Branding and marketing my library program is something I have wanted to do since my first year. I have toyed with ideas and dabbled with drafts of logos and mission statements, but I feel like the pieces of the puzzle finally fell together this summer. It may not be perfect, but it’s a scaffold that can be built on and developed as my program and I grow and evolve.
I began with a mission statement. There was a meme going around on Facebook in April that caught my eye about what school librarians offer society. I shared it on social media, and couldn’t get it out of my head. It seemed to really embody what my vision and hopes for the library are, so I tweaked it and built my mission statement around it.
“The mission of the ACES Library is to make the world a better place by creating equal access to information while supporting all learners as they develop lives that are enriched and empowered by story.” I’ve read that mission statement about 30 times this week during our orientation class, and I get chills Every. Single. Time.
Once my mission statement was created, I really wanted a logo to make a visual statement. I created the concept using a free graphic design tool I found online, but quickly decided that I needed to outsource the project to a professional.
(Stay with me...this next step was an adventure.) Earlier in the summer, I had been watching YouTube videos about starting t-shirts businesses. I wasn’t gung-ho on creating one, but I was sucked in to learning all about the processes that people were freely sharing. I am a lifelong learner! One of the videos I watches suggested NOT creating your own graphics, but finding a real graphic designer using a website called Fivver. You can find professionals that create resumes, logos, marketing tools, photoshop editing, and more. Remembering this tip, I created an account and found a designer’s work I liked at a price I could afford. For $25, I could get three logos to choose from with unlimited edits. I sent my mock-up idea and my school’s colors to the designer.
We went back and forth for about 3 days (she was located in Pakistan, so there was some minor delays due to time differences), and I ended up with a logo I ADORE. I was very happy with this process, and will probably use it again to get some variations on my logo.
Now I have a great logo for my website, social media, and signage. This is not a year-long theme, but rather a true branding that will last years. I can’t wait to see where it goes from here!
Starting the New Year!
I love January 1. It's a fresh new year with possibility and opportunity. I love making goals and seeing growth. Luckily, as an educator I get to experience that thrill twice a year with the new academic year.
This year, I would like to be braver and share more of what I am learning and doing online through social media and this little blog. It's scary. Really scary. I don't know if I have anything to say that hasn't been said, and I know I'm not a master librarian, BUT I want to model to my students how to be a contributor to making the world a better place through taking risks. I want my students to create content and share what they are learning, so why wouldn't I expect the same from myself?
My first mini goal is to publish SOMETHING on my Facebook page once a month during August. It was late last night, but so far, I'm 2 for 2!
Some words just feel good kicking around in your head and then rolling off your tongue. Vacillate is one of those words for me, and it perfectly describes how I feel about being a school librarian.
Some days I think, "I'm really great at this! I'm rocking the amazing job I've landed and really making dreams come true. The kids are LOVING the library, and I'm keeping all these plates spinning like a master." Other days, all I can hear are those plates crashing around me and the voices of self doubt screaming out my insecurities and shortcomings. Sometimes both scenarios present themselves within hours of each other.
Is it just me? This career (calling?) is not for the faint of heart. I love it because it is not micromanaged or defined day by day. I have always thrived writing my own script and shooting from the hip. The flip side is you find yourself looking out at an ocean of possibility and opportunity and you feel overwhelmed..sometimes even paralyzed with fear and uncertainty. "I'm not doing this the same way she is. My library doesn't look like his. Why aren't my kids coming up with deep questions? I'm not doing this right!"
Luckily, I tend to find myself settling back into the facts eventually. I love my job. I can't imagine doing anything else and feeling the same amount of satisfaction. I hope to eventually hit my stride and feel my self confidence grow more than my self doubt. I hope to reach balance with my personal life and the amount of time I spend obsessing school. #goals
If you give a librarian a pencil...
She'll notice it's quite dull and head to the electric pencil sharpener. She will realize someone has put the eraser end of the pencil into the sharpener, jamming the gears. She will head back to the workroom to get her tools from the drawer. Once in the workroom, the librarian will remember she has not washed out her coffee cup from yesterday, proceed to do so and begin brewing a fresh cup. The phone will ring with a teacher wondering if a child is in the library, so the librarian will do a quick sweep of the room to find said student making final selection. The librarian will assist with a brisk self checkout and then be asked where a book is about marsupials by another student. After a quick trip to the fabulous 590s, the librarian will notice that the football books have been tackled and begin to tidy the shelf. The librarian will find a random chapter book in the football section and head to the fiction shelves to return it to its proper place. On her way across the room she will notice a display needs refreshing and swing by the search computer to create a list of mystery books in various reading levels. While picking up the printout, she will remember the iPads need to be charged, so she will go back to the workroom to plug them in. Entering the workroom she will smell the coffee and feel focused. She will remember that she needed to make a list of things to do, and wonder where her pencil is.
Just like that. Five years. In some ways it feels like I just started grad school, trying to tap into my dormant college paper vocabulary after being immersed (and quite fluent) in Dora and PBS Kids for the past six years. In other ways, I feel like I've been doing this a lifetime and am finally past the second guessing EVERY library step I take and finally enjoying some professional confidence.
It is my hope to record these days moving forward. I want to be able to remember where I have been to more accurately move to where I want to be in the future. This is personal, but if someone else reads it and has an a-ha...bonus points!
Elementary school librarian full of wonder and a little bit of wander. Ok, some days a lot of wander.