Thursday, March 3, 2011

the digital divide and common sense librarianship

I wrote this post to the TLC list serv today in light of a "debate" of sorts taking place on the listserv. Some users are posting cool and fun new ideas and uses for QR codes-- the little sqaure computer-readable blocks that can take users to a webpage with information. Some school librarians are using them to link books to booktrailers or other info.

Other librarins are wondering if they should be worried about keeping up with that tecnology, since most of the kids don't have smart phones, anyway. Still others are lamenting that THEY do not have smartphones themselves, so how can they keep up? And, maybe even mosre importantly to them, SHOULD the keep up, or even WANT to keep up.

My post:

How do you serve your patrons and be mindful of the digital divide?

It seems like the quintessential dilemma of being damned if I do, and damned if I don’t. But it doesn’t have to be.

If I try to use the cool new tools and show them to my kids—who probably ”have not,” am I letting them see and use new technology or adding to the list of the latest new thing they can’t afford? If I don’t try the new cool tools that are available to me, am I falling behind by each small step that I don’t take? And worse, am I taking my patrons with me?

Perhaps this is your conundrum today.

This blog post by David Rothman at was brought to my attention today—read it and see if you agree.

Find it at

Common Sense Librarianship: An Ordered List Manifesto

Common Sense Librarianship
1. The world of information has always been in a constant state of flux. As technology continues to changes the world of information, it is preferable for information professionals and the institutions they serve to adapt rather than perish.

This is not a new idea.

2. The most important qualities an information professional can posses are adaptability, resourcefulness, a habit of looking for better/easier/more efficient ways to do things, creativity, and a love for solving problems.

This is not a new idea.

3. Organizations providing information services should pay as close attention as possible to the needs of those whose information needs they serve. Where these needs can be measured, they should be measured. If you can find something that your library is regarding as more important than user needs, something is very wrong.

This is not a new idea.

4. Whenever possible, obstacles between users and the information they seek should be removed. Among these barriers are academic jargon and expecting users to care about cataloging minutia (it is minutia to them, get over it). Information professionals should be champions of clarity and concision who find accessible ways to describe complex topics.

This is not a new idea.

Much of the above comes from conversations with really smart and insightful people like Amy Buckland, Kathryn Greenhill, Jenica Rogers, and Maurice Coleman.

Any good stuff above should be credited to them. Any stupid stuff should be blamed on me.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gutman on Censorship

I just read an article by author Dan Gutman in SLJ on Censorship and the role of the author, the parents, the librarian, and the teacher. And it made me wonder-- what about the role of the administrator?

I have been blessed to have a supportive administrators who understand that kids explore life through books--reading about things does not mean they want to do them-- the reader lives vicariously through the book-- and sees the consequences of that character's choices. Of course he thinks about what would happen to him if he was in the same situation. Don't we all?

We can't keep kids from growing up by censoring what they read. We are the safe haven--the school library--where they go to find information and trust that we are at least trying to understand them and the world they live in.

Since one of our many goals in the library is to help kids find their way in the world, offering them a choice in what they read--and for some that means cutting edge fiction that drives them to read--or entices them to read--or makes reading cool; for others humor, or graphic novels, or fantasy--is of the utmost importance. If the library becomes obsolete to teens, we lose the opportunity to guide a new generation of leaders.

Let's guide them now, while we have them, and trust them to make choices in their own reading.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Umbrella Summer--Book Review

Annie hates getting the "dead brother" look, but she seldom escapes it during the first year after her older brother Jared’s death. Now Annie is ultra careful to make sure she does don’t contract any diseases (like Ebola) or take chances that may cause her to be injured (like running an obstacle course,) since no one knew her brother Jared was sick until it was too late. As Jared’s birthday approaches, each of the people who knew and loved him struggle to deal with the fact that he is gone.

Each character in Umbrella Summer plays an important part in helping Annie discover how best to celebrate her brother’s life. Lisa Graff paints a humorous and poignant picture of the lives of Annie, her parents, her best friend, and the community that surrounds them.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Reading Professional Books

I love reading professional books, but rarely have time! For the next six moths I am going to read them and post reviews here. First up, Readicide: How Schools are Killing Reading and What You Can Do about It by Kelly Gallagher. It looks to be a book about how turning everything nto a lesson that teaches how to analyze every book and reading assignment to death as if it were a passge on a test is killing to joy of reading and creating a generation of kids who do not read for pleasure, since they take no pleasure in reading.

I'm looking forward to the "What I can do about it" part. Uh-oh. Looks like I'm missing graduate school again! Somebody remind me that I can't go back for another degree till Jack is much older!

Can't wait! What are you reading?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

PowerPoint for Shack Stars

Hi Everyone.

I'll probably start a new blog for Shack-- or maybe a wiki-- it's easier to deal with as a colloaborative group; but for now, I will post the Shack Stars: What Does Star Formation Look Like PPT here for you in case you cannot access it on shared folders.

Have a great first day!

It was too big to email-- I'll attach it when I get to Shack on Monday morning!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thing 23 Reflection

Okay, if I am being totally honest, I must admit that I did not always love this project. When I had to explore and comment about things that I did not really care for or about things that I was pretty sure I would not use, I did not have the best attitude about it, but I did it anyways because I am a compulsive rule follower! LOL!

As I reflect on my own experience and hope to make a 23 Things for my staff and/or all the teachers in my district, I need to make sure that I address this issue with my people. I'm sure some of the things that I think are just fab, they will think are boring or not necessary to study. If I recall that going in, hopefully I will make good decisions in that realm or provide instruction that reminds them that if they pursue things they don’t care for initially, they may find that in the end, they will see the value of each thing.

I will use many of these technologies in my building. I am coming from a very technology-rich district into a district that is not quite as advanced, so I must be sure to be not only a technology cheerleader, but also a teacher, and supporter of the use of technology.