You and Your Library in One Word

 

Balance. Simplify. Volunteer. Energy. Gratitude. Grace. Adapt.

MorrisHave you been following the #OneWord2017 hashtag? I love this trend—people on Twitter, even teachers and their students, are proclaiming in just one word their goals, ideals, and hopes for the new year. The idea is simple, yet it isn’t—like that famous saying about wanting to write a shorter letter but not having the time or those January home magazines suggesting how easy it is to organize household mail if you only touch each piece once.

It’s harder than it might seem to be efficient when completing certain tasks or collecting certain thoughts. And distilling a year’s worth of ambition into a single word is no different. But I like the spirit of this exercise in nudging what might be a jumble of ideas toward a more focused lens. Too often with resolutions and to-do lists, we get excited and ambitious, and well-meaning plans end up diluted. Choosing one stream feels practical and attainable.

I like the one-word resolutions that could apply to many aspects of living and working—like “adapt.” Vow to adapt to the unexpected snowfall, request, or detour. Adapt when a website goes down, a student question brings surprise, or a new resource falls in your lap right before teaching. Continue reading “You and Your Library in One Word”

“Locked in the Library”
Inspiration for Your Library Escape Room

We’ve all the seen the photos of groups of our friends who worked together to try and get out of an escape room—some successfully and some not so successfully.  Librarian Maddie Powell decided to see what the idea might look like in the school library in Frisco, Texas. Her goal with the escape room was to engage non-readers and bring them into the library. Students had 10 minutes to figure out whether a character in the story had jumped or was pushed out of a window. A series of clues and riddles led students to find a black light in the sock of the dummy on the floor, which was used to uncover the answer on the walls. There was a high rate of participation and excitement that got many non-readers into the library space. Demand was so high that teachers began bringing whole classes in together. School Library Connection’s own Carl Harvey talked to Maddie about the experience and her tips for others hoping to try their own escape room.escape-now

Carl Harvey: What was your motivation or inspiration to do something like this?

Maddie Powell: Escape rooms seem to be popping up everywhere! I’m always looking for some sort of programming that my students might like. It’s hit or miss and you never know what will catch on. When the escape room idea hit me, I knew I had to try it. Continue reading ““Locked in the Library”
Inspiration for Your Library Escape Room”

Research Opportunities Abound at the Reinberger Children’s Library Center:
A Collection of Special Collections

pic1a_marantz-picturebook-collection_405A new year brings new opportunities. Why not consider applying for a fellowship with our friends at the Reinberger Children’s Library Center at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS)? The application period begins January 30th… so start mulling!

In case you missed it, this article by Michelle Baldini from our December online bonus issue provides more detail about the fellowships and some of the amazing research work by recent fellows. (And in case you missed the entire December issue online, subscribers can find an index of all the new articles by clicking here.)

Social justice in children’s books? Homelessness, immigrants, and indigenous communities in literature for children? Picture book research?

Academic research on picture books and other forms of children’s and youth literature is exactly what takes place in the Reinberger Children’s Library Center at Kent State University’s School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). The Reinberger boasts a collection of more than 40,000 picture books, original picture book art, posters relating to picture books that date back to 1924, historical children’s books, and more. This non-circulating special collection makes the school distinctive among other accredited American Library Association schools and youth library centers. Continue reading “Research Opportunities Abound at the Reinberger Children’s Library Center:
A Collection of Special Collections”

Joy Tips in the Library

Library of Congress
Library of Congress

Take a moment to think about how to maintain your sense of joy in the library with this article from Jim McMillan and Barbara Pedersen.

Subscribers can find more great articles like this here.

Life in the library can include many situations that try to steal your joy. We all know if we lose our joy, we lose our peace, and we don’t want that to happen. You may believe that when things go wrong you can’t control how you feel, but you can. Each of us can control how we respond to things through the use of our will power. Make your will power your library power and use it when you need it. Students will learn from watching you. The way you live your life in the library is what you teach others. They will learn by your example. So how do we use our will power, you ask? There are five Joy Tips that have always helped guide me and are guaranteed to help you too in holding onto your joy wherever you go. Continue reading “Joy Tips in the Library”

December Author of the Month Kyo Maclear

Whimsical. That’s a word that should pop into your mind when you hear the name Kyo Maclear. It’s a word that describes so many of her children’s books—The Wish Tree, Virginia Wolf, Mr. Flux, and more. So when you see those children who could use a little whimsy in their lives, do them a favor and introduce them to Kyo Maclear.

Be sure to look for our review of her new book, The Wish Tree, which received a highly recommended rating in the November-December issue of School Library Connection. Subscribers can see our complete archive of reviews at reVIEWS+.

maclearwOnce upon a time there was a Japanese-British-Jewish-Canadian couple who were anxiously awaiting the birth of their first child. Wanting “to celebrate that multiplicity,” novelist (and soon-to-be new mother) Kyo Maclear decided to write her first children’s book, and so was born Spork—the name of the book, not the baby. Fast forward to today and we find that her children are still a source of inspiration for Maclear; she also draws inspiration “from walking in the city and eavesdropping, from art and artists around me, from my own feelings and memories of being small in the world.”

Maclear writes “eccentric and fanciful stories,” she tells us, “to invite big and little readers to see the world less rigidly.” Books like The Wish Tree demonstrate that Maclear is “big on kindness and community.” According to Maclear, “If there is one theme that runs through most of my books, it’s the idea that we should be hospitable to the small, the seemingly strange, the wild (including wild, wolfish humans), and the unexpected.” Continue reading “December Author of the Month Kyo Maclear”

‘Tis the Season?

via flick https://www.flickr.com/photos/43089317@N04/8239376115/in/photolist-dy5XsT-qc8DpX-9eoN3Y-7oJC9Z-pEx4vg-puDANL-dJPoiC-aX4v9i-qeHUD-5MFdMa-4dEjTW-5Kdy93-bWiDEZ-5LkDKj-4zrYnA-bsQWGP-iBcPXb-dNadaE-vdEdsG-dybxDc-4wRe18-dxCmZZ-6Gz6jq-jr5CLZ-dD5QrL-9W586C-dog7nD-7prbXw-7EePs-4cisDD-pG8pee-aXabFR-7oW5NL-dCZry2-9Df3TD-Nz6tF-5KAysh-8YQdSQ-7bX7yM-jr7ym1-86mdJs-6XqgBt-du8LbC-9KxTHB-92NZHC-5KEAZs-8Rwdw2-4cDnWL-dJ2DxA-cDmR
“Humbug” by SK via Flickr Creative Commons license

I love Christmas. I love Hanukah. I love giving gifts, the cookies, caroling and all the other festivities that go along with this December season. But…every time that Amazon ECHO commercial comes on television I turn into Scroogette incarnate. That’s right. The hairs on the back of my cybrarian neck just stand on end, and I begin to pontificate on how tomorrow’s leaders are going to be intellectually impaired. The same reaction ensues from the Google Home equivalent. Why in the world would we want to insert in our homes a thinking device, a data-miner, and a microphone that listens to every word we say…just awaiting her name to be called (i.e., the “wake up” word)?

Library of Congress
Library of Congress

Almost eighty years ago, Aldous Huxley wrote A Brave New World, in which he espoused that humans will come to love technologies that undo our capacity to think. Fast-forward 80 years and here we are embodying his theory. So here we are. We now have devices that can and do think for us. In the 1940s, what technologies did they have?  The typewriter? Morse code?

Today, impoverished children have strikes against them. They are likely arriving into kindergarten having heard merely half the vocabulary as their peers entering school from an educated home, but dare we claim that in the future their brains might be a bit better off? Will they demonstrate resourcefulness? Will they have more experience problem solving? Once they catch up with language and other skills, will they exceed children from privileged homes where they don’t need to think and where the kids have spent the mornings on their iPad swiping away or asking Alexa how to spell or what the meaning of life is? Only time will tell. Continue reading “‘Tis the Season?”

Sneak Peek: Teaching Leadership

Think you’re not ready to be a leader? Too late, you already are! Gail Dickinson explains, “You decided to be a leader when you decided to become a school librarian.” As you will learn in her new video workshop, “Leadership is part of everything you do.”

In this six-minute sneak peak from her workshop, Gail Dickinson focuses on engaging parents in your school’s leadership curriculum. What do you want to ask of parents? How do you engage them in student learning in a meaningful way? Gail discusses how to identify what you want from parents and how to include them in building a culture of leadership at your school.

 

SLC subscribers can view the full workshop here.


dickinsonGail K. Dickinson, PhD, is associate dean of graduate studies and research at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. She earned her master’s in library science from the University North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and her doctorate in educational administration from the University of Virginia. Dickinson is a past-president of AASL, was editor-in-chief of Library Media Connection, and is the author of Achieving National Board Certification for School Library Media Specialists and coeditor of the seventh edition of Linworth’s School Library Management.

From the Archives: Joyce Valenza on Digital Curation

 

With an Svalenza1LC @ The Forefront  seminar coming up with Joyce Valenza and Brenda Boyer on December 15, now is the perfect time to revisit Joyce’s article from 2012. In it, she talks about the importance of digital curation and its place in school librarianship.

Sign up for “OER: Issues, Possibilities, and the Promise of Curation” on EdWeb here.

The Internet firehose analogy rings even truer today, twenty years after Internet access saw its beginning. Each of us is now not only a consumer but also a potential media producer, and it is easy to be drenched.

Human Filters Help

Digital curators can prevent oversaturation by filtering and diverting the onslaught and by directing what is worth sharing into more gentle and continuous streams.

Blogger, author, and NYU professor Clay Shirky, in Steve Rosebaum’s Mashable post, “Why Content Curation Is Here to Stay” on May 10, 2010, describes the problem with traditional search and identifies the issue of filter failure:

Curation comes up when search stops working. [But it’s more than a human-powered filter.] Curation comes up when people realize that it isn’t just about information seeking, it’s also about synchronizing a community.

[Part of the reason that human curation is so critical is simply the vast number of people who are now making and sharing media.] Everyone is a media outlet. The point of everyone being a media outlet is really not at all complicated. It just means that we can all put things out in the public view now (Shirky in http://mashable.com/2010/05/03/content-curation-creation/).

Human filters make a difference. Librarians can be filters in the best sense of the word. Librarians can synchronize communities.

Curators make sense of the vast amounts of content that are continually produced. They are talented at scouting, identifying relevance, evaluating, classifying, organizing, and presenting aggregated content for a targeted audience. They create what Allen Weiner calls “informed playlists” (http://curationchronicles.magnify.net/video/Clay-Shirky-6#c=M5ZX2G2S2CH2LNGS&t=Allen%20Weiner%20defines%20curation).

Perhaps Albert Barnes was the ultimate curator for the pre-digital world. His suburban Philadelphia art collection and educational facility was unlike any other. Barnes was known for his visionary scouting, and for his careful selection of art work before the world discovered it as great. Known for his thoughtful juxtaposition of paintings, Barnes created wall ensembles for his students. One section of a gallery wall might contain works of different styles, periods, and from different parts of the world. They were gathered strategically so they might be contextualized, compared, and studied. His goal was for these wall ensembles, these highly curated works, to inspire learning. Continue reading “From the Archives: Joyce Valenza on Digital Curation”

Learning from Rock Star Librarians

This month’s One-Question Survey asked our readers to name the ‘school library rock stars’ who are the biggest influence on their work and what it is that makes these individuals stand out. The resulting word cloud of school library luminaries is certainly fun to view but really not too surprising—much more intriguing are the explanations of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that set these individuals apart. What can we learn from these rock star librarians? decwordle4_616x
This month we asked the question, “What ‘school library rock stars’ are the biggest influence on your work?” followed by the sub-question, “Why do these individuals stand out for you?” Our underlying purpose in asking these questions was to better understand what sets a school librarian leader apart.

The 347 responses identified 174 leaders with an additional 14 general responses (e.g. the students I work with, teachers, other librarians in my school district, etc.). The list of school library leaders, displayed in the word cloud, is certainly of interest and fun to view but really not too surprising—we all know that Joyce Valenza rocks this profession!!!

Much more intriguing, on the other hand, are the explanations of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that set these individuals apart as leaders in our field. Continue reading “Learning from Rock Star Librarians”

November Author of the Month John Coy

John Coy tells us that he decided to become an author after, on a whim, he typed his name into the library catalog and got zero results. “That,” he explains, “is when I realized that if I wanted something to come up, I needed to write.” Today, his fans are certainly glad for those zero results.

Be sure to look for our review of his new book, Gap Life, which received a highly recommended rating in the November-December issue of School Library Connection. Subscribers can see our complete archive of reviews on reVIEWS+.

coyJohn Coy loves writing, and sharing that process with students is one of the things he loves the most about school visits. “It’s so different compared with what many of them imagine, with lots of false starts, mistakes, and rejection,” he tells us. “It’s an amazing process to start with nothing other than an idea and turn it into a book. I love inspiring students to see reading and writing in new ways.”

He also encourages teachers and librarians to try their hand at writing: “Many teachers and librarians enjoyed writing when they were younger but don’t get many opportunities to write for pleasure now. I’ve been in schools lately where teachers and librarians have set up writing groups where they write together and read their writing to each other. These groups have many benefits including giving instructors a stronger sense of what students are struggling with as well as students being able to see their instructors as writers. With writing, we’re all in it together, all of us trying to become better.” Continue reading “November Author of the Month John Coy”