Week 9 Thing #23 Part 1 Learning for Life…

The School Library Learning 2.0 learning experience was truly one of the most valid professional development experiences I’ve ever had.

As the “information landscape” changes (David Warlick‘s phrase), librarians face the opportunity to become more important and integral to the learning experience than ever before. People will need guidance to find authoritative information! As Warlick (he’s one of my favorite thinkers, does it show?) and so many others insist, in an age where we can no longer predict what kinds of jobs or lifestyles our young people will face in adulthood, the most important skill we can hone in them is the ability to continue teaching themselves new things when they need to. We should model this behavior for our students–not only for the sake or modeling, but also because lifelong learning is a fundamental tenet of librarianship! Learning is what we facilitate–it’s what we’re about! So…we have to walk the walk!

As my friend, mentor and fellow learner said to me today, we must stay a step ahead if we can. We might not be a step ahead of our adaptable young learners all the time, but we can stay a step ahead of the norm in terms of learning new and better ways of doing things! And if our kids see us learning, then I say we’ve done them a favor, because we’ve shown them that learning is a forever pursuit!

I am wildly appreciative of the California School Library Association for the spirit of collaboration and lifelong learning that they’ve exhibited by making this program available to me, a Texas librarian, who will probably never be a resident of their state. The sponsors of SLL2.0 have been supportive and helpful to me and my other Texas colleagues, and we will in turn spread the word–and give the credit to this wonderful team. Thank you again for being so willing to share your knowledge and time–this was really a wonderfully engaging and pertinent professional development experience.

Week 8 Thing #19 LibraryThing

I am such a book geek that LibraryThing is just my kind of place! What a fantastic site–and it’s FREE for a year! Wow!

I had been to this site previously, but I didn’t set up my own catalog until last month. (See random books at right). Since then, I’ve put many of my books in my catalog. Every time I go back to it though, I find that I lose about an hour because I can’t tear myself away!

What a fun way to recommend books to patrons, advertise new books in the collection, suggest books that fit a certain curricular unit, etc. Again, I wonder if I will be able to access LibraryThing at school…

A fellow participant in the School Library Learning 2.0 program, blogging here at Book-Case, so precisely stated what librarians’ focus should be in the whole school2.0/library2.0 debate, that I wanted to quote her here:
(school librarians)

need to reorient our way of thinking from fixed goals to be met, to ongoing goals that are a work in progress. We need to be trendspotters and maybe even trendsetters for our schools. We don’t need to be techno-geeks; what we need is to be good readers, good listeners and flexible professionals who value and collaborate with our patrons.

Thanks Book-Case for pulling those loose ends together for us. Very well said!

My goals as librarian are much different–more general (maybe overarching is a better word)–than those of the classroom teacher. My focus is much more on the 21st Century literacy goals being discussed in this project and by such “important” thinkers as Joyce Valenza, David Warlick and Doug Johnson, etc. Those skills include “traditional” skills such as reading, literature appreciation & evaluation, selection, etc. But they also include the newer learning that we are doing in this project this summer. Thanks Book-Case for making me think about this!

Changing Role of Schools

In the July/August 2007 Editor’s Note, James Daly (Edutopia magazine) gives a clear and concise overview of the change in the nature of information over the last 20 years, and the change (or lack thereof) in America’s public schools. He points out that business has called the shots in the formation of today’s information age, and schools must now

step into a new role: assembler of the collective intellect. Educators must help students sort out the insightful from the ludicrous, assisting them in their new role as capable and critical thinkers.

Wow! He’s talking about the very skills that librarians are suited to help students/teachers with! Evaluation of resources! Critical thinking!

Who says librarians are obsolete? Skilled librarians are more important now than ever–we just don’t always market ourselves effectively. It’s time for us to step up too.

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