Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Library Advocacy

Advocacy of the library is important and key in keeping a successful program. After careful consideration and reading of material I have come up with the following four ways I could work on advocating the library in the next school year.
1. Create a Wiki for the library:
I would create a Wiki for the library that advertises the services offered by the library. There would be pages promoting the Gateway Awards and new books received in the library. In addition I would create a page for each of the teachers. On this page we could link projects which have been worked on collaboratively by the classroom teacher and me. The project information would include a description of the project along with attachments of any papers which go with the project. In addition any tutorials would be embedded which could be useful while creating the project. For example if the project is created in Windows MovieMaker any tutorials could be embedded about the use of MovieMaker. All of the teacher pages would also contain a list of resources which specifically pertain to their classes. This wiki would also contain a schedule of what teachers have signed up to use the library each day during each class period.

To create this Wiki I would need to setup a Wiki and potentially Jing. I would use Jing to create any tutorials needed for the projects. These tutorials could be made by myself, or students. This wiki would be linked to the main library website and be for students, teachers, administration and parents. By having all of the information out there on the website anyone in the school can find out what is going on in the library and see how busy it can be.

The inspiration for this project came from:

2. 30-Second Spot on the Weekly Newscast
The Mass Media class is responsible for creating a weekly newscast and I would approach the teacher about doing a 30-second spot on the library each week. This spot could contain book talks for new books or the Gateway nominee books. It could promote other resources and services the library provides. Other options for this section could be profiling projects occurring in the library and using photos taken of students working. This would get the library and its services in the minds of both students and teachers each week. In addition a link to the newscast is put on the website so parents would also see what is going on in the library.

To create this I would need the cooperation of the Mass Media Teacher and the students who were willing to work on this project weekly.

The inspiration for this project came from: and

3. Weekly Blog
I would use a blogging website to create a weekly blog for the library. This blog would include information on the library happenings for the week. Things such as the frequency the library is in use during the week, projects I have helped with, any trouble-shooting I had to do for the technology and more. Basically I would keep a written description of anything that occurred that week in the library. This would be a good way to showcase all that is done as a Library Media Specialist.

To create this blog I would use a free blog website such as Blogger. The blog would be linked to the Library Wiki and be more for administration, teachers and parents. Students are not as likely to want to read a blog about what happens in the library.

The inspiration for this project came from:

4. Monthly Department Promotions
I would have a monthly promotional meeting for each department. During this meeting I would provide snacks and showcase library resources which could be beneficial in their classes. Information such as databases which would have useful information, website ideas, and any new books that apply to their classes. In addition I would demonstrate free online resources which could be used for class projects such as Animoto and Glogster. I could also preview any iPad apps which would be applicable to their classes. When scheduling these meetings I would schedule them starting with the departments that use the library least first. Some departments spend little, if any time in the library. I would hope to encourage them to utilize the libraries resources too. So I would start with the Fine Arts, Vocational, Math and Physical Education departments before scheduling the English, History and Science departments. I would invite the school administration to each of these meetings.

To have the meetings I would need to gather the materials I hope to show the departments. I would also need links to any tutorials that could come in useful and of course I can’t forget the snacks. These meetings would reach teachers and administration.

The inspiration for this project came from:

Then I also considered the following question:
What do I do that no one else in the building does?
As a librarian I keep up with the latest new technologies and resources available for free to our students and teachers. I assess the resources and then share them with the teachers most likely to benefit from their use in the classroom. While providing the resources to the teachers I give them hits, tips and a basic tutorial in how the resource is used. There are plenty of amazing free resources which have untold classroom applications that teachers just don’t know about yet. They go to conferences about teaching their subject, but not necessarily introducing the new technologies. Applications such as Animoto, Prezi, and Glogster are just a few of the resources out there for use. Also Google provides tons of great options which teachers and students should be educated on.
I also work closely with the teachers to ensure we have resources which align with their curriculum and ensure its success. My expertise in research and the library resources will be beneficial to the teachers. Yes, classroom teachers can instruct their students in research, but I will have a better knowledge of the collection and be able to help students locate their resources more quickly.
In addition I strive to find outside funding options for the library. Current budgets are extremely tight and the library is unlikely to get additional funding from within the district. One way to improve the resources available to the library is to look for grants and private donations for the library. Who else will have the time or inclination to do this?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Hype, Homecoming and Mount Rushmore

Another crazy week! Homecoming week is such a blast, especially when you’re a class sponsor and the students aren’t feeling any school spirit. I supervised float building and they actually told me they don’t care what it looks like as long as we can get it finished before 6 pm.

In between these adventures I took the time to catch up on the LM_NET. A few interesting things popped up. On October 3 Aviva Adler posted the responses she had received from people giving tips for books needed in an out of date high school library. There were some good ideas for this librarian such as getting input from the faculty who teach the subjects which really need to be beefed up. This way the new books will fit in with the ideas of the curriculum. Another poster said they put the catalogs out and see what students would be interested in. This is an interesting idea – though I see the value in asking students, you want to purchase stuff they’d like.

On October 1 Alice Yucht shared the link to an article about discovering if someone has been quoted correctly or not. I’ve never really stopped to consider until now how often people are misquoted and this article made me consider that. Maybe it’ll make you think too:

If you’re looking for information to help teach students about cybersafety and copyright issues Marcia Dressel posted some websites on October 3. All three websites looked to have good information and one even had a couple of quizzes which can be taken online.

I’ve noticed I keep getting drawn back to the Books on the Nightstand podcast. This week was no different. I listened to the September 27 episode which was #148 and entitled “Your Literary Mount Rushmore.” The first part of the podcast was discussing the difference between hype and buzz. With all of the books which are pushed so much anymore is it really worth it? Are they going to be worth the hype? It was decided in the podcast that the difference between hype and buzz is that hype is manufactured and buzz is genuine enthusiasm. Hype can start out as buzz but the buzz takes on a life of its own and the powers that be decide to really push and manufacture the excitement. There are so many books which have huge hype and I wonder at the truth of it. Twilight was huge and still is due to the movies, but at first the books were what people were talking about. I think this is an excellent example of something that starts out with buzz that becomes hype. I finally read them when a couple of students brought their copies to me to read. I figure if they are going to go to that much trouble I need to actually read the book. I’m sure I’ll get some flak for this, but honestly they were only okay. After the first it seemed so awkward and like she was just pushing to get more books out of the series and ride the hype. Another one that started with buzz that turned into hype would be the Harry Potter books. I remember them first coming out and hearing everyone talking about them. I finally had to go to the public library and check the first out and from there I was hooked. I was the perfect age for them when the series started and I couldn’t give them up. The ultimate question is, when is it too early to start hearing about a book?

The next section of the pod cast was inspired by a message from a listener who asked; “who would you put on your literary Mount Rushmore?” The entire time they were discussing their own lists I was trying to think of mine. My first and it seemed most obvious choice was J.K. Rowling, she wrote an amazing series which helped get so many back into reading and books. After that it got harder because there are just so many authors I love. Do I stick to children’s/young adult authors? Do I just go with my favorites? There were no parameters because that leaves the question up to everyone’s own interpretation. I must continue to think of my Mount Rushmore and I’ll get back to you on that.

Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog never fails to amuse me in some way. His Blog on October 6th, “Thank You Mr. Jobs,” was his response to the death of Steve Jobs. I was amused at his description of the Apple II he was chosen to learn how to use in 1982, which I have seen these in pictures I will admit I’ve never had to use one because well, I wasn’t even alive yet. Now I do remember the later models with the floppy disks we had to change to finish the Oregon Trail. To me the computer has just always been there, sure they’ve become more common throughout the years, but I grew up learning how to use them. I can definitely say they are faster now than when I was a kid. I can’t imagine the life before computers really. I do see how much they benefit our students who struggle to write neatly. There have been times I’ve had to ask, now what does this say and often they have no clue either. I do have a deep appreciation for the innovations of Steve Jobs and the impact he has had on the world.

Next I moved on and read the ALA TechSource blog; “Librarian, Robot,” by Kate Sheehan. Posted on October 4th. It brings up the question of a librarian being replaced by a robot. It is a scary thought that our jobs can be easily replaced on day by a machine. The computer comes close sometimes with automated checkout stations. I do picture in my head robots moving around and putting books back on the shelves, answering patron questions and helping location information. When this world comes I also picture robots asking for the information because well, if a robot can do the job of a librarian surely we’ll all have our own personal librarian to do those tasks we don’t want to do. The blog wasn’t so much about robots completely taking over the job, but taking over those tasks that could be automated so librarians can spend more time on interacting with patrons.

I also enjoy checking out the Adult Books 4 Teens blog and seeing what books are being recommended each day. On October 6th the book Word Hero by Jay Heinrichs was featured in a posting by Angela Carstensen. This book sounds like it would be a great addition to any speech teacher’s classroom library. It helps teach how to use things such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, hyperbole and other tricks of speech.

Empowering Learners talks about “Staffing” and “The Learning Space.” The biggest consideration with Staffing is that each school library must have a certified school librarian to manage the program. There may be other aides, but one staff member must be certified. It seems some schools are trying to get around that anymore. With the budget cuts some have looked at the library and said, why do we need someone certified there when anyone can checkout and shelve books? Part of our job as a librarian is advocating why we are important and why the school needs us. The library should also have both virtual and physical space for students and teachers. The section promotes flexible scheduling so the library is open to use all day. It also promotes having digital resources which are available off campus such as databases which can be accessed from home.

Woolls comments on “Managing Personnel” in the library. Very little focus is put on managing other personnel in the library during the degree programs because often school librarians run the Media Center on their own. As a librarian you need to be able to train your staff, this can include the teachers in your building. With the ever changing technologies the classroom teachers may not have the time to keep up with what’s new, while as the librarian you are expected to. In this era librarians are expected to be a leader in the school because of how they deal with technology. As the media specialist it is our role to help put the new technologies with the teachers and student s who can best use them. It is important to note how staff will be evaluated so the media specialist can be prepared. As a library media specialist we are required to interact with the administration slightly more than regular classroom teachers sometimes. We have the library budget to present and maintain along with getting the approval for the programs we hope to develop. When getting along with teachers it is important to know what they expect from you. Dealing with students just requires being friendly and able to help them locate the books and information they are hoping to find.
Back to my Literary Mount Rushmore, since I started with J.K. Rowling I decided to stick with children’s/YA authors. My final list is J.K. Rowling, Ann Rinaldi, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Gary Paulson.
Oh yeah, and we did get our float for homecoming finished by 6pm for my students!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Budget Project

Budget Project