red carpet, evident in the giggles of grown adults cavorting in the Maker playground, evident in the belly laughs of librarians watching National Book Award winner Neal Shusterman and SSYRA winning author Chris Grabenstein duel in Late Night Library Games. #FAME15 was testimony that by being self-managed, we are now stronger than ever.
Now that we have a firm foundation, it is a prime opportunity to build on that foundation and plan for the continued successful future of FAME. The theme for #FAME16 is Staying Relevant by Moving Forward, which applies to both our profession and to our organization. Just as school librarians are proving their relevance through innovative leadership and instruction in information literacy and problem-based learning, FAME is moving forward to ensure it meets the needs of both the members and the millions of students in the state of Florida. It is time to reevaluate our mission and vision and plan for the future.
This year, we will be drafting a strategic plan outlining the mission, vision, belief statements, goals, and objectives of FAME. This will help provide guidance and direction for future decisions, projects, and programs, and provide a unified vision of our future. This can only be done with input from the whole membership. We want our strategic plan to reflect the needs of our membership and our students, so it is imperative that we gather the opinions from as many of our diverse and varied members as is possible.
As rejuvenating as our conference is, FAME is much more than our annual conference. It’s even more than the Sunshine State Young Readers Award. As our state professional organization for school librarians, FAME offers scholarships to librarians earning their Masters in Library Science, monetary awards to secondary school librarians who develop programs that enhance and support the self-esteem and well being of young adults, a scholarship to high school seniors espousing the importance of Intellectual Freedom, and awards to administrators and principals who recognize and support the importance of strong school library programs. FAME provides programs for our students to learn and shine; students earn state recognition for their media projects and change the lives of authors by selecting the state’s winning children’s books. FAME advocates for you through legislative efforts and various communications. And of course, FAME offers professional development specific to our profession through monthly webinars and the annual conference. This is all something to be very proud of, but we can be even better.
At the AASL national conference in November, a panel of administrators, district librarians, and school librarians from Project Connect spoke on empowering school library programs. One statement stuck with me. A panelist asserted that we have always viewed ourselves as support systems within our schools. We help teachers teach and students learn by curating resources and supporting the curriculum. Yet he challenged us that we have it backwards. We should lead first, then teach, then support. I view FAME the same way. I believe that we can and should be leaders in the nation as a model library professional organization. We then should teach our members through excellent and innovative professional development. And finally, we should support our members. By being the leader, we secure our relevancy and prove our worth. Please help guide FAME to its future as a prominent national organization by contributing to the strategic plan survey today. Our future is impelling!