Finding daisies in the pasture

In his inimitable style, Doug Johnson posed a research question that I’m pondering this evening– “Is requiring print resources a sacred cow that needs to be put out to pasture?” My initial response(from his site) was that: “I have very mixed feelings about this. It feels somewhat artificial sometimes to say “one print source” but on the other hand, I have seen students go from one print source to using ten, and being engrossed in their subject and it really enticing them in. And we […]

Love your library?

A video promo is a great way to publicize your library. A group of librarians in our district are meeting tomorrow to work on some video messages for our programs. But videos like these could be used on campus websites as well. Imagine energetic, amusing, enthusiastic video messages that convey what your campus is all about and create more of a dynamic sense of your campus on your website. If we are excited about learning and about libraries, shouldn’t we show it? And shouldn’t we […]

The “Frude” problem

I failed some teachers the other day.   I failed to recognize a potential problem ahead of time and didn’t dedicate my best practices towards resolving it. After the fact, I realized it was a difficulty I see with research assignments fairly often.  (Even when I do recognize the difficulty ahead of time, it’s not always something I am able to resolve because it depends on collaborative planning sometimes.) I’m always pleased when teachers ask students to investigate topics instead of teaching the topic themselves directly because I […]

Listening to customers?

In their book, Innovation, Carlson and Wilmot remind us “customers aren’t virtual.”  They remind us of the importance of watching customers use a product, rather than just asking them about them.  As they point out, “The sooner you get out and interact with customers, the better.  They will give you critical information about the marketplace and customer needs.”  (p.120) I’m frustrated with the way our databases work, and with selecting choices that students will really use.   So, for one, I need to listen to our […]

Five things

I’ve been thinking a lot about a session at  TCEA’s Library Sig group meeting, where Barbara Jansen and her former principal Marla McGee did an excellent presentation about ‘five things librarians would want their principals to know about their programs’.  (See Dr. Mary Ann Bell’s excellent summary of the session).   Barbara emphasized the importance of identifying what your ‘five most important things’ about your program are, and then not only telling your principal, but “showing them.’ Ok, this gets to one of those complex trackbacks, but worth it. A recent thread […]

What if your library had no walls?

Literally.   And figuratively.   This is the question I’ll be trying to answer for the next year or so, because this is our library.   Is a library defined purely by just its “stuff” or  by the services the staff provides?  The time for thinking a library is just a warehouse has passed.   We can deliver services to where our customers are(the classroom), deliver it via the web, deliver it via Skype, deliver it via video, because the library is also the staff IN the library. So, those […]

Where in the world are our librarians?

  Tomorrow our library move is over and the renovation of our library begins. For a year, I’ll be housed in our ninth grade center, floating to classrooms, and functioning as a “virtual librarian.”   During lunch periods, we’ll be manning an internet cafe in our main building, providing laptops, research help and new books to students there.  I’m hoping to harness the power of web 2.0 tools, as well as working more collaboratively with teachers by visiting classrooms and taking our services into student spaces. […]

Farewell old friend

We’re almost finished moving out of our library.  So I just wanted to say goodbye to a comfortable old friend.  When you’ve been in a library for 17 years, you know it backwards and forwards.  Almost every book on the shelf you were responsible for purchasing.   You know the history of the school, and all the teachers and staff you’ve worked with along the way.   When you look at the library, you don’t just see a library–you see all the students, teachers and librarians who […]

Shifting views

With increasing pressures for AP courses, standardized testing, and college prep curriculums, we struggle to assimilate the different types of students in our schools, who we sometimes find are treated like widgets in a factory, instead of finely hand-crafted wines.   Nationally, we determine their success by the output of the factory, rather than the depth of their thinking or the quality of student work and or the school’s fostering of their creativity or innovation.   The emphasis on this assembly line model can cause schools or state governments to think […]

Library design, anyone?

Want to design a youth library in Nairobi, Kenya?  Check out more about AMD’s Open Architecture Challenge to design a library and media space, internet cafe, and research center for SIDAREC, the Slums Information Development and Resources Centre. Their proposal astutely points out the problem of the digital divide: “Today’s world prosperity is technologically driven. The world has become a global village where the issue of distance is no longer the case. People interact and do business at the click of a mouse. Currently people living on […]