Embracing Change to Empower Learning
Closing Keynote – Session E 2:10 – 3:25
Rethinking the role of the library learning commons in our schools is a popular and much debated topic in education today. Questioning the need for and debating the value of a modern school library are ongoing discussions on social media, in budget meetings and in a variety of professional writings. Advocates for school libraries at local, provincial, national and international levels are constantly sharing ideas and examples of how a well-funded school library can embrace the latest and greatest in educational practice and technological advancements.
The question that often remains is what this re-imagining might look like in the day to day operations of a school library learning commons. Frontline staff are encouraged to be at the forefront of new educational movements while, often, still maintaining existing initiatives and collections. Embracing these changes and additions is exhilarating and exciting! Yet the risk-taking mindset required to embrace them can leave some of us feeling trepidatious and overwhelmed. Keeping the students we serve at the centre of our decision-making is one of the keys to overcoming this feeling of doubt.
This keynote will offer ideas for the implementation of new initiatives and reflective questions to consider in our daily practice through the sharing of Jennifer’s own ongoing journey opening a new library learning commons during the past 4 years.
Jennifer Brown is a teacher librarian at a dynamic K-8 school in the Peel District School Board in Ontario. She is a fierce advocate for students and their families. Since beginning her teaching career in the late 1990s, she has always had a passion for & interest in social justice & equity in education. Her years as an ESL and special education teacher influence her belief in the power of a thriving library learning commons to foster inclusive and culturally responsive practices throughout a school community. Her work is currently focused on educating herself and others on the importance of recognizing intersectionality and amplifying the voices of others through social justice allyship. Jennifer is active in the education community and volunteers as a member of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local Equity and Anti-Racism Committee, the Peel Elementary Teacher Librarian Association and is currently the President of the Ontario School Library Association. She has been at the forefront of the maker movement, free flow book exchange and more in school library learning commons in her district. She enjoys sharing her learning journey with other educators through personal relationships, Twitter PLN connections and as an active blogger, contributor to Open Shelf (The OLA online magazine) and OSLA’s Teaching Librarian Magazine. Jenn is the mother of four incredible daughters and spends much of her time helping them pursue their varied passions in athletics and the arts.