"The Internet is like a librarian without the bad attitude or breath." - student, in The Digital Disconnect: The widening gap between Internet-savvy students and their schools,” 2002.
For most of my career, I have been interested in how libraries can remain vital and relevant. So whenever I hear or read of successful programs and especially student-centered attitudes, I get pretty exited. Three things came across my radar this week and they are worth a second (or third look).
Ann Krembs, Head Librarian at American School of Bombay, asked some time ago if she could cite an article I wrote some time ago in a presentation she was giving ASB UnPlugged conference held in Mumbai and was nice enough to share with me how that talk went (shared here with permission):
I thought I’d share with you what I ended up presenting. I spoke about virtual libraries and basically gave ways of incorporating the old stereotype of a library while transitioning into the new mold of a library. Here’s the link: http://www.asbunplugged.org/drupal/ASB_Un-plugged/files/VLT%20III.pdf (or here.)
Our conference was very successful! I learned tons from the experience and also received motivation. The newsletter I usually send by email is now a blog. Feel free to check it out if you like. http://dearlibrarian.edublogs.org/ and http://bookoftheweek.edublogs.org/
Thanks again for your help.
Slide from Ann's presentation.
Ann's slideshow is one of the best summaries of how the school library media field is changing I've seen for some time. Take a look - outstanding. Student-centered - you bet!
This LM_Net post caught my eye last week. It was posted by Debra Evers a media specialist Cushing High School in
Cushing, Oklahoma (reposted here with permission):
... I came across Tony Doyle's VENT: "This is a library; be quiet!" I can't resist sharing with the group. I love for our H.S. library to be a "student-friendly" place. I always play light jazz over our speaker system and encourage all sorts of activities (we had a Guitar Heroes tournament during lunch period a few months ago). I realize that some of you are shaking your heads and "tsk-ing" --but it works for me.
I absolutely HATE to have the library "hijacked" by classroom teachers who require absolute silence. Don't get me wrong! I LOVE to have classes in the library! I encourage teachers of all content areas to use the library, and we've had great response. I love to brag to other librarians about our collaboration (some minimal collaboration, but I have to get my toe in the door somewhere) with teachers of English, Math, History, Foreign Languages, Humanities, Science, Speech, Consumer Living, Chorus, and even Band! But when teachers schedule library time, I always remind them that the library will remain open (if at all possible) and other students will be using our computers, browsing, and checking out books while their classes are here.
Right before Spring Break, a scheduling glitch caused us to schedule two classes into our little 50' × 50' library at the same time. I checked with each teacher and the consensus was that both classes were small and we should have no conflict. Of course, one of the teachers is one of the "Shushing Library Dragons" while the other is pretty laid back. Nevertheless, the overlap seemed to be going well when one of our most innovative English teachers happened in with 8 or so students in tow. She wanted to know if they could use the library for completing some creative components for a class project. I told them that I felt that we might be pushing our limit, but I deferred to the other two teachers, who graciously said "the more the merrier". I overheard this non-scheduled teacher telling a student, "That might be a demonstration that you'll want to keep for our classroom.Mrs. E. might not like it here in the library." I inquired and discovered that the student wanted to do some "Performance art" that demonstrated his biography of a famous athlete. I considered this and gave the go ahead-how crazy could it get? It turned out that his "Performance Art" was doing three consecutive standing back flips!
Everyone gave him a standing ovation and I was the one left shaking my head, tsk-ing, and counting the minutes to Spring Break! I only hope our Principal happened to be watching through our fish-bowl windows at the time! He thinks I'm pretty unconventional and I love to affirm his opinion. Who wants to be predictable?
Why do I get the feeling kids come into Debra's library because she there, not despite the fact she's there?
Last Wednesday, I do believe I heard something I'd never before heard in my 30 year library career. A Fulton County (GA) HS librarian stood up during the workshop and said:
I just want to tell you elementary and middle school librarians that I think you are doing a terrific job! Every year, the entering freshmen in my high school come better prepared to do research and use technology. I just want to say thank you.
I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that the quote that began this post didn't come from a student in Cushing, Bombay or Fulton County.