Innovator’s Mindset Blog #2 Student Voice+Choice=Meeting Needs with Innovation+Impact

I opted to address #IMMOOC Week 2 Prompt 3:

Discuss one of the “characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset” Infographic and  a give an example of how you exemplify this in your work (teaching or leading).


This Sylvia Duckworth Sketch I have shared most with colleagues captures George Couros 8 Characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset.  The facet I think best fits the work I do on a daily basis as School Library Media Specialist is #2 Problem Finders because most of my routine interactions involve personalized problem-solving.  These require collaboration with students and teachers to help articulate and clarify their inquiries.  Identifying the true information need is the first step and good communication is essential.  Pew Internet Report (2013) titled Library Services in the Digital Age identifies the most important reason for users coming to the library is seeking help finding information and school libraries connect students with a wide range of print and digital formats.  The bulk of my engagement with students and teachers involves sharing information just in time at a personal point of contact.  Library skills and Tech skills are integrated with classroom activities so that literacy instruction is ongoing throughout the student’s knowledge creation process.


#IMMOOC readings, live sessions, and social media leave me with three big ideas that will help me to create an action plan to make reference more meaningful:

  • Allow students to ask their own questions.
  • Allow students to design their own open-ended inquiry investigations.
  • Achieve proficiency or mastery based on self-assessment (no grades).

conciergeOne innovative view of library assistance as Concierge is suggested by  The Library Concierge Project at Stanford University and a role I hope to model.  Their concept is that just as an exceptional hotel concierge [ii] has the right set of contacts and information to serve as a single point of contact for guests’ needs, library staff ought to be equipped and empowered to assemble the right set of resources and services on behalf of their learning community.

water coolerAnother innovative view I have of the main circulation desk is a learning community water cooler where small groups often share bits and pieces of information with one another.   I do not have a separate office and manage my library work with a constant flow of interruptions as students and teachers stop by with questions.  I have multiple screens and simply shift my attention from library work to student and staff questions.  The best #IMMOOC advise for me this week has been to listen carefully to better understand student questions.

stage managerMy last innovative view of what I do on a daily basis is Stage Manager as I am required to schedule usage and rearrange library space as needed for testing, presentations, research projects, not to mention quiet study.  I like to think the door is open to a big tent where all visitors can access the resources they need to launch open-ended inquiry investigations.  Much has been written in recent years about library as third place so that students and teachers can view the library as an extension of the classroom.



My primary goal is to support the community research process to help members make sense of school library media resources curated to address authentic information needs.  I am thinking of working Genius Hour activities into routine library assessments to help students think out loud, share their inquiry process and inspire other students.  Capturing content for student portfolios to demonstrate proficient literacies is another priority.



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