May 23, 2017

Colleen Graves | Movers & Shakers 2016 – Innovators

Colleen Graves


Teacher Librarian, Ryan High School,
Denton ISD, TX


MLS, Texas Woman’s University, 2012; Master’s
in Secondary Education, University of North Texas, 2006


@gravescolleen, @ryan_library (Twitter);

Photo ©2015 Michael J. Madsen

Making Her Mark

A finalist for School Library Journal’s 2014 School Librarian of the Year Award, Colleen Graves has made her mark developing top-notch Maker spaces at Lamar Middle School in Flower Mound, TX, and her current school, Ryan High School, in Denton, as well as lesson plans and other resources applicable to many Maker spaces. When Graves began her career in education 14 years ago, though, it was as an English teacher.

Her own progress as an educator paralleled the developing role of school librarians as, increasingly, tech evangelists. As technology began to play a more vital role in education, she found herself advising other teachers about how to use new tools and incorporate technology into their lessons.

“At one point, I realized I was already acting as a librarian and instructional leader,” says Graves.

Through her Maker space, Graves has connected not only with her students but with other educators as well. A conversation between one of her classes and the staff at MaKey MaKey led her to write a suite of lessons for teachers using the invention kit. Now, she’s working on two books about Maker spaces and the projects they make possible.

To Graves, Maker spaces demonstrate that “the library is…a place where students can create, not just consume. It’s based on the idea that a kid should be able to walk in, decide to create something, and have the tools to be able to [develop] their idea.”

This article was published in Library Journal. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Professional Development for Today’s Librarian
Stay ahead of innovations and changes impacting the library profession with timely resources and tools from Library Journal and School Library Journal. Staff and stakeholders from all settings and at all levels can participate in hands-on live workshops, enroll in immersive online courses led by leading industry professionals, and access insightful webcasts covering a range of relevant topics.


  1. Jenny Hall says:

    You are totally AWESOME. You have totally transformed the library to a student friendly space. You are a joy to have and I only look forward to seeing what more awesomness you can do.