Monday, December 13, 2010

Google Apps for Education

Diagram showing overview of cloud computing in...Image via WikipediaA new book, Google Apps for Education: Building Knowledge in a Safe and Free Environment, co-written by San Francisco teacher librarian, Micah Melton, about Google apps for education is now available from Hi Willow Press. Micah's co-authors include David Loertscher and Roger Nevin and they wrote the entire book using various Google apps. As a matter of fact, Micah has never even seen Roger Nevin!
At a California School Library Association workshop in San Francisco on Saturday, Micah explained how he is working with teachers in his school to encourage them to use "cloud computing" to complete all sorts of school-related projects.
Many teachers at Redwood have also begun using Google apps such as Docs, Spreadsheets and Presentations with their students as well. There is a Google apps for education account set up for Redwood.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Figment: A Literary Website for Teens

INVITO VASTAGAMMA - DEDICA 2009Image by Zellaby via Flickr

A literary website for teens called Figment went live Monday and provides an online venue for students to write, read and share original fiction they create on their computers and smart phones. A staff writer and a former editor at the New Yorker launched a prototype of the site in June, and teamed with libraries, schools and literary groups to recruit student participants.

An article in the NY Times on Sunday describes the site in greater detail.

It looks like a great place to test out your creative juices and share your passion for writing with the world.

Thanks to Lynda Lincoln for the heads up.
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Monday, December 6, 2010

Google eBooks

Well, it's finally happened--Google is publishing ebooks readable on many different devices (except Amazon's Kindle).
Since Google's ebooks are stored in the "cloud" there is no need to download them to a device. When you are ready to read you just login and have access to the books you've purchased.
Could this be a game-changer? We'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sept. 24, 2010: UTLA welcomes education scholar Diane Ravitch

This is a video of a speech education guru, Diane Ravitch, gave to members of the teachers' union in Los Angeles this last September. One of her primary targets here is the movie, "Waiting for Superman," and its supporters such as Oprah Winfrey, various business leaders, and the Obama administration in the form of Arne Duncan's Race to the Top program. Another target is charter schools and their effects on the success of students and the topic of merit pay for teachers. Here are links to some of the studies and resources she cites: CREDO National Charter School Study and the "Waiting for Superman" movie.

On her own website Diane suggests the following:

"Write your elected officials. Find out whether any Congressmen or Senators from your state are on the education committee in their House of Congress. Write the members of the education committees even if you don’t live in their state. Ask your colleagues to write letters to them. Write letters to the editor. Comment on education blogs. Call in to talk shows. Speak up at school and community meetings. Speak up, speak out.

As the great Southern writer Flannery O’Connor wrote in a letter to a friend, 'You have to push as hard as the age that pushes against you.'

This age is pushing mighty hard against children, against educators, and against the very concept of good education.

Let’s all push back as hard as we can."

NY Times Cyberbullying Article

Picture of notebook screen with Facebook and F...Image via WikipediaInteresting article on how parents are learning how to deal with cyberbullying.

"Ninth grade was supposed to be a fresh start for Marie’s son: new school, new children. Yet by last October, he had become withdrawn. Marie prodded. And prodded again. Finally, he told her.
'The kids say I’m saying all these nasty things about them on Facebook,' he said. 'They don’t believe me when I tell them I’m not on Facebook.
But apparently, he was.
Marie, a medical technologist and single mother who lives in Newburyport, Mass., searched Facebook. There she found what seemed to be her son’s page: his name, a photo of him grinning while running — and, on his public wall, sneering comments about teenagers he scarcely knew.
Someone had forged his identity online and was bullying others in his name.
Students began to shun him. Furious and frightened, Marie contacted school officials. After expressing their concern, they told her they could do nothing. It was an off-campus matter."

One certainly has to feel for parents of kids who are suffering from these kinds of attacks, especially since many of the attackers' parents either don't care or are in denial about what their kids are doing and how they are affecting others with their stupid "kid" brutality. In some cases, even if the parents know exactly what their kids are doing, they dismiss criticism of their child as an invasion of privacy or denial their freedom to do exactly whatever they want.
In such cases, until parents take their responsibility to parent seriously, it's very hard to see how schools and other social institutions can prevent such attacks. As the article concludes:

"Overburdened school administrators and, increasingly, police officers who unravel juvenile cybercrimes, say it is almost impossible for them to monitor regulations imposed on teenagers.
As with the boys who impersonated D.C. online, a district attorney’s spokeswoman said, 'That monitoring is up to the parents.'"

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Friday, December 3, 2010

Vote for "The Catch"

State Farm Insurance is conducting an online contest, Friday Night Feats, in which football teams from around the country submit videos which are then voted on by viewers. You do have to set up an account to vote. Once you've set up the account and logged in choose "The Catch" and vote in the upper right corner of the video.
Go Giants!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Student-painted Author Portraits in the Library

Several years ago AP art students made these paintings which were to hang in the English Department hallway. Fortunately for us, the fire marshal said they couldn't mount them in the corridor because of fire regulations. The teacher asked me whether we could use them in the Library. Of course, I said yes. It took several years before we got them mounted permanently but they have graced our walls for awhile now.
They are a neat tribute to the student artists as well a wonderful addition to the ambiance of the Library.
Since then we've had students make paintings for the ends of our fiction and non-fiction shelves. And last spring the Art Honor Society members made a wonderful mural of characters from "Where the Wild Things Are" which hangs on the front of our circulation desk. We have a very colorful Library, indeed.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The TED Commandments

Rear Admiral Julius Caesar, Reserve deputy com...Image via WikipediaThese Ted commandments of public speaking have recently been making the rounds in communities I belong to. They come from a page entitled: For hosts: Designing your event: Preparing Speakers.
They would seem to be great whether you are preparing a presentation for class or giving a speech at work or the Rotary Club. Take a look.

The TED Commandments
These 10 tips are given to all TED Conference speakers as they prepare their TEDTalks. They will help your TEDx speakers craft talks that will have a profound impact on your audience.
1. Dream big. Strive to create the best talk you have ever given. Reveal something never seen before. Do something the audience will remember forever. Share an idea that could change the world.
2. Show us the real you. Share your passions, your dreams ... and also your fears. Be vulnerable. Speak of failure as well as success.
3. Make the complex plain. Don't try to dazzle intellectually. Don't speak in abstractions. Explain! Give examples. Tell stories. Be specific.
4. Connect with people's emotions. Make us laugh! Make us cry!
5. Don't flaunt your ego. Don't boast. It's the surest way to switch everyone off.
6. No selling from the stage! Unless we have specifically asked you to, do not talk about your company or organization. And don't even think about pitching your products or services or asking for funding from stage.
7. Feel free to comment on other speakers' talks, to praise or to criticize. Controversy energizes! Enthusiastic endorsement is powerful!
8. Don't read your talk. Notes are fine. But if the choice is between reading or rambling, then read!
9. End your talk on time. Doing otherwise is to steal time from the people that follow you. We won't allow it.
10. Rehearse your talk in front of a trusted friend ... for timing, for clarity, for impact.
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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Digital Literacy Pathways in California

Category:Images of Arnold SchwarzeneggerImage via WikipediaIn response to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order S-06-09 issued last May calling for the advancement of digital literacy in California, the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Digital Literacy Leadership Council has released a formal definition of digital literacy and a strategic plan for advancing digital literacy for residents of all ages. In doing so, California becomes one of the first states in the nation to formally define, develop and promote ways of ensuring that all Californians are capable of using digital technologies in their work and to support lifelong learning. The full report, titled “Digital Literacy Pathways in California,” can be found on the State Chief Information Officer’s website at
The report defines digital literacy as “a lifelong learning process of capacity building for using digital technology, communications tools, and/or networks in creating, accessing, analyzing, managing, integrating, evaluating, and communicating information in order to function in a knowledge-based economy and society”.  The definition of Digital Literacy adopted by the Leadership Council reflects a desire for knowledge, skills and competencies that go beyond the technical operations of a computer or other technology device.
The California School Library Association recently set up a task force to help insure a strong place at the table for school libraries in the initiative for all of California's residents to be digitally literate.
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A Digi-Desiderata

Some may remember the Desiderata from college or high school. Here's an updated version from Nancy Willard, Director of the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, for the Internet Age.

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

News from the CSLA/CLA Conference

Last week I attended the first joint California School Library Association (CSLA) / California Library Association (CLA) in memory. It afforded me a great opportunity to mingle with my school library colleagues from across the state and meet many librarians from other kinds of libraries, public, academic, and special, as well.
I have, for the past year, been President of the Northern Section of CSLA and as of the Conference I began my one-year term as Past-President. It's been most enjoyable working with my friends on the Northern Section board to promote school libraries in many different ways and develop workshops for our members across the northern counties of California. One of our most important state-wide accomplishments this year was the adoption of draft Model School Library Standards by the State Board of Education in September. They will be finalized in January and published soon after and will be the first state education standards aligned with the new national Common Core standards.

Welcome to Bessie Chin Library Leaves

For many years the librarian has fairly regularly published articles in the Post, Redwood's parent newsletter. With the new more interactive and electronic version of the Post, you are now linked directly from the Post's web page to the Library's news blog, Library Leaves.
We post articles here at least monthly which aim to keep students, staff and the community apprised of things happening in the library as well as links to cool web tools and sites and tips on how to use the information resources of the Library efficiently and effectively.

Tom Kaun
Redwood Teacher librarian

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Material Meets Metaphor

Pioneering book artist Richard Minsky will speak about his life and work at the Yale University Library, New Haven, CT. Please join us on Tuesday, October 5, 2010, at 1pm in the Sterling Memorial Library Lecture Hall, 130 Wall Street. Light refreshments will be served after the talk. This event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Yale University Library Standing Committee on Professional Awareness.

This event is held in conjunction with the current exhibit at the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library “Material Meets Metaphor: A Half Century of Book Art by Richard Minsky” on display through November 29, 2010. The entrance to the Haas Family Arts Library is in the lobby of the Loria Center for the History of Art at 190 York Street, a short walk from Sterling Memorial Library. The exhibit is open to the public from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm on the day of the lecture.

Richard Minsky, contemporary book artist and founder of the Center for Book Arts in New York City, is known for his conceptual approach to hand bookbinding and commitment to changing the perception of the book arts from craft to fine art. He combines a background in Economics with an innovative use of traditional methods and new materials to create sculptural, often political bookworks. The blending of an eclectic mix of interests, from musical and theatre performance to social issues and virtual worlds, remain a hallmark of Minsky's career. This exhibition showcases his editioned (non-commissioned, made in multiple copies) bookworks alongside selections from the Richard Minsky Archive, which documents the history of his career and his working process.

A PDF catalog of the exhibition is free to view and download.

Royalty Free Music & Sound Effects

Need free sound effects or music for your awesome school (or personal) projects? Give JewelBeat a try.

Use these free music tracks & free sound effects for any production - advertising, education, videos, photos, YouTube...etc.

Their music tracks can be looped seamlessly & repeated to create a longer music track for your projects.

Gale * Apps * AccessMyLibrary iPhone App * School Library

The Bessie Chin Library subscribes to several databases and ebooks from Gale. They now have a free iPhone app called AccessMyLibrary School Edition which can be downloaded though iTunes.
After a simple, one-time log-in using our library's Gale password, the mobile app will give you free, unlimited access to the library's reputable, authoritative Gale online resources — anytime, anywhere! For password ask library staff or access all passwords through the library's website.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Iinternet Public Library 15 Things

In honor of their 15th anniversary, the Internet Public Library launched the IPL 15 Things – introducing 15 of their favorite online technologies, with background information, best practices, related readings, examples of how the IPL is using the technology, and hands-on exercises.
Check out the links on the site and take the 15 Things Challenge!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Get Ready for Teen Read Week!

The Bessie Chin Library is celebrating Teen Read Week this year (October 17-24, 2010) with an "App Opt Out" Book Festival.

This week will provide an opportunity for students and staff to share with others what they are reading and why at lunch sometime that week in the library.

If you'd be interested in sharing a book that's fascinated, scared, informed or otherwise entertained you recently text your name and the title of the book to Jessica (a parent volunteer) at 203.6476. 

You'll be entered in a drawing for a gift certificate to a local bookstore.

We'll also have other special surprises to share during that week. Mark your calendars!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Mashable's Back-to-School Top Ten iPhone apps

"As August nights get cooler, we begin begrudgingly counting down the remaining summer days. Once Labor Day passes, it’s back to school time for millions."

Well, here at Redwood school has already been in session for more than a week but you get the idea.

"The best part of going back to school is clearly the shopping. Even though a new notebook can go a long way in preparing you for the new year, the iPhone [& iPod Touch] also has a ton of apps that will help to get you organized and in the right mind-space to focus and learn.
From the college-bound to those who are still lucky enough to enjoy recess, here is a list of the best back to school apps.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

It's a Book!

Welcome back to school.
And remember... "It's a Book!"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Project Information Literacy

Interior, Mary Gates Hall, University of Washi...Image via Wikipedia
Got this message via the Infolit listserv today: Debra C. Rollins <> found an interesting article on Library Babel Fish and thought you might enjoy it too.

The article, by a college librarian, discusses how college professors often spend more time in assignments telling student the mechanics of a paper rather than helping them find good resources for the assignment.

Project Information Literacy is a study being conducted by the Information School at the University of Washington, "a national study about early adults and their information-seeking behaviors, competencies, and the challenges they face when conducting research in the digital age."

This is definitely a problem at the high school level as well where students are even less prepared to make good choices about what resources are best employed to complete research assignments. More often than not teachers seem to think kids should already know how t find the best resources rather than spending some time, along with the librarian, teaching kids how to determine the best resources for an assignment.
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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

It's Choose Privacy Week

Watch this great video. Very thought provoking.

Choose Privacy Week Video from 20K Films on Vimeo.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Challenging Article on Reading in the Recent Phi Delta Kappan Journal

"The reading assigned to students today is almost identical to what students were assigned a generation ago. This is true not only for English classes, which see the same classic titles that earlier students avoided, but also for science, social studies, and other classes. The result? Students are turned off to reading.
When they are outside of school, young people read a wide variety of texts in many different media. But none of these texts are assigned in schools. When schools deny students access to so many kinds of texts, they impose a form of censorship and constrain students’ opportunities to learn. (Emphasis added)
If we want students to become lifelong readers, they must be surrounded with high-quality books they want to read. Schools should assign readings from magazines, graphic novels, newspapers, songs, and other forms of text. When schools broaden the types of reading they assign, they will bring immediacy and spontaneity to  students learning."

This is the summary of an article, which appeared in the April issue of Phi Delta Kappan, the journal of the national education honor society. The article challenges us to find ways to let kids read outside the boxes we tend to put them in.

Recently. Erik Berridge came to me with a great list of books he got from Sharilyn Sharf at Tam High, that she has her students choose and read for their World Cultures and Geography classes. It's a very challenging list and includes not only books about geography and cultures but also the historical background which kids should be encouraged to explore on their own. I've long thought that if we could have the kids choose one book in their 9th grade year and one in the 10th grade to read for social studies it would be beneficial for them in the long run. Both children and adults have gotten too used to just finding answers and not really reading in depth on a topic which they find interesting. The same challenge could be extended into the upper division classes (U.S. history and government and economics). Library circulation would soar, students vocabulary acquisition would be enhanced, and students would have the opportunity to focus on a single topic instead of scattering their mental focus all over the place.
Science is another area where kids could be challenged to read. There's so much good stuff being published and added to our library every year that there's no excuse for assigning the same old same old year after year.
In neither of these areas should we overlook fiction books, graphic novels, and other forms of literature including online literature. According to this article, in 1962 26% of our information came from print. That number is now 9%, with 30% coming from computer sources.

"If we want students who are readers, not just students who can read, we must surround them with high quality books they want to read. And these books should not be just for independent reading. They should be assigned and taught." I know that the Tam District tries harder than most to add contemporary titles to the book lists used in English classes but the process is cumbersome and sometimes leads to great new reads being missed or overlooked.

And another quote: "One of the most disheartening things about the reading students do in school is that it is so predictable. As students enter their classrooms each day, they already know what they’ll be reading: another novel similar to the last novel, another story out of their literature anthology, another chapter in the social studies textbook, another five-paragraph essay. When they leave school at the end of the day, they know the texts they’ll be reading the following day and the following year. How often are students genuinely and happily surprised by a new assigned reading?"

For those interested in pursuing this topic we've recently added the book Readicide to the library's professional collection. Check it out!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cyber Citizenship

PTSA Presentation
This morning Tara Taupier and I with assistance from the Tam District Technology Director, Joel Hames, and Redwood AP, David Sondheim, gave a presentation to the PTSA about cyber citizenship issues. The talk included discussions of student and parental responsibilities, privacy issues, general issues of Internet use and abuse, the development of a curriculum by the District to teach such topics in Social Issues and Computer Literacy courses.
I shared with the group the fact that this blog exists to give them and others in the community up to date on library happenings, and the existence of the Library's Twitter feed (@besschinlibrary)

Cybersafety Issues: How Parents Can Get Involved
Online safety and cyber-citizenship are two very important topics for parents and students. The Library provides the following information for parents from the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use ( Nancy Willard, executive director of CSRIU, is a recognized authority on issues related to the safe and responsible use of the Internet.

Today’s teens are totally connected through the Internet. As long as their time spent using online is balanced with other important activities the Internet can be fun and beneficial. Parenting online is just like parenting in the Real World. When children are younger we keep them in fenced play yards. But as they grow, we have to make sure that they know how to independently make good choices. But they still need parents!

Research has shown that teens whose parents are actively and positively involved in their online activities engage in less risk-taking behavior. Delete the fear! These are steps you can take:

• Appreciate your child’s online activities. Show interest in your child’s online friends. Work in partnership to address any concerns.
• Make sure you have implemented appropriate security against malware, use a spam blocker, block pop-up ads, and use safe search features. Never allow peer-to-peer software.
• Encourage your teen to always use the protective features on social networking sites and instant messaging to control who can view information and communicate in these personal environments.
• Keep the computer in a public area until your child is older and demonstrates good choices. Pay attention to what your child is doing online. But balance your supervision with your child’s legitimate interests in personal privacy. Positive interactions will encourage your child to share.
• Never overreact if your child reports an online concern. Fear of overreaction and loss of access is leading many teens not to report.
• If your child engages in inappropriate or harmful actions online or using a cell phone, impose a consequence that will focus attention on why those actions caused or could cause harmful consequences. Require a remedy for any harm.
• Pay attention to “red flags” -- appearing emotionally upset during or after use, disturbed relationships, too much time online, excessively secretive behavior, and subtle comments about online concerns. Carefully try to engage your child in discussion.
• Encourage your child to help others directly or report to an adult if he or she witnesses someone being harmed or at risk online.
• Help your child learn to make good choices. “What you do online reflects on you.”

Watch out for these harmful online influences:
You Can’t See Me. The perception of invisibility makes detection and punishment less of a concern. --Encourage your child to make choices based on internalized values and understand their online actions can be traced.
I Can’t See You. The lack of tangible feedback interferes with the ability to recognize the harmful consequences to self or others. --Focus your child’s attention on harm to themselves or others.
Didn’t Think. Teen’s brains are not yet full developed, which results in an inability to effectively problem-solve, especially if they are emotionally upset. --Demonstrate and discuss strategies for effective problem-solving.
Who Am I? Exploring personal identity online can lead to inappropriate or unsafe personal disclosure. --Encourage your child to pay attention his or her online “image” and reputation. “What you post tells people who you are.”
Am I Hot? When teens explore sexuality and relationships online this can lead to sexy images, sexual discussions, and the fantasy of finding love. --Honestly discuss issues of maturing sexuality and how to safely and respectfully form, engage in, and end personal relationships.
If I Can Do It, It Must Be Okay. The easy ability to do something appears to create the permission to do so. --Tell your child: “Just because you can, doesn’t make it right.”
Everybody Does It. Teens follow others who make bad choices. --Tell your child: “Just because they do it, doesn’t make it right.”
How Far Can I Go? Teens test boundaries to find out about limits. --Focus on the reasons for limits ~ to avoid harm to self or others.
Doing What They Say. Teens may be manipulation by others. --Teach your child to recognize signs of attempted manipulation including overly friendly messages.
Looking for Love. Teens who face Real World personal challenges are at higher risk online. --If your child is at higher risk, pay close attention to their online activities and “friends.”

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Ravaged by cuts, school libraries fight to stay alive

In an article in the Marin Independent Journal which was published on Monday, March 22, Rob Rogers reports on the state of school libraries in Marin County.
A couple quotes from the article:
"The way I look at it, I'm a teacher two times over," said Redwood High School librarian Tom Kaun, who like all teacher-librarians holds credentials in both library science and another academic subject - in his case, biology and physical science. "We don't have classrooms, and we don't give grades, but we work in collaboration with classroom teachers to teach the kids to cope with the tidal wave of information they're confronted with."
"For a long time, I've thought we need to get a parent to sue the whole state, and do for libraries what the Williams settlement did for textbooks," said Kaun, referring to the state law that allows students to sue a school district if they lack textbooks or other required instructional materials. "Right now, districts will do whatever they need to do in order to save their budgets, and libraries are considered relatively expendable."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Video from Animoto

This is the Animoto video which I'll be showing at the School Board meeting this evening as part of the librarians' annual report.
It was my fourth attempt -- I now know not to publish the video until I've got the timing, etc., down just the way I want it. There's a lot more you can do -- I'll be playing with Animoto and encourage kids and teachers to use it as well. See me for login information.

That rather svelte, handsome guy at the end of the video is my new avatar made at,.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

New Blogger Customization Tools

I just changed the design of this blog using Google's new template customization site.
Take a look if you have a Blogger page.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

CLSA NS Workshop in Berkeley

Several California School Library Association Northern Section board members leaving Books, Inc. after a successful board meeting --and some productive shopping!
Pictured are: Region III rep, Eric Wheeler and past president, Margaret Baker from the Central Valley and secretary, Becca Todd who made arrangements for a very successful workshop and meeting at the Books, Inc. bookstore on 4th Street In Berkeley on Saturday, February 27.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

School Library Advocacy in Action

Professor Alice Yucht, in a blog entry today on Alice in InfoLand, says that we need to activate before we advocate. I couldn't agree more.

I was at an "educational summit" today with Jackie Siminitus, CSLA's advocate extraordinaire, where high school and middle students from all over Northern California were scoping out the possibilities for college and beyond. In this picture the badges we are wearing say "Change Agent."

It was a great opportunity to ask them about their school library experiences and ask them and their parents for support for school libraries as the crunch becomes stronger and stronger here in California. Many recounted positive experiences about their school libraries but some have already seen the results of budget cutbacks which adds up to hours lost for their school libraries and reduced availability of a teacher librarian at the site.

We gave them a sheet of information about how school libraries make a difference and encouraged them to write letters to their school newspapers and their local community newspapers, to appear before school boards, to write their legislators and more. We also handed out CSLA's "Best Sellers" campaign information sheet and encouraged them to become library advocates.
Many seemed eager to help other schools have what their own schools benefit from, strong school libraries, and others were ready to become champions for their own benefit to get a strong school library program back at their school site.

It was a very exciting and pro-active day for both Jackie and me.

In her email announcing the blog post Alice said the following: "It's time to stop asking what our Associations are doing FOR us, and make ACTION a part of our own daily activities."

I agree with this as well BUT I also think that if our local and national associations aren't helping in us in every way possible to get our message out there they aren't doing the job we pay our dues to support. As Alice states in her blog we librarians are often not very good at advocating for ourselves. But if we aren't doing the things that make our libraries valuable, exciting, interesting places for our students and staff to be then it's no wonder we are at the end of line when push come to shove and decisions are made about our jobs and our programs. Don't whine, do. But tell your associations when and how you need help. There's nothing wrong with expecting our professional organizations to be at the forefront of advocacy but if we aren't providing the services and programs which prove we are worth it there's very little our associations can do to remedy that.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do educators need a tea party?

Read my comment to Joyce Valenza's posting.

Do educators need a tea party?: "I can feel the grass roots growing. But they need a little water, or perhaps, some tea. Daily, my email box and my Twitter stream fill with..."

Maybe you'd like to join my armband wearing to mourn the loss of school librarians and school libraries across the state, including Marin County where there are only a handful of school librarians left in elementary school and a few at middle and high schools.

What do think? Do you think the loss of school library programs is just the price we pay for recession. What do you know about your local school library? What have you done to support school libraries in your community and elsewhere?

February is Love Your Library Month but we need to do a lot more than loving our libraries--we need to get out there and fight for our libraries!

Did you know that in President Obama's proposed budget, he does away with separate funding for the Increasing Literacy through School Libraries program. This after declaring last October Information Literacy Month for the first time ever! Where does he think kids are going to learn info lit skills except with the help of their school librarian? He has also did not mention public libraries in his jobs creation program even though public libraries are the place many people go to find information about jobs and job training when time get tough like they currently are.

Shame on you, President Obama. We're waiting for leadership in specific and measurable ways and you, instead, take away or gut proven programs.

Yes, I am in mourning and yes, I still love my library.

I certainly hope you do, too.

How can you help? Write policy makers, including the President, our Congresswoman (Woolsey), our Senators (Boxer | Feinstein) on the Jobs for Main Street Act, and state politicians (Leno | Huffman) to demand support for school and public libraries.

Monday, February 1, 2010

President's Budget Reduces School Library Funding

In response to a press release submitted by The American Association of School Librarians and reported on  the AASL blog I posted the following comment:

If the Administration had, as Stephen Krashen has suggested, budgeted funding for a well-staffed, well-stocked library in every school in the country it would have more of an impact than any of the “scientifically” vetted programs promoted by Race To The Top. And it would cost a lot less.

It’s already been demonstrated, over and over again, the positive impact school libraries make in student achievement. The President’s budget will never be passed as is (it never is). Nevertheless, I appreciate [AASL President] Cassandra [Barnett]’s message to the President. But each of us [school library supporters] also needs to contact our local Congress member and make sure they are aware of the research and the difference school libraries could make–and we must also ensure that each of us is doing the best job [as school librarians] we can, wherever we are.

From the blog post:
"In January 2009, the Department of Education released the Second Evaluation of the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program, which indicated that students attending schools participating in this program are performing higher on state reading tests than students in schools that do not take part in the program. Additionally, the study stated that in schools that participated in the program in 2003-04, the percentage of students who met or exceeded the proficiency requirements on state reading assessments increased by an extra 2.7 percentage points over the increase observed among nonparticipating schools during the same time period."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Thanks for the new LCD monitors and Redwood Barkives storage

Thanks to the Redwood Foundation
The entire Redwood community would like to thank the Redwood parents and others who contribute to the Redwood Foundation for a couple valuable new additions to the Library this winter.

LCD Monitors
Over the break 22 new LCD monitors replaced the old CRTs which were pretty much the last ones in the school. The new monitors don’t just look great. They take up a lot less room on the desktop, allowing more space for kids to work, and are a lot more energy efficient than the older monitors.

Barkives Cabinets
The other addition is a new flat-file cabinet to hold our entire collection of the Redwood Bark, the school newspaper.
The Bark project was started several years ago when journalism teacher, Tom Sivertsen, and I, asked the Foundation for a grant to bind the newspaper in an archivally safe way. In the end we were able to preserve two copies of the Bark from the first issue (October 17, 1958) through the present. One copy is kept in the Library and available for public viewing, the other one will be kept in the journalism classroom.
After discussing the possibilities we decided that the best solution for preserving the newspapers was to use custom-made binders. Tom found a local bindery which could provide the binders. We ordered custom-made acetate sheet protectors from another vendor. Then we had to get to work.
Each Bark was disassembled and the individual leaves were placed in the protective covers. This whole process took more than a year. Mr. Sivertsen was able to use his journalism students to work on the project and the Library had the help of student aides and parent and student volunteers. Overseeing the Library project was volunteer, Carol Aceves. Early in 2009 we had gotten all the pages in their protective covers and placed in 35 binders.
All along we had talked about how we would store the binders. Since they are quite large (19x13x2) and heavy when filled, I thought a flat file cabinet would be the best way to store them. Last spring I asked the Foundation for funds to purchase some cabinets available through one of our library vendors. At the time the Foundation was low on funds so the project was not funded. However, this fall we put in an identical proposal (the cost of the cabinets hadn’t changed) and the Foundation was able to fund the request.
The cabinets were delivered January 7th and the library specialist, Karen Barrett, and I set them up with a little help from Redwood’s fine maintenance staff. They now securely hold our very valuable collections of school newspapers and make them accessible to all library patrons.
One of the missions of the library is to help preserve the history of Redwood and we feel this is a great step in making a great archive of historical materials available to the entire community. We welcome one and all to come by and peruse the entire collection in the Bessie Chin Library.