You’ve Got Mail

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ISLMA – Net Email List Experience

Within about 24 hours of listing my email with ISMLANET-listserve, my mailbox bounced with activity! I couldn’t help being reminded of AOL’s digitized voice of the late 80’s, “You’ve Got Mail.” Just like any young school girl checking her Instagram for “likes” and her Twitter feed for favorites, the sound of getting mail meant someone appreciated your thoughts, your ideas, and possibly you. “You’ve Got Mail” connected people to others and affirmed acceptance in this  world. Not unlike the first dings of AOL, the red circled number climbing on my mailbox icon sent curiosity and excitement in a little section of my heart that pitt-patted a little faster.

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As I perused the what-would-be stacks of notes, post-its, or phone calls, I recognized patterns in the mailings.  As this list serve extends to all levels of the school library, I found several mailings regarding secondary leveled students. Honestly, I read through several wondering if I could connect and understand the issues or ideas discussed. I realized early that while curiosity drew me into the conversations, most of the information shared while valuable to higher levels of education was moderately irrelevant to what I perceive as my future elementary library. Thus, I began an “irrelevant” versus “relevant” sort.

If I was a person who kept an empty mailbox, this would have reduced my mail significantly. Not quite ready to click the trash can, I clicked on through reading and rereading conversations regarding the recent ISLMA conference. Presenters graciously praised the venue and accommodations, and attendees gave thanks for ideas and inspiration! Some of the conversations included attachments to power points and presentations from the presenters. This conference sounds like a not-to-be-missed opportunity provided by our Illinois School Librarian Association. Clearly, a date to be marked for 2015.

In this same evening of scrolling, skimming, and scouring, a twitter feed was mentioned, #illibchat hosted on Thursday evenings from 8-9. I tuned into this chat one Thursday night and read/listened to the conversations of several of my favorite twitter feeds and gained a few more to follow. I appreciate being a fly on the wall listening to experts and beginning to recognize different strengths in different experts.

Admittingly, avoiding reading a professional article regarding library advocacy, Monday, November 17, the day of our last scheduled class. I checked my mail. Multitasking while attempting homework had a particularly ironic, yet appropriate consequence.  I had received mail from kgarneau@bannockburnschool.org which somehow distracted me, perhaps directed me. In the words of Gooney Bird, suddenly, I found myself back at Twitter #tlchat where began a hosted live feed podcast/webinar/chat at http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/TL+News+Night.

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The class time was to be used reading about advocacy in school libraries. Before I knew it, somewhat starstruck I was watching some favorite librarians discuss the California initiative to save their school librarians and libraries. Today, there is a 1:7,600 ratio of teacher-librarians to students in the California school districts. According to the experts, this is an improvement, and they anticipate more improvements with better public relations and media support. In one attempt, California school teacher librarians created a video encouraging people to consider the importance of their position in the schools. This was a first hand account of advocacy in the works and making a difference!

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In addition, authors like Kathryn Otoshi of two spectacular picture books, One and Zero, came together to support the California libraries and librarians!

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I had responded little to queries on the list serve as I don’t feel “expert-enough.” Preferring to read, listen, and learn from others, I mentioned a couple of picture books I have used to teach cross-curricular, but my answers were brief and probably common. Then, I happened upon a classmates response. She was brave and confident in her solid advice for technology use. I took her lead and made an honest attempt at connecting a librarian to another web-based organizational site. Thank you for the little push at the diving board, Mary Pat. I needed a little affirmation to take the next steps. I anticipate building my skills learning through others and this connection offers differentiated learning – at just the right pace.

Following my weeks of observing the mailings and conversations on the list serve, it occurred to me that social media began when AOL’s call “You’ve Got Mail” met Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks in the heart-warming story of Kathy Kelly’s and Joe Fox’s competing bookstores. In a perfect circle, books and technology connecting ideas, thoughts, and people.

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