Robertson expands the library walls by using technology

Ryan Martin

Nikki Robertson presents her session The Connected Concierge in Your School (& Classroom) at METC in St. Charles on Feb. 9.

Nikki Robertson, a librarian from Alabama, is changing the way people view libraries at the school.

Her presentation at METC, aptly named The Connected Concierge in Your School (and Classroom), draws a lot off of her personal experience in her new library.

“I wanted it to be an innovative, active place,” Robertson said. “The fact that the kids are able to be creative in that space and it’s not attached to a grade or a project or any expectations encourages their learning.”

Something that Robertson touched on with a passion during her presentation was the power of Twitter.

“If you’re not harnessing the power of Twitter, you’re already illiterate,” Robertson said to the about 40 attendees in her 9:45 a.m. session.

In order to show the power of Twitter, she draws off of a personal experience when 700 kids got trapped at her high school due to weather.

“We had already established our school hashtag,” Robertson said. “So we used Twitter and social media to keep parents and the community informed about the kids, when they were eating dinner, taking pictures of what they were doing, when breakfast was served, where they were sleeping. So we kept the parents and community informed all night long about how their kids were being taken care of.”

A point of concern for Robertson lately has been the cutting of librarians in schools. She says that librarians need to tell their story of the hard work that they do in order to keep those positions and the best tool of all is the students.

“The advocates have to be your students and the teachers,” Robertson said “On Twitter, #saveourlibrarian was something where the kids did a readout, the teachers did a readout and they refused to go to class because their librarian had been fired.”

After that incident, the board ‘found money’ in their budget and they got their librarian back.

“If we’re not telling our story, nobody knows how valuable what you’re doing really is.”