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New Tools Build Future Ready Librarian Leadership

Micro-credential and self-reflection tools support professional growth

As a former librarian and district leader, I found that success was the best form of advocacy — when the great work of librarians is shared and documented, good things follow for students and library programs. That said, it’s often difficult to effectively tell the story about how librarians make a difference for students and colleagues. Supervisors and colleagues may not completely understand the job of a teacher librarian and there are limited ways for librarians to objectively validate and share their professional practice.

The Future Ready Librarians® initiative has helped change the conversation about the ways in which teacher librarians lead, teach, and support innovative learning in schools. Now in its fifth year, Future Ready Schools® (FRS) has grown beyond the 3,400 pledges of superintendents to become a model for school and district teams to collaboratively vision and lead change. At FRS institutes and workshops, Future Ready Librarians® sit alongside instructional coaches, principals, IT directors, and district leaders, working from common research-based “gears” to explore innovation. Thanks to Future Ready Framework, librarians, coaches, and leaders are literally on the same page and using the same language.

FRS continues to grow as a model for collaborative leadership, not only for librarians, but for other educational leaders. And while there are almost 23K members on the Future Ready Librarians® professional learning group on Facebook, both librarians and leaders acknowledge the need to better measure and recognize those who are effectively implementing the Future Ready Librarians® Framework in their libraries. With the goal of helping librarians reflect on their practice and document the ways in which they lead, teach, and support Future Ready Schools®, the Future Ready Librarians® initiative will be rolling out several new professional learning tools for the 2019-20 school year. 

Empowering Students as Creators Micro-credential for Future Ready Librarians®
This micro-credential focuses on one area of the Future Ready Framework — Empowering Students as Creators. A micro-credential is a competency-based professional development tool developed in partnership with the educational non-profit Digital Promise, a national leader in creating, promoting, and hosting micro-credentials in the education community.

Micro-credentials are unique professional learning tools that integrate many of the best practices found in good teaching — learner voice, choice and pace, authentic content, professional collaboration, standards- or competency-based evaluation, and peer review. Rather than sitting through a course, learners use the micro-credential to guide their own learning and inquiry, completing various tasks including research, reflection, observation, reflection, and curation. You work at your own pace and provide evidence of your learning and professional practice. When you’re ready to share your work, you submit specific artifacts to other librarian leaders for evaluation based on a rubric. If you meet the criteria, you receive a nationally-recognized micro-credential from Digital Promise, issued by Future Ready Schools®. If you don’t, you can reflect on the feedback from your peers and resubmit. The resulting micro-credential badge can be part of your signature line, resume, professional growth plan, or even be used as evidence in your professional evaluation if you choose.

You can find more information about micro-credentials here.

As part of the launch of this micro-credential in Fall 2019, a limited number of librarians can take and submit the micro-credential without having to pay the evaluation fee< As part of this cohort, you will join other intrepid librarians exploring this new professional learning tool to examine your own practice. But even if you miss this opportunity, the micro-credential will launch for everyone in early 2020. At that time, the micro-credential will be free to access and use, but if you want to have your artifacts evaluated by a librarian leader evaluator, there will be a $45 assessment fee.  Future Ready Librarians®  Self-Reflection Tool

In 2020, we will also be releasing the Future Ready Librarians® Self-Reflection Tool, a free online survey that will allow librarians to self-assess their practices as they relate to the Future Ready Librarians® Framework. This simple survey will provide a way for librarians to identify current strengths and areas for growth in order to set goals for professional learning and your library program. Like the micro-credential, this tool will allow you to personally reflect on your practice so that you can define what to do next in your growth as a Future Ready Librarian. More information about this resource will be available in early 2020.

For more information

Find additional resources and learn more about the Future Ready Librarians® initiative at


Mark Ray serves as Future Ready Librarians® Lead and has worked both as a teacher librarian and district administrator for 27 years. He is the 2012 Washington State Teacher of the Year.

These resources are made possible thanks to the support and partnership of Follett, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Digital Promise.