Category Archives: Library Science

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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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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Technology Journal- Shelfari/GoodReads- 9/24/12

For this week’s technology journal, I explored Shelfari through Amazon, and made a profile for my school’s library: http://www.shelfari.com/o1514830973. I also further explored GoodReads. I had a GoodReads profile for myself, but had only really used it to find quotations and book reviews.

I chose to explore Shelfari primarily because I like GoodReads, and thought they seemed very similar with one important difference: I could import my books from Amazon. I was drawn to this because when I started my GoodReads account, it was almost overwhelming trying to pick which books to review straight out of my head. With Shelfari, I could import the books that the library has been buying lately rather than having to choose randomly from the stacks.

As mentioned, I like the function of being able to import books from Amazon. I also like being able to look at a list of the popular authors in my library. This should make ordering new books that come out easier. Other than that, I am not a huge fan of Shelfari¬†as a Library tool. A lot of the website is based on being able to interact with “Friends” and other groups which is hard to do because not a lot of people have Shelfari. I created a personal account thinking I would get more use out of it, and still couldn’t really connect with people. On my GoodReads, on the other hand, I have plenty of friends and friend recommendations to choose from.

My experience with the tool overall was good. Before you register there’s a quick tutorial that I watched that was helpful in finding out what Shelfari¬†had to offer and navigating around the website.¬†I also enjoyed reading reviews on different books. In the end, however, I think I would continue to use GoodReads¬†until Shelfari gets more popular.

One way that I already use GoodReads in my library work is for book recommendations. I have a lot of friends who teach high school, so their reviews are a good resource when it comes to what I should and should not order for my library. Shelfari could be beneficial in my library as well (once I have more time) because of the Groups available to join. If I joined one geared toward young adults, I could get a lot of recommendations on what to buy as well.

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Reading Journal- School Library Monthly- 9/17/12

For my reading journal this week, I explored School Library Monthly. The two articles that I found most beneficial were called, “The Changing Role of the School Library’s Physical Space” by Tom Corbett and “Teaching Students to Think in the Digital Environment: Digital Literacy and Digital Inquiry” by Barbara Stripling. I chose these articles specifically to read because I have been attempting to help students research in the library, and their lack of knowledge on how to navigate the Internet is shocking. (For example, in Rhetoric the students are working on the “offensive,” as in the opposite of “defensive,” parts of arguments. They were required to find examples of blame, value, and choice arguments, and some of the students were Googling “offensive arguments.” I’m sure you can infer what kind of videos and articles they were finding.)

The first article by Tom Corbett was about creating digital libraries and turning the library into a place of collaboration by changing the “library software platform” to one more appropriate for today’s web services, including a search engine, and restructuring the “library’s physical space into a collaborative work area.” The second article featured a model on how to help students utilize and ask questions about digital information.

I really liked using the School Library Monthly resource. It is easy to navigate and has information for librarians across the board. While this time I mostly used the “articles” part of the website, if I ever begin teaching library classes the “Into the Curriculum” tab has a lot of great information on how to integrate the library into mainstream classes (for example, there was a “Who’s Who” intro activity for “The Odyssey” I’m definitely going to use with my Freshmen!) I think I will start regularly checking School Library Monthly. Every article or lesson plan I looked at was relevant and useful, so I feel the website curators do a great job of making sure only top-notch information makes it onto their page, and I appreciate that.

As for the content, the articles I read gave me a lot of ideas. The town that I teach/work in has a large Apostolic Christian population. Therefore, depending on how strict the family is, some of them do not own computers (because they take away from family time, which is very important to the AC community.) However, the students are allowed and required to use computers at school for research, but they often do not know where to start. The Corbett article got me thinking about setting up an information database for researching at my school. One suggestion given by Corbett is to use Drupal. I explored Drupal a bit and it seems like an easily-navigated site that would be good for my students. (Obviously I’ll do more research before I choose one.)

Our school library is already a meeting place for learning and collaboration- we just need to start integrating technology and databases in more, and make information more readily-available to students. I think this article gave me a lot of ideas on how to do that. If I can get a strong database up and running, I can give it to the teachers and students as a research resource. In addition, teachers could help me add to it by letting me know what information and websites would be useful in their classrooms, which would get the library more integrated into the classroom.

Okay. I hope this did not turn into a technology entry. Overall, I loved School Library Monthly. I think it has great ideas and is a great resource not only for librarians but for classroom teachers, and I believe I will utilize it regularly in my role as a school librarian.

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Reading Journal- 9/3/12

I chose to look at the blog “Nonfiction Matters” by Marc¬†Aronson for this week’s Reading Journal. I mainly chose it¬†because I wanted to learn more about the importance of nonfiction as well as how to use it with my students in the library. (I also recognized Marc Aronson’s name- he came to University¬†High School last year to¬†talk to the Freshmen! He even posted about them here: http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/nonfictionmatters/2012/04/26/more-news-from-the-9th-grade-front/)¬†“Nonfiction Matters” can be found at http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/nonfictionmatters¬†(Unfortunately he is no longer adding to it; instead, he is writing a column.)

I read quite a few of Marc Aronson’s blog posts, but one that really jumped out at me was called “Big Data? Big Questions.” The post addressed the idea of personal reading being made public via websites such as bitly.com and readsocial.net, as well as the positives and negatives associated with “big data.” Another post that I read, his “goodbye” post entitled “Change Partners and Dance,” led me to Aronson’s website, marcaronson.com.¬†There I found a 30-minute¬†video clip of Aronson explaining how to get young “nonreading”¬†men to read. His solution was simple: give the boys nonfiction pieces that serve as a “pathway to something they are interested in.”

I found the resource itself very useful. Throughout his blog, Aronson addressed a number of different topics such as collaboration¬†within¬†common core standards, legal issues in libraries, his own projects, projects of colleagues, etc. What was most impressive about Aronson’s blog is that he constantly provided the reader with his sources. Because of this tendency, the reader is able to learn from Aronson’s experiences as well as do extra research on the topics he addresses. As a result, I find this to be a great resource I will resort back to when it comes to researching library-related issues as long as it is up and running. Unfortunately, I fear that since he is no longer writing on the blog it will eventually be taken offline.

The information I will utilize most¬†in my school’s library actually came from the video, “Books in Action: An Interview with Dr. Marc Aronson on Young Men and Reading.” Currently, the English 2, 3, and 4 students are required to read a book a month. As a result, many young men have come down to the library asking for book recommendations (usually the shortest one possible.) Watching Aronson’s video reminded me that there are options outside of “Of Mice and Men” and “Animal Farm” for these boys, and that suggesting nonfiction pieces can help them not only fulfill the requirement for class, but can hopefully teach them that reading can be enjoyable for them, too. On that same note, I think the resource readingsocial.net that Aronson wrote about¬†could help the students suggest books to one another (and myself)¬†that are enjoyable and have already been approved for the class.

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Professional Journal #1

To create my Professional Journal blog, I used WordPress (http://wordpress.com/ or https://rebekahslibrary.wordpress.com/.) My decision to use WordPress instead of Blogger was simple: I used Blogger to make a blog for an ITPS commitment last semester and thought I would give the other a try. By using both websites, if I decide to use blogs in my role as a librarian, I will know which one I prefer.

I am relieved by the fact that WordPress seems simple to use at first glance. There are examples to look at, and samples that can simply be edited until the user gets used to the website. It seems to me as though you can get as intricate as you want, or leave the blog as simple as you want which is great.  I am, however, struggling to get things to load which is why my page is still very generic (I will try to personalize it later this week when my browser is agreeing with the website.)

Despite¬†technical difficulties,¬†I have tried to join the blogging community a bit. I noticed that you can follow blogs and chose a few under the “books” category. One of them called “Eleventh Stack” has some very beneficial entries and book reviews (as well as¬†some random ones about Nic Cage and televisions, so we’ll see if I stick with that one.) Either way, following various blogs seems like a good way to get reviews on books and find out if they are appropriate for a school library before ordering.

If I were to use WordPress¬†with my students in the library, it would be as a book review tool. As much as I love suggesting books to my students, it is sometimes hard to think of a good variety. Believe it or not, I tire of saying, “Read The Hunger Games!” Having students review books that they read for their classmates via a WordPress¬†and having them all follow each other could get a wider range of opinions circulating. In addition, my school library is also the community’s library, so I have a staff working for me as well as a library board to answer to. I think a WordPress would be a great way to keep my co-workers, student workers, and board members updated on the most recent technologies.

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