Rutgers School of Communication and Information (SC&I) and The New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) will host the annual School Library Bus Tour next week between October 16-18, 2018. The tour will include visits to 11 different school libraries across New Jersey.
According to SC&I’s Assistant Teaching Professor of Library and Information Science Joyce Valenza, the tour’s co-founder, the tour will provide students, along with librarians and administrators, the chance to witness “a variety of innovative approaches in instruction, student engagement and professional library leadership.” Although there isn’t actually a bus involved (participants car pool among locations), groups will have the opportunity to travel across the state over three days to observe the different techniques and practices associated with well-run and innovative school districts.
Additionally, the tour will offer the schools where the libraries are located an opportunity to discover promising school librarian candidates, and enable SC&I students to network with those currently in the field, several of whom are SC&I alumni.
Inspired by the historical garden and house tours in Charlottesville, Virginia, the school library tour provides participants with the chance to witness the full potential of New Jersey’s most impressive school libraries. “I want our students to see the ceiling rather than the floor of practice,” said Valenza, “I want them to observe librarians who are effectively building cultures of literacy and learning and leading children and teens in meaningful inquiry.” She hopes that participants will be able to take the knowledge they gain and apply it to their own school libraries.
Now in its third year, the tour has blossomed from the pilot-program Valenza and co-founder South Brunswick High School Librarian Lisa Manganello envisioned in 2016. “The feedback from the people who have participated is dramatically positive. For many of our students, it’s been career changing,” she said.
The first School Library Bus Tour, which took place in the South Brunswick School District, has expanded to include school libraries across six towns, all the way from Monmouth Junction down to Atlantic City.
Feedback from past students has shown the benefits of the program. In 2016, Kendra Calbria, a Master of Information (MI) graduate of SC&I, wrote the tour “was such a positive experience.” She felt that the chance to “see how other school libraries work throughout a school day and interact with the students” represented an important opportunity in her education.
Other attendees have also attested to the program’s relevance, and as a result, the Bus Tour continues to expand and provide students across SC&I the chance to see the best that school libraries and school librarians can offer.
To learn more about the 2018 School Library Bus Tour, or to sign up, visit the website here.
For more information about SC&I's Master of Information Program, click here.