Monday, February 8, 2016

Should there be expectations for collaboration in the library?

This subject to close to me right now: it was the only revision in my defense that came up. Here's what happened: in my description of a model library, I talked about everything...except what the librarian does...with students, with other teachers. And one of my committee members said it was like building a boat and forgetting the skipper.


So it got me thinking about collaboration. If you had this amazing library, what good would it be without a highly qualified librarian...who had expectations of working with students and teachers? What would that look like? What would the expectations for the other teachers in the school be?

What would happen if something like the following was published at a school:

"The highly-qualified library media teacher will work with teachers to prepare lessons developing media literacy and research skills using topics of study in the content class. All students will have an opportunity to work in-depth with the library resources at least once a year." 


"Teachers should plan to collaborate with the library media teacher at least once a year on a unit of study that involves media literacy and research skills around the teacher's content area."

Now, don't start telling me about the schedule and time and you know, reality. I want to assume that will all be worked out. For this exercise, I want to know how those statements would shape or change the work that you do--or want to do--or are already doing.

What could a policy statement about collaboration look like?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Sometimes it's just because

Why do we read? What does reading do for our students, our children, our own lives? What are the advantages of having a library and librarians?

I loved this article by Neil Gaiman: he brings up so many ideas that I think we need to be communicating to our students, our parents, our whole world in general.

Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming

Would you please read this and let us all know what you think? Maybe give us the part you love, hate, or are planning to put on the wall of your library in vinyl? Or tell me I'm just up in the night. Whatever that particular phase means.

Mine would be,

"We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different."

But ask me again, tomorrow. It will probably be different.

Be well.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

iPads (and other devices) in the classroom

So, I just learned today that some schools are receiving some iPads to use with students. I think they are elementary (I don't know who--something to do with Imagine Learning?). But many of our schools have a variety of technology in the library that is used with devices--iPads, iPods, Kindles, Nooks, etc.

At the last elementary LTT meeting, Pamela asked about the apps people were using in the library. I found this article on iPad Apps for the School Library, but I didn't recognize all of them--do you? 

What technology are you using in your library, and what apps are you using? What makes the technology most effective in your teaching? 

Monday, March 9, 2015

MLS degrees: What do you wish you'd had?

Image result for image education book

I was reading an article in March/April 2015 American Libraries about the evolution of library media education programs to meet the needs of 21st century libraries and patrons. In "The Future of MLS: Rethinking Librarian Education," authors Bertot and Sarin talk about the University of Maryland's program focused on "Re-Envisioning the MLS."

They started with two key questions: What should an MLS program look like in four years? And what types of students should we recruit into the profession?

They believe that as the needs of libraries and library patrons change, the role of the librarian will also change--and require new skills and abilities.

This brings to mind my teacher education program. It included a fascinating class in which we learned to run the 16mm projector, including splicing film with tape if it breaks; the appropriate methods for cleaning chalkboards and erasers (which involves the student who needs a little break outside); and running the duplex machine.

Now, for those of you who might not know what some of those things are...keep that to yourself.

The point is, the needs of a profession change, and just like weeding a library, we need to weed our educations if we are going to move into that brave new world.

If you were in charge of the Library Media endorsement, or an MLS program at a university, what would you teach now that would help school librarians the most? What do you wish you'd learned in class rather than 'on the fly' and on the job? How would you update the learning of new LTTs coming into the field?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

It's like getting rid of an old friend...

All of us have had periods of change in our lives where we have physically had to pick up, pack up, and move all of our belongings to a new apartment, new house, new state. I have moved eight times in my adult life, and each time, the part of my house that has been hardest to move has been my books.

Tons of books. Literally. When I moved to Utah, I was paying by the pound, so I sorted the books and gave boxes to my friends' classroom libraries and donated to the local retirement home. I still had a ton. A literal ton. They weighed. I paid. What was I going to do? I knew them all by name.

When I married my husband, my book collection grew in another direction. Art books. Beautiful, color, heavy books of photography. Shelves of electronics and mathematics texts. And his son, with his own sets of Transformers and Narnia. 

By the time we moved again, we were up to 3.5 tons. That translates to eleven Ikea Billy Bookcases, several baskets, and stacks against the wall where I think no one will look. And don't get me started about what's on my Kindle.

The point is, we are book people. That's why we love libraries. And it's why weeding our collections is so very, very hard.

However, our school libraries are a critical educational resource, and we have a responsibility to our schools and district to maintain it--maintain the average age, ensure correct and appropriate content, and the  and cut the deadwood.

I love this article by Doug Johnson about weeding. He brings up many great points about why it's hard to weed, including small budgets for replacement.

One very sweet library media specialist came up to me after I gave a talk on budgets in which I railed about weeding. “But, Doug,” she said, “if we weed, our collection will be too small for our school to meet our accreditation standards.” My tongue-in-check advice was to replace the books with those fake book jacket pieces one finds in furniture stores if the standards only required quantity not quality. Whether directly stated or not, I am quite sure her accreditation standards call for usable books, not just any books in the library. ("Weed!")

As states, districts, and schools look at their statistics, it's clear that all public and school libraries could box up a few books and move them to the Great Book Beyond. It's hard for many reasons--finding the time. Choosing the books to go. Having concerns about having a section that is...empty. 

What should we weed? Just a starter list...

  1. Books that no one has read in 3-5 or more years. There might be a reason--unless you just pulled it out from behind a stack of books about "The New ELECTRIC Light!" where it's been mis-shelved for years.
  2. Books that are physically done. Bugs are a good indicator. Or missing pages.
  3. Books you have too many copies of--the vampire craze has gone. Make way for the zombies.
  4. Bias. Don't even get me started about those "Jobs for Girls!"books.

What do you think about Doug's article on weeding?

What strategies do you find helpful when you are weeding? How do you schedule time? Do your parent or student volunteers help? What tips and tricks do you have for this process?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Makerspaces: Creating a Space to Apply Learning, or One Big Mess?

What is a Makerspace?

It seems everywhere I go now, I hear this phrase. Magazines, books, librarians in our district, city, and state, community centers, universities are all interesting in creating a place for people to be together and think about how to solve problems. 

Makerspaces are not the Learning Centers of the 1970s, although they started there. In the 70's, we had glue and construction paper and--if we were lucky--fat markers instead of Crayons. But that's a far cry from what we're talking about now. Now, we are talking about a space where students come to share their ideas and their knowledge with each other while creating real things--everything from models of bridges and buildings to robots to who knows what. Legos, batteries, welding stations...what you put in a makerspace is based on your resources and creativity. What does this mean for our libraries?

Mt. Elliott Makerspace

The Washington State Library Blog made a post than states:

Libraries are no longer simply a holding area for books, they are community hubs. People gather at the library to share ideas and enrich their lives. Computers and internet are now standard in libraries and are often in demand. Unemployed individuals can come to the library and apply for jobs. Kids can do their homework (or play games) at the library. But did you know that libraries are now becoming much more than books, computers and internet? Libraries are becoming creation spaces, often called maker spaces (or makerspaces).

William Gibson, a writer who I think predicts the future, describes in his new novel a makerspace where people come in to create items ranging from fashion accessories to electronic devices and then print them using a 3-D printer. I haven't finished it yet, so I don't know how it ends, but the idea of being able to think up something and then fabricate is no longer a future fantasy. Cory Doctorow wrote a fascinating blog about information, libraries, and makerspaces in which he said, 

What's more, we're *drowning* in information... everyone can reach everything, all the time, and the job of experts is to collect and annotate that material, to help others navigate its worth and truthfulness.

That is to say that society has never needed its librarians, and its libraries, more. The major life-skill of the information age is information literacy, and no one's better at that than librarians. It's what they train for. It's what they live for.

But there's another gang of information-literate people out there, a gang who are a natural ally of libraries and librarians: the maker movement. Clustered in co-operative workshops called "makerspaces" or "hack(er)spaces," makers build physical stuff. They make robots, flying drones, 3D printers (and 3D printed stuff), jewelry, tools, printing presses, clothes, medieval armor... Whatever takes their fancy. Making in the 21st century has moved out of the individual workshop and gone networked...

There are many resources and ideas out on the web for starting, creating, and funding Makerspaces. Information about creating a Makerspace. What have you already heard about them, tried, or seen? Is this a good idea for libraries? What would you put in a Makerspace? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

I was looking at the American Library Association website and came across their Quotable Facts About America's Libraries. There were a few surprises there for me: I didn't realize that there are more public libraries than McDonald's in the US--and I see McDonald's everywhere. They are building a new McD's on the corner by my house, so I'm going to write to my city council and ask them where the new library will be going!

All kidding aside, this information was interesting and presented in a way that made me think about how libraries are used, who uses them, and what an economic benefit they are to society.

I wonder if we could write a similar document for our libraries: a Quotable Facts About SLCSD Libraries. If we did, what information should we include? What highlights would we want people to know about the services, resources, and supports we offer to students, teachers, and the community?

Give us all your ideas--wouldn't it be great to have to share with people who make decisions about our schools and libraries?

Monday, November 10, 2014

New Resources from EBSCO this year!

EBSCO has added or expanded several new resources and databases this year. Take a look at some of the new offerings and share them with your teachers and students!

History Reference Center: This site is great for US and World History classes and as a teacher reference.

The Science Reference Center is a high school reference, but contains many different experiments that could be used with students or suggested for science fair!

Hobbies and Crafts's easy to get lost in this one! You can share it with all your teachers, but especially your CTE, CTE Intro, and FACS teachers! (BTW...there is a holiday focus section with some great craft and food ideas!)

The Literary Reference Center is another high school reference that contains author background and criticism on many works our ELA teachers are using their classrooms.

The Magazine database has been expanded!

The Newspaper Source Plus database now has even more international newspapers--share this with your language teachers as well as your teachers doing current events!

The Poetry and Short Story Reference Center has full texts of poems and stories as well as criticism and author information--this is a high school resource.

For your debaters or ELA teachers working on argument writing (from the UCS), the Points of View Reference Center is a great resource. It presents current issues with an overview and a point/counter point.

And for your school in general, don't forget the Professional Development Collection database with over 500 high-quality journals. A great place to find articles to support PLCs, new teachers, or your own professional reading!

How do you use Pioneer Library in your library? What resources are the most popular in your school? What are some of the ways you've been successful in sharing online resources with your teachers?

An Hour of Code...a Step Into the Future!

Hour of Code

More than 44 million people of all ages have learned an Hour of Code, a one-hour introductory course designed to demystify computer science and show that anybody can learn the basics. Participate this December 8-14 during Computer Science Education Week and help reach 100 million students by the end of 2014.

The Hour of Code is happening in December. This is a great opportunity to  introduce students to thinking through the process of coding in age-appropriate, interesting ways. The number of jobs in this field is growing, and the number of people ready to take those jobs isn't keeping up. What a great way to create interest in technology, learning, and thinking through your library!

The site provides all the information, videos you can share with your teachers and students--or over a student broadcast--posters, and step-by-step instructions. You don't have to know how to code to run a coding session. It's fun and engaging--and a perfect thing to support as the LIBRARY TECHNOLOGY TEACHER! 

And, just a little intra-district competition: the SLCSD library with the most student participating during that week will win a Cordless Book Scanner with a USB Cradle!

Have you hosted an Hour of Code before? Tell us what went well. Interested in doing one? What questions do you have? Let's help each other put this together for our students!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Collecting Book Fees and Fines

This is never the best part of our job, but sometimes, books don't come back. One of the ongoing problems with this is collecting fees. Libraries are about checking out books and helping kids find those frigates than help them boldly go. How can we reduce the number of students who have fines and increase the sense of responsibility they have to their library and school community?

This article, "Policy Challenge: Consequences that Restrict Borrowing" talks about the problems inherent in being a lending institution. What do you think about the statements the author makes? Are any of her suggestions valid? What strategies have worked for you when it comes to increasing the number of classes or students returning books? 

Book Fairs at Your School

Book fairs are one way that we can bring books to students, share with families...and raise money for our libraries. But they are a bit complicated. What are some of the best strategies you have for running a book fair? What tips and tricks do you have for running a successful book fair? Who do you like to involve or work with? What do you do with volunteers? What questions do you have?

Friday, May 30, 2014

Sheryl's Birthday

Today is Sheryl's birthday!

Happy birthday to her!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

May Blog Winners!

Our grand winner of a $50.00 iTunes educational app card is Amy!

Winners of an additional prize are:


Thank you to EVERYONE for your wonderful comments on the library blog this year. 

We love how we have all learned and laughed together and benefited from each other's thoughtful comments, valuable ideas, and insightful viewpoints.

Watch for your bonus prizes to arrive through district mail.

New State Library Core Standards

The Utah State Secondary (Grades 6-12) Library Core Standards have been under revision and have now been approved by the Utah State Board of Education for public comment. 

You can read through the new standards and also comment on the proposed standards.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Jean R.'s Birthday



Her birthday was April 27th.  We are so sorry!

So here is our belated birthday wish for our own wonderful Jean.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gloria's Birthday

Today is Gloria's birthday.

Happy birthday to her!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Graphic Novels

 The discussion about genre shelving has spawned a new topic.  Jean B. asked the question----where does everyone shelve their graphic novels?

Do you keep them in 741?

Do shelve them with fiction?

Do you create an entirely separate special spot for them in your library so that students can find them easily?

What is working for you?  What are your suggestions?

The Salt Lake County Library system created call numbers YGN for young adult graphic novels and JGN for junior graphic novels.  What are your thoughts about special call numbers?

Friday, May 16, 2014

Linda R.'s Birthday

Today is Linda R.'s birthday!

Happy birthday to her!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Shelving by Genre

There is a trend in school (and some public libraries) to shelf books by genre rather than by Dewey numbers.  This is sometimes called the "bookstore model" because books are organized and arranged by topic or areas of interest.

With this model---in the area of fiction---all the mystery books are shelved together rather than shelved in Fiction by the author's last name.  All historical fiction is shelved together, all graphic novels, all fantasy, etc. 

How do you feel about this?

What can you see as the positive aspects of this trend?

What can you see as the negative aspects?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Getting All the Books Returned at the End of the Year

It's sometimes tough to get those last books returned at the end of the year.

When I was a librarian, popsicles were cheap.  I could buy a bag of 18 double popsicles for $.99.

I would put a note in the teachers' boxes and explain that if their entire class had their books returned by June 1st, I would give the class a popsicle prize.

I would also explain this to students as their class came to the library during the month of May.

The teachers had to break the popsicles in half---but with 18 in a bag, one bag was usually enough for each class.  I would stock up on the popsicles and put them in the freezer in the faculty room.  

What are some tips or tricks or ideas that have worked for you in getting those last straggling books returned?

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Home Run Books

Isn't it a great feeling when you are sharing a book with students, and you look out at them---and they are hooked!  They are totally involved in the book you are sharing with them.  Their eyes are happy, they are engaged, and they are thoroughly enjoying every word.

Do you have a particular book that is a "home run" every time you share it with students?  ..

Bonus Winners!

We have 8 bonus blog winners!

We looked at the comments from the posting about Have You Seen My New Blue Socks and put the names of all who responded in a hat.  We drew out Pamela!  She has won a copy of Have You Seen My New Blue Socks and also, of course, a pair of new blue socks!

We looked at the comments from the posting about graphic novels and put all commenters' names in a hat.  We drew out Theresa, Tim, Jean B., and Karen!  They have each won a copy of the graphic novel, A Wrinkle in Time.

Finally, we looked at the comments from the posting about Chilly Milly Moo and put all commenters' names in a hat.  We drew out Joseph, Janice, and Jean R.  They have each won a copy of Chilly Milly Moo as well as a $5.00 gift certificate to Baskin Robbins (because the cow in the book squirts out ice cream when she is milked). :-)

Have You Seen My New Blue Socks and Chilly Milly Moo are also on the wiki for you to use if you would like.

Thank you to everyone for all of your contributions to the blog!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Newest Blog Winners

Congratulations to our blog winners for the month of April.

Winner of a $50.00 iTunes educational app card is:
Mary R!

Winners of 5 additional prizes are:
Mary H.
Jean B.

Thank you all for your contributions to our blog!

Chilly Milly Moo

I recently saw a cute picture book called Chilly Milly Moo about a cow who is having trouble producing milk because she is too hot.  The farmer is annoyed with her and threatens dire consequences if she doesn't perk up and give some milk.

There is a big, cold storm that spreads across the dairy farm----and when the farmer milks the cow, Milly, she produces ice cream instead of milk!

Do you remember the days when our schools and libraries weren't air-conditioned?  I can remember it being over 90 degrees in my classroom and trying to teach important concepts to hot, sweaty students.  I can remember bringing in a box fan from home to try and cool my classroom---and it was so noisy that I practically had to yell in order to be heard.  I can remember doing inventory in the un-air-conditioned library at the beginning of June and being hot, cranky, and grimy.

What are your memories of too-warm schools and libraries?  

AND---what is your favorite flavor of ice cream?  (The book doesn't indicate what flavor of ice cream that Milly produced).  :-)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Graphic Novels

How do your students generally feel about graphic novels? 

Are they popular?

Do they circulate a lot in your libraries?  

Do you feel like you have enough of them?  

Do your students ever read the graphic novel ebooks?

Monday, April 21, 2014

I recently looked at a brand new book by Eve Bunting called Have You Seen My New Blue Socks?

It's about a little duck who has a new pair of socks that he is very proud of, but he has lost them!  He wanders among his friends and asks each of them if they have seen his new socks.

In the end, one of his buddies points out that Duck is WEARING his new blue socks.  

I hate it when I can't find something!  Like scissors.  Or scotch tape.  Or my keys.

What are some of the things in your library (or in your life) that get lost all the time?  

Speaking of Eve Bunting, she is 85 years old----and she is obviously still writing books!  She is originally from Ireland.  Do you have a favorite Eve Bunting book?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Jeanene's Birthday

Today is Jeanene's birthday!

Happy birthday to her!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Margo's Birthday

Today is Margo's birthday!

Happy birthday to her!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Lonnie's Birthday

Today is Lonnie's birthday!

Happy birthday to her!

Monday, March 31, 2014

March Winners!

Our big blog winner for the month of March and a winner of a $50.00 iTunes educational app card is:


Winners of 5 smaller prizes are:

Dawn Ann
Mary R.

Thank you all for your contributions to our blog!