One of the amazing things about Simmons is the people it puts you in touch with – faculty, students, and visitors. For instance, last week, Susan Ballard happened to be on campus. If you don’t know who Susan Ballard is, she’s the president-elect of the American Association of School Librarians. Susan was on campus because she’s also an instructor at Simmons (and an alumna!), involved in the post-graduate, online instructional technology program that launched this past January. While she was here, she asked to meet with the SLTP and IT students, which is how I came to be in a classroom with about ten other students and faculty members discussing the future of school librarianship with the head of my national organization. That’s pretty amazing, if you ask me.
She talked about the need for school librarians to be active promoters of their programs, to work to make their libraries the center of their buildings, and to spread the word about the resources the library has to offer. It was also informative to hear her talk about the different school library programs and district-wide situations she’s seen across the country, from New Hampshire to Texas and California. While trouble spots still remain and the outlook is worrisome in some parts of the country, I was pleased to hear her say that she feels that overall, school library programs should be bouncing back soon after having been badly hit by budget cuts.
So thank you to Simmons and to Susan for making this opportunity possible. When I began graduate school, I never imagined I would have these kinds of opportunities, and now I can’t imagine a graduate experience without them.