On Friday afternoon I got invited to attend a meeting of librarians that work at Hawaii Association of Independent Schools (HAIS) institutions here in the islands. For a variety of reasons, Hawaii has an unusually high percentage of students that attend independent schools. On the island of Oahu, the independent school community is very much dominated, however, by what many in the community call the “big three”–Iolani School, Punahou School, and the Kamehameha Schools. The big three are, at least by Southern California standards, humongous. Punahou School graduates about four-hundred students yearly, Iolani graduates about two-hundred fifty (I believe), and Kamehameha is somewhere in between (but is probably closer to Punahou than to Iolani in size).
Interestingly, to this point there has been very little interaction between the librarians who serve these institutions. Hawaii does have a very active school library professional group–The Hawaii Association of School Librarians, but as is often the case just due to numbers HASL tends to be much more concerned about issues of interest to librarians working in public schools. Friday’s meeting was the very first grassroots attempt by the librarians at Iolani school to start building bridges and relationships with librarians at the other independent schools in town. They chatted informally about Web 2.0 and what their schools and libraries were doing with Web 2.0.
This is a great thing for independent schools in Hawaii! The Iolani librarians initiated the process, but they very much emphasized that they wanted it to be everybody’s process and asked for volunteers to host future meetings which people readily stepped forward to do. I have to say that it was a honor to be invited to sit in (and a great opportunity for me to network in the event that I’ll want to apply for a job back in the islands at some point in the future).
It also made me very grateful for the fact that our independent school libraries in Southern California have the kind of active relationships that we do already in place. So much of what I know about school libraries has been learned from my ISLE and ISLE-GAP librarians.
It’s all good!