National Information Literacy Awareness Month

Information Literacy Supporter Badge

It’s been three years since President Barack Obama proclaimed October as National Information Literacy Awareness Month.  This year I served on a committee to word a proclamation to present to Gov. Nikki Haley so that South Carolina could also shine the light on the importance of information literacy. Eighteen states have now followed Obama’s lead; is your state one of those?

Three for: Documenting Your Impact

Creative Commons Image Attribution: http://www.flickr.com/photos/vblibrary/5762454084/

The 2012-2013 school year is upon us!  One of my goals this year is to improve my methods of assessment.  School librarians are often so busy teaching that they forget to assess the learning taking place.  Can you imagine a classroom teacher NOT assessing student learning?

I hope that the three resources I have gathered for this post are as helpful/motivational to you as they have been to me.

  • “Assessing Learning: the Missing Piece in Instruction?” by Violet H. Harada and Joan M. Yoshina is an article I reread often.  It motivates me to keep looking for ways to assess learning in my library.
  • Ross Todd’s “The Evidence-Based Manifesto for School Librarians” summarizes much of the discussion at the 2007 Leadership Summit sponsored by School Library Journal.  He discusses evidence-based practice as it applies to school libraries, shares multiple types of evidence we can be collecting, and provides questions to guide us as we consider student outcomes and how we can share the good news.
  • The University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science: SLMImpact  This awesome wiki includes tools, resources, strategies, and additional readings for proving your library’s impact.  Many of the links on the Tools page provide ways to assess student learning.

How do you assess student learning in your school library?

I Love Being a Librarian

As the summer was coming to a close, I had a thought that I never imagined would enter my head:  maybe retirement wouldn’t be so bad.

Who I Am at the Core

I am now in my 36th year of education.  Education has been, and continues to be, part of my core.  I am a nerd from the tip of my auburn head (not so much my natural color now)  to the hot pink polished nails at the end of my toes.  As a classroom teacher for 29 years, I loved interacting with teens and our discussions about literature. I loved reading their writing (well, maybe the research papers tested my soul) and discovering the individuals behind the faces in my room.

When the opportunity to leave the English classroom and head into the largest classroom in the building was offered to me, I was both excited and hesitant.

Excited because now I would have the chance to interact with more students, collaborate with more teachers, and guide both through problems they were having with technology.  I would be able to recommend books to more students and be surrounded by books and technology all day long.

Hesitant because I worried if I would still be able to form that teacher/student bond when I didn’t see the same students every day.  Relationships are the core of education.  I love teens and want to help them through the angst of the teenage years and celebrate with them when they achieve their goals. I had this discussion with my mentor, Sally Hursey, who promised me I would still have those bonds.

CC Image Attribution:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/47823583@N03/4382573949

Best Career Decision EVER!

The first three years as the lead librarian at my school were stressful as I was also taking courses at the University of South Carolina‘s School of Library and Information Science.  Fortunately, I had a wonderful mentor to guide me through the transition from the classroom to the library.  (And for those of you who haven’t made the transition, let me tell you, it is a different world!  That is a blog post for later.)

However, I loved every minute of librarianship (well – except grappling with the budget).  I have never been more fulfilled by my career than I am now.  School librarianship involves ALL of my passions:  students, teachers, education, reading, technology, collaboration, teaching, and forming relationships (I needn’t have been hesitant about taking this position!).

I was reminded of this today as I began going through the posts that have collected in my Google Reader through the first week of school with students.  One of my favorite blogs is TLT: Teen Librarian’s Toolbox.  In yesterday’s post, “Libraries Are the Beating Hearts,”  one of the blog’s authors shared how libraries/books/research have helped her through some of life’s difficult times.  She ended with this, which sums up my feelings about libraries and being a librarian as well:

I love being a librarian.  I love walking in the doors of a library.  I love opening the pages of a book.  I am honored every day to be a part of the beating heart of a community.  Support your libraries just as you would take care of your heart.  Healthy libraries are the same as healthy hearts, and without them our communities die.

Fleeting Thought

So, back to the beginning of this post:  I was amazed that I even considered retirement.  After two weeks back at work, I am pleased to say that I still love every moment of my job. Meeting new students who love reading is so rewarding, as is meeting those who don’t and being able to put the right book in their hands.  Twenty-one classes came through the library this week to check out books and I loved working with each.

Summer?  Yes, I enjoyed the freedoms it offered.  But now I am back where I belong and couldn’t be happier!

Three for: Free Classroom and Library Printables

Free quality educational resources?  Sign me up!

Iowa Library Services

Library Posters Iowa Library Services offers this collection of library posters in pdf format.  Print to your heart’s content!

Educational Technology and Mobile Learning

Thanks for culling links for us, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning Blog!

Venspired Learning

Krissy Venosdale generously shares her creative classroom designs and posters through her blog and Flickr account.  Check them out!

Image attribution:  Skipping Schoolgirls outside Victoria Station, London by UGArdner http://www.flickr.com/photos/22834654@N04/2445244162

Three for: Library and Classroom Free Lessons and Printables

This morning as I was pinning, I came across several great FREE items.  Who doesn’t love free?

Lessons

  • Use this search:  “Lynn Farrell Stover” “Library Sparks” This generous lady shares her Library Lessons – and they are awesome!  They are geared for elementary students but I have found ideas to “eduplay” with my grandsons.  (Hmm…don’t know if that term will catch on.)
  • The Book Bug‘s Destiny (catalog) exercises – for elementary, but I know I can use the general idea for my high school students:https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8Hp3hxOmva9ekZhUVdUWkZKd28/preview  If you have some time, surf through her site.  Treasure trove!
  • Teacher Vision’s Library Resources for Teachers Most of the activities are geared toward elementary and middle school students, but some can be modified for use with high school students.  For example, librarians can add another level to the Dewey Relay game which divides students into teams tasked with being the quickest to locate books with a specific Dewey number.  Perhaps combine this with gathering citation information to have students not only locate, but also use, library resources.

Printables

Screenshots:

“Remembering the Titanic” from the PDF available from Highsmith at www.highsmith.com/pdf/librarysparks/2012/lsp_mar12_ll_titanic.pdf

“Always, always, always consider the source” from Technology Rocks Seriously’s Scribd. document.  http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com/2012/01/blog-post.html

Please Say You Have More Books Like This!!!

I frequently add to a running book order list I keep on Follett’s Titlewave.  Today as I was checking into a title that Pamela Hill recommended on her awesome blog, I discovered a new (at least to me) feature Follett has added.

Is this awesome, or what?  For those of us who are often too busy to read review journals or blogs to discover great books to add to our collections (that wouldn’t describe you, would it?), Follett has added a scrolling list of Read-Alikes above the reviews.  And taking it one step further, this feature tells me I may already own some of the recommended titles (in the screenshot above, my collection already includes 4 of the 5 titles).

Now when students run breathlessly up to the Circulation Desk and frantically say, “Please say you have more books like this!” not only can we check the title’s Destiny catalog record for recommendations, I can check the title record in Titlewave.  It offers more Read-Alike titles than Destiny and lets me discover titles I might want to add to our collection.

I am going to earn my Collection Development Black Belt much sooner than I expected!

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