Tuesday, February 26, 2013

On Peer Sourcing in the Library

No librarian is an island. That, of course, is my opinion: that good librarianship requires a degree of collaboration, a willingness to learn from others. I know I couldn't do my job well without my peers--colleagues, friends--who open themselves and their expertise to others.

The way I see it, there are a lot of brilliant librarians out there, and they all have something tremendous to offer to the profession. Some excel at offering program successes, some at offering service innovations. Some specialize in research and tips on the work we do with kids, which helps me gain intentionality and purpose; some share insightful ruminations on the profession that give me new perspective on what it is I do. I know that I strive to share everything I can about STEAM programming for kids--that's what I would want to be my niche, were I to have one; and while I would not claim to be the loudest or best voice on that topic (I have some really smart peers!), I do hope I am offering something worthwhile.

My peer-sourced flyer
I want to contribute because, simply, I take a lot from my peers. That is to say, I peer source. Frequently. Take my recent initiative to get more kids reading our great graphic novel series; why would I start from scratch in making a top ten list when Hannahlily Smith already shared a stellar one on the Nerdy Book Club blog? Sure, I designed the handout I placed in our graphic novel stacks; but the core of the material came from a peer I consider an authority on the subject. I peer sourced it.

I peer source themed book selection for impromptu story times. I peer source genre readers' advisory lists. I peer source simple crafts for large groups, and I peer source homeschooling program formats. My library services benefit from all this peer sourcing.

Don't get me wrong--I do a lot of original work, as do my peers. But the reason we are able to create so many quality services from scratch is because we look to our peer "experts" to fill in the gaps where we may not always be so successful or confident on our own. We look to and learn from the know-how of others. The way I see it, that's an exemplary work model: services are top-notch, staff are developing skills and working efficiently, and children benefit.

I'm proud to be a part of a profession that values collaboration and believes we all have something valuable to offer.


  1. You are always one of the first blogs I go to when I am feeling in a rut, just need a fresh direction, or simply just want to read about things happening outside my library. I always know I will be getting quality ideas and programs whenever I visit. I appreciate how willing you are to share your ideas. You're doing amazing things Miss Amy and others are noticing!

    1. Thank you so much, Brooke. I'm glad that I can help spread some ideas that may work in other libraries!

  2. You have the key and I love you for it. It is always about the collaboration and scaffolding we all build together to get to a better place in our professionalism. A beautiful post.

  3. I feel in reading the blogs that I follow each day, is daily professional development for myself. I make use of story times that bloggers post, found better ways to make budgets, found new songs/rhymes/flannel board ideas, books to buy. I could go on and on, but certainly you all share/exchange/invigorate others. I want to say thanks to all bloggers for taking the time to share.


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