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Questions librarians need to answer

In a recent post, Jennifer LaGarde (LibraryGirl) suggests that these questions "really need answering" by librarians:

In 2014...

  1. How will you make a difference for students?
  2. How will you make your work the answer to the priorities/problems that keep your principal up at night?
  3. How will you use student data to make instructional and programatic decisions?
  4. How will you measure success?
  5. How will you connect the dots between your work and student learning?
  6. How will you share this data with your administrators and community? 
  7. How will you ensure your diverse population sees themselves in your space (as well as in your collection)?
  8. How will you dispel negative/outdated library stereotypes?
  9. How will you grow your PLN?
  10. How will you help strengthen our profession by sharing your work beyond the walls of your school.
  11. How will you make sure everyone who walks into the library sees a focus on students (instead of stuff)?

Great, great questions, LG! Many that I've been asking as a professional for 30 years - and still don't have rock solid answers for. Which simply means that they are important.

I'd like to add just a few questions to your list...

  1. What new skills will you learn this year that you can teach your students and staff?
  2. What rules can you change to make your library a more user-friendly place?
  3. What is your library's "purple cow?" (Boring is always the riskiest strategy - Godin)
  4. How can you demonstrate leadership in your building? What are you willing to take responsibility for?
  5. What can you do to get the non-connected members of our profession* who you know connected, changing, and good representatives of the library field?
  6. Have you asked yourself about your personal commitment to the field? Are you still a librarian in order to make the world a better place?

The question I am going to be working on this year is "How can I help educate school administrators on the qualities of an effective librarian?" Wish me luck.

I have said it before and I will say it again, librarians, libraries, and library programs are too important to too many kids NOT to be indispensable.  Make 2014 your year to be indispensable to your students and staff.

* Jennifer would call these our zombie librarians.


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Reader Comments (6)

Great post.These type of questions are helpful to improve the quality in work.Thanks for sharing.
Happy new year!!

January 2, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJuliet


You are very welcome. Thanks for leaving the comment.


January 2, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

Buffy Hamilton just did a post that I shared on my School Librarian's Workshop FB page on questions librarians should be asking-- also an extensive list. Meanwhile, I blogged about the greater value questions have over answers (Great minds)

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHilda Weisburg

Hi Hilda,

Thanks so much for the link. (Great minds think alike is one of my favorite expressions!) I agree wholeheartedly about the importance of questions. The older I get the less I know and the more questions I have!

How's your novel doing?

Thanks again,


January 7, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

HI Doug,
Thanks for posting these questions. As I read through them I can see they have great potential for vision-building.
Much appreciated,

February 17, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine Hainstock

Happy to hear they were helpful, Catherine. Thanks for taking the time to comment.


February 18, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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