Guest Post by Heather Lister: The Gift of Mackin
This holiday season I was able to gift my husband the PERFECT gift. I had been hiding it since August and was so excited to give it to him. It wasn’t expensive or a hard-to-find item, but it was unique and 100% him. The minute I saw it I knew he had to own it. When Christmas morning rolled around, I made sure that he had undivided attention as he opened the wrapping paper. I was giddy with excitement waiting for his reaction as he read the box. It was such a great moment for the both of us. Even though I wasn’t the recipient of the gift, I felt such joy in giving him something that brought him happiness.
Anyone can give gifts. It’s the art of finding that perfect one that makes someone a good gift-giver. It requires you to listen, be in tune with the person’s wants and needs, know their likes and dislikes, and do the research to find that perfect item that will bring them joy. Without this information, you’ll find yourself buying lots of gift cards. Technically, yes — you fulfilled the duty of giving a gift by passing along a $15 Amazon Gift Card, but I highly doubt you’re going to get the same reaction you would if you were to give that person even a $5 gift with much more thought and personalization.
This art of gift giving (or lack thereof) is much the same of the role of a school librarian. Anyone can put a book in the hands of a student. Anyone can send a few articles to a teacher. Anyone can share a few links. It’s the art of finding the right resources that makes you a great librarian. Just as with gift giving, being a great librarian requires listening, knowing your recipients (students and teachers), and delivering the right resources at the right time in the right format. Librarians live for those moments when we finally match our learners with that perfect resource. We live for the relief on teachers’ faces when we find them the perfect website. We live for the moment when a student rushes into the library the morning after you gave them a book to explain how awesome it is. We cannot underestimate the power in these moments and we must do what we can to make these moments occur more often for our learners. Sounds fun. No prob, right?
Odds are that in addition to collection development, you’re also leading professional development for your staff, administering a collection of thousands of materials, helping students and teachers with technology, educating hundreds of young minds, and all the “other duties as assigned”. And don’t forget the LAMINATOR! (Just kidding — I wish). So as much as we love the idea of personalizing our collection to the needs of our teachers and students, it takes a huge amount of time that many of us simply don’t have. Unfortunately, because of other demands, the research that is required to give the perfect gift or resource is often pushed to the back burner. When we finally have the time to read those review journals or see what formats certain titles are available in (usually holiday breaks or long weekends), our opportunity has passed.
So what do you do when you know that it is in the personalization and “gift-giving” role of librarianship that sets you apart from just being a body in a room, but time doesn’t actually allow for it?
Some of you may know Mackin as a distributor — and you are correct! We represent over 18,000 publishers with access to over 3 million print titles and 2 million digital titles and hundreds of makerspace products! Mackin has worked with over 50,000 schools around the world. What you might not know is that Mackin is made up of former teachers, librarians, and administrators all with the goal of helping you find that perfect gift for your learners. Our Collection Development team is full of certified librarians eager to take the intel you have on your students and teachers and connect them with the best resources possible. Their primary goal is to make you look amazing by creating free custom lists of resources to meet the wants and needs of your learners.
Similarly, our MackinMaker team analyzes your Needs Assessment responses and can recommend products and solutions for your school makerspace. Even if you’re not sure where to start, they are there to help answer any and every question relating to school and library makerspaces. As a distributor, you have the advantage of selecting product from lots of manufacturers rather than being limited to a select few.
MackinVIA is our award-winning digital management platform. Instead of having 10 different places for students and teachers to access for digital content, MackinVIA allows you to store all of your digital resources — from any vendor — in one spot. Even better — it’s FREE and we even give you free resources to get started! Your students will spend more time learning and less time clicking with MackinVIA’s single sign-on feature and tons of integrations. Whether you have 10 or 10,000 digital resources, MackinVIA is your school’s one-stop shop for digital content.
Mackin recently announced a new division offering professional learning services to schools. Whether you’re looking for hands-on workshops, inspiring keynotes, or ongoing professional development, Mackin’s Professional Learning team will work with you to develop a plan to transform your teaching and learning.
Transform Your School Library (TYSL) is a forum where like-minded educators who are excited about the transformation of school libraries can have an arena to work within and help to secure the future of school libraries and school librarianship. Whether you’re looking for new tech tools to use in your lessons, or tips on advocating for funds, Mackin TYSL is a wonderful resource for anyone invested in school libraries.
…and this is only the beginning of what Mackin can offer!
At Mackin, we recognize the power of what teachers and librarians do every day. Most of us at Mackin have been in those shoes before and we know how demanding it is. That is why Mackin has invested so much into the services that help you get the best resources for your learners. As we enter into 2018, I encourage you to partner with Mackin to help you create more of those amazing ‘gift’ opportunities for your students and teachers. We know the power of libraries and librarians, now let us help you communicate that power!