Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Happenings at the library ranch!!

Haven't heard from me in a while?  That's because the media center has been crazy busy.  Was it just last September that I wondered whether anyone would use the library in a collaborative manner -- well, let me tell you, times have changed!  I am working with English teachers on a novel unit, with my own group of students I am blogging with (and yes, I am grading my part of the unit), math teachers with whom I have created a PBL unit (so cool, they are creating 21st learning tools) so there are geometry students using all manner of technology and teamwork to create this learning tool, and a marketing plan as well. ELL students are creating book talk videos for our Destiny catalog, and my Student Advisory board is beginning all kinds of projects.  Add to this mix those beloved study hall students who talk about how much they love to be in the media center to work (translation, socialize) because the atmosphere is a happy place -- one period today I had 90+ learners creating that special buzz that comes with active learning!  Happy, crazy days at the library ranch!  I think I am starting to build an authentic learning commons, the variety of  uses of the media center dictates how things are arranged and what type of learning grouping are working.  Students love to stop by the circ desk to talk, make book suggestions, and talk about additions they think would make the library better.   What fun to hear these ideas, and even better when I can implement some of them.
I am trying to catch up on my reading as well, but I have to say it takes a lot longer to read those full length novels than those 32 page picture books!  I have a long list of books to be read, again complements of the students and their passion for sharing!  (Of course, I just added the newest award winners to my list of books to read!)
With all of this activity, am I happy?  Yes.  Satisfied with my media program? No way!  I still need to get teachers to include me in the collaborative planning, integration of technology for 21st century learning, include pre and post assessments that demonstrate growth in these areas, and more!!
Life is good, but it can always get even better!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

New Year, new ways of thinking about media centers!

A new library without books

This is a longish article, but well worth the time to read.  I have been thinking about change, when is it purposeful and prudent, and when is it just following the current trend.  The attached article has definitely given me a lot to ponder; I will be wondering and wandering through ideas about this "new" library space for a while.

What a lot to think about! After 25 years in elementary settings, I am in the secondary (15-18 year olds) for the first time. The media center usage is so different! It's January, and no one has used any of the reference section yet, except for a few dictionaries! Everyone goes directly to databses or the Internet! Because this school level is new to me, I go back to the evaluative resources I know, like the Wilson evaluation, or the evaluation in Follett's Titlewave, when I order materials for the library, but I wonder if "someone" out there is thinking of a  revisioning a model of what the "ideal" media center should contain.  For example, a student came in last week, to find a book about a US state; we did not have any, and I don't plan to order any, the Internet is the logical place to find update information for things like that.  Add in an online encyclopedia, and voila!, instant, current information!  But what about these areas of nonfiction that students read for pleasure -- sports books, leisure activity books, or crafting books?  Or, how many print sources should we maintain to support that teacher who has not yet joined the 21st century's tools for teaching arena?
Curation is a thoughtful, responsive idea, but your faculty needs to embrace it for it to be successful.
It seems as though we, media centers and librarians, are currently caught between two worlds, in which one do you live?  Or, are you like me, a foot in both worlds and tottering at the edge of both.

Next big wonder -- show me the books?!?  There are still students who come to check out physical books for the simple joy of reading, what about them?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Reading, researching, and reflecting, first post of 2012

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions.  As soon as someone, anyone, tells me I can't do something I will try everything in my power to do it.  Hence my love/hate relationships with exercise and weight loss plans.  Yes, I was the one who fasted all day before a weigh in, then celebrated by dinner at DQ!
So why am I embarking on an inquiry into exercise equipment? Is it masochism, or the sad fact that time marches on and my metabolism has sunk into its own depression?  I'll never tell which one, but I am actually researching home gym equipment.  (Maybe I am just honing my research skills?)  Whatever comes of this I am seriously planning my approach to this new year. 

Everyone I follow (PLN guys, not stalking!) seems to be able to organize their reading and reader response so that it is easily available to share with others.  I have accounts for: Goodreads, LibraryThing, Google, Amazon,  and a blog, a wiki, a webpage, and even a Moodle account.  Do I use any of them in a consistent fashion to record my books? Well .......

Therefore, this year I pledge, here for everyone to read and hold me accountable, that I will pick ONE site and use it to catalog and share my reading for 2012!  Feel free to place bets at this time.  So, if anyone reading this has one site in particular that they would like to advocate for as the best site to choose, I would love to hear from you. 

Just in case you do not see the connection between my two thoughts today, high on the list of necessities for my "alleged" exercise tool is a book rack, or an iPod connection so that I can read or listen to books as I "work out."  My personal theme for this year is Enriching the Body and Mind, so I will be reading about topics of professional interest as well as for pure enjoyment.  Suggestions?

  I just read the article http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2011/12/what-americans-keep-ignoring-about-finlands-school-success/250564/ (thanks for the post, Kristin) which in turn caused me to check out what Finland thinks about its school libraries.  Turns out, not so much, which now requires further reflection.  Read the article above, then read "The Role of the Principal in an Information Literate School Community: An International Panel?  http://farrer.csu.edu.au/principal/survey/report/paper_FI.html
After you read and reflect (while exercising, perhaps?)  I would love to read your thoughts and  comments about this interesting educational thread.
And by the way, Happy New Year!