Monday, October 17, 2011

Advocacy for the Teacher Librarian

Since I'm not a practicing librarian, I looked at this assignment more in terms of a question that might be asked of me during a job interview. In other words, in what ways do I see the job as a librarian as indispensible?

First and foremost, I need to make it clear that I am a TEACHER librarian, not an aide or a technology geek or a babysitter during a planning hour or before/after school monitor. Unlike these others, my main focus is how to teach skills so students and staff will learn how to use what the library has to offer (not just be a warm body or lead them to an answer)in order to learn how to ask questions, how to search out answers, and develop ideas based on the information gathered. Teaching is my goal, and teaching is the most important goal any school has. As Mike Eisenberg explains in his Youtube Vodcast #4, I must develop the attitude that my job is essential, not an option. Without this, I can't effectively advocate for the library's role in students' education. Eisenberg advises "embracing the brand" as "library information and technology program" rather than "school library." Having an educationally trained librarian is crucial in redesigning the library's role in teaching the 21st century learner. Thus, my goal is to continually educate myself by following blogs, reading articles, attending workshops and professional meetings and asking questions as well as learning web2.0 skills.

Secondly, I will become an intregal member of the school teaching team. As an educator, I can help other teachers develop curriculum that incorporates 21st century media/digital skills available in the library. By holding open houses, after school seminars, and hands on learning experiences, other teachers will become more comfortable with technology, hopefully asking me more and more "What else can I...?" "What can I do with...?" "Where can I find...?" How can we...?" As a professional educator, I am knowledgeable about curriculum development and how to use technology to enhance the teachers' goals. In Teacher 2.0 Med Kharbach posted a link to "The 21st Century Skills Teachers Should Have" (Sept. 25, 2011)which describes the characteristics teachers need to develop in order be effective. Watch the videos, especially the one at the end of the post.

Next, I need to find people to advocate with me. Both Michael Eisenberg's vodcast and Doug Johnson's "4 Rules for Library Advocacy" (Blue Skunk Blog, Sept. 12, 2011) emphasize that I can't do this alone, nor should I. I feel not ownership of the library, but stewardship of it. Relationships among the library community are built one successful collaboration at a time. Success is the best advertisement for the library. Determining needs and then meeting those expectations will build a strong coalition. As a teacher librarian, I can show classroom teachers how the library tools can mmeet the needs of the 21st century learners. Students will be excited about new ideas and technology, and parents will notice the change in the studnets' enthusiam. I especially liked Martha Oldham's 2009 Annual Report for Lawrence High School, Lawrence, KS showcasing student and staff involvement in promoting the library. Who else but a teacher librarian would see the value in including student and staff in the library annual report to parents, staff and administration?

Finally, after watching so many videos and reading so many written thoughts about advocacy for our job, the one common denominator I saw or read was the concept of the library as a community gathering physical space. No one was using the library resources in a bubble, but as a means of making physical connections. I would so encourage students/staff/parents, everyone in the community to visit the library by creating a warm, inviting, welcoming space for all to use. If people are in it, I have a captive audience to promote it! The library should be accessible for gatherings of many kinds: book clubs, PTO/PTA, student groups,author talks, art shows, staff meetings, seminars. Any group that needs a place to meet, the library can fit that need and be the place to share, to listen, and to learn. The community of Delray Beach, Florida, on their Youtube video shows the library as their community hub.

So do I believe my job is indispensible? Absolutely. A teacher librarian is passionate about education and firmly believes that is the focus all else follows. As an educator, my function is to understand where I am needed, and fill that need in order to give students and teachers the skills they must have to function in the 21st century world. The library is a necessary means to that end, and I know how to use its tools and spaces; I can't wait to show everyone what they can accomplish!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oct 10, 2011

BIT BY BIT by Bob Sprankle 7-15-11
Sprankle describes his daughter's first FB account creation, and how it compares to his own. He experienced networking in small increments because FB was just starting to build. When his daughter signed on, her described the reponse as a "shark frenzy." within 20 minutes she had 150 friends. This led him to wonder how do we justify blocking this site from schools? How can we ignore such a prominent part of their lives? Experiencing her social connectivity with her peers this way convinces him that this is a phenomena that cannot be pushed aside. Several resposes agree, but most still had reservations about privacy issues and how to deal with them. Most saw the advantages of a space to share, help, and give to each other.

Gave a quick acronym for writing a response to reading a text (from Kelly Young): PQC. P=Point (make a point) Q=Quote (quote from text)C=Connect
(connect with other knowledge of personal experience). I teach dog training classes (which is really training owners), and realize I do this to an extent. It is effective. The text I quote is the learning manual or suggested how to manual I recommend. I give a ton of examples of other owner experiences. Both drive the point home.

Book recommendation I will buy: Personal Learning Networks: Using the Power of Connections to Transform Education by Will Richardson and Rob Mancabelli giving ideas about how to use networking tools (Twitter, Google Reader, Blogger, Diigo) in the classroom. Patti Grayson describes it as covering the philosophy as well as applications for the use of these tools, but in a personal, easy to read style for the novice as well as the advanced user. Something I can use.

Carl Harvey opened a discussion (March 1, 2010) about popular comic books for the elemntary library students. Since we don't have a comic book section, I thought this might be a discussion I could foward on to my librarian. She could start her collection off with these suggestions.

On the same track (elementary students), I read a discussion started by a librarian (also March 2010) who was suffering from picturebook burnout. Several specific books and authors were suggested, and someone sent a link that contained great ideas.

In another discussion, a teacher was looking for bizzare/odd but legitimate websites for students to explore. what caught my eye was (about places/hotels/attractions that accept dogs). this doesn't seem odd to me, but I guess it's in the eye of the beholder! Other suggestions: and

CYA:Children and Young Adult Book Review Sept 29, 2010
"Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare
The first of three novels in the Internal Devices Series, which are a prequel to the Mortal Instruments Series. I've not heard of ether, but the rights to the Mortal Instruments Series has been boought for a movie, so I'm sure I will. Set in the Victorian era, "Clockwork Angel" has a female main character and is steeped in fantasy. She is kidnapped and trained to develop her skills as a shapeshifter (which she didn't know she possessed). Characters include robots, a vampire, the "shadow haters" and "demon fighters." Tessa is the main characters; boys seem to be secondary. Plot and setting seem more developed than characters, but the reviewers seemed to like this author and her books.
One librarian recommended a site I briefly looked at but some of you might want to take a closer look: This is a site dedicated to helping anyone who suffers from depression, addiction, self-injury and/or suicidal thoughts. There's a lot going on on this site; it seems to have a wide following and legitimate support.

Reflections on text reading:
The idea of libraries as a third place was preaching to the choir. I felt that way 45 years ago. It's where I hung out, but in a solitary way, not as a group meeting place. I guess that is the difference today.
Wools gives so many ways a librarian must manage people and the library, but mostly is in a supportive way than as a top down style. I was interested in the concept of administrators not having a clear way to evaluate my performance (or usefulness) as a librarian, and the need to have that information before accepting a job. Be a helpful leader for students, teachers, and your principal! Empowering Learners made me think of a suggestion box entitled "If I only______ then I could______." For both teachers and students as a way to garner feedback.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Library Commons Budget Plan 2011