Sunday, December 4, 2011

Ask me!

Wordle: Ask Me!

A Wordle inviting interruptions in my school library. Inspired by Connie Paul's keynote at the NJASL Fall Conference 2011 Leadership Breakfast, where she referenced her sign, "Interruptions are my job!"

Friday, August 6, 2010

Thing #6: Tracking (aka, "Addicted to Addictomatic")

For Thing #6, we're trying out Google AlertsSocial Mention, and Addictomatic.  I've subscribed to database alerts before, but in the interest of keeping my inbox manageable, I've avoided subscribing to alerts covering the entire web.  But, being a good student, I tried out a few different alert types with each service for our ALSC 21 Things journey.  Specifically, I tried my favorite Google search du jour (library QR code), the name of my local public library, and a vanity search on my name and screen name (of course).

Google Alerts was easy to try out, since I already have a Google account.  I like the preview button that shows a snapshot what your search string will return, so you can tweak it before subscribing.  The options for Google Alerts are "once a week," "once a day," and (shudder) "as it happens."  I set my alerts for each of my search strings to a different frequency, so, the jury is still out on the final results.  However, my inbox is bracing for the impact.  I do like the option to deliver the alerts to a feed instead of my inbox, and will probably switch over after our little adventure here.

I like the quick results you get with Social Mention, as well as the boxed statistics at the top:
With more detailed stats below, Social Mention gives you an immediate snapshot of your web presence.  The stats above are for my hometown's public library.  You can see they have a small but very loyal online following beyond the library's own website.  These broader-web stats could be a great add-on to stats already collected for the library's website, and the detailed stats below it (including top users) point to areas where the library can focus its social networking efforts.

And Addictomatic?  I love it.  Quick and easy to use, and eye-pleasing visual results.  The default page didn't show too many results for my library or my vanity search--mostly because we reside mainly in blogs or Twitter.  However, I love my Addictomatic page for my "library QR code" search.  Shiny!  I can see myself customizing and bookmarking this page - even making it a temporary home page for my search du jour.  Custom Addictomatic pages (portals, really) could be used to promote new and forthcoming books, like this custom page I created for Mockingjay in about 1 minute.  How fun (and easy!) would it be to link teen readers to a page like that?  Love it.  Yeah, I could easily become addicted to Addictomatic.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Thing #3: VoiceThread

This year, I used VoiceThread with my 4th and 5th grade students to publish online book talks.  Here's an example:

We kept our projects simple with a single narrated image, and voice or text comments.  But, VoiceThread allows you to upload multiple images and narration or video, or capture video with a webcam.  Viewers can add text, voice or video comments, and create a conversation around each slide.

Filters are often an issue in school libraries.  I used the educator version of the site to create and protect our work.  (I used a workaround to embed the example here.)  The site is user-friendly, and their tech support was excellent.

I would recommend it for school and public libraries.  There are so many possibilities for creating, presenting and sharing ideas and information.  One fabulous example:  NYPL's digital collection is accessible via

The next VoiceThread was created and used by a group of teachers in North Carolina "to develop a vision for what teaching with technology should look like."  It is a great example of how a dynamic conversation can develop through the comment feature.  (Check out the webcam comment on the first slide.  Too cool!):

Friday, June 4, 2010

Changing role of school librarians

This week in class, we are looking at the changing role of school librarians (or media specialists, if you prefer). Specifically, we're discussing a table in AASL's Empowering Learners, which shows how school librarians rank their roles now and in the future:

1. Teacher
2. Information Specialist
3. Instructional Partner
4. Program Administrator

1. Instructional Partner
2. Information Specialist
3. Teacher
4. Program Administrator

[Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Media Programs, AASL, 2009, p. 16.]

And all week, (in addition to battling glitches in my eCollege connection or lack thereof) I've been struggling with the idea of ranking the various roles of school librarians.  A ranking implies that certain roles are more important than others, and I don't necessarily find that to be true.  Plus, once you elevate one function above the others, it makes it easier to magnify that role at the expense of the others.  For example, with the current cuts (which include me, btw), elementary librarians in my district will likely be covering more schools, while, presumably, maintaining the number of lessons taught per school.  This means that the vast majority of their time will be spent teaching, leaving very little time for collaboration with teachers, or even basic administration of the libraries and programs.  The perception will be that they can successfully "do more with less," but the collection, programs and facilities will invariably suffer.

In class, I proposed a pyramid model in lieu of any rank or hierarchy. Similar to Maslow's Heirarchy of Needs and Bloom's Taxonomy, I see our various roles as school librarians as building upon a foundation, and striving toward an ideal.  In this case, the foundation is our knowledge and expertise as librarians, and the pinnacle of the pyramid is the ideal of instructional partnership with teachers, and educational leadership with our profession:

First, we are information specialists.  Everything we do is based in our expertise in the access, evaluation and ethical use of information and information technologies.

Upon that base, we administer a school library program which uses and provides access to information resources and technologies in a manner that supports the curriculum, and meets the needs and interests of our students, faculty and administrators.

Next, as teachers, with knowledge of student development, instructional methods and learning theory, we instruct and empower students to use our school library program to explore, collaborate and construct meaningful knowledge within (and beyond) the curriculum and beyond school walls, and to become lifelong readers and learners.

Only after we have established ourselves as information specialists, administrators of a rich 21st century library program, and effective educators, can we expect to become instructional partners within our school buildings and districts.  Teachers need to see us as experts and educators, before they can be open to investing their time (and trusting their students' learning) to partnership/collaboration with us.

Finally, we should strive to be leaders and advocates within our buildings, our districts and our profession.  With our expertise and experience, we are uniquely qualified to take on a leadership role as our schools strive to meet evolving state and national education standards.  We need to take the lead in preparing our schools to educate students for success in an information-based society and global economy.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beyond the bookfair

I'm always looking for additional funding sources for my libraries. A co-worker recommended Public school teachers can post their classroom needs, and donors can browse by location or type of project to help support students and teachers. Instead of asking for money or selling fundraising items, teachers create a wish list through the site, and donors incrementally fund projects. In a word, "awesome."

Here's my first project: I'm hoping to get high-interest fiction series for my high-need school.

And here's a project I supported, in turn: