Monthly Archives: October 2012

Reading Journal- The Daring Librarian- 10/29/12

For this week’s Reading Journal, I explored The Daring Librarian blog. I chose to look at hers because I need a lot of help when it comes to using technology in all areas of my life including the library (some of my teacher colleagues make me feel so far behind!) She seems like a good resource for practical technology use.

It is a bit difficult to summarize exactly what I read, because I ended up doing a lot of clicking around and exploring (which I’ll talk more about in my response to the resource.) One interesting post that I ran across, however, was about Banned Website Awareness Day. I think the reason it stood out to me was because it left me feeling very conflicted. In my English classroom this year we celebrated Banned Books Week in all four of my classes (not in my library, unfortunately, because I forgot the dates and was not as on top of things as I should have been!) Obviously, during this week we talked about the dangers of censoring texts of all kinds. At the same time, in my library we do block different websites. Now, my library does not block many of the websites that The Daring Librarian links to (http://mluhtala.blogspot.com/2011/04/whats-blocked-in-schools-whole-lot.htmlūüėČ since we are a community library we even allow social networking websites and YouTube. However, the kids are not allowed to access those websites during school hours without my or the assistant librarian’s permission. In the Daring Librarian’s post, she makes a good argument for allowing these websites, including teaching the students responsibility, that the educator-side of my brain really responds to. The other part of my brain, the one that is in charge of the legal side of the library, says absolutely not. What if the kids are doing things that can get them into trouble on school grounds and in MY library? I do not want to deal with that. This posting made me feel so hypocritical- teaching the dangers of censoring one form of information while simultaneously censoring another- but I still cannot decide how I feel on the issue as a whole. I especially do not know if I would feel passionately enough to attempt to change library policy.

That turned into a long summary. So, I’ll drop it and respond to the source. At first, the Daring Librarian’s blog seems so overwhelming (but somehow in a good way!) Her blog is aesthetically pleasing, gives picture examples, and various links to other resources. From the blog, I ended up following her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/gwynethjones) and checking out the TL Virtual Cafe (http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/.) Both seem as though they are full of resources that I will be able to pull from. Already I have started monitoring the #TLChat on Twitter and found some great resources. (Because of it, I’m thinking Twitter should be my next Technology blog.) I love the way that the Daring Librarian focuses on being a teacher-librarian or being a resource for teachers AS the librarian.

Mostly, this source really made me think. Specifically, it made me think about my internet policy as well as the ways in which I am not using the technology available to me. I think I will keep reading The Daring Librarian mostly through Twitter, because she seems to post on Twitter more often anyway, and I think I will keep monitoring the #TLChat for tips and resources on being a teacher-librarian.

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Technology Journal- SlideShare- 10/22/12

For this week’s technology journal, I created an account on and explored SlideShare.I chose to look at this tool because I LOVE that SlideShare supports the idea of the free exchange of ideas, knowledge, and materials. As a Librarian as well as a literature and writing teacher, I am obviously very supportive of that way of thinking.

I like that it is easy to search and navigate SlideShare. Not only do they have a search box, but you can “browse” by what is popular, most downloaded, featured, and most “favorited” as well as by channel. I also like that you can make your post available to everyone or available to just one specific group of colleagues, students, etc. In addition, you can search popular topics like technology, education, humor; there are even full books available on here! Unfortunately, there is also a lot to sift through before you hit gold. For example, when I tried to find videos on library science or information on libraries, most of them were three to five years old. If we are talking about classical books or the Dewey Decimal System that can be okay, but technology moves so fast that watching a tech presentation that is five years old is most likely a waste of time.

My overall experience with the tool was a tad frustrating. A lot of the videos I found in search were outdated, but if I browsed long enough there were some on libraries and technology in libraries that were more current. When I tried to find a tutorial to see if there was something I did not understand or was doing wrong, the intro videos weren’t so much tools to learn how to use SlideShare, but an introduction on why you SHOULD use SlideShare. Luckily, though, the site is set up a lot like YouTube, so once I found a good, current slideshow it led me to other related, current resources. In addition, and I think I have mentioned this in a previous post, slideshows like this one are much more beneficial to me if I see them during or after a real presentation. It is very hard for me to learn from something like this without the information on the slides being explained. I worry that if I use similar presentations to try to present information to patrons and students, they might run into the same problem.

Despite all of that, I think this is a tool i could use in my library. Once I get a real website up and running, a SlideShare account could be a beneficial place to post research tips, book suggestions, book reviews, etc. so that patrons, students, and teachers can access them from home or school if I am not around. Because you do not need an account to look at the presentations, it would be a great way to integrate free, public information with my library users.

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Reading Journal- Library Media Connection- 10/15/12

For this week’s journal, I explored Library Media Connection online. I chose to look at it because of its easy access to book reviews, articles, webinars, etc. The resource can be found here:¬†http://www.librarymediaconnection.com/

For the most part, I focused on reading the book reviews on Library Media Connection. It was a rough week in my library this week, and all I wanted to do was read about and order books. (I feel as though technology integration is a fight I will be fighting as long as I work here- this week I couldn’t even bring myself to read about it.) I read through the 2012 selections as well as some 2011 ones, because some authors and selections in my library are very outdated.

I really enjoyed using the resource itself. There were podcasts and webinars available for free that I will probably look at at a later date. The book reviews as well as the articles were organized by month and year, so they were easy to access and sort through. I think I would like to start receiving the magazine in order to get the most use out of Library Media Connection, though. There were some articles I saw listed that I would have liked to read but (I think) are only available in the physical magazine.

The content itself was wonderful. The reviews are listed as Highly Recommended, Recommended, Additional Selection, and Not Recommended. I loved that they included “Not Recommended” books, because by including them I could help recognize what to steer away from. They were also organized by subject (i.e.- counseling, science, health, etc.) I got a lot of good ideas from the book reviews, including purchasing a book for the Jr. High science teacher entitled “47 Things You Can Do for the Environment”- a book aimed at teens and how the small things they can do help save the Earth. (The Jr. High Science teacher is very environmentally-conscious, and tries to teach his kids to be, too.) I also got some great suggestions for Easy books such as “Bedtime is Canceled” and “Leave Me Alone: A Tale of What Happens When You Stand Up to a Bully.” The only disappointing thing about the content (and I acknowledge that this is of no fault of the reviewers) was the amount of fairy tale books that came back as “Not Recommended.” I love fairy tale stories as well as fairy tale spoofs, so I would get so excited every time I was about to read about one, only to see that the author seemed to miss the point.

Overall, I think I’ll keep going back to Library Media Connection. It seems as though it will be a good tool when it comes time to order books, as long as I can get my library out of the habit of only ordering what’s safe.

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Technology Journal- YouTube- 10/8/12

For this week’s Technology Journal, I chose to take a closer look at YouTube. Obviously I have used YouTube before, but I chose it because I have never explored¬†the website¬†as a library and/or teaching tool, and I think it will be very beneficial in coming up with creative ideas in both areas of my life. The channel that I learned to manage can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpBYRWL8o5ZOu4bVNXhX8nA?feature=mhee

Overall, I think this YouTube Channel and the subscriptions I chose based off of the list will be a useful tool for me. I chose to subscribe to TedtalksDirector, HarperKids, SimpleK12Team, Scholastic Teens, and PenguinYoungReaders. There were quite a few things that I like about the tool, such as the easy access to “book trailers” through different channels. One especially cool one I found was a hidden “Superhero Test” advertising a YA book. The student could go through and figure out what kind of superhero he would be, but the parts of the test themselves are not searchable. By putting videos like this on a library’s website, YouTube could serve as a way of getting students interested in books they otherwise might not know about. I also like being able to sort videos into different playlists. So far, I set up a playlist for Library books, Library Tech, Teaching (English), and one called “Just For Fun” that will have videos that are still educational but may not fall into any of those categories. This will be beneficial once I get more videos watched and favorited because I won’t have to remember how to search them or look through all of the videos that I have saved at once.

While YouTube is obviously very user-friendly, getting started with it was a bit of a pain. I ended up just creating a new e-mail address, and at first had trouble distinguishing between my YouTube profile and the Google+ profile that is automatically set up (I’ll partly blame that on sleep depravation.)

There are quite a few ways that YouTube can be used as a library tool; however, I feel as though it will need to be used subtly. First of all, YouTube is blocked at my school (I know, I know- not an excuse!) but I can work on getting it unblocked on the library computers. In addition, there is a negative perception of YouTube as a time waster. While it will be beneficial in hearing about new books and getting creative ideas for promoting books and technologies as I discussed above, I cannot really spend time on it at school without getting some questionable looks. While I will absolutely keep checking back to the channels I subscribed to for book, promotion, and activity suggestions, I will mostly need to do it from home.

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October 7, 2012 · 10:39 pm

Professional Reading Journal 10/1/12- The Unquiet Librarian

For this reading journal entry I explored the blog “The Unquiet Librarian.” Honestly, I chose it because I know I have heard good things about it, although I cannot tell you from where. (Perhaps it was mentioned in class or in the first book we read- I simply don’t remember.) Anyway, the article I focused on was entitled “Choosing an eBook Platform” because, as I believe I have stated before, I would like to start integrating eBooks into my library over the next few years (as long as¬†the town I work in catches up technologically, that is.) The post was displayed in the form of a PowerPoint presentation that I believe the author used at a conference. It can be found here: http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2012/08/15/choosing-an-ebook-platforms-for-your-k-12-school-library/

The presentation had a lot of information in it. Tips on how to choose an eBook platform included issues in eBook platforms, questions and values to consider while choosing a platform, key features of multiple eBook platforms (Mackin, Baker & Taylor, Kindle/Nook, etc.) and resources for finding free eBooks. Key features of the platforms included things like databases, fees, number of titles, publishers, drawbacks, etc.

The resource itself was very good. Her presentation had a lot of great information in it. Since I have never had to work with eBooks outside of my own Kindle, there were a lot of aspects of choosing a platform that I never would have even thought about (for example certain publishers only using certain platforms.) In addition, I did not know about all of the platforms outside of Kindle and Nook, and now when I do choose one I will have quite a few to choose from as well as positives and negatives for each.

Unfortunately, since the post was in presentation mode, there were a lot of things about it that I did not understand. I think that the presentation was probably ideal when coupled with the author actually speaking and presenting the information. On its own, however, there were some slides that had titles or information that left me with questions. Obviously, once I decide to try to incorporate eBooks into my library, I will have to do a lot more research. Until then, however, this presentation is bookmarked on my computer and will serve as a great starting point!

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