As school librarians embrace their new roles in the age of the Common Core, many are left with questions and a vision. Carl Harvey and Linda Mills are practicing school librarians and have the answers many librarians are seeking out. In their new book, Leading the Common Core Initiative: A Guide for K-5 School Librarians, Carl and Linda provide practical advice and lessons that put the library back on the map and show how school libraries can be a partner in the school.
Carl and Linda further discuss the importance of librarians and their new book in this interview.
Rourke: Your new book, Leading the Common Core Initiative: A Guide for K-5 School Librarians, gives school librarians the professional development needed in understanding what Common Core is and what it looks like in action. How do you see the librarians’ role in schools shift in these changing times?
Carl & Linda: The librarian’s role is to help our teachers as they design new curriculum and instruction that goes with our standards. This is a perfect opportunity to collaborate with teachers with new projects that integrate school libraries and utilize new tools and resources. Working with teachers to examine a wealth of informational resources and to teach students how to navigate these sources is the job we undertake to implement these standards.
Rourke: Were there struggles that you experienced that are addressed in the book?
Carl & Linda: Oh, finding time to write a book was a struggle for us. We’re all busy, so trying to carve out time to get it done was certainly a challenge. Also, I think trying to make sure that we thought about not just what works for us in our libraries, but what might work for most librarians.
Rourke: What do you see as the most important aspect of your new book? What do you want librarians really to walk away with from reading your book?
Carl & Linda: I think anytime something new comes along, it is the perfect opportunity to focus on collaboration with teachers. When teachers have to redesign their lessons, it is the perfect opportunity to get them to experiment with new projects, new resources, and new ideas while collaborating with the school librarian.
Rourke: Your book has actual lessons that librarians can use. Are those lessons that you practice in your library? What was the response from your teachers and administration?
Carl & Linda: Yes, all the lessons in our book were ones we tried with students in our libraries. I think we hope that other librarians can adapt and modify them for their situations. I think our teachers certainly see the benefits of collaborating with us, and so they are always open to trying new ideas and approaches. Some of these lessons are ones we have used before common core, but just modified a little to meet the new standards. As with anything plans always change and evolve as you work with teachers and students.
Rourke: Do you have any advice for librarians that are trying to adjust with this shift in their schools?
Carl & Linda: Be open. Be proactive. Be willing to jump in and demonstrate how the school library and school librarian can be a valuable resource for students and teachers. Anytime there is something new, it is an opportunity for collaboration, so take full advantage of it.