TL Blogging Challenge #19 – What is one thing you wish you were better at. Just one! Why? What could you do to improve in this area?
As part of my reflection process, I have a section in my lesson plans for “Glows and Grows.” My favorite professor at Messiah College, Dr. Anita Voelker, taught me that phrase, and I use it to focus on both the positive things that happened in a lesson, the glows, and the things that I need to work on next time, the grows.
Professionally, one of my all-the-time “grows” is keeping up with professional reviews for collection development. I’m a bit embarrassed to say I am 4-5 months behind in reading School Library Journal, the one professional journal I subscribe to in print, and I rarely read others like Library Media Connection, Teacher Librarian or PSLA‘s Learning and Media Online. It’s just not a very high priority on my ever-lengthening to-do list; there are too many other things that I feel are more important than reading reviews. Plus, sometimes, I think the print journals often mirror what I’ve already read in my Feedly RSS reader. (See the PLN links on the right to see who I follow by RSS.)
When I first met my New York Giants-loving husband, I often used football games to read SLJ. I could read the articles and all the reviews in a single issue in the span of one football game, and it was always nice to curl up on the couch with my hubby while catching the main highlights of the game. I’m not a huge football fan, so this worked well for me. This past year, though, the Giants had such a terrible season that it wasn’t even fun to watch. So my SLJ-reading time didn’t happen a whole lot, and I never really caught up since then. I’m now in the middle of reading the March 2014 issue, and I haven’t gotten the July one yet.
My dream solution would be to have online reading options as well as integration with the major school library distributors like Follett and Mackin. I want to read SLJ‘s articles and reviews on a computer or tablet, and when I like a review enough to add it to a buying wish list, I could just “check” it somehow within a SLJ digital edition (or app) and it would automatically add that title to the list on my Follett Titlewave account (or Mackin account). Right now I just circle a review of a book I think our library should have, or I might mark it “maybe.” When I look up the book in Follett’s Titlewave collection development tool, I read the other reviews of the book within Titlewave, and then decide if it should stay on the buying list, or if it gets cut. My materials-reviewing time could be cut in half with digital integration like the above idea.
Still, barring that dream of seamless tech integration, my plan for next year is to try again with the football-watching-SLJ-reading time. Additionally, I might try reading SLJ at school, during my lunch hour or any spare moments of my day. I don’t know what to take “off my plate” to make time to do that, but it’s a possibility if I (hopefully) have the same semi-fixed schedule as last year.
The blogging challenge is from Cybrarian Jen at Where Books and Technology Meet. I’m going to try it out, but instead of daily posts, I’m going to try for 1-2 posts a week. Follow and learn with us! The participating blogs are listed in the comments of her post.