Saturday, January 8, 2011

Learning For Life Video Contest

AASL's video contest Learning For Life in My School Library begins this week. From now until March 18, students can submit videos to show how technology available through their school libraries can empower them to become life-long learners. Winners receive a Flip camera and $500. In addition, winning videos will be featured on School Tube. Winners will be selected at the elementary, middle and high school websites. Another terrific opportunity to provide some good advocacy for school library programs!

Highlights from the First Two Days at Midwinter

Beautiful weather welcomed us to San Diego. The Convention Center is right on the bay where there is a marina filled with yachts and several places to grab a quick lunch while at restaurants overlooking the water.

After walking around the Seaside Park and the Gas Lamp District on our first morning, we hopped a trolley to Old Town where we browsed in the shops and enjoyed seeing the living quarters and gardens at the historic hacienda.

I was reminded of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera's hacienda in Barbara Kingsolver's novel The Lacuna, where they harbored the exiled Leon Trotsky.

After the Advocacy Institute (see report by Judi Paradis), we attend the Booklist's Author's Forum. I was pleased to get free copies of the books signed by all four of the authors: Susan Vreeland, David Levithan, Stewart O'Nan, and Armistad Maupin during the Exhibit Hall opening.

Advocacy in Tough Economic Times

Sara Kelly Johns—AASL President 07-08 spoke on advocacy for school libraries as a part of a larger panel discussion. Her wiki has links to her favorite sites for advocacy materials and information about the programs and projects she discussed. Librarians can join this wiki and add their own ideas for advocacy.

Some ideas I found compelling:

Re-branding School Libraries—currently there is a perception that school libraries are dispensable; in tough budget times there is often an eagerness to save funding by closing/cutting school libraries.

Visibility is key! Nancy Everhardt—AASL president is traveling to 35 school libraries that offer outstanding programs to draw attention to programs. It has been a way to draw in politicians, celebrities, media to showcase the value school librarians bring.

Nancy Keane @ Rundlett Middle School in Concord NH put a survey on Survey Monkey for her students. She instituted changes that were reasonable—setup supply area for kids, let kids bring in water, put in a TV with school announcements, book trailers, some key TV shows (opening day at Fenway Park!),
Has a bulletin board at all time—HOW ARE WE DOING? And put out sticky notes to constantly ask for student input.

Gwenyth Anne Jones, The Daring Librarian-Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel MD has a great rebranding for her library. Uses this to promote her library. She also uses Facebook and Twitter to get out her message

Buffy Hamilton at Creekview GA HS—calls herself the Unquiet Librarian and views her HS library as an agent of change. “I want our library to be a place of positive and meaningful noise” where students and faculty can share ideas with respectful voices. Her annual report is an amazing slide show full of photos, music, statistics—makes the program look dynamic, exciting. Her stats cite who is using the library, how they are using it, why they are using it. This report is online so that everyone in the community can access it. She includes key words (inquiry, transliteracy, digital citizenship) and shows photos to illustrate students
Podcasting, book trailers, and other student-created materials get buzz going and students talking about your program.

Dr. Loopy, Doug Valentine; McKillop TX: uses media all the time to engage students

Jill Schuster, Fontana High School, CA: Is transforming a program—took an empty program with a clerk and no librarian. Over the past 2 years, she’s transformed the library—welcomes the teachers, rearranged the room to accommodate needs of students and teachers, began attending department meetings so she could find out what was going on and plan to buy materials. She’s managed to add 5000 items to her collection without a budget from the school. She even takes tickets at school sporting events to get out in the school—being out in the school gets conversations about libraries happening in the school. She has GOALS! She is VISIBLE! This is leadership.