Celebrating Libraries: Installment #3

Who Says Librarians Can’t Have Fun?:  Reflections from TxLA 2011

Guest Post from friend and awesomely energetic librarian Christy!


It’s disheartening to see librarians stereotyped on TV, such as the ones in popular shows like Glee and Greek. We are not old, prim, bunned, shushing spinsters as commonly portrayed in the media. We are a tech-savvy, fun-loving, information-seeking oriented group of professionals who love what we do! 

April 12-15, Austin hosted Texas Library Association’s annual conference with pre-conference sessions being held on Tuesday. It was very gratifying to attend a cocktail dinner Tuesday night with local author Cynthia Leitich Smith as she celebrated the release of her third book, Blessed. On Wednesday, after greeting conference attendees arriving on buses from area hotels, I was able to join local librarians from Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, and other surrounding areas in a flash mob to welcome conference attendees from all over the state of Texas to Austin and TLA. We were up out of our seats and having a great time, making the 4th floor of the Austin Convention Center vibrate with energy and enthusiasm! That was just to start it off…

Jamie Lee Curtis, author and actress, was our opening general session speaker and was eloquent with the way she was wearing her red kerchief around her neck… a symbol of the guillotine (or rather our government chopping our heads off within the education system)!  She went on to say how, through testing and top-down administration, we are no longer using our greatest assets… our minds, our intellect, our creativity. Our students, teachers, librarians, and those who work directly with students are not expendable; the government should be doing what they can to keep those who work directly with children.  Red was the color of the day, for after that day’s sessions, librarians traveled to the State Capitol to rally in protest of the funding cuts being made to libraries across the state and the K-12 databases that equalize the playing field for all Texas students.

From a personal angle, it was a lot of fun to volunteer for a few hours during the event, catch up with fellow Austin ISD librarians throughout different sessions, and support my AISD colleagues participating in the Book Cart Drill Team. I’m very proud to say that after a tie with Austin Public Library, AISD was able to pull off the win with audience support! It was also great to see fellow graduates and professors from the University of North Texas where I recently earned my Masters of Science in Library Science. Then there were the friends from other school districts such as Round Rock and Pflugerville who we rarely get to visit with as professionals. As librarians, we are typically the sole person on our campus in our profession and when we get time to meet with other librarians, it’s so incredibly rewarding!

Throughout the conference, I attended sessions that applied to my position as a middle school librarian and had fun downloading curriculum documents posted via QR codes. Sessions included:

  • Learning Commons for School Libraries
  • Cutting Out the Cutting Edge: Stories of Censorship
  • Let’s Talk Books! Middle Grades Book Clubs
  • Lone Star Authors Shine
  • Maverick Authors Get Graphic
  • Graphic Novels and Comic Books in the Library
  • Librarians and Teachers Collaborate for Student Success
  • YA 2.0: Marketing Your Library through Social Media (#YA2.0 on Twitter)

I was able to walk away with something from each session and was motivated to go back to the Matador Library and start making plans. One of my favorites was where authors of Lone Star books sat and talked about their writing, their ideas, what inspires them, and how incredibly rewarding it is to write for ‘Tweens. I was also inspired by David Loertscher and his concept of learning commons, where libraries are no longer storage spaces for books, but areas of learning and collaboration. A handful of us were fortunate to have dinner with him later that evening where we were able to discuss his ideas further.

Nothing can really compare to being in a place with 6000+ other librarians who love what they do and continue to show enthusiasm and interest in the ever dynamic field of library and information science. The atmosphere was buzzing, the sessions were relevant, and the synergy was unbelievable! It might just be the geek in me, but I couldn’t get enough, even with the information overload. For a recap of conference events, search #txla11 on Twitter.

Flash Mob:  Danced to “I Gotta Feeling”


AISD Book Cart Drill Team Performance:  A political take on the song “I Will Survive”


Austin Public Library Book Cart Drill Team Performance:  A fight for intellectual freedom and rights


Round Rock Book Cart Drill Team Performance:  Breaking stereotypes


Texas Library Association Conference Coverage:


Matador Library on Facebook:


Matador Library on Twitter:




Lyrics by Shannon Pearce


First I was afraid;

I was petrified

school librarians would be cut,

and then just cast aside.

But I knew deep in my heart

we could prove that would be wrong,

because we’re strong,

and we know how to bring it on!


We won’t sit back

and let it be.

We will speak out and then we’ll mobilize

the whole community.

And those who just don’t get it

can go sit down and shush,

if they think for just one second

they can close the book on us!


Oh no, we won’t

walk out the door!

It might save money,

but all our students need us more.

Aren’t we the ones who teach the skills they really need

for the future?

So if we want them to succeed,


We will survive.

We will survive.

We’ll teach those research skills

and keep the love of books alive.

We’ve got campus goals to reach,

We’ve got every kid to teach,

and we’ll survive.

We will survive,

Hey, hey.


They tried to say librarians

are obsolete –

That eBooks and the Internet

are all you need.

And we’re not keeping up

with technology, they say.

No we’re not keeping up –

we’re the ones leading the way!


Now you see, we

are something new!

We tweet and blog and Facebook,

and we have tattoos.

And yes, we still tell stories,

and we love the printed page,

but we’re the superheroes

of the Information Age.


So no, we won’t walk out the door!

It might save money,

but all our students need us more.

Yes, we’re the ones who teach the skills they really need

for the future,

and we help them to succeed.


So we’ll survive.

We will survive.

We’ll teach those research skills

and keep the love of books alive.

We’ve got campus goals to reach,

We’ve got every kid to teach,

and we’ll survive.

We will survive,

Hey, hey.


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