School Library Redesign: with Jackie Torres

The Librarian Influencer of the Week is Texas librarian Jackie Torres. She has worked in both an elementary and middle school library and is now transitioning back to a middle school library in Brownsville ISD. Click here to listen now!

Here are some Librarian Influencer strategies Jackie shared for early-career librarians:

  • Jackie recently worked at a large (900 students) elementary library and was on a fixed schedule. She spent most of her time helping students find and select books. She encourages you to try to find time for students to exchange books outside of their rotation time.

  • Jackie says that in a middle school library she finds herself working more as a co-teacher partnering with the teachers.

  • In your early years, focus on building rapport with the kids and engaging them with activities. This will help draw them to your library and can even increase circulation.

  • Jackie says to believe in yourself when you are just starting out. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Give yourself a little grace as you are learning.

This past summer Jackie prepared for the next school year.

  • Jackie studied her budget.

  • She looked at award winning books to start building her list for the next school year.

  • She started thinking through lessons she wants to develop and also thought about lessons she wants to improve.

Jackie has been redesigning her library.

  • Her district won an $8 million dollar grant that created opportunities for extreme makeovers for the libraries. The grant is called LIBRO - Literacy Innovations for Book Reading Opportunities. (Side note - "Libro" is the Spanish, Italian, and Filipino word for "book".

  • Each library chose a theme to help guide the redesign process. Her school chose a coastal zen theme.

  • They created open space by pushing all the bookshelves to the outer walls. She moved the circulation desk to the center so she could see all areas of the library.

  • She purchased curved tables and even some curved shelving that is on casters. These wheels allow for flexibility.

Jackie gets inspiration from:

You can follow Librarian InfluencerJackie Torres at:

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Laura Sheneman, EdD, MLS

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