Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Make it @ the LIbrary

A trend in public libraries and some school libraries is Makerspaces. A makerspace is a place with an atmosphere of problem-solving and possible collaborate learning. There are no "how-to-do-it" Manuals. Librarians just "make" it work based on such factors as space, budget, student/faculty interest, or simply trying something some new library programming. It's project based learning at its best in my opinion.
Source: http://bit.ly/1aRBQKd

While not every library has the space or resources to create Makerspaces, I think it's possible on any level. For example, a high school library in Mesquite, Tx has a crochet club and a movie club that meet once a month. The public library in Tyler, Tx will hold a Lego competition in November and invites kids and parents to participate.

A misconception is that libraries have to provide high end electronic equipment such as 3-D Printers or color printers, or soldering irons and drills or even poster board and markers. You could even have a makespace competition with marshmallows and toothpicks. And who could resist eating a few marshmallows in the process? http://bit.ly/1is7ySB or http://bit.ly/17qZGRV

SLJ announced on October 28, exciting news about a new website just for tinkers. See the entire article here: http://www.slj.com/2013/10/programs/make-it-your-library-launches-maker-space-project-website/

The best feature of this website is that it is completely searchable. makeitatyourlibrary.org The purpose is to "to help librarians realize maker space projects in their own communities at low cost."

Friday, October 11, 2013


Each month on the OhBoy! Fourth Grade Blog (http://ohboy3rdgrade.blogspot.com/) Farley provides a poster and invites others to download it and complete the phrases. Is this some sort of sneaky psychological test? It's harder than you might first think, or at least it was for me. Also I had to refresh my Paint Shop Pro skills in order to get the words on a pdf.

But I was thinking that it would be a nifty tool for student feedback about a lesson or unit.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

From Idea to Birth in 7 Days

Last week I mentioned to Michelle Cooper  that  a monthly podcast for librarians should be created as another avenue for connecting the school library community. Guess what the incubation period is to be short lived! 

Starting on Monday, September 23 at 7:00 CST (the 3rd Monday) several premier librarians will have host a inaugural Google OnAir Podcast for Librarians. Michelle Cooper @_MichelleCooper, Nikki Robertson @NikkiDRobertson, Elissa Malespina @eMalespina, Matthew Winner @MatthewWinner, Sue Levine @staffdevjnkie are the "management team" and content providers.

Details are being worked out as I write this post. But it will be officially announced on tomorrow's (September 9) TLCafe webinar at 7:00 CST (http://TLvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com) Stay tuned for late breaking news about tlNewsNight.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Crush of the Day

We all have the same 24 hours a day, right? We all have too many things to cram into that 24 hours, right? We all read timesaver tips and promise ourselves we will be more organized and become a super librarian and significant other, right? 

We're supposed to continue our professional development and build our PLN by daily keeping up with Twitter, Facebook, email, and blogs, right? What happens? At least for me, my best laid plans are often forgotten in the rush/crush of the day. For example, right now I am supposed to be at the grocery store buying items for tonight's potluck dinner. But I made the mistake of checking my email before I left the house. Not the best plan. One thing led to another and here I sit mesmerized by what I've been reading.

Here's one of my new strategies. Recently I became a newly certified Symbaloo educator with a certificate and everything =). One of the requirements was to create a webmix that I could use and share. So,  I created a webmix for School Librarian Blogs. There are jillion blogs, but I focused on blogs that were librarian reflection and not librarian book reviews. Here is my shared webmix. Enjoy but don't get bogged down trying to read every one every day. 

Shoutout for #txlchat

Last April, seven Texas librarian decided it was time to build a Twitter Chat community aimed primarily at Texas schoool librarians. The chat moderators, Naomi Bates, Sandra Carswell, Michelle Cooper, Marsha Edney, Sue Fitzgerald, Sharon Gullett, and Sonja Schulz figured that we would be chatting among ourselves and a few friends. 

But little did we dream that the Texas chat would become national within the first five minutes of the first chat as librarians from Oklahoma, New York, and Florida joined in the conversation. This weekly chat continued through May when it was decided there would be a summer hiatus.

Last month Joyce Valenza was the keynote speaker at the Dallas ISD/Region 10 Library Summit, and she gave us a shoutout. You can't image how excited four of the txlchat team were when we saw our name on Joyce's presentation slide. Need I share that there was a Woot! from someone in the audience?

As we launch Season 2 on September 10 at 8:00pm CST, we've become a little more organized and have made great plans for the coming year. Also we've changed the chat times to the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 8:00-9:00. I hope you will join us as an active participant...although we appreciate lurkers too. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Library Kind Bombing

How about a “library kind bomb”? Okay, I may need to explain what I mean about a “library kind bomb.” It’s a slip of paper slipped/hidden somewhere in a book that promotes the library in some way. For example, in social studies books you could include a link and the password to an appropriate database with an added note that you are always ready to help with their research needs. Or it might be a coupon for waved book fine or a free color copy. Or it might be a "if you like this book, then..." Or it might be "Smile. You've been kind bombed!" Actually kind bombing would be a fun activity for a Book Club.

Image source: http://mamascouts.blogspot.com/2012/10/guerrilla-art-kind-bombing-with-kids.html

Textbook Woes

Textbook responsibilities can be a real drain on a librarian’s time, and I don’t know how the actual process is handled at your school. BUT if you and your team are physically handing the books to the kids, it is a super chance to make a personal connection with all the students and promote the library at the same time. Otherwise some of the kids may never come to the library during the year. :-(

By the way, the Lego Librarian is in set 10 of the mini legos. Although you probably can't read it, the coffee cup says SHHHHH!

Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/drewmaughan/8686728280/

Nothin's New under the Sun

Several months ago, I was  cruising around the web reading blogs and tweets at random looking for inspiration for a project I had in mind. Sometime in the middle of my meandering, I jotted down two words on the back of an envelope and then used it as a bookmarker in a book I put back on the shelf. Today I discovered my treasure!

The words? Ideas Bandit. So what is an Ideas Bandit? An Ideas Bandit is someone who "steals" ideas or teaching strategies. Is there anyone among us who is not an Ideas Bandit? Isn't that the whole purpose of Pinterest? <grin>

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Anticipating the Unknown

'Standing on the Cliff Edge' photo (c) 2013, M. Dolly - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Have you ever had a great idea or at least what you thought was a great idea? You work diligently to bring the idea to fruition. Then on the big day of the "happening," you feel like you are jumping off a cliff and wondering whether the outcome will be a hard or soft landing? Yesterday was such a day for me.

Only a week yesterday six outstanding Texas librarians agreed to help host a weekly Twitter chat for Texas librarians named txlchat. http://www.twitter.com/#txlchat. Michelle Cooper, Sue Fitzgerald, Naomi Bates, Marsha Edney, Sonja Schulz, and I launched our first chat last night. The landing? Soft as a feather bed.

Although the tweet chat was publicized on several listservs and tweeted and retweeted, we had no way to anticipate what would happen. We could be chatting among the seven of us, or we could be chatting with a larger audience. Anticipation reached a fever-pitch when 8:00 rolled around. Not more than 5 minutes into the chat, Jerry Blumengarten (@cybraryman1) tweeted our chat. Our audience had already reached outside Texas! Can you imagine six librarians doing a happy dance? Too bad we didn't have a Google Hangout going at the same time; you would have seen the best Harlem Shake anywhere.

So the fear of failing/falling has once again been averted. My husband says I'm always happiest when I'm one step from the unknown. So, I'm almost ready to stand on another cliff...which is my natural habitat. It's the only way to grow professionally, right?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Summer Workshops 2013

I've begun to plan summer workshops for 2013 and am so excited about how they are shaping up so far. Registration is not open yet.

June 13 - It could be named - AEIOU: Vowels in the Library. Carolyn Foote presenter will be speaking about Accessibility,  eBooks, iPads, Out of the box thinking, and Unique learning spaces. But no matter the name, it's still a Carolyn Foote Workshop. Longview ISD

June 14 - Area 7 TCEA Workshop in White Oak. Several area librarians and Carolyn Foote will be presenting along with teach gurus from around the state.  Diane Laufenberg will be the keynote.

July 10 - Symbaloo and You. Michelle Cooper will introduce Symbaloo and walk you through embedding Symbaloo to your Destiny page. Henderson ISD

July 23 - Unplugged Unconference: A Picnic in the Country. Rosemary Whitten, former Longview ISD Library Coordinator, will host participants at her country home in Laneville. Attendees are asked to bring a finger food for lunch, wear comfy clothes, and bring a floor pillow (if you have one) as seating will be informal. We will enjoy stimulating conversations about library issues in the relaxed atmosphere of the country. This activity replaces the annual meeting in Bullard. 
Image source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/julesandjoe/7114527379/

In Case of Fire

Some of us consider ourselves to be pretty tech savy but have gaps in our understanding of social media terms tossed about. I'm blogging a link to an article I read that included some easy definitions of social media. Social Media Lingo. http://bit.ly/12csnea April 2, 2013.

By the way, B2B means business to business and B2C is business to consumer. Following that line of thinking, I guess librarians need more acronyms. :-) L2T - Librarian to Teacher; L2A - Librarian to Administrator; and L2S - Librarian to Student when their interactions with their stakeholders.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Too Good to Miss (3.21.2013)

'Key characteristics of brave 21st century learners from Angela Maiers' photo (c) 2010, Wesley Fryer - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
The 10 Skills Modern Teachers Must Have http://edudemic.com/2013/03/the-10-skills-modern-teachers-must-have/
"There’s been a lot of talk about 21st century learners, 21st century teachers, and connected classrooms. There’s a daily influx of new technology into your inbox and your classroom feels woefully behind the times even if you’re flipping your 1:1 iPad classroom that’s already online and part of a MOOC. What are modern teachers to do with all this jargon and techno-babble being thrown at them all day long?"

Collaboration.  http://www.busylibrarian.com/2013/03/collaboration.html
Matthew Winner shares his thoughts on how to open the collaboration door. Not your usual article about collaboration and the library/teacher. Example of a lesson plan book and a long range plan along with a Slide Rocket presentationl.

Prezi Adds Audio To Presentation Platform And Surpasses 20 Million User Mark http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/12/prezi-adds-audio-to-presentation-platform-and-surpasses-20-million-user-mark/
Prezi has added audio capabilities to its presentation platform and has surpassed the 20 million user mark, more than doubling its base in the past year.The new audio feature allows users to add sound to the different path points. Users may also use the audio feature to make soundtracks for their presentations.

Advocating or Promoting

For years, I’ve talked to new and veteran librarians about advocating for their library programs. This week I had an epiphany about advocating. It all began with my looking at the online shopping channel QVC.
Here’s the scenario. A host starts talking about a product and proclaims it is the best available at a great price; she/he brings on a product representative who demonstrates the product and proclaims it is the best one available at a great price. You are just a quick phone call away from eternal bliss, right? You get the picture.
Is the host advocating for or promoting the purchase of the product? I know it may just be a case of semantics, but in my mind, there is a difference. According to the dictionary, a promoter advertises, endorses, encourages, sponsors, stimulates, and advances; an advocate supports, backs, believes in, and campaigns for. So, I think a QVC host is a promoter. In this instance, who is the advocate? It the customer who writes product reviews (assuming they are good reviews).  
The reason I make this fine distinction is because I feel the opinion of an advocate is much more believable and powerful than the opinion of a promoter. Do you believe what Best Buy says about a latest flat screen TV or do you believe Consumer Reports?  Do you believe the car salesman or a customer who has driven the model for 6 months?
How does this idea relate to school libraries?

The librarian should promote the library program by finding many ways to advertise library activities. Who is the advocate? I believe an advocate is a library patron who supports and campaigns for libraries. If your district is thinking of cutting library budgets, who is the better advocate? Librarian or teachers? The librarian must actively show and promote what they do, and then encourage the patrons (students and teachers) to speak out in favor of the library and its librarian.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Circ Desk Repurposing

I read this article and have been thinking its relevance in relation to a school library. “Good-bye, Hotel Front Desk” http://www.bizjournals.com/bizjournals/blog/seat2B/2010/09/hotels-increasingly-ditch-the-front-desks-with-emergence-of-younger-biz.html?ana=lnk

What are the pros and cons of eliminating the large circulation desk in a school library? Would the library have more functionality if precious floor space were not commandeered by such a behemoth piece of furniture? While I’m not suggesting that librarians walk around the library doing circulation from an iPad, I’m suggesting that it’s time to start evaluating the subliminal message a huge circulation desk can send. Are librarians in the circulation business or the information business? Are librarians in the inventory management business or the information exploration business?

Maybe circulation should happen at a kiosk or small desk at the entrance of the library, and the circulation desk be turned into something like the Genius Bar found in Apple stores. My local ATT store is set up the same way too.

If I were in charge of the world and not flush with a big budget, I would put a new top on the existing circulation desk so that there is an extension toward the front edge and put counter-height stools in front. I would arrange several laptops on top with a sign that says “Info Center,” or “Genius Bar,” or “Collaboration Station,” etc. on the wall behind.

I know this idea may not be workable in every library. And I know that if you are new to the library world, you may not be comfortable with repurposing a bastion of traditional library service. But it’s something to think about.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Too Good to Miss (3.15.2013)

Most every day I see at least one resource that I want to share. Rather than email it or tweet it, I'll post the links every Friday in this blog so that later you can retrieve them without trying to find them in your email.

Nancy Keane's idea for introducing new nonfiction books to the faculty.
http://thelibrarianinthemiddle.blogspot.com/2013/03/sip-and-see-our-new-books.html?spref=tw Nancy Keane correlated the new non-fiction books to Common Core Standards, but you could do it just as easily for the TEKS or STAAR.

Open Minds in Library Centers 
http://librarycenters.blogspot.com/2013/03/opening-minds-in-library-centers.html Opening Minds: Using Language to Change Lives, by Peter Johnston, a book this librarian just finished, discusses how have such a profound effect of our students. Then she explains how 5 quotes from the book are relevant to her and the creation of centers in the library. Although you might think centers are only for elementary libraries, they can be "planned opportunism" for secondary students as well.
Knowledge Quest
The Mar/Apr 2013 issue of Knowledge Quest is now available! The theme is Mentoring through Partnerships: ow.ly/iPzV4
Mentoring where collaborative partnerships form between new and existing librarians is essential to empower emerging and proficient leaders with knowledge, competencies, and networking to expand their influence on the learning community. This issue explores what one needs to understand about mentoring to impact professional practices and teaching.
The 7 Critical Services All Libraries Should Offer http://edudemic.com/2013/03/critical-services-all-libraries-should-offer/ Seven Services: (1) Accesss to electronic resources; (2) Create [teen] advisory board; (3) Educate the community; (4) Become the Center of Excellence; (5) Establish cooperative relationship with local schools; (6) Provide hardcopy resources to students, teachers, and parent; (7) Enable social collaboration. Although it was designed for a public library, I believe this infographic is very relevant for school libraries as well.
A Librarian’s Guide to Makerspaces: 16 Resources http://bit.ly/YYeKOF
Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more. Even if you don't develop one for the library, Makerspace is a term you need to know. 

In the Digital Era, Our Dictionaries Read Us
"The days of displaying a thick Webster's in the parlor may be past, but dictionaries inhabit our daily lives more than we realize. "There are many more times during a day that you are interacting with a dictionary" now than ever before, says Katherine Connor Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries for Oxford University Press. Whenever you send a text or an e-mail, or read an e-book on your Nook, Kindle, or iPad, a dictionary is at your fingertips, whether or not you're aware of it." A really interesting article you might want to share with students and teachers.

Less Clutter, More Useful | The User Experience
"Keeping libraries free from clutter shouldn’t be solely the purview of the fastidious. It’s something we all can and should be able to achieve. With less clutter, people will have an easier time of finding what they want, and they’ll have a more peaceful experience. Conversely, clutter in and around the library is a user experience issue we all must address." Use this article along with an Image Audit to improve the library's physical appearance.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

So, Why Redhead Resourceress?

'Librarian Action Figure' photo (c) 2009, slgckgc - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/If you've known me for many years, you know I'm a natural born redhead although I must confess that it is now "enhanced." What I'm using this platform for is to publicly announce that I have always loved the pursuit of new ideas and ways to make school libraraies more relevant in the changing educational landscape. Along the way, I found an abundance of resources. It seems logical then to consider myself a resourceress rather than a  librarian. Besides I don't have a library to manage. 

I know the current buzzword for a resourceress is curator, but resourceress seems so much more mysterious and not so "Nancy Pearl...ish."