On top of being a history nerd, I also love books. I love reading and I even belong to a book club in my spare time. Thus in my blog quest, I thought it was best to start in the world of the “library/librarian” blogs on EduBlog. I started with the Mighty Little Librarian blog, which was the first runner up in the Best Library/Librarian Blog in 2012. Tiff, aka the “Might Little Librarian,” described herself on the About Me page as a fervent librarian who loves to read and loves being a librarian. I liked her already! On her Home page alone, I found links to her bookshelf on Goodreads, link to Classroom 2.0 (a social network site for educators interested in technology), and a link to the Mighty Librarian’s Twitter Account. I also found that the Mighty Little Librarian was a speaker at the New Leaf Conference in 2012, and a facilitator at EdCamp in 2011. This was all before I even read any of the posts! To take a closer look, I perused her latest post entitled “Pondering Self-Checkout.” From the title you could probably figure out that Tiff is contemplating the installation of a self-checkout system in her school library, but she is unsure of how to proceed. Before posting to her blog, she actually tweeted the question of thoughts on a self-checkout system and she asked for pictures. The Mighty Little Librarian shared over nine responses she received on Twitter alone. Then she posed even more specific questions in her blog entry. The questions included, how to set it up in her own space, one station or two, and other things to consider. Because she posted the entry the same day I checked it, there were no comments yet. My guess is that there will be some really interesting ideas and information left on her site.
Next, I moved onto Bulldog Readers Blog, which was the second runner up in the Best Library/Librarian Blog in 2012. This was actually my favorite librarian blog that I previewed because it made me so excited for the students at Alexander Graham Bell Elementary. At first, I thought maybe this was a link to a blog for bulldog enthusiasts, but I quickly realized that the Bulldogs are the school mascot. At any rate, Julie Hembree is a librarian at an elementary school in the Seattle, WA area. Her blog is meant to be a communication tool for students, parents, staff, and visitors who are interested in the latest information on the library and to view the latest students projects. The blog includes information on new books, reviews, classroom lessons, and events. Mrs. Hembree said her “passion is connecting kids with books,” and I think she really found her niche. Immediately, I was drawn to the Book Trailers Tab, where I viewed online video teasers about books in the school library. Mrs. Hembree created some teasers, but I noticed a whole page devoted to teasers created by students. I was blown away when I watched them; they could have been professional teasers. Mrs. Hembree noted that students use images and video with the Creative Commons license. Not only were these projects impressive, they completely abided by copyright laws and taught students the importance of respecting others’ work as well as their own. On the side of every page, I noticed links to teacher blogs, super student blogs, and classrooms around the world. What a great example of responsible digital citizenship. One tab that caught my attention was the Writing Comments tab. The page provided a map of visitors from around the world, a tutorial on how to post comments, guidelines about comments as well as sentence starters for comment ideas. Mrs. Humbree also approves all comments posted to the site and requires that both parents and students use only first names. Finally, I noticed on the Books to Africa page that the students at Alexander Graham Bell Elementary are involved in a service project of sending books to Mumbai, India and villages in Africa. It was moving to see the pictures of the books with children all over the world.
Lastly, I visited the Adventures of Library Girl by Jennifer LaGarde. Library Girl is the lead librarian at a school district in North Carolina. Her blog’s purpose is to “ponder, share, and rub” thoughts about librarians and student learning. One page of her blog is a link to her professional development presentations, and another page is a link to her published articles. She also provides a link of her own images on Flickr that can be used and shared. Jennifer’s latest entry is called “Science Fiction Renaissance: A Post for Thomas” where she discusses how a recent conversation with a teacher/friend inspired her to write about the “new science fiction” revolution in youth literature. Jennifer confesses that she is not a fan of Twilight, but she appreciates how it motivated her students to read. She discusses how it is her job as a librarian to tap into this passion and inspire students to keep reading. Jennifer also provides a list of recommended “New Science Fiction” books stirred by her Twilight conversation. If I liked the genre, I would totally read her picks!
In general, I found all these blogs were meant to be used as a communication tool, either to facilitate interactions among students, or between fellow librarians. Overall, the blogs really wanted to connect students with great books through the exchange of best practices ideas between librarians, giving direct recommendations, or posting relevant student work. It was also clear that all three librarians are seriously passionate about what they do, and the learning, collaboration, and exchange do not end when the bell rings. All the blogs I viewed added so much to the education students are receiving at their respective schools. Now more than ever, students can connect with other students in all over the world, or teachers all over the country can exchange ideas on what motivates their students to read. In our class discussions, we talked about how students are “driving the bus” of technology (Richardson, 16), but in many ways, 21st century librarians can take on the role of bus driver since their role dwells in the space between literacy and technology. The library is a hub of all the content-areas studied in school. Teachers need to use the library as a launching point for how to teach literacy in our content-areas in the 21st century.
I do not know about all of your experiences, but I hardly used my school library after elementary school. I do not even remember checking out a book from my school library in middle or high school. Since I want to be a high school social studies teacher, I plan to do things differently. I want to use the library to show students the potential of what they can do on the internet while also teaching them the rules of etiquette and law. I love Mrs. Hembree’s Bulldog Readers blog because it felt like a supervised portal to the worldwide web. I could tell that she is teaching students how to create digital work, cite sources, and also protect their own creations. She also made an effort to teach students (and parents) all about the Nine Elements of Digital Literacy, (Ribble, 2013) such as “Digital Etiquette,” “Digital Law,” “Digital Rights and Responsibilities,” and “Digital Literacy” through student projects and her comment guidelines. What better way to enter the digital world than under the supervision of a caring educator? I would love to see this kind of hub at the middle and high school level. If students at the elementary level create work like this, imagine what older students could produce! In my ideal high school library blog, there would be a page for every content area with links to additional information. For example, there could be a modern languages link with students’ digital work, as well as connections to blogs in countries whose languages are being taught in my school. In history, I would like to see lessons on how to search online databases for historical journals. I would also like to add a historian as detective piece, teaching students how to think, search, read, and write like historians with exemplary student work displayed. There could be links to the local historical association as well as links to other history students across the US. I am certain if we challenged students to think creatively and provided the right tools under adult supervision, we would be amazed at the results. No more dewy decimal for this librarian!
Ribble, Mike. “Nine Themes of Digital Citizenship.” Digital Citizenship: Using Technology Appropriately. n.p., 2013. Web. 13 March 2013.
Richardson, Will. “Footprints.” Educational Leadership 66.3 (2008): 16-19. Online.