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EdTech Update





11 ways to increase your staff

Sent to LM_Net. Reposted here with permission of the author. - Doug

... I get the impression that most school library media centers are understaffed and as a result their services shrink. Like a locomotive, the library media center facility can and should be a driving force within the school.

Here are some suggestions on how to increase staff:

1. Strive to make the high school library media center the true hub and center of the school by:
   a) move the Xerox machine into your domain
   b) provide a comfortable facility exclusively for faculty ( an interdepartmental area with a coffee machine, computers and a large table)
   c) Increase the noise level tolerance a little and make the library as welcoming as possible to all

2. Make the library media center the "center of all media" both in the area of impression (books, magazines, etc) and expression (media production - PowerPoint, video editing)

3. Establish a center of the center - that is to say, within your library media center at its center, create a stage or platform that is well lit and has convenient amplification and make it available for more special programs (music, author visits, celebrations, etc)

4. NEVER allow your library to be reduced to a computer lab. That is the doom of any real library media center. The main floor should never have fixed immovable computers - rather a central seating area.

5. Keep the stacks arranged so that there is one main central seating area

6. Provide "live" opportunities for students to keep up on the current news, preferably from an international perspective from a television source like BBC - avoid the glib and commercialized channels

7. Find ways to become an integral arm of school administration - work closely with them.

8. If we consider ourselves just librarians, we are doomed - we are library media specialists and we need to provide a FULL spectrum of library media center services to the school - that includes providing
information, keeping an updated and interesting web site, include all media and communication forms under one room, and extend your reach through broadcast

9. Keep excellent relations with the home school associations

10. Provide special opportunities for all students

11. Never shrink your services, rather always try to increase them

David Di Gregorio
ddigregorio (a)  <>
Supervisor Library Media Services
Tenafly  (NJ) High School's Lalor Library Media Center

Very practical suggestions from a practicing media specialist. And of course, I would add, put in a coffee shop for students. Thanks, David, for sharing this with the Blue Skunk Readers. - Doug


Give the gift of you


Last Saturday I did my stint as a volunteer bell-ringer for the Salvation Army. Since I may need that organization's charitable services some future Minnesota winter, I figure it is a good way build a few karma credits. (My Kiwanis club organized this event.)

I find bell ringing an absolutely fascinating study in human nature. As every person entered the vestibule of the downtown grocery store where I was strategically stationed, I smiled, said a hearty "Merry Christmas," and made as much direct eye contact as the passer-by would permit. The combination seemed to result in a very high percentage of shoppers ponying up at least some pocket change, if not a few greenbacks. And I loved feeling the guilt seep into the souls of those who did not contribute. From a few people I even heard "thank-you" for doing the bell ringing. While I usually contribute something whenever I see the kettle, I don't think I've every thanked the volunteer for his/her service. I will start doing so.

There is no predicting who will donate and who won't. Quality of dress and age seem to matter little. Some of the most destitute-looking people find a few coins to drop in the kettle. Someone once said that the degree of one's generosity is not measured by how much one gives, but by how much one has remaining after having given. By that standard, I am sure a few of my fellow Minnesotans could be considered far more philanthropic than Bill and Melinda. And I am a true Scrooge.

Again this year my family will donate to charities in each others' names rather than buying idiotic knickknacks, gift soaps, and other unwanted junk for each other. The LWW's parents are doing the same this year as well and I am delighted. And again this year, I am creating the family calendar using Shutterfly. Each page is designed with but one goal - to make the viewer smile. Have I succeeded?

Give a bit of yourself this holiday season. We really do like YOU more than the material presents you might give us...


AASL Toolkit

I promised to help Ann Martin, AASL President, spread the word about some new resources that may be of help to you in times of financial difficulty in your district. This release dovetails nicely with my post about When Your Job is on the Line from a few days ago. Also see Joyce Valenza's post on these toolkits and an advocacy* institute here.

To All

I want to thank Doug Johnson for bringing attention to the fact that this is the time to step forward. He is absolutely right that the only one who can save your program is you and your constituents. AASL is dedicated to helping in any way we can and should you find your program in danger please do email me. As the spokesperson for AASL I will send letters to the leadership of your district. That does have an impact. But as Doug stated it will be the grassroots support of the voters in your community, your parents, your teachers, and your students telling the decision makers that libraries are essential that will make the difference.

In addition, here are some strategies that will prove helpful. The AASL Advocacy Committee worked over the summer and into the fall to create two toolkits to help you take leadership of your library advocacy. They worked hard so that you could have these practical and useful materials for NOW which is Budget time in most school districts throughout the country.

Please read the following press release.

Then to view and use the Toolkits follow these links.
AASL Crisis Toolkit

AASL Health and Wellness Toolkit

I hope you will never need the Crisis Kit ˆ Please take action now and start implementing the steps in the Health and Wellness Toolkit.

Many thanks to Deb Logan and the AASL Advocacy Committee for creating these useful kits.


Ann M. Martin
AASL President
5039 Bonnie Brae Rd.
Richmond, VA 23234
804.271.6717 (H)
804.652.3700 (W)
libraryann (a)


OK, you've got the tools. Now make the effort.

*The word advocacy makes me nervous. Please remember that one does not advocate for libraries or librarians. One advocates for students, staff and other users of library services and materials. There is a huge difference.