Calling Public Librarians to Action! FCC’s Digital Literacy Corps Proposal

After reading my last post, my friend Jennifer Tazerouti (who can be reached through the Auntie Librarian blog and through her Twitter handle @AuntieLibrarian) suggested I should expand my call to action to public libraries.  When you are right, you are right.  Thanks, Jennifer!

The FCC proposes to send its digital literacy corps into schools, libraries, and community organizations. The difference between the organizations and schools/libraries is that the latter already have digital literacy gurus in place.  This seriously undermines our authority and the public’s perception of librarians.

Evidently the old stereotype of librarians is still hanging on.  We all must do a better job to dispel it.

Connect 2 Compete

Jennifer’s suggestion and introspection on my part motivated me to discover more about the FCC’s proposed digital literacy corps.  What I found was both reassuring AND upsetting. The proposed digital literacy corps is NOT something new, but it is new to me (upsetting). How have I missed something so threatening to my profession?

Perhaps it is because it is part of the Connect 2 Compete initiative that is limited to a small fraction of public schools.  Information on it needs to be shared with families whose children who attend these schools (any child attending one of these schools who receives free lunch is eligible to participate in this program that offers inexpensive refurbished computers and $9.95 a month hi-speed Internet access).

Many companies support training our citizens in digital literacy (reassuring) including Best Buy, Microsoft, CareerBuilder.com, Monster.com, and Metrix Learning. (Check out all the Connect 2 Compete partners here.) I am pleased to notice that Discovery Education is on board – but it is bittersweet pleasure.  As a Discovery Education DEN STAR educator, I know that DE is well aware of the school librarians’ role in our schools today.  I would hope that they have voiced a concern that a treasure trove of experts is being overlooked in this initiative.

Public Librarians

I am extremely fortunate to live in a county with a strong public library.  The Spartanburg County Public Library System consists of one main branch and nine other branches spread throughout the county.  One look at their events calendar will convince you that they are a vital part of our community, reaching out to all age levels. The dedicated staff responds to community needs and would gladly (I am sure) include digital literacy training for families meeting the requirements of the FCC’s digital literacy corps.

I’m sure my public library system is not an anomaly; public libraries throughout the country make it their mission to improve the lives of those in their communities. The FCC needs to use the sense of community each library’s staff has created and provide them with the funds to train their patrons in digital literacy.

Please email Chairman Julius Genachowski (Julius.Genachowski@fcc.gov) to share your concerns about his plans for a digital literacy corps.

Three for: Free Resources for You and Your Library

Free is always good!

  • The Libraries Agency offers free templates for posters, notices, announcements, and more.
  • Have Playaways or considering purchasing them?  Circulation Station provides both  Click & Ship and a Build & Print options.  Get free posters, stickers, info takeaways, and shelf tape through the Click & Ship option.  Customize posters, trifolds, and newslettters on the Build & Print page.
  • Love, love, love this downloadable pdf (see photo above) to display in your library!  Gale Cengage Learning offers this and more.  School librarians can find resources designed specifically for K-12 here.  Check out the Lesson Plan Library.

Banned Books Week

Be on the lookout for this dangerous rabblerouser

***Warning:  my tongue seems to be stuck in my cheek this evening.

Banned Books Week (Sept. 24 – Oct. 1, 2011) is just around the corner. When I tell my students that we will be celebrating “Banned Books Week,”  I often am greeted with incredulous looks.

I know what those looks mean:  “Why would you celebrate the fact that books are banned?”  I have to quickly explain that the celebration focuses on our right to read what we choose.

Close to Home

Two years in a row, citizens of South Carolina have made it their mission to provide me with examples of books challenged in my own state.  How absolutely thoughtful of them.

Last year, my BBW bulletin board featured the book Sold by Patricia McCormick.  Its inclusion in a middle  school library had been questioned in Laurens, South Carolina that summer by a “well meaning” parent.

The parent chose not to  pursue the formal challenge process, but by going to the news media, she surely convinced many South Carolina middle schoolers NOT to read the book.  After all, teens never question adults’ intelligence.

This summer, a concerned parent challenged Chris Crutcher’s Angry Management.  He was horrified that a book that contained so much profanity in its first 24 pages would be on a summer reading list.  (He took the time to count the words?)

So tonight as I consider activities and displays to celebrate our right to read, I thought I’d have a bit of fun.  Dangerous authors are running amuck in the world.  What’s a librarian to do?

Well, librarians do value copyright, so this one asked for permission to use Chris Crutcher’s photo in the “Wanted” poster.  Visit his website to view the original photo and to also download “Guide to Teaching Challenged and Banned Books featuring the novels of Chris Crutcher.”

Want to make your own “Wanted” posters?  Visit this site.

One last thing – definitely not tongue-in-cheek:  I love my home state and am proud to be a Southern girl.  The two parents who challenged books are not representative of the entire state.

Snapshot: A Day in the Life of South Carolina School Libraries

The South Carolina Association of School Librarians (SCASL) held their 2011 Conference March 9 – 11.  During the conference, the SCASL Advocacy Committee announced their initiative “Snapshot: A Day in the Life of South Carolina School Libraries.”  The purpose of the initiative is to gather information from school libraries across South Carolina to share with administrators, school board members, and legislators.

If you are a South Carolina school librarian, you are urged to participate.  Let’s gather data that proves the vital role we play in the education of our students.  Please click on the link for more information about this initiative.

SnapshotADayintheLifeofSouthCarolinaSchoolLibraries

Advocacy: Free Professional Development

In honor of School Library Month, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) will be offering free professional development in  March.

“How to Create Strategic Stories to Gain Support for Your Library”

Sign up for three sessions with Nancy Dowd:

    “Session One, March 15, 6:00 pm Eastern
    Experience how strategic stories can help you gain the support you need. Learn the three easy steps that will guarantee your story hits the mark with your listeners.
    Register External Link Icon 

    Session Two, March 22, 6:00 pm Eastern
    Messaging is everything. What kind of messages resonate with parents or teachers or administrators? This session will review participants’ messages and answer questions to ensure the story you share will matter to your listener.
    Register External Link Icon

    Session Three, March 29, 6:00 pm Eastern
    This session will help participants put their stories together. We will review submitted stories and tweak them to perfection!
    Register External Link Icon

    ~from the American Association of School Librarians’ website http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/slm/schoollibrary.cfm#dowd

    Image attribution:  “School Library Month Create Your Own Story”  logo

    http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/aasl/aaslissues/slm/schoollibrary.cfm

Dressing Up Destiny

This post is based on an article published in the South Carolina Association of School Librarians’ Media Center Messenger (Volume XLVIII, Issue 4).

My school district upgraded our library catalogs to Follett’s Destiny over the summer of 2010 and provided training to the school librarians in August.  I was disappointed that the training provided little  information on creating a Destiny home page.  As I usually do, if the professional development I need is not provided by my district, I went in search of information to meet my needs.

I began combing the Internet to find great examples of Destiny home pages, and serendipitously stumbled across Alicia Vandenbroek’s Destiny home page.  Not only was her home page not just a list of links, it was colorful and animated.  How did she do that?

Wix

The answer:  www.wix.com.  Alicia discovered this awesome free web site creator that allows web pages to be embedded into other sites – including Destiny!  Not only has she created an inviting home page for her school catalog, but she has also shared detailed directions that all school librarians can use to dress up their Destiny home page.

Using her directions, I created our Destiny home page as seen in the screenshot above.  Wix offers many options, but one that I love is the Mini Page option.  Using this option, you can create hyperlinked sections to be displayed on your home page. I created three:  Library Info, Recommended Reading, and Book Trailers.

In the screenshot below, you’ll see that the left column of our home page has changed to the Recommended Reading Mini Page where I have inserted hyperlinks and a book trailer. (Disappointing news at this point for my school district:  the embedded YouTube book trailers played perfectly for the first week or so, but the district once again blocked YouTube so I am currently looking for other options, including a Vimeo player that can be embedded into Wix.)

The third Mini Page I created is solely for book trailers:

Our new Destiny home page is colorful and informative.  At this point, Destiny is only on our district’s Intranet so we still use our library web page as our Internet home page on library computers, providing access to more research oriented links.  Although you cannot visit our page on the Internet, you can find Alicia Vandenbroek’s and her detailed directions for dressing up your own Destiny home page!

Shack Stacks, Shackelford Junior High’s Library Wiki:  http://shackstacks.wikispaces.com/Find+a+Book

“Wix and Destiny” found on the Librarian’s Lounge page of the above wiki:

http://shackstacks.wikispaces.com/Librarian%27s+Lounge

(The “Wix and Destiny” directions are the fifth embedded document on the page.)

Updated Advocacy Page

Over the holiday break, I found more resources to add to this blog’s Advocacy Page (you’ll see the link above).  Because the page is growing in length, it was getting quite cumbersome.  I thought it best to organize it.

You’ll now find resources in three categories:

  • ALA/ALA Affiliates’ Resources
  • State Organizations’ Resources
  • Other Resources

What other great advocacy resources do I need to add to this annotated list?

 


Image attribution:

“This is not a social media megaphone” by altemark    http://www.flickr.com/photos/24844537@N00/337248947

Edited through a Creative Commons license using Big Huge Labs Pop Art Poster utility

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