Monday, August 6, 2012

#tlchat: The Librarian’s answer to #edchat

In today’s installment of our Connected Educator Month series, we’re handing our blog over to Jennifer LaGarde, a regular contributor to #tlchat, an award-winning, all-day Teacher-Librarian Chat that takes place on Twitter. Jennifer also maintains a blog here titled “The Adventures of Library Girl.” Many thanks to Jennifer for sharing her #tlchat experiences for Connected Educator Month.

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It’s no accident that #tlchat took home Edublog Award gold this year in the category of “Best Hashtag.”  Despite other heavy hitters nominated for the same honor, Edublog voters recognized the power of #tlchat - a Twitter hashtag, standing for “Teacher Librarian Chat,” that helps school librarians tag what they share as being related to or concerning school libraries.

When Joyce Valenza first proposed #tlchat, back in 2010, as the librarian answer to #edchat, she suggested that labeling our tweets with this hashtag would make our discussions “more findable and appear as more fluid conversations.”  I’m not sure she could have envisioned, (although maybe she did), how this simple idea would grow to become a uniting force among educators active in social media – a way, not only for teacher librarians to connect, but for others: classroom teachers, administrators and librarians from other disciplines, to see what school librarians value, are concerned with and are invested in.  By adding the #tlchat hashtag to our precious 140 character tweets, teacher librarians show that whatever the information being shared, it matters to teacher librarians.  And by combining #tlchat with other educational hashtags, we visually and succinctly illustrate how teacher librarians not only care about the same things all educators care about, but that we also have the skills necessary to impact practice in that area.   In a profession that is often separate and apart from other disciplines, #tlchat helps prove that we’re all in it together.

That’s a lot of power for 7 little characters.

For me, personally, #tlchat has become a “go to” spot for learning and sharing.  Not only does it help me filter the continuous stream of information that flows through Twitter, it also helps me connect with other librarians.  What’s more, because increasingly, #tlchat, the hashtag that was started for and by librarians, is being used by classroom teachers, tech educators, principals, and even authors, #tlchat continues to prove itself as a valuable resource in finding new and innovative people to follow and learn from.

Bottom line?  If you’re not following #tlchat, you’re missing out.  I don’t know what I’d do without it!  

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Jennifer LaGarde (aka Library Girl) is the lead librarian for New Hanover Schools and is teacher librarian at Myrtle Grove Middle School in Wilmington, NC. She is also a Nationally Board Certified School Librarian, Advocacy and Governance Chair for the North Carolina School Library Media Association, and a founding member of NCSLMA’s Young Adult Book Award. In 2011, she was awarded the “I Love My Librarian Award” by the American Library Association, the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the New York Times. She was also named a 2011 “Mover and Shaker by Library Journal.