My co-hort buddy, Michael Stephens recently posted trends relating to the essential duties of librarians. These probably apply to all of us in the larger ed/tech world:

  • Learn to Learn
  • Adapt to Change
  • Scan the Horizon

In addition to Michael’s trends, I was thinking of some other principles for this changing landscape, some Bill Maher-type, slightly subversive, new rules to live by, perhaps more specific to school folks.

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Ask Later: Don’t say, “But I can’t” or “But what about. . .?” Many of us are working ahead of the rules. So, if what you plan to do is instructionally sound, if you are not breaking any rules, and if no children will be hurt in the process, then exercise some academic freedom. Do it. Make it a success. Do it before someone thinks of a reason why you should not. If you wait for explicit permission, you will miss the bus.

Train Thyself: The stuff we are working with is pretty new. Don’t wait till the big expert comes to town with the most convenient workshop. You cannot wait for the annual conference. Visit any conference that interests you via webcast or podcast. Find someone else who wants to learn, who may know a little more and train each other. Seek the training you need and learn it yourself. And this is related to another new rule. . .

You Can’t Punch This Clock: I can’t even imagine being granted prep or workshop time to learn all I know I need to learn, as well as what I don’t even know I need to learn. No one can really fully teach you how to integrate blogs or wikis in YOUR classroom, for your learners. You cannot learn digital storytelling in a one-hour workshop. You’ve got to expect to invest the time it takes on your own time. Folks who expect release time will absolutely miss the 2.0 bus.

Don’t Make the Beds: Intrepid pioneers don’t worry about clean sheets. Ten years ago when I discovered the impact of what I was doing on the Web, I knew I had to give stuff up. I don’t do inventory every year. I don’t make my beds everyday. My drawers are hopeless, but I am getting to be a way better teacher and librarian.

Delegate Up: You don’t need to know how to do everything. You can be an imposter in some arenas and it is okay to admit it. It is definitely okay to recognize and celebrate the talents of experts who may be 14-years-old. Let them help. Let them lead.

Teach Outside the Library: Be a window on your learners’ desktops. Create pathfinders that work. Answer questions online. Visit laptop labs. Be wherever your users are.

Get Up, Stand Up: What is your vision for 2007? For 2020? If you don’t stand up at this moment, you will lose a critical opportunity to define what an information professional looks like. No one will know your importance

Stop Watering the Rocks: Or as Doug Johnson says, “Work with the living.”  We can’t continue to put wasted effort into working with those who refuse to grow.  Work with the flowers first.

Stop to Smell the Learning: Sniff around. What is really happening? When you do that new project, reflect. Not just on what worked and what didn’t, or on whether you met your expected goals. Were there surprises? Insights? Did you spot any collatoral learning? Did students improve process skills? How did the experience inform your practice? (You might take a look at my colleague, Ken Rodoff’s recent post and his follow-up thoughts about his wikipiphany– how a little presentation lesson led us to rethink how we look at PowerPoint and communication schoolwide.)

And now, dear readers, please share: What are your new rules? What banners will you wave this year?

(BTW–the images were created using ImageChef.)




  1. Fred Mindlin

    You Can’t Punch This Clock is a great point–I devoted thousands of hours throughout my public teaching career to self-teaching, keeping myself abreast of the theory and technique I wanted to be able to apply. Increasingly through my last seven years–I retired 06/06) I also spent thousands of dollars of my own money on parts and equipment that I needed and couldn’t wait for a convoluted procurement process to bring me. But that’s waht mattered to me….

  2. Doug Johnson

    Great rules, Joyce!

    One I might add is Revel in the Confusion!

    I like the ImageChef site too. Cool.

    Doug

  3. Helene

    Love this list. Can’t think of much else to add except, how about, Pick up your toys later… leave them out and continuously play

  4. Sarah Braxton

    I might change “delegate up” to “delegate down.” When combined with Doug’s additional rule of “revel in the confusion,” these describe my recent experience of helping 10th graders create iMovies on the Great Migration. Let’s just say we learned together (and are still trying to get those movies off of the ibooks after we discovered that they do not have dvd burners! Thanks for the sharing the video blog, Joyce – a potential solution for us).

    Regarding the “ask later” rule, I am pleased to present the Juniata Valley High School myspace that debuted today: http://www.myspace.com/jvhslibrary

  5. Administrator

    Love your MySpace, Sarah! Very cool.

  6. Administrator

    Helene–Pick up your toys later… leave them out and continuously play–
    I want to needlepoint that one. Does anyone know how to needlepoint????

  7. Peter Bromberg

    Thanks for sharing your rules. They’re fun and provocative! The spirit of play in this post suggests another rule: “Play more!”

    -peter

  8. Administrator

    Peter,
    Your comment completely distills this discussion. When learning=play, it all works!

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