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EdTech Update





Acknowledging loss in the change process

It’s rare for anyone’s first reaction to a call for change to be all positive. Much more often those pushing for change don’t realize that they are devaluing everything colleagues hold dear. Sometimes the call for change makes people feel like everything they’ve been doing up to that point has been wrong and bad for students. Worse, it can sound like a devaluation of how the teacher learned and, by extension, those who taught her. That’s a personal loss. Educators react negatively when they are asked to change not because they don’t want to do what’s best for kids, but because they feel bereaved. How School Leaders Can Attend to the Emotional Side of Change Mind/Shift 10-22/17.

Acknowledging loss as a part of the change process is something to which I pay far too little attention. Yet I have know for a very long time that grieving is necessary for a healthy organization and for healthy workers.

As a library supervisor, as well as consultant, writer, speaker and professional organization member, I have been pushing for change in school libraries for 40 years. And I am very proud of the transition that many of our school libraries have made - embracing technologies, becoming learning commons, addressing social learning needs, and spearheading efforts like digital citizenship, information literacy, and personalization in our schools. The school library of 2018 gives far more value to students, staff and the community than did my first library in 1978.

But it is also important that for many librarians, we might also mourn the passing of some traditional library roles that attracted us to the field, that once had value to those we served, and that defined in some core way what being a "library" actually meant.

I will admit to having twinges of sadness when thinking about losing the school library as a sanctuary space of quiet and concentration. I have fond memories of pouring over the print encyclopedia and regret that today's kids will not know that pleasure. Are school librarians now fine resources for finding digital resources and troubleshooting tech problems, but less able to point students to their next favorite book?

Maybe it is OK to be a little sentimental. To say we miss something that we have long held dear. That it's OK to mourn past pleasures that our children and grandchildren will not experience.  C

Clinging to an obsolescent library programs is not healthy.

But then neither is denying the loss that accompanies change.


Putting old yearbooks online - just do it

Last week on LM_Net, a Ilana, school librarian, had the temerity to ask:

We are thinking of scanning our old yearbooks and putting them online for alumni.
Have any of you done this? What privacy concerns did you have? What have you found to be the best format for this? Any advice would be appreciated.

Thoughtfully, completely and authoritatively, copyright lawyer and library guru Carol Simpson replied:

Copyright issues regarding yearbooks are not at all clear. Each book will require some research to establish whether the photos and/or the book have been protected by copyright.

As a rule of thumb, the copyright of the photos in the yearbook belongs to the person who took the photo. Consider that you have photos taken by employees, students, parents, and professional photographers. Each photo will need to be assessed separately (for example, many schools allow seniors to have their senior pictures taken by outside photographers).

Any photo taken before 1923 is in the public domain in the US. (all the rest of these dates apply to US Copyright law. If you are in another country, your mileage may vary).

Because the yearbooks were sold, they are considered "published" and the photos in the yearbooks will also be considered published.

Any yearbook published between 1923 and 1977 that has no copyright notice in the work is in the public domain. That is not necessarily true for the photos. Check each photo to see if there is a photographer's copyright notice (it will be very small). Better yet, excavate the school's contract with the photographer to see if the photographer retained copyright of the photos. For any yearbook published without notice between 1923 and March 1 1989, a copyright could have been registered with the Copyright Office after the fact, as long as the registration was made within 5 years of publication. So that will mean some research in the Copyright Office database. Yearbooks published between 1977 and March 1 1989 without notice that were not later registered within 5 years of publication are in the public domain. Each individual photo is a separate copyrightable work that will need to be researched.

The status of yearbooks published between 1923 and 1963 including the necessary copyright notice will be determined on whether the copyright of the work was renrewed following the first copyright term. That information will be in the Copyright Office database. If the copyright was not renewed, the copyright lapsed after the first copyright term. If the copyright was renewed, the copyright will expire 95 years after first publication.

For works published with notice from 1963 to 1977, the copyright expires 95 years after publication.

Works created after 1977 through March 1 1989 and published with a copyright notice will be protected for 70 years from the death of the author (for the photos) or for the yearbook (which is a work of corporate authorship most likely) the copyright will endure for 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever expires first.

A work created before 1978 but published with notice between 1978 and March 1 1989 (think old family photos or school photos taken before 1-1-1978) is protected for the longer of 70 years after the date of the author; 95 years from date of publication or 120 years from date of creation, whichever expires first (corporate works); or December 31, 2047.

Works created after 1977 and published between March 1 1989 through 2002 are protected for 70 years after the death of the author, or if a work of corporate authorship 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation, whichever comes first. NO NOTICE IS REQUIRED TO HAVE A VALID COPYRIGHT FOR ANY WORK PUBLISHED AFTER March 1 1989. If the work was created before 1978 and first published during this period, the same periods apply except that the time limit is the longer of the 70 year, 95 year, 120 year or December 31, 2047 dates.

After 2002, no notice is required, and all copyrights last for 70 years from the death of the author, or for corporate works for 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation.

As you can see, it isn’t a simple decision. Carol Simpson, LM_Net Jan 28, 2018

First, I have great respect for Carol's expertise and values. If you don't want to get your name in the paper for being sued for copyright infringement, listen to Carol. For many years, my thoughts around copyright have not been mainstream and are probably dangerous. So it is best to stop reading now.

Lawyers, like Carol, have a professional obligation to always give the safest advice. Were I to approach any lawyer and ask "May I drive 56mph in a 55mph zone, she would say, "No, you are breaking the law and may wind up getting a ticket and paying a fine." As I ranted back in 2008 about downloading a YouTube video having the same degree of criminality of driving a mile over the speed limit or stealing a sugar packet from a restaurant, digitizing a damn yearbook seems about as risky. The risk/benefit ratio tips to the benefit side.

If the school is nervous about a lawsuit, look for an alumni organization to sponsor the project. Is anyone going to waste money suing a group that has no money?

Post away, Ilana and others who would like to digitize and put online old yearbooks. If someone has a privacy or copyright concern, take those parts down. And ask forgiveness.

Image: Doug's 1970 high school yearbook senior photo. I can only hope the photographer (if still alive) doesn't sue me for posting it.


Our school - public library project is expanding!

Last school year, our district in cooperation with our county public library systems gave all our 9-12 students fine-free public library cards. (See The student public library card - a win-win, May 22, 2017)

But look what is happening THIS year! We're getting cards for our middle schoolers.

Partnership provides students with access to county library systems

Secondary students now have instant access to the vast resources of two county library systems — without having to worry about overdue fines — through a collaboration that began last spring and expanded this fall.

Both Dakota County and Scott County public library systems are working with Burnsville-Eagan-Savage School District 191 to benefit students at Eagle Ridge Middle School, Nicollet Middle School, Metcalf Middle School, Burnsville Alternative High School and Burnsville High School.

“Students can benefit from access to incredible resources including online one-on-one homework help, research tools, eBooks, audiobooks, movies/TV DVDs, music CDs, electronic magazines and print books,” said Doug Johnson, director of technology for District 191. “Student cards can make public library resources a part of every student’s learning experience and leverage existing public resources to support student learning.”

The card can be used online and also in library buildings. The no-fine cards will expire when students graduate.

“Through this partnership, our students will learn about and have access to all the wonderful resources our public libraries offer for both academic and personal use,” said Johnson. “In return, the public libraries will be cultivating a new generation of library users and supporters, as well as encouraging a more informed citizenry.”

District 191 students in grades 6-12 now have Chromebooks as personal learning devices, which gives them the ability to maximize use of the public library’s resources.

For more information, email

The opportunity is voluntary and students/families can opt out either by not activating their accounts or by contacting Johnson at

I am guessing we may get better use of these cards by our middle school students than high school students since they tend to be more voracious readers. I am also happy we are providing this access to our families who may be new to our area and to the fine resources the public libraries offer.
Hey, doesn't every student in this country deserve a public library card?