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Wednesday
Oct052005

The Three Commandments of a Successful Library Program

I am looking forward to giving both my sessions at this week’s AASL conference in Pittsburgh, but especially the one on Friday – “Getting the Most from Your Fixed Library Program.” My guess is that anyone who attends this session will be coming to see if my horns, hooves, and long, spiky tail are actually visible.

I was nearly excommunicated from AASL when I wrote a column for School Library Journal a couple years back that heretically suggested there were actually some virtues of fixed (regularly scheduled) library programs. (You can read the column, a good paper by then grad student Christine Hurley, and lots of reactions here.)

For this talk, I’ve been reworking a pro/con session called “Mud Wrestling in the Swamp of Fixed/Flex Access” I gave last fall in North Carolina with my friend and respected colleague professor Gail Dickinson who is from around those parts somewhere. In way of introduction she said, “Doug not only pokes at the sacred cows of the library profession, but actually leads them into the public square and commits indecent acts with them.” Now that’s my kind of intro!

Anyway, the point of this workshop is to give practicing library media specialists some pointers on improving their library programs regardless of whether they are “fixed” or “flexed.” So I’ve been thinking about the very MOST important things one can do to improve any program.

I’d really like to have a whole 10 Commandments (there is a precedent), but so far I can only think up three. Just as well since I am having a tough time getting that burning bush lit anyway. Here they are, the Three Commandments of a Successful Library Program:

1. Thou shall develop shared ownership of the library and all it contains.
2. Thou shall have written annual goals tied directly to school and curriculum goals and bend all thy efforts toward achieving them.
3. Thou shall take thy light out from under thy damn bushel and share with others all the wonders thou performs.

Pretty good, huh? What do you think Old Testament prophet pays nowadays?

I’ll keep working on the other seven commandments (and get some new charcoal lighter fluid), but in the meantime, send me your commandments.

Hope to see lots of folks in Pittsburgh. I’m making sure my hooves are well polished.

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