Find below links to the full text of my 2014-15 Head for the Edge columns that appeared in Library Media Connection this year. I've added a little "teaser" to each link. I have really enjoyed writing these columns for the past 20 years and I hope that translates into others enjoying reading them.
“It’s Personal” August/September 2014
The lesson I learned as a librarian was that it’s possible and useful to blend a student’s personal interests with academic standards. Making a subject relevant because it is personal, local, or topical was critical if I wanted a learner who did more than just go through the motions.
“Libraries in the Age of Information Plenty” October 2014
Libraries were created in an era of information scarcity. In the form of analog materials - tablets (stone, not silicon), scrolls, folios, and bound books - knowledge and narratives were rare, expensive, and easily lost, stolen, or damaged. The librarian rightfully was the “guardian” of the temple of information, charged with protecting the contents within.
But it’s time to move on. Really.
“The Librarian as Technology Integration Specialist” November/December 2014
I always said that the best librarians “swing both ways.” No, I’m talking about sexual orientation. Get your mind out of the gutter. I mean I want my schools’ librarians to be as comfortable and competent with technology and digital resources as they are with books and reading.
“When Missions Diverge” January/February 2015
What should the ethical professional do when it seems her mission and values deviate from her organization’s mission and values? What seems like a growing number of librarians and technology folks are fully committed to creating constructivist learning environments that stress collaboration, creativity, communications, authentic assessment, and personal relevance but work for schools that focus on test scores, test scores, test scores, test scores, basic skills, and conformity. Did I mention test scores?
“Giving Up” March/April 2015
But as sad and painful as it may be, we need to start figuring out what we need to give up professionally. Every year, the school librarian’s list of responsibilities increases. Digital content specialist, curator of resources for differentiated instruction, technology integration specialist, course management system trainer, professional development provider, textbook manager, 1:1 project coordinator, school website manager - the list goes on.
“Challenge of Change Agency” May/June 2015
I don't know about you, but I get little satisfaction from knowing something I've done is making others unhappy. (Except for those who turn interesting shades of red and blue.) Like most folks, I prefer days filled with compliments rather than criticisms. I know over the next few weeks I am in for some pretty long days of getting verbally beat up about installations, migrations, training (or the lack thereof), additional work, and plain old differences in how things are done. What makes things harder is that some of the complaints will be deserved.
You can find links to all my Head for the Edge columns from 1995 to 2015 on my website and Most of my Head for the Edge columns, updated and edited, can be found in my book School Libraries Head for the Edge.
Buy it and I might be able to afford a nicer nursing home one day. Thank you.