Making a difference in Minnesota - the district coordinator, Dawn Nelson.

With many school districts making cuts to school library programs throughout the country, the Principal of North View Jr. High School told me he, “couldn’t fathom a cut.”  I wondered what was making the difference and one thing is the services of District supervisor, Dawn Nelson.

Dawn is doing a great job of coordinating the school libraries in the district and keeping the contributions of the school librarians and their programs forefront in the minds of all the district’s administrators.  When they need advice about school libraries they turn to Dawn whom they highly respect. 

I enjoyed hearing Dawn talk about a hot topic in the school library world - e-readers.   She had just finished conducting a test run of Nooks, Kindles and iPads and settled on the Nook for the school libraries.  The decision was based on some very practical considerations.  Dawn explained that the Nook won out because schools can purchase one electronic version of a book and download it to six devices.  That makes sense for class sets.  They also liked working with the local Barnes and Noble rep who was close and convenient to answer questions and work out pesky purchasing issues with the school.  Nooks also were more friendly to circulate according to Dawn.

School librarian at North View Jr. High School, Anna Teeple, revealed that Dawn helps the new school librarians in the district by showing them the gap between the real and ideal and “holds the vision” of what a thriving school librarian looks like.  “It’s great that I ca ask questions about what I’m supposed to be doing.”  Anna, a school librarian for about 7 years, said it took her until about her 5th year to “blossom into media specialistness.” 

The situation at Brooklyn Park reinforces the research findings of my doctoral student, Melissa Johnston.  Melissa found that the support of a district supervisor is an extreme enabler for the building level school librarian who is a leader in technology integration in their school. 

It’s great to hear good news!

Libraries in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota are in good stead thanks to having a district supervisor - Dawn Nelson.


March 16, 2011