The Lonely Librarian-a world of desperate isolation

emilee head shotAs a charter school librarian I often feel isolated and alone.  I don’t have a district meeting to attend I have no other librarians with which to collaborate.  I know I learned how to weed and build a curriculum during my library endorsement but learning and hands on are a different story.   I am eternally grateful for UELMA.  It has given me a place to ask questions, learn skills and make friends with other librarians.   If you are a lonely librarian such as I, or you know other librarians who might feel lonely please reach out to me at  

Also please introduce them to our lovely organization of UELMA.  Our focus on the board is to reach out and let you know we are not alone but also give you resources to make you a better librarian regardless of your schooling or previous background.  I love what I do and want to be able to share and collaborate with amazing teacher librarians like you.  Thank you for promoting a love of learning.   I’ll look forward to hearing from you.

Written By Emilee McCoy

From the President-December 2017

We hope this latest edition of the UELMA Newsletter will capture your interest in our upcoming 2018 Annual UELMA Conference!

Please consider sharing your knowledge and talents with us as a conference session presenter! Looking back thus far, it has been an exciting year with the Future Ready Librarians model going full steam ahead along with the introduction of the new AASL (American Association of School Librarians) National School Library Standards.

board room
The UELMA board has been busy working on our online web presence and we look forward to unveiling our new website at our conference in March 2018. We felt it was important to streamline the accessibility to our website and social media sites to align with current professional organizational trends.

We are also working on providing a repository of conference presentation videos, increasing UELMA membership and improving membership benefits, establishing stronger community, school and professional partnerships.

We have meticulously gone over the UELMA Constitution to clarify verbiage, organizational structure and purpose. We will present the UELMA Constitution to you 30 days prior to our March 9th conference for a membership vote of approval.

UELMA could not grow and evolve without your support and membership. We appreciate all those who serve on additional UELMA committees because you are the dedicated busy bees behind the scenes! Working together has helped our organization move forward with the momentum to change and improve each year. I personally would like to thank our UELMA board members, liaisons and executive board. I am amazed at the talent, skills and effort that each one of them voluntarily puts into our organization. Together we are a force for good as we try our best to represent you, your library programs and students. We serve because we believe in and love what we do. It’s as simple as that! Please consider serving in any capacity on the UELMA board or committees in the future. We need you!
A robust and effective school library cultivates a reading community, engages students and teachers to use print and digital resources, and encourages a global citizenship. I have encouraged you to make one small change this year, and I hope you are seeing that change grow into many possibilities and positive outcomes. With that in mind, I’d like to leave you with something to ponder.
Each day you are making a change in the life of a student. Students often thank us for acquiring the latest and greatest books in the library and a host of other things we do.

However, author Jason Reynolds, one of the keynote speakers at AASL17 in Phoenix, AZ reminded us when it comes to young people:

“(to) remember when was the last time you thanked a young person?”
“It’s okay for us to disagree, but not disengage”
“Be humble enough to connect with young people and admit what you don’t know about them.”
“If a student says a book makes him finally feel seen, look for the places in his life where he feels unseen.”

Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!
Selena Campbell
UELMA President 2017-2018

Shay Walton

womanWhen I applied for the UELMA grant to attend the AASL National Conference, I first thought, “This sounds awesome, I’d love to go to that!” Immediately after I sent in my application to UELMA, I thought, “What have I done?! What if they actually choose me?!” This response will be understandable to any other introverted librarian who might be reading this, and those who know us. Really though, I was so pleased and extremely excited to be awarded the grant. I have enjoyed the state conferences I’ve attended and to have the opportunity to travel to a national conference felt like an exceptional stroke of luck.

I was able to push that introverted part of myself outside of my comfort zone to meet some gifted librarians at AASL who are creating intelligent and progressive activities in their libraries. It was refreshing to be able to hear the ways in which they were succeeding that were similar to my own successes, the ways they were struggling that gave me perspective on my own situation, and the ways in which I could do more to aspire to do the things that I admired about them.

I made goals to attend specific sessions about information research, self-advocacy, and misinformation. There were many different variations on those topics offered (which was awesome!), so I was able gain some serious professional knowledge, but also have some fun by attending an illustrator panel session.

What I didn’t realize before attending the conference was how many authors and illustrators would be there to speak and sign books, and how many vender booths gave books away. I packed very light and ended up shipping a fairly small box of books home, but there were other librarians in the UPS line that had gigantic boxes of books to send back to themselves for when they returned. The energy that came with all of the librarians getting to listen to and meet their very own “rock stars” made the whole event very special. And who doesn’t love a few (or a ton) of free books?

I had a wonderful experience while at AASL and I learned so much from the sessions I attended. I’m glad that I quieted that nervous voice within myself, to first apply for the grant and then approach the whole conference process with a strong focus, but a relaxed attitude.


Shay Walton, Logan High School, Logan, UT

Tina Johnson

ladyI was excited to receive the grant from UELMA so I could go to the AASL conference in Phoenix. Personal development has always been important to me.  I am a relatively new teacher librarian. I knew that going to the conference could help me be even better at my job. My goal has always been to be the best librarian that I can be.  My husband says I get a little too enthused. He is probably right, but I was also right to believe that the AASL conference would help me to be a better teacher librarian.  The conference was important for personal development, but it was also great for meeting and networking with other librarians.  

Before the conference, I decided to focus on building a reading community, which is something I am passionate about.  My second focus was Makerspaces.  I have a Makerspace in my library and I wanted to learn more about making this area of the library more engaging for my students.  Most of the breakout sessions that I went to dealt with my two areas of focus. I felt inspired after my concurrent sessions to go back to my school and put into practice the ideas I gathered from these sessions.

The general sessions were inspiring. I was especially inspired by the last general session with the author Jason Reynolds.  He spoke about connecting with kids, being grateful for who they are, and expressing that gratitude to them. He forever changed the way I see my students. He made me really think about my interaction with them, especially those that may be more difficult.  I have made a habit of telling my students, “Thank you for coming to the library.”

One of the most beneficial parts of my conference experience, that I didn’t expect, was networking with other librarians. One of the best ideas I got about building a reading community came from a librarian I just met.

I am already making plans for 2019 in Louisville, Ky.  

Who wants to come with me?

Tina Johnson

Kay’s Creek Elementary