The Beginnings of a Living, Breathing Mission Statement

As a librarian, it is my personal mission to: model a love of learning and discovery, demonstrate my passion to help students become lifelong learners; expose patrons to a place where children and adults come to collaborate, create, explore resources, and discover new worlds; and unearth ways to mirror what is happening in the classroom with the outside world, creating authentic experiences that foster a sense of joy for learning.


The intended audience of my personal mission statement are those in my school community: students, teachers, parents, and administrators. Much of my practice as a librarian echoes Megan Egbert‘s beliefs as a librarian and a parent, “We should probably embrace what is here and use it to our advantage, rather than fighting with reality. Be involved in what your children are interested in” (Egbert, 2014). I am very transparent with my students, I want them to know that I do not have all the answers and that we are all on the same journey of exploration and discovery.

One of my goals as a librarian is to make myself visible and available to the school community as much as possible, I entered a space that was strictly used for accessing print resources. It was my job to change the atmosphere of both the space and the position, a large part of that change came with truly connecting with faculty, much in the way Palmer describes in his book, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher’s Life: “[I]f we want to grow as teachers–we must do something alien to academic culture: we must talk to each other about our inner lives–risky stuff in a profession that fears the personal” (Palmer, 2007). By visiting classrooms, offering up curriculum-related materials, reinvigorating the library space, and adding an online presence through digital resource pages and a library website, the library is becoming a welcoming nook in the school where treasures lie and learning is fun.

A change to the library space, has also meant the adoption of technology in a meaningful way. In the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, educator, Mike Ribble found that “95% of all teens ages 12-17 are now online” (Ribble, 2013). To treat the library as simply a large repository of books, would be to encourage irrelevance of the library in the very near future. Much of the collaboration, creation, and exploration mentioned in the mission statement happens through digital devices and the library is often the epicenter of examining new possibilities for incorporating technology into the classroom. Ribble goes on to say, “Times and technologies have changed, but the need for basic skills in humanity are important” (Ribble, 2013). With that in mind, students are required to complete an online digital badge course in digital citizenship prior to creating their own blogs. While discussing who would teach this course, it seemed a natural fit to take place in the library, under my guidance as school librarian. This experience prepares students to be responsible and respectful online, they are quickly discovering how to be in control of their digital footprint and that there truly is no “right to be forgotten” online (Toobin, 2014). As they journey through this experience, they have come to see the library and the library staff in a new light.

This mission statement is meant to serve as a reflection of who I am as a professional and what I hope to accomplish in the months and years to come. The words I have chosen are deliberate elements of who I am and what I do: model, discovery, passion, lifelong, collaborate, create, and explore.


References

Egbert, M. (2014, March 11). 10 reasons why I will continue to give my children handheld devices. Retrieved October 30, 2014, from http://hipmombrarian.com/2014/03/11/10-reasons-why-i-will-continue-to-give-my-children-handheld-devices/

Hachewsky, C. A. (n.d.). Mission statement. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from Living Libraries website: http://carolnahachewsky.wordpress.com/mission-statement/

Mission, signatures, and vision. (n.d.). Retrieved October 5, 2014, from Seattle Pacific University website: http://www.spu.edu/about-spu/mission-and-signatures

Palmer, P. J. (2007). The courage to teach: exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s life. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

Reynolds, T. (n.d.). Mission statements and reflections. Retrieved November 1, 2014, from Tammy Reynolds ePortfolio website: http://thelearninglibrarian.wordpress.com/letter-of-introduction/

Ribble, M., & Miller, T. N. (2013). Educational leadership in an online world: connecting students to technology responsibly, safely, and ethically. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 17(1), 137-145.

Toobin, J. (2014, September 29). The solace of oblivion. The New Yorker, 90(29), 26. Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/solace-oblivion

24 thoughts on “The Beginnings of a Living, Breathing Mission Statement

  1. Very good, and very well thought out. It is very important for students to understand all of their resources and tools and utilize them…not every tool is good for every situation. I think that in today’s society many kids want to use technology, but that is not always the best resource or tool for them. Integrating the library into classrooms and helping students learn how to utilize, but also how to enjoy reading itself.

    There are many students who don’t read (I am not a huge reader) I think if these students become familiar and feel comfortable with the library. The library can be used in so many ways, hopefully your impact will change the way they learn, and help them enjoy reading, and more importantly libraries!

  2. Your mission statement is right on target. I appriciate that you have the love of learning and discovory in your statement. It is one thing to teach and provide the tools that each person needs to learn. You are someone that truley provides the love of learning and curiosity through example.

  3. I applaud you for working on a personal mission statement (did you “Start With Why?” – see Simon Sinek). We should all strive to have one or at least a sense of our individual “why” (why do you care about what you do; what’s the cause; why should other’s care). I think your statement has some powerful ideas in it related to the noble cause of our profession.

    What I’m getting less of is what differentiates you as a librarian. Could another librarian take your mission statement and would it represent who they are equally well? It’s like the mission statements of libraries or colleges. Many of them sound the same. We all are committed to creating lifelong learners, but how do we do that and how do we assess our success? I think the tagline of your blog may offer some possibilities in terms of what makes you unique and how that shapes your personal mission.

    Formulating a good mission or why statement is hard work but I admire that you are sharing yours and asking for feedback. Good luck with it.

    • Your feedback gave me a lot to think about, Steven. In fact, I reflected upon it in one of my later posts and the idea of individualizing my mission is something I’m working towards. Thank you for your thoughtful and constructive feedback, it is greatly appreciated.

  4. I have seen many of your statements, such as your being “transparent with [your] students” and being comfortable admitting “that [you] do not have all the answers” in action. You are approachable as a co-learner with our students. You are also an approachable resource and willing participant in our teacher community of learners. Your personal library blog is an added resource for your colleagues and for parents (as well as your larger personal learning network), and creates a personal brand for you as a librarian who is constantly investigating new practices and reflecting on their own journey. In short: Very cool, Becky Todd, very cool…

    • Thank you, Liz Ebersole, thank you. Your comments both on the blog and in your thoughtful email are greatly appreciated and helped me see things for a new perspective. Thank you!

  5. Your passion for discovery and learning is clearly evident and the statement is a strong representation of that love. Excellent mission statement.

    My recommendation would be to change “demonstrating” to demonstrate and/or revise the sentence so it clearly identifies that you want to demonstrate your passion for lifelong learning to your students so they become inspired.

  6. I love it. Makes sense, well-justified, a good read. 🙂 Thoughtful. The only thing that I would say is that it’s long for a mission statement, so maybe try bolding, underlining, etc. key phrases that can condense your philosophy into themes : for example : connection, community, etc. 🙂

    • Thank you for taking the time to read my statement, Balika. I like your suggestions regarding highlighting important terms or passages so readers can quickly learn the message I am trying to get across. Thank you!

  7. Your mission statement is very beautifully formulated, and clearly adresses not only what you would like to achieve, but how you intend to do this. From what little I know about developing a mission statement, this seems to be an important factor in what should be included! I love it.

  8. Becky,

    I think this is great. I really see you embodying this mission statement each day at SHA. I think this Mission Statement is “living and breathing” because you are already living and breathing it!

    The only suggestion I have is along the lines of Balika above – it is one long sentence and feels drawn out as I read it. Balika’s suggesiton are very good; you also may want to break it into two or three sentences.

    Great job!

    • Thank you for taking some time to go over my mission statement, Rabbi Loew, it is greatly appreciated. I’ve been looking over it and I agree with you and Balika, it’s just a matter of figuring out how and what to break up into smaller sentences. Thanks again for your time.

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