Saturday, July 30, 2011


I always know I am trying to juggle too many things when I start dithering about the less important ones, like, what should I wear tomorrow?  Or stop for gas before work or after?  Well, here is my dithering dilemma for today, what should I put in my school library office to make a good first impression.  Silly, I know, but still ... should I hang my degrees or does that seem pretentious?  Family pictures or not?  My professional books? 
I do know that I will be rotating some of my favorite quotations about education and libraries, and that there will always be a candy jar, and soft music.  I will have the AASL standards at the ready along with our state's common core standards, and any district initiatives. These are non negotiables.
What do you think?  What is non negotiable to you? 
Any suggestions you can give me?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Check it out!

That is the QR code to the library media center survey.  It is done in Google docs, and it has a Bitly URL for those who can't access by SmartPhone!  Wow!  I now have all my new technologies done for the year!  OK, not really, but this is so cool, and so easy.  (I will give your the site address to do this and you can look cool, too.  Just don't tell anyone else, otherwise everyone will be doing it and none of us will be cool.)  I used the site, to create the code.  You just title your Code and enter the URL address and, just like magic, you have one of these boxes.  Then I used  to shorten the absurdly long URL address of the google doc survey, and PRESTO!

I'm back to my getting ready for school stuff now.  Book marks to be copies, new signage (Yes! using QR codes!) and the other hundred  assorted things that are not teaching but that make the teaching easier.

Don't you work too hard, either!

Monday, July 25, 2011

It was a dark and stormy night ...

Some day I will write a story that starts this way, for now Snoopy has nothing to worry about! (Vintage Charlie Brown comic for you youngsters reading this!)  Actually it is early morning, the storms are over, and I am awake, wide awake, and feeling the pressures of getting ready for the start of school.  So I am going to make a list of what needs to be done as I move into the high school experience, and you feel free to add anything I have forgotten.
  • Learn my way around the library print collection!  I have used the online Destiny catalog and reports to try and get a sense of what is there and how it circulates, but I still want to go in and touch books and see exactly how the collection is physically arranged.
  • Check out the subscription databases!  I have an email in to my Ebsco rep to walk me through what we have already, and what else might be available. Note to self: ask rep about checking the usage of these sites.
  • Find out who (teachers) already use the library, and how.  I wonder if I make a quick online survey and email it to staff, will anyone respond? (This is like the tree falling in the woods question.)
  • Check, is the library the meeting place or the meeting place?  Does it get used for every meeting in the building and does that either bring people in to use the library or cause the library to be closed to individual and groups?  Other meeting place, do students actually choose to come to the library?  Why or why not.  How can we improve on that?  I want to form a student advisory board with a broad spectrum of students both to support existing users and to encourage those who do not feel welcomed.
  • Virtual 24/7 accessibility.  Beyond school databases, what other vehicles are in place to assist students beyond the school day?  What do they really need to help themselves?
  • Cutting edge technology tools.  Are the students using cell phones for learning? (Are they allowed?)  Can QR codes help learning and increase interest?  Kindles or nooks? iPods? Anything beyond PowerPoint as a final product?  I have a QR code for the library home page, maybe I will make book marks to pass out that have this link and also a survey for students?  I have started a LiveBinder page, want to create a "virtual book shelf", what other suggestions do you have?
  • Building connections.  With staff, students, other high school librarians?  Is there anything that works better than chocolate?
  • PLN?  I have found some great blogs by high school folk, and am following some tweeters who talk books with high school themes.  I just need to continue to use these and other resources when the school year is in full swing.
  • ??? Everything I have forgotten, that nagging feeling that keeps me awake at night, like tonight!
I will be working on these things in the coming weeks before school starts, and will continue to share my ideas and reflections.  Please feel free to join me by adding your comments and ideas!


Friday, July 08, 2011

Are you the change?

I am wondering how many school librarians will be starting fall in a new position or a greatly changed position?  There have been so many changes, not only in my district but around my state of Ohio.  I was excited to read Judi Moreillon's question to Arne Duncan about mandating media specialists, but not surprised by his "politically correct" vague response.   Once again we must take up the mantra, "be the change you wish to see in the world" (a quote from Gandhi) if we want to continue to positively impact our students and staffs.  It will be difficult to maintain the passion for the job when you feel under appreciated and overworked, but we must bolster each other and demonstrate what could and should be expected in the library of the 21st century.
With that in mind, I was very excited to see that Judy's new book, "Co teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies in Secondary School Libraries: Maximizing Your Impact" will be published this fall; it will be a MUST purchase for me as I move to a high school library.  
What other great books are on the horizon that we should put on our purchase list?

I so appreciate other resources we have, such as: LM_Net, TLNing, AASL forum, to name just a few that we can use to "talk" to others in our field.  What else can we do to feel supported this school year?

I want to be sure to authenticate and advocate what learning opportunities are occurring in my library space this year.  I am thinking about a media page connected to my home page and a space in the school newsletter, but I want to also try something new, 21st century, flashy enough to attract attention but grounded in authenticity so that it will be taken seriously.  What things are you planning for this year?

Monday, July 04, 2011

New to me!

First, I just finished "Unwind", great suggestion!  What a thought, to go through raising a child almost to adulthood, then essentially giving it up as an organ donor?!?  This book gave me alot to think about, now I really want to talk to students and get their impressions.  Then I needed something fun to read so I chose "Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie" which was also a recommendation.  It was funny, clever, and gave me, maybe, so insight into the minds of freshmen boys.
Second, I have read several comments about "LibGuides."  I first thought it was just something new for the librarian to create, like pathfinders, but now I see it is a product for purchase.  Can anyone tell me more about it?  How much setup do I need to do if I am paying?  Do your students like it?  How does it support using databases?
I think I am going to create a LiveBinder page for the high school.  It will at least be a good starting point as I collect websites and discover what my new teachers want for their students.
Any ideas on breaking the ice with a staff?  Besides always having chocolate available?
I am getting excited about this!!!

Here's my new theme for a while, The New Adventures of a Old Librarian!