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:
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?"

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
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”

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. 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 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:
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 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
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: 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."