Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Why #mwlibchat?

I had never met her in person, but I knew from our first Twitter interaction that Cynthia Stogdill and I were kindred spirits. From our adoration of Scooter's coffee and scarves to our love of the same obscure children's book about a beloved squirrel named Miss Suzy, Cynthia and I are cut from the same cloth. But of all our connections, our passion for our calling and our desire to connect with and celebrate other teacher librarians was what connected us most.

Thinking about connecting with other kindred spirits like Cynthia got me to thinking. I had been thinking that I wanted to continue to reach out and connect with my fellow librarians through the medium that has changed my professional life: Twitter. Twitter has been one of the most powerful tools I could have ever hoped for as a Teacher Librarian. I am an island unto myself sometimes. Although my school district is fortunate enough to have three other librarians (in the lower elementary, middle school, and high school) and I have a part-time retired teacher who supports our 2nd and 3rd graders during specials, I found myself constantly wanting to know what others are doing. I'm not satsified with the status quo. I want to provide every opportunity for my staff and students' success! Twitter has been my life saver. Through Twitter, I've cultivated relationships with other TLs who share my passions, shared (and stolen) brilliant ideas to support literacy and reinforce learning for my students, and celebrated the awesome opportunity I've been given. And I wanted to pay that forward.

There are some great Twitter chats for Teacher Librarians. I have loved participating in many of them, especially #tlchat and #txlchat, but wanted to celebrate librarianship and my fellow teacher librarians a little closer to home. As a Teacher Librarian who lives in one state, but works in another, I wanted to celebrate librarianship in both places. Hence, the idea of a midwestern teacher librarian chat. But who did I know who would be on board?  My kindred spirit: Cynthia!

When I messaged her about starting up aTwitter chat for Teacher Librarians in the midwest, Cynthia quickly responded "Me too!" And so the brainstorming began. 

When we finally met face-to-fact at NETA in April, no introductions were necessary. We hugged. And then we got to it. We spent an ample amount of time holding down the NETA's Social Butterfly Lounge. And #mwlibchat was born.

Cynthia and I will be launching our first chat tomorrow evening. While we hope to launch fully in the fall, this first chat (and the few to follow this summer) are meant to be a bringing together of our fellow teacher librarians, whether from the midwest or not, to celebrate the beauty of our roles and to connect to each other. Because as (a very wise) Helen Keller once stated, "Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."

Cynthia and I hope you'll join us!