Friday, June 27, 2008

Reading & Secondary School Libraries

I attended the AASL full day pre-conference program Reading and the Secondary School Library presented by Pam Burger. Among the highlights was Pam’s emphasis on the realization, “When you are teaching information literacy, you are also teaching reading skills.” She noted that kids read every day although much of what they read is not what some adults think they should be reading. Using Google or other search engines, text messaging, gaming, using MySpace and other frequent activities involve reading. One challenge is to get kids to realize that they enjoy reading.

Pam said that literacy involves reading, writing and speaking; the distinction often drawn to separate them is an artificial one. She added that development of the skills of reading and the joy of reading are intertwined, the school library bridges both. Motivation, competence and engagement work together; the development of one contributes to the development of the others.

About collaborating with teachers, Pam said library teachers can not collaborate with every classroom teacher. She suggested looking for the teachers who are risk takers and opinion makers. These are the teachers to seek for collaborations.

Overall, Pam presented a useful program well worth attending.

Librarians Overrun Anaheim

The MSLA executive board members have arrived and our involvement in meetings, sessions, exhibits and all the miriad events that are part of "Annual" begins tonight when Valerie and Gerri go to the first meeting of the AASL Affiliate Assembly. We launch into full conference mode tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Tweens & Young Teens

My first Preconference seminar today was put together by Stacy Creel and Teri Lesesne both of whom are professors working in the field of young adult literature. It was a full day learning about the tween set-who they are, why they act the way they do, how we as librarians can reach them in our libraries.
It was a day of remembering who we were as adolescents, putting ourselves in their shoes, those big feet that they haven't grown into, that place of confusion, where every day brings a range of emotions. A time when our friends weremore important than our family, and their approval meant everything.
We listened to popular authors who write for this age group talk about their perspective. Lisa Yee, author of Millicent Min, Girl Genius , (and more) spoke of the middle school years as a time when tweens may start to decide what they want to do in the future. They also are comparing themselves to their peers. It is a place of confusion, and the ones who present the happiest front may hurt the most. The guys don't talk about their feelings. When writing for them, the writing needs to be authentic.

Amy Goldman Koss author of 12 books including Poison Ivy, The Girls, and Side Effects
writes as if she is writing for her 12 year old moody cranky self, hoping to connect with her.

Lisi Harrison author of the fantastically popular Clique series gets alot of her material from her years working at MTV. The behavior of her colleagues mimics the behavior of many of the behaviors of her characters. She finds that her readers understand the satire. Lisi maintains a blog through which her readers talk about bullying and insecurity.

Jon Szieszka focused on connecting with boy readers, and talked about expanding the definition of reading. It may include magazines, non-fiction, comics. Jon read from his umcoming book title Knucklehead - stories about growing up with 5 brothers. It is hysterical! I would reccomend it to everyone.

Bruce Hale talked about the importance of getting the right book into a tweens hands. and the final author of the day Ingrid Law, read from her first and new book, Savvy.
A panel spoke about programming in the library, both public and school libraries.
There were booktalks interspersed and the results of student surveys on what would make them want to read more.
An amazing day

Friday June 27th: Last day of the Institute

At breakfast, we listened to Camila Alire, ALA president elect, give her top 10 list of what to see, do and be as future leaders in the library profession. She was very entertaining, as well as gracious and inspiring. She remembered me from our meeting last year in DC, and we shared laughs and hugs. I told her we Scholars were invited to crash the party Jim Rettig, incoming ALA president, was giving her and she laughed at the thought and said I could join her in dancing in the hallway as there would be tons of people there.

We sat together for part of the next program, and spent a little time talking. She is a very humble and generous hearted person, and really liked my new business card, which looks like several $100 bills and proclaims that I need a school library job in MA and that I have school loans along with experience and my MLS. BTW, yesterday, on the spot, I was offered a job as a children's librarian in Salinas, CA by its Public Library Director. Ann Martin of AASL also offered me a job as a librarian in Virginia where she works. However, since I recently married and relocated to MA, that is where my home now is, so I'm holding out hope there, which is what I told the bearers of these gracious offers.

The next session was called "RadRef & beyond: Calling out injustice in the library and in the streets." Various librarians on this panel talked about their interest in social issues and how the field of librarianship lends itself to being radical with our knowledge and the issues we defend. The RadRef site disseminates information on social issues, including information from independent journalists and activists.

The Institute will end with a session titled "Keeping the Spectrum legacy alive." At that time, various scholars will talk about what Spectrum has meant to them and ways the current cohort can continue to stay involved in the Spectrum program. After last year's ending session was when I was inspired to volunteer myself to help plan the next Institute - and here I am!

Following the Institute, I will check out of this hotel and check into another closer to the convention center. ALA - here I come!!

Thursday Institute part 2

Whew! What a day! In our afternoon session "The real low down: LIS education vs. your first LIS job and what you need to know before you get out there," the speakers had a wealth of advice for the Scholars.

I liked Tracie Hall's analysis (Ass't. Dean at Dominican Univ. GSLIS): "In your job, if there's no friction, there's no motion...when sand gets in your shell, move on or deal with it...if a little of your talent is going down the drain at the workplace, that's too much...have a sense of what you want to accomplish and don't leave until it's done...we are not to be Gatekeepers, but Gate openers."

Later on in the afternoon, the Scholars had a time for their resumes to be reviewed by various professionals in the fields. After dinner, we attended a 2 hr. "Professional Options Fair." Over 50 professionals from all types of libraries and ALA groups were represented, including 6 from AASL. The trifecta of presidents was there: Cyndi Phillips (past pres.); Sara Kelly Johns (current pres.); and Ann Martin (pres. elect.) Also in attendance were several AASL council members, including Hilda Weisburg.

I glued myself to their table for most of the evening, and we had a wonderful time of discussions regarding Spectrum, as well as the current state of school libraries, how to combat problems in the workplace, our husbands, family and other fun stuff. In between, we entertained various Spectrum scholars from across the country who were interested in school librarianship and had questions.

Tomorrow, the Institute ends with remarks by Camila Alire (ALA pres. elect) as well as the Institute Closing Ceremonies. The last day is always an emotional time.