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Thanks for all the wonderful suggestions!

Pat Hoppe
Lincoln MS

Get hold of the curriculum - ask your principal if you need to- then look at 
what they should be doing in the next few week. Then go to your collection, 
and pull up bibliographies to go with what they are doing. Then find 
websites - especially interactive ones or ones that help explain, etc.- then 
brainstorm how you can use your resources, plus your knowledge to help the 
teacher get these concepts across..Then do a sample lesson plan - go to the 
teacher and explain how you really want to complement (note the word) what 
she is doing. You know you are not the English teacher but you are the 
resource they can really use. Explain how you can help make life a bit 
easier for her. You will only have to get one on board and the rest will 
soon follow when they see how you can really enrich what they are doing. 
Remember: the emphasis is always to help - not supplant. That is what I did

 when I had the grade school - I ended up doing lots of  collaboration ( before 

t was the "in thing" to do.)


I am marking Masters papers on a subject very closely aligned to this and my 

suggestion to my students is to identify the reasons behind the symptoms.  

So talk to the  teachers involved first, not the principal, and find out why 

they do not allow their students to come.  From that you should be able to

 work out 
practices and priorities that meet everyone's needs and 


Don't be hasty in asking for the elementary school position back. I moved from 
elementary to middle 3 years ago within the same district.My middle school library 
was also underutilized and certain departments still do not use it much. However, 
we are now so busy I don't care much if some don't want to come.  My school is 
large and overcrowded and some teachers schedule to use computers only. When they 
come to schedule a date I sort of "work them over." I suggest "add ons"-things I 
know they don't know about.My personal experience has been that teachers do not 
respond well to general requests to work with them, purchase books etc. I have 
publicized our services through e-mail announcements and faculty presentations but 
this has not brought them to the library door. In my case individual outreach has 
been the trick. Another example-twice I started a trial database and asked for 
teacher feedback-almost no response. I decided to just purchase it anyway, got kids 
on it, showed the science teacher and all of a sudden everyone loved it. All I can 
say is, keep at it, don't get discouraged, if you have money, spend it on the most 
attractive products possible and offer some things that make the teacher's lives 
easier, i.e my language arts teachers love our booktalk/checkout days because that 
is a nonteaching day for them. One more thing-enlist the aid of your principal in 
promoting the library. Good luck and have fun in creating som
ething from the ground up.

Clearly this MS is not used to an active librarian. You must gird your loins and 
get "in their face." As a new member of the faculty, your biggest job may be to 
find out 
what all those teachers are doing in their rooms, and then do a one-on-one 
evangelization explaining what you have to make their job easier, their kids 
more engaged, etc.If at all possible, see if you can determine how your 

principal feels about  the library. What does he/she think the library's role is 
in the learning community? See if you can solicit support so that teachers are 
from above to take advantage of the library. It is good that you have initiated a 
newsletter--they know you exist--but I have found that they are of limited use if 
people are not used to depending  on you or using your expertise. I have been at 
my present school going on nine years, and NOW people come to me, and with my upper 
school librarian, we have talked to every teacher and advertised our services. One 
of the 
first things I did was ask the 8th grade English teacher if I could do a 
banned book lesson during banned Books week. It has become a staple every 
September.We have dug into the curriculum to find out what projects (not 
just big ones, but essays, discussions, debates, etc) happen and how. We let 
people know what we are purchasing that supports their work. We offer to do 
booktalks to help get the kids reading. We started a book review wiki as an =0
Aincentive and reward for kids who read a lot that they can write reviews 
for. We offer to get kids started on the big projects, to help them get into 
their topics, show them how to find materials and even help them prepare 
their bibliographies. Sometimes we proofread papers with kids. If you have 
a budget that so allows, offer to purchase what they need--a video here, a 
set of books there.So often teachers are used to working by themselves; neither 
they nor the principals really understand what we can do that is so important and 
helpful. You will have to sell yourself.
I suggest trying to get the reading or LA teachers to schedule bi-weekly visits so 
you will at least get to see the students and you can spend that time with them 
alternately promoting books/reading and teaching research skills mini-lessons. I 
know it isn't the best if you don't have a bonifide research project to tie it to 
but it is better than nothing. Try to find out what they are studying in class and 
use those concepts/content to base your research skill/demonstration/activity upon. 
Once the teachers get to know you better and what you have to offer, they may start 
collaborating a little. Believe me, I'm still struggling against the time factor. 
Everyone says they will "do research" or "integrate technology" after the TAKS 
test. I keep telling them, it will be too late then and we won't have time to 
accomodate everyone after the test.

I ran into a similar problem in my high school library..
.teachers who
don't know how to collaborate/don't know why they should
collaborate/won't collaborate. I decided that it was my job to get the
teachers to understand that they needed to be bringing their kids into
the library to do research projects and the like. The collaborations
were sometimes slow to develop, but frequently I started by asking what
they were working on /reading their syllabi/asking their students and
suggesting resources they might be able to use and then getting them to
ponder resource based assignments. It was slow work, but I did generate
a lot more library use over time. Unfortunately, my best collaborators
have recently moved on. It is hard to start over... Anyway, I encourage
you to get out and pound the streets, uh, hallways? And drum some
business up. The students will benefit from resource based learning

When I was back in a school building, I sent a simple survey out to the teachers 
quarterly asking them to just briefly tell me what units they would be covering the 
next nine weeks. Then I would look them over and be able to go to the teachers with 
specific ideas of how we could collaborate. The surveys were also helpful in 
determining what materials I needed to order.

The way to get people is to go get them. Newsletters and e-mails won't do it, as 
teachers don't have time to read more paper. You have to schedule yourself into the 
agenda, then speak, at department mtgs. Show them how you can help them. Be 
specific. Speak at a faculty mtg.20Show them how you can help them with citations, 
with research, etc. The idea is to show how you can help make their job easier. If 
your school uses NoodleTools, do a short presentation. Show how you can help them 
search better on Google. Introduce a new database to the S.S. dept. and explain how 
it'll help them, etc. etc.


Find a teacher who is new, and find out a project he/she is working on that you 
guys can collaborate on together. Once that teacher gets impressed, the word will 
start getting out on what you can do. Research projects are mandatory in every 
grade. Find out what they are, and start talking yourself up to the teachers. 


Much of our job is being a salesperson. We have to "sell" ourselves/what we do. Do 
a good job, and they'll "buy" you and begin to come to the library. I have been 
booked solid since Oct. when I began outreaching, (I gave myself Sept. to figure 
out who's what & what's where) so know it can be done.


I made friends with students and teachers.  I made myself as helpful as 
possible.  I joined many committees.  I listed in on conversations and was quick 
to jump in to help.  

I made the atmosphere of our media center inviting.  I rearranged the books to 
make them easier to find.  I put up more signage.  I put up new posters.  My 
assistant and I are constantly putting up new displays.  I keep the media center 
open an extra 15 minutes at the end of each day for student
s who go to extended day.  I also allow students to come in a little early in the 
morning. I asked for a laser printer so that students can print.  I charge them 5 
cents a page to cover the cost of toner. I hold trivia contests for events such as 
Black history month, Florida reads week, etc.  I have the questions announced on 
our morning news program and the kids have to come into the library to submit 
answers.  I give out prizes to the winners. I have ‘celebrations’ to reward 
kids for earning Reading Counts points.  I have a year long bull riding theme.  
Our school mascot is the bull.  We have music, food, and give away prizes.  When 
I have teachers ask me for anything I try going above and beyond.  I had a teacher 
ask me if we had any old magazines in the beginning of the year.  I asked her why 
she needed them.  That gave me the chance to tell her about our online 
databases.  She hadn’t heard of them.  I offered to teach her and her 
students.  That teacher told other teachers and it spread.  Word of mouth has 
worked great! I keep my principal informed about what we’re doing in the media 
center.  I send her a report every nine weeks.

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