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Embracing Library-to-Library Connections: Teacher Librarians Share Their Experiences with the LUV for Libraries Pilot

In an increasingly interconnected world, fostering global awareness, literacy, and digital citizenship among students is more critical than ever. LUV for Libraries is a new initiative developed by the Level Up Village team specifically for teacher librarians to bring collaboration and innovation to their libraries. LUV for Libraries aims to provide an exceptional platform for students and teacher librarians to engage in meaningful collaborative projects with peers around the country.  

As we work on launching the full offering this fall, we’ve engaged several teacher librarians in a pilot to experience the platform and share their valuable feedback with us. Teacher librarians from Texas, Iowa, and New Hampshire engaged in a collaborative course called “We Are Digital Explorers,” which is based on Shannon McClintock Miller’s best-selling book Sonia’s Digital World. We spoke with them to understand their experiences and the impact on their students. Here’s what they had to say.

Building Bridges Through Digital Connections 

Teacher librarians highlighted the immense value of connecting students with peers from different regions. One librarian noted, “Connecting with another school is such a gift. Watching their videos has put real faces and real voices to this connection and has been very impactful.” This sentiment underscores the importance of humanizing digital interactions, making distant peers feel like part of a shared community. 

Students were particularly thrilled with the autonomy they had in designing and filming their introduction videos. “They loved the agency of designing and filming their own introduction video,” shared another librarian. The project not only enhanced their technical skills but also made the learning process more engaging and personal. 

Another librarian echoed these feelings, emphasizing the safe and structured environment LUV for Libraries provided for students to connect with others. “Our students love that they get to connect in a safe way to students in another school,” they said. This aspect is crucial in today’s digital age, where ensuring online safety is paramount. 

Enhancing Collaboration Among Educators 

The pilot project also fostered strong collaborative ties between educators. One librarian appreciated the ease of communication with their collaborating partner, facilitated by the platform’s user-friendly interface. Despite unexpected challenges, the ability to quickly adjust deadlines kept the project on track. “We both had unexpected things pop up… and it was easy to reach out and change deadlines together,” they explained. 

Similarly, another librarian found the collaboration seamless and flexible. “The teacher I am working with was excited for her class to be part of this experience. She has been flexible when I have needed a bit more time with her students,” they shared. This flexibility ensured that the project’s educational goals were met without compromising the quality of student engagement. 

Another librarian emphasized the creative synergy that collaborative projects like LUV for Libraries can foster. “Collaboration is so much fun and exciting when you can work together on something that excites the students. Being able to brainstorm ideas is a great way to bring new and creative ideas into the classroom,” they said. This creative brainstorming not only enriched the project but also brought fresh perspectives into the classroom. 

Fostering Global Awareness and Digital Citizenship 

The consensus among the teacher librarians was that the LUV for Libraries pilot significantly contributed to fostering global awareness and digital citizenship among students. One librarian remarked on the authenticity and engagement the program brought to teaching digital citizenship. “Digital citizenship is an important, necessary content area for the 21st-century learner. LUV for Libraries makes this work authentic, applicable, and engaging,” they said. 

Other librarians also highlighted how the project broadened students’ horizons, helping them appreciate both the similarities and differences among peers from different regions. “Programs like this are a great way to get our students thinking about the world outside their school. They see ways life is different in places but also how many similarities they have with our students,” shared one librarian. 

Another added, “Working with another district and our librarian brings so much joy to our learners. They are learning in a different way to bring awareness to how digital literacy and exploration can broaden their understanding and appreciation of each other.” 

Ease of Communication 

Teachers know well that despite careful planning, sometimes things do not go the way we intended. As things come up and projects shift, sometimes it is not possible to align schedules well between schools. However, the LUV platform allows for great flexibility and ease of communication so that teacher librarians can easily mitigate scheduling issues. 

One of the pilot participants appreciated the easy collaboration facilitated by the LUV dashboard. “It has been easy to collaborate with my partner school. We email or use the chat feature on the LUV dashboard,” they noted. This ease of communication allowed for smooth adjustments when schools had different days off or needed more time for tasks. 

Looking Forward 

The enthusiasm and positive experiences shared by these educators suggest a bright future LUV for Libraries. The ability to connect, collaborate, and learn in a globally aware and digitally literate manner prepares students for the interconnected world they will navigate in the future. As one librarian aptly summarized, “Thank you for including us!” This sentiment resonates with the gratitude and excitement felt by all participants, looking forward to more such enriching experiences. 

LUV for Libraries will launch this fall with six collaborative courses on topics such as digital citizenship, art, literacy, and STEM. We are currently accepting registrations for annual subscription at an introductory price. We also have a special bonus for the early adopters: The first 30 teacher librarians who subscribe will receive a copy of Sonia’s Digital World autographed by Shannon McClintock Miller. 

Subscribe here.

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