Magazine article CSLA Journal

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Magazine article CSLA Journal

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

Article excerpt

As the California School Library Association (CSLA) celebrates its Centennial Anniversary and I celebrate my first anniversary as the School Library Technology Consultant at the California Department of Education (CDE), this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what led me to Sacramento. Many people were influential both direcdy and indirectly in my attaining this position. It should be no surprise that one of these influences was my father.

Formative Years

My father, Sam Ousley, a teacher librarian and an active CSLA member (Northern Section President, 1995-96) was certainly the biggest influence on my decision to pursue a career as a teacher librarian. His involvement with CSLA during my formative years had an indirect influence that I am only now fully beginning to understand.

When I was growing up, participating in CSLA activities was a family affair. My mother would join my father in attending the annual conference. When author symposiums were held locally my mom was there making sure everything ran smoothly. My parents would return from these events with autographed books for my brother and me.

Not only did my parents return from these events with books, they also brought home stories of movers and shakers in the school library world, many of whom they counted as friends. Only now as an adult have I begun to realize the impact these stories had on me and my life as a teacher librarian. Among the names I heard mentioned were Jeanne Nelson, Peter Milbury, Bob Skapura, Sandy Schuckett, Ellie Goldstein-Erickson, Barbara Jeffus, John McGinnis, Lonna Carlson, Linda Jewett, and Penny Kastanis, to name just a few.

Following in my Father's Footsteps

Like my father, I became a classroom teacher. While I was teaching in Manteca Unified School District, the same district in which my father was a teacher librarian, he began contemplating retirement. It was his heart's desire to see me in his library position. Taking the phrase 'grow your own" literally, he encouraged me to earn my library credential. If that phrase is unfamiliar, it means nudging your best and brightest classroom teachers into a library credentialing program. For me that meant attending Fresno Pacific University.

Although I did not step into my father's library position, we did work together for several years as colleagues when I was hired as the teacher librarian to open a brand new high school library. While I was already an elected officer of the local chapter of the California Teachers Association (CTA), my father encouraged me to also become an active member of our professional library organization, CSLA.

Together we attended my first CSLA conference, this time as peers. He took great pride in introducing me to the people he valued in the library world, those same people I had heard discussed at the dinner table for years. I've gone on to maintain a connection and friendship with many of these people and value the foundation they provide for me. Continuing in his footsteps, I am making my own connections with new leaders in the world of school libraries.

The Seed Is Planted

For several years I attended CSLA board meetings as liaison from CTA. At CTA State Council meetings, Sandy Schuckett and I advocated for teacher librarians and strong library programs. I served as chair of the CSLA Para-professional Committee and worked on several conference committees with the current CSLA President-elect, the conference chair, and CSLA's conference coordinator at that time, Carol Shuey. I still hold the office of Northern Region Treasurer.

Through this involvement I had the good fortune to hear firsthand Barbara Jeffus' updates from the CDE, Jeff Frost's legislative reports, and to witness the internal work of the CSLA board. …

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