Friday, December 30, 2011
What I can do is resolve to read.
As librarians, I think it's our responsibility to read. Yes, we want to be experts in many areas, but we're likely the best and only reader's advisor in our schools. And a reader's advisor can't just talk about reading, we need to read.
So I propose a resolution that's fairly realistic. Resolve to read 100 books in 2012.
How can we reach this goal? Read a book a week and listen to a book a week.
At two books per week that's about 98 books per year. During holidays and long weekends we can likely read a couple extra books to put us at the 100 mark.
If you always have a book on your smartphone and soak up those wasted minutes in the grocery store line and at soccer practice, a book a week is pretty attainable. Listen to a book while you commute, fold clothes, and walk the dog. Two books a week--done!
Remember to keep a reader's list (see previous post), and at the end of the year it will be great to have actually kept a resolution, and especially one that helps kids by helping you be a great reader's advisor.
Friday, December 23, 2011
You've seen the discussions swirling around.
Books are our brand, says one. No, this limits libraries, says another. Ebooks, 24/7 access, social media, and information are what we're about.
While I agree with both, I think they're incomplete. The best brand for libraries? People!
By meeting the immediate needs of our users, anticipating their future needs, and reaching out to new users, we're living our mission statements.
This means we'll want to provide books in all formats, help our patrons use and produce information, and meet the needs of people no matter when or where they occur.
Are things our brand? Nope. Service is our brand. People are our brand.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
One of our terrific government teachers is doing an excellent project with his students using Twitter. Kids set up an academic Twitter feed, follow each other and the teacher, and then recommend other credible people/organizations to follow in regard to politics.
This would be a valuable experience in itself, but the teacher has required that the kids balance perspectives in who they follow and give an "elevator speech" to classmates to justify their choices.
This requires kids to evaluate the credibility and authority of their sources and to look for bias, perspective, and point of view. I think this project will have great transfer to their research skills.
This super teacher asked me to collaborate with him on the project, and the following is a mini-lesson I did with his kids to introduce the value of Twitter and how to judge its information credibility. Feel free to use it if you like.
Image from Twitter Tips Central.com
Sunday, December 4, 2011
I am crazy about ifttt (If This, Then That), a cool new tool shared with me by my tech pal, David Ashby.
This great tool allows you to set up automated "if, then" tasks using Twitter, Facebook, text, email, Diigo, and scores of other services you already use every day. [Note to the folks at ifttt if you're out there: How about Blogger?]
You can set up replies when someone follows you on Twitter, have favorite Tweets emailed to you, and send your RSS feeds to Diigo, to name a few of thousands of possibilities.
Recipes are ifttt tasks that you can make to share with others, and hundreds of recipes are posted for your use on the ifttt site.
Here's a demo video of how ifft works.
For more ideas and tools from David, check out his blog, Tech Tools for Schools.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Years ago our library collections were in good shape if they were balanced, diverse, and current. Now the issues of formats and access have complicated these tenets in some ways and simplified them in others.
The following are suggestions that feel right for our library, and I’d love to hear from you as to decisions you’re making.
AV to weed now:
Filmstrips (Surely we don’t still have these?)
AV to no longer purchase and weed when they are dated or unused:
Print to weed now:
Reference materials older than five years
Books that meet the MUSTY criteria
Print to no longer purchase and to weed when MUSTY:
Most reference materials (Keep one copy of the most-used ready reference)
Nonfiction “report” books
Materials to purchase as funds allow:
Access to streaming video
Fiction and nonfiction downloadable ebooks and audiobooks
Fiction and nonfiction print books of high quality (award winners, starred reviews, etc.)
Fiction and nonfiction print books that are in popular demand
Basically, I see our physical collections getting somewhat smaller (but not disappearing) while our digital collections grow. Our virtual collections provide ubiquitous, 24/7 access, which is something we can’t say for our print volumes that sit behind locked library doors nights, weekends, and holidays.
But because not all our students have digital devices, because our libraries have limited numbers of devices, and because some of our patrons prefer print for a variety of reasons, we should continue to provide vibrant print collections for now, at least.
Formats and access will absolutely continue to change rapidly and challenge our notions of traditional collection development. What do you see around the corner for libraries?