Looking forward: School libraries in the new year

The inclusion of school libraries in the ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act) of 1965 authorization as ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) in late 2015 was a victory, especially for districts reliant on federal funding, but it is technology that is altering what is going on in so many schools.

1:1 technology push
States switching to the computer-based standardized testing required by Common Core State Standards — independent of the CCSS backlash, major assessments are still and will likely remain CCSS aligned — will require supplying hardware accommodating increasingly resource-intensive testing with interactive charts and graphs and locked-down browsers. In many schools, the librarian will be the point-person for maintaining that technology.

1:1 technologies require new metrics
At the AASL conference in November, Michelle Luhtala shared a picture of charging blocks and cables. That’s what she “circulates” at 1:1 New Canaan High School, and it’s a brilliant idea for quantifying student use. Door count had potential as well to show the vibrant, active aspects of our school library spaces independent of checking out books.
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Authors for library ebooks (and you)

by Janet Ingraham Dwyer

Frustrated by the state of access to ebooks for teens and other library users? What librarian wouldn’t be, given the snarl of issues surrounding ebooks in libraries – starting with publisher licensing arrangements that make some ebooks prohibitively expensive and others not available to libraries at any price? For example: want to connect your teens with Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series or check out Corey Ann Haydu’s debut novel, OCD Love Story, for phone or iPad? Can’t be done (unless you’re one of three New York library systems participating in Simon & Schuster’s first-time library ebook pilot project).

Enter ALA’s Digital Content Working Group (DCWG), a broad-based team commissioned in 2011 by then-American Library Association (ALA) President Molly Raphael. The DCWG advises ALA leadership about opportunities and issues related to libraries and digital content, and works toward provision of equitable access to digital content for all.
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ALA Council at 2013 Annual and Youth Issues

ALA Council is the governing body of ALA. Council meets during Midwinter and Annual, with significant electronic communication in between.

In January, I posted about Council decisions related to youth issues after Midwinter.

A brief summary of issues with implications for the youth we serve that were taken up by Council at the most recent conference can be found below:

  • Council adopted a resolution (CD#37) Reaffirming ALA’s Commitment to Basic Literacy. While there was discussion disputing the need for such a resolution as well as the perceived implication that one literacy was being privileged over another, the majority passed a statement of support. This resolution can serve as a reminder that literacy is a core service all libraries support and is essential in helping teens become productive adults. Continue reading

Why Should We Still Purchase Nonfiction?

In an era where every library dollar needs to be justified, should teen services departments continue purchasing nonfiction?

YA librarians are in the perfect matrix to consider this question: patrons aren’t bringing their reference questions to library staff, teachers aren’t asking students to cite print sources, information discovery on the web is incredibly easy, and personal web access is growing ubiquitous. Continue reading

App of the Week: Frankenstein for iPad and iPhone

Title: Frankenstein for iPad and iPhone
Cost: 4.99 (promotional)
Platform: iOS

Whether it’s the compelling re-telling by Kenneth Oppel, This Dark Endeavor, or Liz Burns’ TeaCozy read-along, Frankenstein seems to be experiencing a resurgence among both teen readers and librarians.

Now Inkle has developed a stunning iOS app based on the classic Mary Shelley novel but with a rather HyperCard-feeling twist.

Victor’s story becomes something of a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure as the reader decides how to advance a conversation or even choose how to navigate streets at selected points which then determine the next passage. It’s an interesting slice-and-dice approach to a classic. The app also features the complete text of the original, as well as a gallery with the many anatomical images and landscapes used throughout.

As with many of the book apps based on older works, this project also suggests how you might work with teens to demonstrate how something within the public domain can be monetized and transformed into something original and compelling. I love the ides of teens creating their own variable versions of curricular texts as a form of assessment.

For more Apps of the Week, visit the App of the Week archive.

30 Days of Innovation #16.5 (bonus post!): E-readers as supplements

Can we finally put the argument to rest? E-readers are not killing reading, nor are they killing books. As research shows, people who own e-readers not only read more than people who don’t, but they read both e-books and print books. Not to mention, there are plenty of populations, from prison inmates to seniors, who will need print books for a long time coming. Neither one is going away.

That’s not to say that they’re the same, though. Far from it. In my experience, e-readers attract different types of readers than print books, and they’re also engaging more people who were previously non-readers. Anybody who thinks that’s not great, well… There are also scads of e-reading apps available for phones, tablets, and computers, so e-content is available to more than just people with Nooks and Kindles. People use e-readers for a variety of reasons, from pleasure reading to research, so it’s good to consider how many bases you can cover. The Pew Research Center released a report on reading, readers, and e-readers recently, and ALA of course responded. While Pew’s data is encouraging (among other statistics released, the study found that people who use e-readers read more books per year than people who only read in print), ALA pointed out that the stats of who reads at all, and who reads in what format, are also related to education and income level. So what can you do about it? Continue reading

App of the Week: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook

Title:‘  Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Interactive eBook

Platform: iPhone (3GS, 4, or 4S), iPod touch (3rd & 4th generations), iPad (iOS 4.0 and later)

Cost: $4.99

Released in time for Halloween 2011, this interactive eBook brings to life the Regency-era undead of Seth Grahame-Smith’s cult-classic novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.’  The app includes’  400 “brain eating pages” of text, graphics, interactive features, music, and animation.

PadWorx Digital Media and Quirk Productions have successfully produced a game-like reading experience that will appeal to teens.’  The promotional video illustrates how the text comes to life as the reader taps through the pages.

Atmospheric music and sound effects will further draw the reader into the story, and the interactive features are a true example of the media’s potential.’  Dripping blood, brain splatter, and feasting undead–all excellently rendered! Moreover, the developers corrected a minor lag between page turns with version 1.0.1. Continue reading

YALSA Blog Tweets of the Week – April 8, 2011

A short list of tweets posted over the last week that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting:

  • Slides are up for @Amanda_Lenhart ‘s #SRCD talk on how teens text & talk with friends: http://pewrsr.ch/srcd11 – @pew_internet
  • RT @NYPL Want to spend all night @ NYPL, exploring the building, the stacks & our treasured objects? Here’s the chance. http://ow.ly/4r4RJ – @doseofsnark
  • [new blog post] “I hate technology” http://tinyurl.com/4yo255j – @sarah_ludwig
  • “Youth will not seek out the product that we give them, they will seek out the product that they want.” #sextech – @urbanwellness
  • This history of web browsers infographic: http://bit.ly/gAHZoe I am in love with this trend of infographics. – @ms_bock
  • RT @tomwhitby:World’s Simplest Online Safety Policy http://bit.ly/h7DHCo #tlchat #echat – @joycevalenza
  • Find a poem you like, respond to the poem with a QR link or message. Voila! #PoetQRyQResponse http://tinyurl.com/3wtsme2 – @maryleehahn Continue reading

HCOD & the Future of Libraries

About 10 days ago the library world had a bit of a blow-up with the announcement that Harper Collins was going to limit the number of circulations (to 26) for ebook titles a library purchases as a part of their OverDrive collection. The Twitter hashtag for conversations related to the topic quickly became #hcod (for Harper Collins Overdrive).

Ever since the news of HCOD broke, I’ve been thinking about it. Thinking about it partly in terms of whether or not the Harper Collins move was good or bad, but really I’ve been asking myself what does the HCOD announcement say about the big picture future of libraries, teens, and service to the age group? I’d say that’s the most important question here. While it’s important to know about the change in policies related to Harper Collins, Even more important is going beyond one publisher and one vendor and getting right to the heart of the matter, what is the future of libraries within a digital content world?
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28 Days of Tech #26: eBook dilemmas

Last December, ‘ my 12 year-old’ niece’ and not-12 year-old best friend both received Kindles for Christmas. By the time I saw them, both had uploaded a few books and a few games, and both were raving about the size and convenience. It was the first time I’d seen the new editions up close, and they certainly are sleek and clear.

My library currently owns two older edition Kindles (courtesy’ of a donation), and by Christmas, we were still wrestling with to how’ ‘ to acquire and advertise our Kindle eBook collection. In addition, my colleagues and I were debating the fit of a ‘ Kindle purchase model at our library, and so movement with the two we already owned was slow. I thought we had time on this.

But seeing eReaders in the hands of two of my favorite readers, I realized the eBook revolution had to become a priority. It was time for this concept to take center stage. ‘ So I’ve spent this new year trying to catch up on the eBook conversation, and figure out the best way to integrate eBooks into our school library.

I’ve asked myself a few questions: What are different libraries doing to incorporate eBooks and eReading? What are the road blocks? Is there a model out there that our library can follow? How do we’ proceed?

So far, the answers to these questions are vast and varied–‘ Here is some of what I’ve discovered. Continue reading