Ms. Desiree Alexander, Ed.S. is an award-winning, multi-degreed educator who has been in the educational field since 2002. She is currently the Regional Director of North Louisiana for the Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana. She is the Founder CEO of Educator Alexander Consulting, LLC. She consults with members of several schools/businesses and presents at conferences nationwide. Ms. Alexander is lifetime certified in Louisiana in Secondary English Education, as a Reading Specialist, as a School Librarian, as an Educational Technology Facilitator, as an Educational Technology Leader and in Educational Leadership 1. She is certified in Texas as a Principal, in English Language Arts and Reading for grades 4-8 and grades 8-12, as a Reading Specialist for grades EC-12, and as a School Librarian. She holds multiple technology certifications, including, but not limited to, IC3 certification, Google Certified Trainer, Google Innovator, Apple Teacher 2016, and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Master Trainer. She holds a Bachelor, a Master + 30, and an Education Specialist Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Louisiana State University. She holds a Master of Library Science from Texas Woman’s University. She holds a Master of Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Technology Leadership from Nicholls State University. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Educational Leadership from Lamar University. She is one of the 2017 Young Professional Initiative 40 Under 40 Awards Honoree, 2017 Center for Digital Education Top 30 Technologists, Transformers & Trailblazers, 2017 PBS Learning Media Digital Innovator for Louisiana, 2016 A+PEL Member of the Year, 2015 Librarian of the Year for Louisiana Librarian Association, 2014 Leader of the Year for Region 2 Louisiana Association of Computer Using Educators, and her recent campus's 2015 Teacher of the Year in the Zachary Community School District. Learn more at www.educatoralexander.com.

The Dual Librarian: My Time As a School and Public Librarian

One of the best decisions I ever made in my life was becoming a librarian…twice. Once as a school librarian and again as a public library consultant. As an English teacher, I loved sharing great short stories and books with my students. It was one of the best parts of the profession. So when I heard about an alternative certification program to become a school librarian, I jumped at that chance. I realized quickly that I didn’t truly know all of the things school librarians were responsible for and all of the things they did. However, I learned very quickly. While I was working on becoming certified as a school librarian and earning my MLS, my journey began. I had no clue I would one day become…The Dual Librarian!

Being a School Librarian

I am so thankful that I had a support system through my alternative certification (AC) program when I became a school librarian. It was a lot of on-the-job training since during the AC program, you became a full-time school librarian as you learned and became certified. When I first start programming for my middle school students, it was difficult because none of them stayed after school – they were all bus riders. I had to get creative. I realized that our students had plenty of time in the morning after they ate breakfast and sat and socialized in the open “auditorium” area. So I began doing programs before school! During one Teen Read Week, I got the teachers involved and did competitions such as Are You Smarter than a Middle Schooler and Name That Tune. It was great! It gave our students something constructive to do and let students and teachers learn more about each other and see each other in different ways. It also helped them see the library as a fun place and more students started to be active in the library.

In high school where my students did stay after school, I started programming with only academics in mind. However, I quickly realized that I could program events that were not academic at all, like scary movie nights and game nights just to get students in the library. Other events were connected to academia like book trivia, book clubs, and the Straight Talk program which went over topics that students were interested in like college readiness and health. I learned I needed to do anything I could to connect to the culture of the school and do programs that my students really wanted. Right as I was beginning to get my in my groove and feel successful as a school librarian, an opportunity came up to shake up my world.

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Killin’ It: Murder Mystery at the Library

One of the many things I love about being a librarian is programming! The challenge of creating programs that my teens would love while also engaging them in my library program was a passion. As a Library Media Specialist at a public high school and a Teen Librarian Consultant at a public library, I had to constantly reinvent my library programs so they could stay new and relevant (see program ideas here).  One of my favorite programs was throwing a murder mystery party! After implementing the first one, I learned very quickly that tweens, teens, and adults alike all love a good mystery, and when you throw fun, safety, and food into the mix, they all wanted to be involved.

It Takes Two

At both libraries, the murder mystery turned into two separate programs. Since the theme was Mardi Gras Masquerade, I held a program that allowed students to make masks as well as attend the murder mystery itself. However, they did not have to attend the murder mystery to come make a mask. The mask making program was suggested by the patrons/students and I loved the idea because it gave the attendees who may not have the means to buy a mask or dress up still feel in costume at the murder mystery (dressing up was encouraged, but in no way mandatory). So the mask making program served many purposes: advertisement for the upcoming murder mystery event, a separate library program to get students engaged in the library, and as preparation for the upcoming murder mystery event.

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