I came back from the February break schools get up here in New England to a surprise: they had updated the firewall. I discovered this when I sat down to do my morning routine on the computer: log in to GMail, open up my GoogleCalendar and GoogleDocs, and log in to Twitter. But thanks to our newly robust firewall, Twitter was blocked.
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AASL’s National Conference in Charlotte is Nov. 5-8 in Charlotte, N.C., and YALSA will be there! You can visit the ALA booth in the exhibits hall and see Nichole Gilbert, YALSA’s program office for events, and you can network with your colleagues at the official YALSA Happy Hour.

Join YALSA upstairs at Cosmo’s Cafe Uptown, 300 N. College St., Charlotte, on Friday, Nov. 6, from 5-7 p.m. YALSA’s reserved a space upstairs. Connect with your colleagues over a full food menu and half-price wine in a relaxed atmosphere.

Today Twitter has been abuzz with discussion of the Cushing School (MA) library going bookless. As I read the Twitter posts I find myself feeling a bit disconcerted by their lamenting nature. While yes, I understand that a school library moving to a no books model is a drastic thing to do. And, while I understand that a library needs to almost always provide a combination of print and digital resources, I wonder how can we respond on Twitter, blogs, editorials in newspapers, etc. to this topic thoughtfully without sounding like a group of whining traditionalists? (There, I said it.) Read More →

If you are going to be around on Monday afternoon, June 13, the ALA Committee on Literacy is sponsoring an off-site visit to the real and working school library at the Claremont Academy on Chicago’s Southside from 2:30 to 4:30 PM. This is a fabulous opportunity for YALSA members and other youth serving librarians to see what’s happening in Chicago.

Through a federal Improving Literacy through School Libraries grant, Claremont Academy and 11 other Chicago Public Schools are taking an A-B-Cs approach to addressing primary students’ literacy needs. During the visit, participants will:

  • Learn more about the federal grant program from the U.S. Department of Education and Chicago Public School representatives.
  • Learn more about Claremont and the community from school administrators, library media specialists, parents, and students.
  • Observe Claremont’s library activities.
  • Talk with school media specialists and literacy teachers about changes, challenges, and progress.
  • Share your experiences with everyone!

Claremont Academy is located at 2300 West 64th Street, Chicago, IL 60636. Transportation is available from McCormick Place departing at 1:30 pm and returning at 5:30 pm. Space is limited and MUST be reserved in advance.’  Please contact Dale Lipschultz, OLOS Literacy Officer dlipschultz At ala DOT org with questions or to reserve space.

Event Flyer for ABCs of Library Literacy

Librarians’ hearts were aflutter yesterday as the New York Times reported on school librarians in their Future of Reading column. Motoko Richs’ article “In Web Age, Library Job Gets Update” features a day in the life of Stephanie Rosalia, a librarian at Public School 225 in Brooklyn. The piece marvels at how she does not simply stamp books and shush students, but rather teaches information literacy. It rose quickly to the #1 slot as yesterday’s most emailed NYT article.

My Twitter network was quite active as we traded links to various responses, and, regrettably, the comments on the article itself. Most dismaying was comment #24 from “suenoir,” a reader who identified herself as a school board president from King County, WA and who felt that school libraries & librarians are superfluous in the face of the Internet and public libraries. She commented: Read More →

In a profession filled with acronyms and specialized taxonomy, sometimes it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows what we mean.

Just one example: When a couple of my colleagues thought I should write a post for 28 Days of Advocacy, my first response was, “Um, I don’t think I know anything about advocacy.”

They laughed.

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Libraries of varying shapes and sizes are gearing up for Teen Tech Week, including school libraries, libraries on a budget, and even some first-year celebrators! If you work in one of these’  library types, then you’ll want to check out the Teen Tech Week Voice Thread presentations. These free online presentations’  walk through the steps and ideas for arranging Teen Tech Week celebrations within restricted access school environments and’  low/cut budget scenarios.

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In this podcast, Maureen Ambrosino of the Central MA Regional Library System talks with Kathy Lowe, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts School Library Association and Lynn Rutan, middle school librarian in Michigan on the current state of school libraries.
The podcast covers:

  • The state of school libraries across the country and the crisis level of school libraries in Michigan.
  • The importance of administration seeing school libraries as a value to the school community.
  • The role of a school librarian as an advocate for school libraries
  • Best practices in being a school library advocate
  • Impact of school library services on students and in particular on teens
  • Impact of school librarians on academic achievement
  • How public librarians can support school librarians
  • AASL School Library Campaign

The countdown is on for celebrating Teen Tech Week! Check Stephanie’s post for links to all the resources and materials you might need.

But wait. Are we really as ready as we think we are? As it turns out, celebrating TTW can be something of a hurdle in school libraries. Yes, those thousands of libraries that serve a huge proportion of our nation’s teens. So, what’s the problem? It’s simple to explain, yet hard to understand. In school libraries, technology use is highly controlled and restricted. School boards and administrators are reacting to the triple threat of online pornography, predation, and bullying, while trying to respond to the demands of No Child Left Behind and shrinking budgets. Schools routinely block social networking sites and a host of Web 2.0 tools. More often than not, Web content is accessible only if it serves instructional purposes.

So what can a school librarian do? As it turns out, a lot. Here are a few ideas from the article I just wrote on this topic for School Library Journal.

Celebrate TTW on your own terms. Is standardized testing scheduled for your district from March 2–8? Celebrate the following week, or during the entire month.

Think tech-related. Host a discussion about how social technologies have changed students’ lives and invite speakers involved with technology.

Low-tech and old-tech are still tech. Even paints, pencils, and hand-cranked ice cream makers involve technology (thanks, Francisca!)

Use the event to educate school administrators about the many safe and productive ways technology can be used in schools. Point them to publications like YALSA’s Social Networking Toolkit for Educators and Librarians and the National School Board Association’s recent publication Creating and Connecting: Research and Guidelines on Online Social – and Educational – Networking, which urges schools to reassess restrictive policies regarding technology.

Have fun! A school librarian’s attitude towards technology can have the biggest impact of all.

High School senior Andrea Drusch, cared enough about school libraries to write her opinion about her experience with them in the Dallas Morning News last month. School Library Journal picked up the discussion online with an interview and reader comments.

While responses to her article ranged in responses, one point did stand out to me. Her opinion invites participation. It could be a participation that allows innovation (“So I went into her office and talked to her about it for a long time. And she invited me to go with her to do a selection process for books.” in regards to speaking to her school librarian about the article), allows for people to know what works and what doesn’t work (‘we read at Starbucks’), and it allows for her knowledge to be part of the conversation (who better to speak about the needs of a 21st century student then one herself).
I think we could probably focus on the food/drinks part of the article and make good and legitimate cases of why it can or can’t be allowed at our particular location. However, many of us have conversations with teens and each other on a regular basis-of how we can remain relevant to our users and it doesn’t necessarily involve the coffee-but it probably involves conversation or at least mechanisms (online or offline) for those conversations to take place. Sometimes our users are in a better place to make things happen. How do we keep conversations going like these in our own communities?
In light of Andrea’s article, it might be a good time to re-read this paper written in 2005, Millennial Net Value(s): Disconnects Between Libraries and the Information Age Mindset.. I have a feeling the authors of the article would agree with a lot of what Andrea said.

Posted by Kelly Czarnecki