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.