Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Tribe of Teacher-Librarians: Valenza's Legacy

Although Valenza has contributed much to her profession through her scholarship and research, perhaps her most enduring contribution will be the teacher-librarian "tribe" consciousness that she has created, fostered, and nurtured through her involvement with professional associations, her online presence and the use of social media.

Valenza follows over 1,800 people and has over 15,000 followers on Twitter.  She was named one of the Top 100 Librarian Tweeters by Best Colleges Online.  In discussing her use of Twitter, Valenza has said:

I don’t see any excuses for not knowing and teaching about the search, organization and communication tools of the moment. Librarians must be the information technology leaders in their buildings. How do they do this? You read a lot. And you build your network. I’m not telling you to read every blog in the world. I’m telling you to develop a network that you can leverage for your particular needs, your practice, your library. Twitter just happens to be my main strategy. Shrewdly choosing your network may be all the work you need to do (From: findingEducation).

TL Virtual Cafe
The TL Virtual Cafe is a webinar series created by Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones that is "committed to creating transformative conversations about teacher-librarians, educational technology, and collaborative connections to facilitate meaningful and lifelong learning skills."

Through  the Cafe's free and "open" professional development webinars, Valenza and her collaborators have established a center of the teacher-librarian universe.  In addition, because the focus of the Cafe is professional development, thousands of school librarians are receiving instruction in the areas addressed by Valenza's  Manifesto for 21st Century Librarians.

TL Chat Live!
A product of the TL Virtual Cafe, the popular #tlchat live! is a series of monthly chats, which run on Twitter and Google+ Hangouts, and allow teacher-librarians from all over the world to discuss topics such as: 
Collaboration:  How to get it going and keep it going
New Tech Tools and How You Are Using Them
Get Those Books Moving:  Advertising and Display Ideas for the New Year

The NeverEndingSearch
Valenza's ultra-popular blog, hosted by the School Library Journal website, provides yet another way for Valenza to share with her peers.  Here she discusses school librarianship and related research, provides tips, strategies and tools for instruction, explores the information literacy needs of student learners,  and dissects Google and other search tools.

The Geek Tribe
Branding is another way in which Valenza, and her collaborators, have nurtured a group consciousness among like-minded teacher-librarians.  Adopting the name of "Geek Tribe" and providing ways for people to self-identify as "tribe members" further stregnthens the teacher-librarian professional network. (Note:  The Geek Tribe was recently renamed the Library Tech Geek Tribe). 

Teacher LibrarianNing
Perhaps the most collaborative of Valenza's online projects is the TeacherLibrarianNing,a Facebook-like online community for teacher-librarians and other educators who "connect, teach, share, and lead in new information landscapes."

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