Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Library Partnerships

Fernando had an interesting post about libraries and partnerships that related to our discussion in class yesterday about school librarians.  See his post and my comment here.

From Public to School Librarianship

In “Trading Places,” Jennifer Bromann talks about her motivation for switching from a public librarian job to a school librarian position.  Initially motivated for higher salary and extra vacation time, she explains the main differences between public librarianship and school librarianship in a number of different categories.  A few examples of the categories she outlines:

Roles and Responsibilities: As a school librarian, she often assists with research assistance and functions as a teacher, visiting classrooms to teach information literacy skills.  As a public librarian, she feels the focus is more on locating information rather than teaching information skills.  Also, there is more of an emphasis on programming.
Education: It seems like the requirements for a school library media specialist vary widely depending on the state.  Many states require a teaching certificate and teaching experience, although some states do not require this, and often private schools do not require certification.  Public librarianship most often requires a master’s degree, although in some cases a bachelor’s degree is sufficient.
Collection Development: She talks about how in a school library setting, the collection is tied to the school’s curriculum, thus it is can be more limiting.  In a public library setting, there is more room in the budget for fiction and a wider range of materials.

There seems to be some overlap between this article and one of the articles we read for our technology week, “Next Year’s Model,” where Sarah Ludwig left her public librarianship position to work in a school capacity.  Although Ludwig works as an academic technology coordinator in a private school and Bromann is a school library media specialist in a public school, they both talk about developing a closer bond/having easy access to the same group of students rather than new faces every day.  They both also discuss the heavy reliance that colleagues and students put on them – they are expected to be experts and know everything.  Additionally, both talk about the emphasis on technology and the importance of teaching research skills in both of their positions.     

Monday, November 12, 2012

Making Collections More Accessible

Jim had an interesting post about possible ways to make books in his library's collection more accessible.  See his post and my comment here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

November is Picture Book Month

Created by author and storyteller Dianne de Las Casas, along with a group of other authors and illustrators, this annual celebration promotes print picture books in various ways throughout the month.  Every day in November, a Picture Book Month Champion blogs on the importance of picture books.  There are also themes that educators and librarians can adopt, ranging from farms to bears to music.  There are also links to a number of book activities and curriculum guides.

School Library Journal recently became a partner of the annual celebration, and Oprah's blog is excited to celebrate.  The Horn Book has joined in celebrating the event as well, posting picture-book-themed articles online.  Among them is a vintage essay from 1957 titled, “What Is a Picture Book?” from Caldecott Medal Books 1938-1957.  And Barbara Bader had an interesting article, “Absorbing Pictures and What They Say,” in which she compares a number of children’s picture books such as Madeline and The House on East 88th Street and describes why the illustrations are so central to enriching and telling the story, and how they provoke young imaginations.

I came across a flier at GSLIS the other day for Picture Book Month, and I was curious since I had never heard about it before.  Turns out it was started last year after this article came out, and as a reaction against more children’s books going digital.  de Las Casas explains, “We are doing this because in this digital age where people are predicting the coming death of print books, picture books (the print kind) need love.  And the world needs picture books.  There’s nothing like the physical page of a beautifully crafted book.”  

World Book Night 2013

Julia had an interesting post about World Book Night 2013 that provided a great introduction to this event, which will take place in April.  It sounds like a great opportunity to get out into your local community and share books with others.  See her post and my comment here.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Library "Sleep-in" Protests Censorship

A friend recently told me about a man who spent Banned Books Week sleeping in the window of the Kurt Vonnegut Library in Indianapolis to raise awareness for censorship issues.  Corey Michael Dalton, who writes for the children's magazine Jack & Jill, spent the week behind a wall constructed of various banned books.  Dalton, who blogged about his experience, had bedtime stories read to him by various local authors.  This article suggests that, as a child, Dalton was personally affected by book censorship and is particularly passionate about this issue as a result.

A press release from the library suggests that the main motivation behind this was the treatment of Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five by a local school district.  The press release states that although the book may be checked out, a parental request is needed and the book has been relegated to a non-visible portion of the library.

This reminded me of the article by Christine Jenkins that we read for today, "Book Challenges, Challenging Books, and Young Readers" in which she talks about different ways of censoring materials.  The "sentence" for a challenged book can range, and "Often challengers argue for a solution that seems, on the surface, to be a reasonable compromise.  A book could be moved to closed shelving (in these cases a signed note from a parent or teacher would be required [...]"(447).  As Jenkins points out, the advantage is that the book stays in the library, but the real outcome is that readers will no longer be able to locate it.  In this sense, it not only makes the book difficult to find, but deters potential readers by creating a an extra process/barrier to retrieve the book.

Art books

Celeste had an interesting post about students creating interactive art books, and the possibilities for library collaboration with these books.  See her post and my comment here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Children & Ebooks

Although there is a new focus on buying ebooks in libraries, there seems to be a debate as to whether the trend toward ebooks are good for children learning to read, or whether traditional print books are the way to go.  A recent article in School Library Journal titled "Are Ebooks Any Good?" asked the question, "Do digital books help young kids learn to read, or are they mostly fun and games?"

In the article, one school reading specialist was so excited by a presentation by Tumblebooks that could possibly help her reluctant readers that she "got chills" at the prospect of using this technology to help her students.  Once the program was implemented, these students jumped 23% higher than those in the non-Tumblebooks group.  A number of librarians seemed to advocate a mix of print and digital books for children, and the article suggested that just as emergent readers are not a one-size-fits-all group, "the same could probably be said of ebooks and how they should be used."

On the parent/caregiver end, this article in the New York Times suggests that many still prefer print books for children, and even if parents/caregivers are avid ebook readers themselves, many prefer the experience of reading a physical book with their child.  They cite the immediate, connected experience of reading a print book, together with the fear that reading a book on a shiny gadget might distract from the overall reading experience.

A recent study compared the interactions of parents reading with preschool children with a print book and then either an "enhanced" ebook that included features such as games and videos, or a "basic" ebook that only had narration and features such as highlighting text.  The results indicated that children had "more non-content related interaction (e.g. Don't touch that)" with the enhanced ebooks, which might lead to less content recall.

It seems like there is a lot of potential for ebooks to help children learn to read, as the School Library Journal article points out, but it also seems that there is a fine line in ebooks for children in terms of what constitutes a book that can help children learn to read, and what is more of a game rather than a book.    

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

The ALSC Blog had a fun post called "Boo!  What to Hand Them When the Halloween Shelves are Bare" that gave ideas for other slightly spooky books that might be in the library's collection.  See the post and my comment here, and have a great Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

21st Century Learning Labs for Teens

One of our readings for this week, Totally Wired: What Teens & Tweens are Really Doing Online cited a Pew Internet and American Life study that found, “Fully half of all teens and 57 percent of teens who use the Internet could be considered content creators," that they have "created a blog or webpage, posted original artwork, photography, stories or videos online or remixed online content into their own new creations” (21).  

This made me think of a post I read recently on the IMLS blog about a new project that will build 21st century learning labs for teens in libraries and museums around the country.  Following a national competition, the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the MacArthur Foundation announced where these 12 new learning labs for teens will be built.  Based on the YOUMedia teen space at the Harold Washington Library, these learning labs will be spaces where teens will be able to work with their peers as well as mentors to use both digital and traditional media to pursue their own areas of interest and create their own content, while also building information literacy skills in an unstructured environment.

This project will also involve collaboration with multiple organizations within the community.  According to the IMLS blog, they will involve “partnerships with local educational, cultural, and civic organizations to build a network of learning opportunities for young people.”

The winning libraries are:

San Francisco Public Library
Rangeview Library District and Anythink Libraries (Thornton, CO)
Howard County Public Library (Columbia, MD)
St. Paul Public Library (St. Paul, MN)
Kansas City Public Library
Columbus Metropolitan Library
Free Library of Philadelphia
Nashville Public Library

You can see a complete list of the winners, along with descriptions of the individual labs that will be constructed at each site, here.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dealing with Conflicts in the Library

Martha over at Grounded from the Library had an interesting post about dealing with conflicts in a public library setting.  Although it can be difficult to deal with unhappy patrons, as she points out it can also be a learning opportunity to practice good librarianship skills.  Read about her recent victory (and view my comment) here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ann Curry’s “If I Ask, Will They Answer?”

I thought Ann Curry’s “If I Ask, Will They Answer” article from this week’s readings was interesting in its attempt to address the lack of information on young library users’ experiences while looking for GLBT-related information in libraries.  The study Curry conducted, in which teen “Angela” approached reference desks at 20 different libraries to ask for materials that would help her start a gay-straight alliance at her high school, had some pretty disappointing findings.
  • Angela gave only 50% of the librarians positive comments in how they responded to her question.  Only three librarians showed her how to use any sources such as the library catalog or the Internet to find information.
  • Some of the materials identified by library professionals were not relevant, such as adult booklists or even picture books.  And in one case, a library staff member conducted a partial reference interview, mumbled something, and then walked off and never returned!  Clearly, improvement needs to be made on librarians’ awareness of relevant GLBT resources.
  • I thought it was great that one particular librarian was not only enthusiastic and helpful in locating appropriate resources, but then directed her question to the YA librarian who emailed Angela with more information, and then even mailed her a packet of articles, booklists, and other resources all within a few days.

While I was reading this, I did wonder how specific the librarians’ behavior was to Angela’s question.  For example, how many of the librarians would act inappropriately and be unhelpful for other types of reference questions?  And does Angela’s age have anything to do with how they responded?  Curry does acknowledge that it would have been useful to have a “double deception,” i.e., have Angela ask another general reference question at a different time to determine a more direct relationship with the GLBT question.  But as Angela pointed out, “It doesn’t matter to a GLBT youth whether the librarian is nasty to everyone, not just her.” 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Humble Bundle

Hillary over at Librageous! had an interesting post about Humble Bundle, an e-book bundle where you get to name your price for the bundle, and then you get to choose where your money goes (percentages go to the author, the site, and a charity).  Check out her post and my comment here.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Welcome to the ... Mallbrary?

One of the library branches in my sister's area received funding for an extensive remodeling project, and so it has been closed since last spring for renovations.  In order to keep the library open during the renovation period, they have opened a temporary location in a storefront in the local mall.  It functions like a mini version of the library, complete with a window display, a moderate selection of books, and a checkout station where the cash register would be.

They even have a small kid's section with a number of books and some computers, and I guess they still do a lot of children's programming.  They had a big summer reading program, and they do story times that take place in the mall, including a Pajama Tale story time that my sister was thinking of taking her little guy to.  One of the stores in the mall lets them use an open space area on the upper level for their story times and other events.  A quick look at their calendar of events shows that most events are youth services programming: bilingual story times, pajama story times, a young adult book club, and a preschool story time.  

I thought it was an interesting idea to open a temporary location in the mall, and it definitely has its advantages.  In terms of reaching a wider audience, surely you would get more foot traffic being in the middle of a mall.  You would definitely be able to reach out to a larger portion of the population that might not otherwise specifically visit the library.  In that sense, it is a great opportunity for community outreach and advertising the services of the library.  Since their events take place in an open space on the upper level, parents/caregivers walking by could see and be able to join in on a story time or other event with their child.  Still, it is pretty strange to read on an events calendar that a story time will take place "on the upper level near Kevin Jewelers"!

                                                  Photo credit: Crystal Chatham, The Desert Sun

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Early Literacy Revisited/Storytime

This post relates back to the unit we did a couple weeks ago about young children.  My sister has a little guy who is about 1.5 years old.  She wanted to take him to one of the storytimes offered by one of her local libraries (she lives in California).  She checked on the website and there wasn't an advance registration option, so she showed up a few minutes early and the place was packed!  She and a couple other parents/caregivers were asked to leave because it was full.

I guess the way it works is that the parents/caregivers show up early with their little ones and wait in the hall until the librarian comes to open up the Children's Room a few minutes before the start of the program.  This particular program is capped at 25.  I guess they have had so much interest in a toddler storytime program that they have started adding additional storytimes weekday mornings in an effort to try to accommodate everyone.

This got me thinking about the group exercise we did in class where we created a plan for a storytime. One of the questions we talked about was whether to have advance registration as an option and allow for a couple drop-ins, or whether there would be a no-registration, first-come-first-served policy.  Any thoughts/experiences on the best way to do this?  I think my sister will probably try to go again in the next couple weeks and try to get there earlier, but if you don't have an advance registration option do you risk losing people who might not come back again if they are turned away once?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Early Literacy in Libraries Project Funds College Savings Accounts

The Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy website has an often-updated blog that includes news about early literacy efforts in libraries across the country.  One recent(ish) post I thought was really interesting was about public libraries in Oregon that are creating a new early literacy project called "Project Ready to Learn" that will link parents'/caregivers' use of the library with their young children to college savings accounts.  The idea is that every time they check out a book from the library or participate in an early literacy library event, the library will donate two cents to an interest-accruing college fund.  Additionally, the swipes will earn parents discounts at area restaurants and grocery stores.

The program has received pledged funding from several sources, and plans to continue to apply for additional funding.  The libraries have also partnered with Eastern Oregon University professors to develop an assessment tool to determine the correlation between early child development and library use.  This is the first time I have heard of a program like this, and it seems like a great way to try to get children in the library and help promote early literacy.  Check out the blog post and my comment here, and for more background on this program go here.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The You (PLAY) room, and Early Literacy in Ohio Libraries

I like that one of Constance Dickerson's main goals in writing the article "The Preschool Literacy and You (PLAY) room" was to motive other libraries to create a similar space, and demonstrate that it is possible to create a space like this on a budget.  After her library received a Museum and Library Services (LSTA) grant from the State Library of Ohio, they were able to create this early literacy space that incorporated Every Child Read to Read (ECRR) principles.  Dickerson encourages other libraries to seek out grant opportunities to fund a similar space, and also suggests ideas for low-cost substitutions as well.

The You (PLAY) room contains lots of features that make it a fun, interactive space.  A six-foot tree with "sunlight" lets children sit and read, and movable shelving and child-sized seating allows for smaller configurations of the space.  I like that, given that Dickerson lists the vendors she used, that libraries can pick and choose exact items that they would want in their own space, or just use her experience as inspiration to implement other creative early literacy features in their own space.

A quick visit to the Ohio Ready to Read website shows that Ohio libraries are pretty active in early literacy programming.  They have a blog links page maintained by some of their youth services librarians and branch libraries that are involved in early literacy activities, and a page of resources that helps librarians and other early literacy professionals understand and integrate ECRR literature into practice.

Monday, September 10, 2012

First Lines Book Display

On the YALSA Website this week, there was a great post by Morgan Doane about a Great First Lines YA Book Display.  She explained how she created the display by selecting YA titles that had weird/silly/attention-getting first lines.  She then created a template for posters that displayed the first line of each book next to a stack of the books.  I thought this was a great way to get young readers interested in a certain book by giving them a "teaser" to grab their attention.  Check out her post and my comment and leave your own suggestion for a great first line in the comments!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Stephen Mintz's Huck's Raft Prologue

Some thoughts on Huck's Raft reading for this week:

The author talks about the history of childhood in three distinct phases: premodern, in which children were viewed as adults in training; modern, in which children were increasingly seen as malleable, innocent, and in a separate stage of life; and postmodern, in which the "norms" of childhood break down and children are no longer seen as naive and innocent.

This tied in nicely with reading I did for another class about the history of children's literature.  For that, a lot of the focus was on the mid-eighteenth century, when John Newbery started publishing books that were specifically intended for young readers and aimed to "delight" and "amuse" instead of just instruct or train children.  The books were also made to be "child-sized" so that small hands could easily hold them.  I didn't know much about this beforehand, and so it is interesting to think that using the word "amusement" was a landmark in children's literature, and the beginning of a new era of childhood.

Also, I thought the author's idea of postmodern childhood resembling premodern childhood was interesting.  It seems at first like colonial era children wouldn't have much in common with postmodern children!  But the idea of children in both phases no longer being the opposite of adults, and children growing up quickly and being knowledgeable about the realities of the world makes sense.  And he does differentiate the two by saying that postmodern children are participants in a "separate, semiautonomous youth culture."

Lastly, I thought the idea of Huck's raft as a symbol of childhood was interesting.  The idea of the raft symbolizing childhood as both an "odyssey of psychological self-discovery and growth," and also a journey fraught with danger and unexpected "currents."  This reading made me want to re-read the original Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!

My first blog

This is my first foray into the blog world.  I am looking forward to starting this and learning more about youth services librarianship!