Skip to main content

Future Ready Librarians®  Challenge #2

The Future Ready Librarians Challenge Series is an ongoing series of bite-sized professional learning activities to help you learn new tools and strategies, focus your leadership, and connect with fellow librarians to share ideas and solutions. With a variety of themes over the 2020-21 school year, you’ll be able to stay professionally grounded by connecting your librarianship to the Future Ready Framework and building your librarian learning network.

Bookmark this site to stay current with the regular updates and challenges as they are released. While the challenges will take place over the school year with some time-specific activities, all challenges and resources will be archived to allow you to explore the challenges on your own timeline either this year or in the future. Updates and challenges will also be posted on the FRL Facebook page and Twitter.


The first Future Ready Librarians Challenge featured the Future Ready Librarians Self-Reflection, a short and simple survey to help you assess your practice in relation to the Future Ready Librarians Framework. Your challenge activities include reflecting, recording, and sharing professional strengths to better understand how you can lead, teach, and support students and fellow educators in your schools.


Future Ready Librarians Challenge #2


This Future Ready Librarians® Challenge is focused on building instructional collaboration and your skills as an instructional partner as you lead, teach, and support in schools transitioning from remote to hybrid learning. In addition to using the familiar Future Ready Librarians Framework, this challenge will also feature two other Future Ready Schools resources to help sort out the present and plan for the future.

  • Planning for High-Quality Remote Learning uses the Future Ready Framework as a way to examine current challenges and considerations as schools plan for both remote and hybrid learning.
  • SMART Goal Setting Guide is an easy-to-use tool to help educators identify and define Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-based goals for their programs and professional practice.

But you won’t do it alone! Recognizing the value of professional partnership and instructional collaboration, you will complete this challenge with another librarian peer, so you can help and support one another as you plan for 2021. In addition to sharing your own stories and plans, you will also practice your professional listening and collaboration skills. And true to Future Ready Librarian Challenges, these activities are still bite-sized — 20-30 minutes max!


We all need a buddy! Having a foil, thought partner, co-conspirator, and/or shoulder to cry on helps ensure you can be your best as a Future Ready Librarian. Let’s step out and connect with a colleague to begin 2021 with a win-win!

What is the challenge?

Reach out to another library professional either in your community or within your online professional learning network to be your #FutureReadyLibs for this challenge. Together, you will share and explore your librarianship together, take stock of the present and plan for a brighter future.

Why is this important?

In these times of uncertainty, division, and professional isolation, staying connected to peers and colleagues is more important than ever. Practicing mindful professional collaboration will help you reflect on your own situation and guide your planning for the future. Sharing, listening and supporting one another — isn’t that what instructional partnership is all about?

What do I do?

  • Find and reach out to another librarian peer and agree to be an #FRLibrarians
  • If you haven’t already done so, make sure both of you have taken the Future Ready Librarians Self-Assessment and if interested, complete the first FRL Challenge
  • Schedule your first virtual meeting or call in preparation for the next activity. If you want to make it during happy hour, that’s up to you!
  • Celebrate your #FRLibrarians partnership on a social media platform of your choosing. If you want to get creative, mashup your Bitmojis or create a virtual selfie with your buddy.


While 2021 inaugurates a new calendar year, a new administration, and the distant promise of a post-pandemic future, the present may evoke the famous motto from Game of Thrones — “Winter is coming.” Have a conversation with your #FRLbuddy and take stock of the present. Celebrate successes and acknowledge concerns and challenges as you work with students, colleagues, and your community.

What is the challenge?

Take the time to have a chat with your FRL buddy and practice your sympathetic/empathic listening with one another. You’ll have an opportunity to both share and listen to each other’s pandemic challenges and opportunities. You won’t try to solve each others’ problems; just listen and hear them out as a professional colleague. Warning: this is harder than it sounds!!!!

Why is this important?

With schools facing crises created by the pandemic, educators often struggle to see beyond their own situation and challenges. Thanks to cortisol, our brains and bodies respond to crisis by going into ‘fight or flight’ survival mode. This same chemical creates other emotional and physiological impacts which work against our ability to empathize and help others. Connecting with a colleague and taking the time to listen is a simple activity which not only helps support one another, but is a valuable professional skill. And it might even feel good!

What do I do?

On your own: Reflect and be ready to share with your buddy some thoughts on the following three questions. You will both respond to each of these questions taking turns in sequence during your meeting together.

  • What are some challenges you’ve had in working with students, colleagues, and/or your community during the pandemic?
  • What are some successes you’ve faced when working with students, colleagues, and/or your community during the pandemic?
  • What have you learned about yourself as a professional as you’ve worked through the pandemic?


The pandemic has turned schools and teaching upside down. It’s hard to know where to start as you redefine how you lead, teach, and support students, colleagues and your community. Thankfully, Future Ready Schools has created a simple guide called Planning for High-Quality Remote Learning which is based on the Future Ready Framework.

What is the challenge?

To help you navigate the transitions taking place in schools across the country, you and your partner will explore the Planning for High-Quality Remote Learning guide from Future Ready Schools and discuss where each of you want to focus your #futurereadylibs energy as you begin 2021.

Why is this important?

Even Future Ready Librarians can’t do everything. And because the business of school isn’t ‘as usual’ anymore, it’s important to understand, acknowledge, and explore the changes that are occurring is important as you try to navigate the transitions occurring in schools. 

What do I do?

On your own: Explore the Planning for High-Quality Remote Learning guide . For your own school or library, identify one area of focus from the Future Ready Framework.

Together: In a virtual meeting with your #FRLbuddy, discuss your area of focus with your partner, addressing the following prompts. You can either have each person respond to all the prompts together or alternate with one another.

  • What is your area of focus?
  • Why is this your area of focus?
  • What are the needs of students, colleagues, or your community in this area?
  • Who are my current or potential partners?
  • What will success look like?

For the listener: Do not interrupt your colleague as they respond to the prompts. When they are finished sharing, consider asking one or more of the following question starters:

  • Help me understand what you mean by….
  • Tell me more about….
  • I appreciate….After the questions from the listener, the listener should briefly paraphrase what they heard to check for understanding.

Resist the temptation to begin solving the problem or begin creating a plan. You will have an opportunity to discuss next steps and planning in your next activity. When each person has responded and listened to one another, thank your colleague for sharing and listening. Then schedule your next conversation within the next two weeks for the last activity.


While educators often set their goals in August and September at the beginning of the school year, the new calendar year also offers a midway opportunity to review, revise, or create new professional targets and outcomes. And this year, saying good riddance to 2020 was a resolution likely shared across the globe. Start 2021 with a simple, doable SMART goal based on the stories and conversations you’ve already explored with your #FRLbuddy.

What is the challenge?

Using the Future Ready SMART Goal Setting Guide, you and your #FRLbuddy will help each other create a goal for the second half of the school year. Be realistic about the size and scope of the goal. Aim to create a simple, doable, winnable goal which you can celebrate by the end of this school year.

Why is this important?

In the midst of the changes and transitions occurring in schools, it can be helpful to keep things simple and follow familiar step-by-step processes. Creating a SMART goal to lead, teach, and support students, colleagues and your community helps you start the year with a win-win-win — focusing your #futurereadylibs superpowers, helping you feel more in control, and defining a better future for your students, colleagues, and community.

What do I do?

On your own: Review the Future Ready SMART Goal Setting Guide. Based on the needs and priorities you’ve discussed so far, craft a draft SMART goal which can be completed by the end of this school year.

Together: In a virtual meeting with your #FRLbuddy, share your draft SMART goal with your partner. Like before, take turns with your partner with one person sharing and the other being an active listener. If you want to share draft documents either before or during the meeting, feel free to do so.

For the listener: Actively listen to the draft SMART goal created by your partner. When they are finished sharing, use the following response starters in your questions and comments:

  • I appreciated – call out specific things that resonated with you
  • I noticed – ask questions for areas which help clarify understanding
  • I wonder – propose ideas for consideration to enhance or support the idea

When each person has responded and listened to one another, thank your colleague for sharing and listening.

Consider any feedback from your #FRLbuddy and review your SMART goal. The next challenge series will help you implement your goal.

The Future Ready Librarians strand is supported by Follett.