teachers, we need to stand unified but tolerant. As teacher-librarians, we need to reach out. We often work alone. We are a rare and wonderful specialist with a target on our back and the only way to survive is through the work itself and our network. Join BCTLA. Attend the Conference in Burnaby. Play with Twitter. Subscribe to a TL’s blog. Better yet, RSS several in a newsreader. Growing a network at home and online is not just advocacy but professional fitness. It’s healthy and rewarding. If Nicola in isolated tiny Rossland can do it, we can. We can all make progress and in doing so some TL’s can grow very very tall and touch the sky. Here in Cascadia.
BC Teacher-Librarian of the Year – Diana Poole Memorial Award
2011 – Sylvia Zubke, Vancouver
2010 – Karen Ferguson, Coquitlam
2009 – Karen Lindsay, Greater Victoria
The Diana Poole Memorial Award of Merit
2008 – Michele Farquharson, Vancouver
2007 – Patricia Finlay, Burnaby
2006 – Sheilagh Martin, North Vancouver and Pat Kirkey, Westbank
2005 – was not awarded
2004 – Tiiu Noukas, Prince George
2003 – Odie Kaplan, Burnaby
2002 – Val Hamilton, Vancouver
2001 – Joan Eaton, Westbank
2000 – Dianne Driscoll, Coquitlam
1999 – Jim Holgate, Surrey
1998 – Pat Parungao, Vancouver
1997 – Penny Bland, Maple Ridge
BCTLA Award of Merit
1996 – Noreen Grobowsky, Richmond
1995 – Sharon Bede, Kelowna
1994 – Kay Treadgold, Kelowna
1993 – Joan Wilby, Coquitlam
1992 – Valerie Dare, Vancouver
1990 – Barbara Hall, Prince George
1989 – Peggy Beck, Vancouver
1988 – Joan Harper, Vancouver
1983 – Don Rahrick