Behind the Scenes: Braver, Stronger, Smarter

As I write this Behind the Scenes in the times we’re living in, it’s easy to think about what could have been. We all are mourning tasks or events we thought we’d be doing at this time in the school year –  
Braver Quote

  • Preparing for the PSLA Annual Conference
  • Advertising a spring book fair
  • Writing an award speech or award acceptance speech for annual conference
  • Volunteering for spring musicals and school concerts
  • Preparing for an author visit in your school
  • Developing lessons for that awesome project you planned with a teacher
  • Reading reviews and selecting titles for one last book order this year
  • Developing your first or your tenth annual conference presentation
  • Finishing or planning inventory in your library
  • Working with students face to face and helping them choose the best books or find the most important information
  • Trying out new Makerspace ideas or sharing a new app with students
  • Promoting summer reading programs or your own summer library program
  • Getting ready to collect books and overdue materials (maybe you’re not missing this)

Or more personal events – a special birthday, a wedding, a celebration, visits with family – maybe even retirement parties for yourself or your colleagues.

We never could have imagined we’d be here. Myself, I was not prepared to walk my presidential journey in this format. However, I went back to my first Behind the Scenes from July 24 and I found that I wrote this:

“We are a profession of doers – educators who work hard to BE the answer.

That statement could never be more meaningful than now. I have seen so much STRENGTH from our profession and especially from school librarians in Pennsylvania in the past month. I’ve seen social media posts, sharing of ideas and resources, support for each other and celebrations of the amazing ways that school librarians are impacting students in positive ways.

We WILL BE BRAVER, STRONGER and SMARTER school librarians. And we will be better humans before we are done with this current situation. I KNOW that the online learning environment is stressful, difficult and it can be draining. We are working harder as educators and school librarians than we ever have before. But I also know that as school librarians, we are leaders in our schools and during school closure, we are LEADING with inquiry and with digital resources to support students and teachers.

Ever the advocate, I want to capture the GREAT things that school librarians in Pennsylvania are doing and make sure that PA stakeholders hear about it and that we use all this evidence of impact to make our school library profession strong. This is a great opportunity to tell our story – don’t stop advocating for school libraries and our students. See the last bullet below.

Here are some events and dates to put on your calendar. We will be sending out more information about these events in the future – but wanted you to Save the Dates. (Make sure your MemberClicks profile is updated with the primary email address you want to receive information during this time).

  • April 21, 2020 6:00 – 7:00 pm – PSLA Town Hall Meeting

We will be updating school librarians on several things – but this will be a time to share and ask questions with other school librarians in Pennsylvania. We will be sending out connection information at a later time. Please RSVP if you can so that we can plan for numbers of participants – but feel free to join if you haven’t RSVP’d.

  • April 16, 2020 – PSLA Election closes

If you’re a PSLA member, please make sure that you’ve exercised your right to vote!

  • May 19, 2020 6:00 – 7:00 pm – PSLA Annual Business Meeting – Virtual

Per PSLA Bylaws, we are required to hold an annual business meeting which we normally hold during conference. We will send out connection information at a later time.

  • Ongoing – We recently asked for you to share current job descriptions from your schools and district. This is extremely important as we talk with stakeholders and legislators about what a school librarian’s job looks like in 2020. Please email those to Deb Kachel [email protected]
  • Coming Soon – We will also will be asking you to share evidence of online library activities and the impact you’ve had with your students and your teachers during school closure. This will be valuable to PSLA as we have conversations and meet with stakeholders to show the importance of certified, school librarians for our students.

Please also be patient with our Conference Committee team and our financial team as we process conference refunds. This is new territory and we’ve never had to do process this many checks or manual refunds in our MemberClicks system. We are working as best we can – while still working full-time online in our regular jobs. As you know, working online from home has proven much more stressful and longer hours than we could have anticipated. The refund process has also been more difficult than we originally could have imagined.

Because we are in this new journey together – please feel free to email me or the PSLA Board at any time and tell us what you need. We are here for you and want to make sure we provide support for you at this difficult and troubling time.

Transforming Lives, 

Cathi Fuhrman, Ed.D.
PSLA President
[email protected]
Library Department Supervisor
Hempfield School District
Twitter @cathi_fuhrman
AASL Chapter Assembly President-Elect
Lilead Fellow
Kutztown University Adjunct

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