November 9, 2007

Tech Workshop

Today we are learning about wikis, blogs, etc

November 5, 2007


I picked a guinea pig group of students last week and tried out a wiki for our school library...holy cow has it taken off. I just checked it and kids are doing it at home! I do need to work out some bugs, and maybe even pay the 100 bucks so that I can really use all the features. However it is working out great. (FYI-do not take visitor count as accurate, I just put one on.)

We have created a "Student Recommendation" page where students recommend their favorites (not just a clever name), and a "Wish List" for students or teachers or parents to write down books or magazines, etc., that we should have in the library. They can also comment, I'm debating about a chat room. This will eventually be linked to our new library home page (which is taking me a billion years to create due to the large amounts of Bridge playing, skin diving, and ninja star collecting I do on the weekends). What excites me is the kid's excitement...they love to talk books. Teachers are even considering making this a weekly assignment!

What fun! Next...disco ball!

October 14, 2007

Not Fred's lady

My head is spinning...too much to much to try...too much to teach my darling teachers and students.

Sum up WLMA conference in one word: parfait
What, you ask? Well like a parfait, the conference had many layers upon layers of stuff to teach this infantile librarian.

Where to begin...what can make the most impact upon my school right now! and since they have already asked I do a little tech fair (I know I too am shaking my head with nervousness and disbelief) I guess utilizing social bookmarking, wikis, and blogs makes the most sense. My principal (who I am infatuated with) already writes a newsletter...I almost walk into this one.

My website needs extreme attention...and I should NOT be putting this off. In the day of iphones, ipods, icandy, and islippers this should be my first priority. My darlings don't even realize the amazingness of Nettrekker or elibrary, readergirlz, or book crush, etc.

Well, I guess I should recharge, and unglue these iballs from the screen. Maybe I'll find something

PS. nadean you are awesome!

September 1, 2007

The Best Job Ever!

So first week on the job, and besides it being my dream job, extremely fun, something I can't wait to wake up for, I could take it or leave it. As the immortal Garth from Wayne's World would say "Pysche!"

Middle school is so cool. The kids still think reading is fun, and you can get them to come in for an assigned check out period but the books they like are my favorite. I'm not babysitting, but also not constantly trying to keep a "I know everything already" attitude in check so much...yet.
What is awesome is the teacher support. They come in with the class, they help them pick books, etc. There are some great reading teachers that really love to read, and are passionate. That is the best part-in sense they are supporting what I'm trying to do, makes my job so much easier.

I've spent a lot of time "fixing" the library. The former librarian must have loved much so that over my head was a way to realistic looking stuffed cat...who wants that watching? It's like Big Brothers pet is watching. I keep getting comments..."wow it's so open and clean in here"-loving it.

Hey what is with kids and A Child Called it? They are obsessed with the book and its sequels. Why? I need to look into this.

July 5, 2007

How do you spell hoky?

I'm currently taking this last little class to finish up my degree before I leave for my new job!!

Did I mention I obtained a school librarian job finally...

This class is amazing it is a survey course on Children's lit, and is showing me incredible ways to get kids into books. Not just learn how to read so they can pass standardized tests while standing on there head...because let's face it this in a valuable skill...but to enjoy reading.

Last Tuesday we talked about how to set up kid versions of book clubs (we also talked about this in previous library sci courses). Sounds so obvious now that I write it down, but no one in any school I have ever subbed in ever did this. It was always read this book...write notes...sticky notes are especially popular these days...take this test, answers these questions...etc.

Remember when we did this in school. Now tell me one positive experience where you enjoyed the book. But think if you were able to choose the book with your friends then talk about what you liked, didn't like, or didn't understand? Wouldn't that have helped you love reading more?

Look out new job, cause I'm instilling some serious book clubs. I know, I know, I'll need to model this, and have some structure, but hey doesn't it sound I should try it out?

peace out

June 5, 2007

I love the word JOBBER!

I'm taking the wonderful Praxis test this Saturday...I'm thinking of just winging it. What could possibly go wrong, I mean it's not like I spent over a hundred dollars on the test...oh wait.

I've been looking up study questions, and guides, and figured that what I already know SHOULD let me pass the test. I hate tests. They don't really measure anything. I'm sure there are tons of librarians that could pass the test, but wouldn't give a crap about what Johnny needed, or Ms. Smith wanted, or how to incorporate this with that, etc.

For every test question, the answer could have been easily LOOKED UP...the skill they are testing you on. So why answer a question, that a librarian should not necessarily know the answer to, but be able to look it up and find the answer. Now that would be an authentic test!

By the BY

However the coolness is starting to wear off, and the freak out is starting to set in.

May 29, 2007

"Nobody graduated from a library, Nobody graduated without one."

This holiday weekend I visited with family. My mother-in-law watches a little boy every morning before school. She told me recently the little boy brought with him a dozen books that had a school library stamp on them and the word discard. The elementary school library the books came from is one his dad works at (as custodian) NOT the one the boy attends.

My mother-in-law asked the boy how he had gotten the books, he said his dad found them in the garbage. So after a little research (my sister-in-law is a teacher at the school) I found out that the school has so many books that they weed constantly and just throw out books.

Well, as you can imagine I went on a little tirade! It was actually my turn this year, as someone has a melt-down at every family get together. I, not calmly, discussed how ridiculous this is. It reminded me of the two libraries my friends work with or at. One is in an affluent community and has so many books they don't fit on the shelf, the other library has empty shelves. So we discussed the possibility of sending books from the richer library to the less stocked one.

But even if the library can't find another school library to work with they could have done so many other things with them: donate them to a classroom, a children's hospital, a women's shelter, the public library, a daycare, WHATEVER JUST DON'T THROW THEM AWAY.

It makes me ponder the inequality of material distribution, why does one library have so much and others have so little?

The middle school library I work at is so well-used and so well-stocked because the librarian believes in books, and makes sure her kids get what they need--getting these books are not always an easy thing. However, what if the librarian can't get books--I don't believe it, there are ways to stock your library that does not involve a yearly budget allotted by school boards. Librarians who don't tap into these sources are lazy...pure and I know lazy, right now I'm using a reaching stick to move the curtain so the sun doesn't shine on the computer while I'm typing...I could get up, but...hey maybe I can get my 3 year old to do it?

Librarians need to work together.

May 16, 2007

Beware, danger ahead!

If your library is not unsafe, it probably isn't doing its job.
John Berry, III

I finally read The Higher Power of Lucky, by Susan Patron. What a joy to read. A story of a little girl trying to find some sort stability, some love to hold her up. Who doesn't relate to that? However, I bring her up to come back to the discussion of censorship. Due to the word scrotum the book has been banned from many school libraries as inappropriate for the reading level.

Now we won't go back to the complete absurdity of banning a great read because of an anatomically correct word, oh no, I won't revisit the absolute insanity of not buying an AWARD WINNING book to put on the shelves because of a WORD (which my seven year old didn't even notice, but if he had I'm sure he would have become a sexual deviant because of hearing this word, which would lead him to drugs, homelessness, and let's face it possible homicide).

I bring this up to tell you of the how librarians are the worst culprits. I am trying to start that library in my sweet little alternative school, yet who keeps telling the English teacher that it wouldn't be a good idea because the books might not be appropriate...another librarian in the district...what? You're going to tell kids who have slept in the street, endured abuse of all kinds, and seen things we only see on the Lifetime channel that a book with questionable language is bad? Ahhhh, engagement of reading? Importance of life-long reading? Who needs it?

This is comparable to the way new books are "approved" in the district. So, after all the extensive obtaining, processing, and cataloging of the new books (usually donated or begged for) they are sent to the Board for approval. So then the School Board reads reviews and/or reads the books themselves right? Ah, no they look at the cover...the title...that's it, maybe read the cover if the title is Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging, board says oh no, that could possible be bad for our innocent babies, it talks of thongs for god-sake, imagine the chaos as girls go crazy running amuck in the school halls.

Can you hear my teeth grinding? The Title? should I mention that this too is an award winning book, beloved by many teenage girls, hilarious, and is continued as a series. Yeah, let's ban that book. So guess what, we put it on hold at the public library, and put it in the hands of as many readers as possible.

So that's right, we librarians are sneaky, we keep lots of sneaky stuff in our tightly wound updos, too.

May 10, 2007

The Future is Now!

Holy crap! This library breathes new life into the biz...something we desperately need now that many seem to desire their extinction.

Check out the Allen County Library in Indiana (Webjunction did a highlight, or visit the site itself). They made videos, little commercials if you will, for their programs, or grand openings, or even training, then turned them onto YouTube...genius! Free PR! They also have this amazing eRef program that is out of this world with innovation, technology, and most importantly-getting people information that they need. Chat rooms, department collaboration, etc.

I just now thought of a way to advertise for events at a library--what about a MySpace account? Students are on it so much, why not create a site, reel em in, tell about events, book lists, resource, ask questions! This needs more pondering. Did you see the lightbulb over my head just now? High on life baby!

Watch this funny video about their YA program--notice the dance revolution going on IN THE LIBRARY! Be gone quiet library! Enter fun, hub of community.

May 1, 2007

Small World

This is a photo contest winner!

Photographers take pictures using a microscope...can you imagine the incredible science lesson plans from this site!

"Nikon Small World is regarded as the leading forum for showcasing the beauty and complexity of life as seen through the light microscope."

Check out the link here or in the Check it Out! section

April 30, 2007

Mr. Bean : The Library

Oh Mr. Bean your hilariousness is mindboggling!

April 22, 2007

How are Ghosts like libraries?

"The public is hardly concerned by what supernatural way a library delivers the goods, just as long as the goods are delivered" (WebJunction), so true, so true with public libraries. A little difference with school libraries. EVERYONE is concerned with how the goods are delivered, because it has to do with the children...the children...doesn't anyone think of the children? It seems when school dollars are the discussion topic EVERYONE has something to say. And when cuts are in the air the library is the first of feel the sharp edges, and EVERYONE turns their heads.

Many think librarians are the aforementioned book babysitters, but it you look at all the studies and articles, and testimonials you see that school librarians are amazingly more. Many question the validity of spending, staffing, and supporting the school library, especially until statistics prove a need. For example, the Ohio Educational Library Media Association Research Study boasts 99.4% of the students surveyed indicated "that the school library and its services, including roles of the school librarians, have helped them in some way with their learning." Other state studies echo the same statistics, yet districts are always (especially a local one I am cursing loudly as I type) looking to cut cut cut.

Why don't they ever do statistical analysis on the importance of the assistant principals...bus drivers...lunch ladies...English Teachers...coaches...because that would be stupid. So would the idea of getting rid of the person who is a constant for a student's 4 years in high school, 3 years in middle school, and 27 years in elementary school that teaches research skills, reading engagement, technology competencies, god literacy, the foundation of a modern, prosperous society.

So I guess libraries and ghosts are similar even in school libraries...who cares who delivers the goods, as long as test scores are up, budget is balanced, and a good scary movie can be made from the apparition even though it was probably already made really well in Japan.

April 18, 2007

Let every sluice of knowledge be opened and set a-flowing

I love this quote by John Quincy Adams. It makes me visualize the inside of a student's head as a dam blocked by debris (which by debris I really mean pubescent ooze) which is only cleared by the reading of a book so good, so appropriate, and most importantly put in their hands by me. And the sluice is a-flowing. Plus I love the word sluice, just tell me the last time you heard the world sluice in a sentence. I know some 49ers that probably use it daily, but other that who else.
I worked today at an "alternative" high school. We are trying to put together a little lending library. This school is pretty far from the traditional high school, and most these kids either ride the city bus, or live in their car, or have never been to the public library, so they never have access to a library. Consequently they are never reading-whether for pleasure or duty, they don't know how to research, and they hate any type of reading time at school. I substitute there quite a bit, and am set up for a long-term sub for the last six weeks of school. Is it too late? Can I change their attitudes towards the most evil of teaching tools that disguise themselves in those clever little jackets with pretty pictures. I'm gonna sure as heck try.
Where to start? No really, where? What do you do with students who have spent the last 10 years creating a personal mantra that spouts the horrors of reading. I'm going to go out on a limb and say the reason for most of these attitudes is low levels of reading, or noone at home putting a book in their hand.
Due to the size of the school, you could really make the library very personal. Get to know what they really like to do. If they like skateboarding get Transworld Skateboarding magazine. Do they like anime, get some graphic novels. Find non-fiction books about a job they plan on getting. There are ways of getting them interested then the sluice will be set a-flowing. I think that is what they mean by a learner-centered media center. I know we need to consider standards and curriculum, but if the student's hate to read it doesn't matter what textbook or novel you give them or how you assess them, they'll find the cliff notes...what's wrong with cliff notes anyway. I learned more about what the heck The Great Gatsby was about from Wikipedia then the real novel.
I've been trying to collect books they will like. I'm getting stuff donated that, well let's say my grandmother refused to read when she was school, but when I took the last batch I heard one girl say that she had heard about that book and really wanted to read it. I've gotten some magazines too. Getting them into a sanctuary for a magazine is a little venus flytrap action. It's the bait. Then bam, their reading books...ha ha ha. That's why I love Harry Potter, he (well she) got more kids reading than ever before, now libraries can't keep fantasy books on the shelf. Man I wish I could write, that's how to make the bucks, a fantasy trilogy. My first purchase...a robot vacuum, I hate vacuuming.

April 15, 2007

"The Medicine Chest of the Soul"

We teacher-librarians are much more than book babysitters. Oh yes much more than check-inners and check outers of books. I think that has a lot to do with the redefining of our school libraries. No more the authoritative "person-centered" library, but rather a "cultural-and-learning-centered" media center (Dr. Ross Todd, Rutgers University). To be the learner-centered hub of the intellectual life of a school, libraries are now sanctuaries for students and teachers. I recognize that more and more as I work in them. It's a community where one feels comfortable and safe in a neutral environment. (We could place here an entire discussion on intellectual freedom, and the freedom to read, however another time). So teacher-librarians are hosts to a sanctuary. Wow! providing access to information, ideas, freakin democracy. Wow! We should get paid more.

So what does one do when they are teaching and librarying at the same time. There are many studies that report on just that...and what role libraries play in schools. Try the Library Research Study for in-depth analysis on school library impact to student success. Summarizing the basic roles discovered by these studies:
leadership partner, teacher collaboration, media & information literacy, enhancement of curriculum (geared towards state standards), access and delivery of information, student support, and technology master guide (oh yes master), and that doesn't even touch instilling the love of reading.
Not only do they provide all this, but many of the studies have revealed a correlation between higher/improved test scores with well-staffed, well-budgeted, well-stocked school libraries.
What? That's right, you heard correctly, better libraries will help those children left behind.

so what have I been doing during my practicum, well some of this, I'm still a baby teacher-librarian...I'll get there.

April 14, 2007

"The Steam of the Social Soup"

So begins the adventures of a library nerd in the world of the anti-luddite. I enter as a student of librarianship. A lover of giving knowledge, even to those who put the book I spent an hour finding for them slyly into the bookdrop on their way out.
I am finishing my library science endorsement with a delightful thing called a practicum. For those not familiar with educational jargon, this comprises of 90 hours of library time. Working in a school library--the central hub--where things can be insanely chaotic one minute then immediately eerily quiet. For requirement fulfillment I must reflect and comment on the daily life o' a librarian. However, we must never speak of this person again, we shall call her library media specialist, or more in the now, teacher-librarian. For librarians do not exist. They are extinct, old fashioned, tight-hairbunned evil eye givers, that shush and frown. We no longer do this. Teacher librarians love action and excitement, and more importantly book usage.

So I am at a University as a student, but moonlighting as a Teacher Librarian (TL) in the local schools, mainly the middle school. So far I've done some projects, created a webquest, reference analysis, collection development, collection maintenance, etc. But now I am getting my hands dirty. I'm diving in with my hair loose and ready to tell them how much I love Ms. Funke's InkHeart, and Mr. Card's Ender's Game, but to also show them a sweet ninja slide show a student made, or a cool database where you can hear the national anthem of Bonaire. For like any profession reading books about the job or taking classes is not sufficient.
Put your trays in an upright position, buckle your seat belts, and keep bandages ready for those worthwhle papercuts.