There was much to reflect on this week!
On the AASL blog from October 4, 2011, President Carl Harvey II discusses the briefing that will be presented to Congress regarding the 21st Century Library and the SKILLS Act. SKILLS stands for Strengthening Kid’s Interest in Learning and Libraries. The American Library Association hopes to demonstrate that through libraries, students learn the skills they need to be workplace ready. They hope to encourage Congress to include the SKILLS Act in the upcoming Elementary and Secondary Education Act re-authorization. Part of this briefing includes information on the need for a certified librarian in every school and the need for access to resources. The briefing will be presented to Congress on October 17, 2011. http://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/news/ala/aasl-heads-washington-congressional-briefing
From the Blue Skunk Blog on October 7, 2011, Doug Johnson created a poll for his readers to respond to about internet filtering in schools and its effectiveness. One question asked if filters protected students from obscene images. The majority of people agreed that it did help. The other question asked if internet filters kept students from educational material. The majority of respondents said no. The conclusion was that it seems filters are doing their job. The conversation then turned to Facebook and whether or not it can be used in education or if it is simply a distraction. The opinions varied, but Johnson did offer a link to another blog that highlighted some apps for Facebook that might have some educational value. Here is a link to both Doug Johnson’s blog and the one he referenced about Facebook. http://doug-johnson.squarespace.com/blue-skunk-blog/2011/10/7/filtering-survey-responses.html
The Unquiet Librarian on September 29,2011 posted an entry about a “book tasting”. This strategy is used with high school English students who are studying literature on world issues. As students arrive in the library they are directed toward carts of relevant books. They are instructed to pick out 5 books to explore and reflect on. The idea is that they spend 10-15 minutes with each book and write down how they feel about the book and whether or not they could “get into” the book. Based on their feedback they are put into literature circles with other students. As they read their selected book they have discussions, conduct research and eventually reflect on their book. It sounds like a great way to get students involved in book selection and discussions with peers about literature and world issues/events! http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2011/09/29/book-tasting-in-the-library/
Julie Dahlhauser posts on October 5, 2011 about an all-school read. She asked colleagues to help her with questions about spearheading an all school book club over the Hunger Games series. She wondered if she needed to purchase a book for all 1,000 students in her school. She had researched the options but wondered what others in this situation have done. We have talked in our building about an all-school read, but have never attempted it to date. I think it would be a great community building activity to have all students reading the same book but I’m afraid it is a little unrealistic. Then what would you do with all the books after they were done? Has anyone tried this at their school?
Sharron L. McElmeel posted this You Tube video on October 6, 2011. It is a parody of a classic children’s book called Goodnight Moon. In the original story a child wishes goodnight to clocks and socks and the cow jumping over the moon. In this new modern version of Goodnight iPad, Grandma forces the family to wish their technology goodnight including their iPads, HD TV, and Facebook apps. This new version is clearly a statement about our changing lifestyle and its impact on children. We have found ourselves struggling to either educate children about this new and changing technology or try to keep it from them in an effort to not allow them to be continuously “plugged in”. There has to be a balance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ouOwpYQqic&feature=youtu.be
Jeanne Ritchie on October 5, 2011 writes about ideas for the iPad. I have noticed that I am seeing more and more interest in the iPad in schools and more librarians are purchasing them for their libraries. I know that we have purchased 5 iPads for our library and they are being used in a number of different ways by classroom teachers. The applications that I have seen include one on human anatomy, poetry, brain function, the periodic table of elements, historical documents and more. I am very interested to see how librarians are using this in other ways to promote reading.
KUOW inSeattle,Washingtonrecorded a podcast with librarian Nancy Pearl in September , 2011. Nancy discusses the merits of e-readers versus books. She uses her Kindle to travel but reads her “paper” books at home. Some of the books that she recommends in this podcast are:
1. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – This is a book about baseball with a focus on people and their relationships. This is Harbach’s first book and he writes complex characters that you don’t want to let go of. She says this is a great book for teaching students how to write characters.
2. Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard – Millard is also the author of The River of Doubt about Theodore Roosevelt. This book is about President James Garfield and his road to the presidency and the attempt on his life by an assassin.
3. Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean – Orlean chronicles the life of the famous dog Rin Tin Tin from being an orphan to becoming a star. She describes how Rin Tin Tin’s character changed from silent movies to television and how he adapted.
4. The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern – This book is about a circus that travels around and opens only at night. It is also a story about two magicians in competition with one another and the development of their love affair.
5. The Gone Away World by Nick Harkaway – is a post apocalyptic book described as wildly entertaining and funny.
From Empowering Learners, the AASL sets specific guidelines when it comes to staffing a school library. “The entire school’s students and staff must have the service of a certified library media specialist throughout the school day” (32). The school library media specialist not only works with students, staff and administration but also is responsible for creating a learning environment and ensuring access to resources and expert help. The SLMS has to be flexible, not only with time but also with space. Meeting the needs of all learners in the school building can be a challenge. By considering the physical space and including virtual space, the SLMS can extend the influence of the library. The library should be a collaborative, accessible, safe, comfortable learning environment for students and staff alike.
From The School Library Media Manager, Woolls talks about the importance of managing personnel in the library. Because the SLMS is responsible for the programs, the collaboration, the technology and the other resources, he/she needs to be able to manage personnel effectively. Some examples include creating job descriptions for those working in the library whether clerks, secretaries, or students. As the person responsible for teaching and leading, the SLMS must be able to articulate the expectations for library personnel and be able to evaluate their performance. In addition, the school librarian needs to communicate with the administration about the successes and concerns/needs of the library in order to maintain a good working environment for everyone involved. Teachers should expect support, access, and in-service from their school librarian. When working with students the SLMS must keep in mind safety and order while providing opportunities to learn and explore. Finally, when working with parents, confidentiality and training are key. Having qualified, hardworking people supporting your library can really enhance the entire program.
This week I learned a great deal about personnel in the library and the responsibilities of the SLMS!
American Association of School Librarians. Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs.Chicago:ALA, 2009. Print
Woolls, Blanche. The School Library Media Manager.Westport: Libraries Unlimited, 2008. Print.