Having been a classroom teacher for 15 years, I was both excited and apprehensive about my new position as an elementary library media specialist at Mason and Meadow Lane elementary schools. There were many opportunities to be explored, but I was unsure about navigating the transition to Library Media Specialist successfully.
It’s a demanding role; in Lee’s Summit each of our elementary librarians travels between two buildings, serving two separate staffs and student bodies. In addition to helping kids learn to love reading and become proficient readers, being familiar with each grade level’s curriculum so as to be a support to teachers, and serving as a professional/technologi
cal resource, doing so in two separate schools requires much organization and thoughtful planning.
Fortunately for me, I was assigned a mentor, Kim Rues, our district’s lead library media specialist at the elementary level. Like the rest of us, she travels between two schools and works extremely hard, but she also serves on several district-level teams and helps organize our department trainings. Couple all of those work responsibilities with the role of being mom to two teenage boys, and Kim’s days and nights are void of a spare moment.
To me, that’s what makes her commitment to cooperation and collaboration with me even more special. Kim made it a priority to meet with me in the spring and summer before I even officially assumed the role of librarian, and since school started, she’s offered to meet with me monthly, sharing effective lessons and collaboration strategies and helping me navigate the various reports and administrative duties I have been tackling for the first time this year.
I’ve had a terrific first year as a library media specialist and it’s due in large part to the cooperation and collaboration Kim Rues has modeled in assisting me in becoming the successful librarian I aspire to be.
I do have times when I feel overwhelmed, but knowing I have a cooperative resource a phone call or an email away has made a tremendous difference. If each of us were as committed to cooperation as Kim Rues, our world would be a much better place.
Jennifer Lassman is the library media specialist at Mason and Meadow Lane Elementary schools and a member of Lees Summit CARES.