Use Student Roundtables for School Improvement: with Dustin Hensley

The Librarian Influencer of the Week is Tennessee school librarian, Dustin Hensley. Dustin is one of SLJ’s 2021 Movers and Shakers and works at Elizabethton High School! Click here to listen now!

Here are some librarian influencer tips Dustin shared:

  • Don’t stay at the school building very late at night just to keep working. Take care of yourself.

  • He chooses one thing each year to focus on. This summer he is focusing on weeding his collection. He’s seeking out ideas of creative things to do with the weeded books. (This is the Pennsylvania librarian I referred him to.)

  • He has taken more of a leadership role on campus by becoming the school’s information hub during the pandemic. He is hoping this remains once schools are back this fall.


Dustin hosts student roundtables:

  • Dustin describes how librarians are in positions to advocate for their students and not come across as a judge or evaluator.

  • These roundtables build relationships with the students and to improve the school. He focuses on students who fall through the cracks.

  • One goal is for the students to learn to advocate for themselves and for others around them.

  • Dustin wants students to be responsible for their own learning and growth.

  • The roundtables discuss an issue that was identified through school-wide surveys. The students work out possible solutions and Dustin presents their ideas to the administrators.

  • Dustin uses models that put empathy first. He recommends Design Kit: The Human-Centered Design Toolkit, Stanford d. School, and XQ.


You can connect with Dustin Hensley at:

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Checkout the School Library Program Planner as you get ready to start planning for the 2021-2022 school year. These pre-filled calendars are filled to the brim with ideas you can use for your library program! Use this document to help you plan:

~ Social media posts

~ Library programming

~ Book Displays

~ Bulletin Boards and more!



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