Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos,shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

We Are Terrible At Data Literacy. And this is now having a terrifying impact on world politics! Once again, education is touted as being the answer to this problem. But this is a slow way to deal with something that is happening now. I don’t know what a more direct solution is (but surely journalism should hold some accountability too) so I’m going to hide my head in the sand. (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

New report on family engagement in public libraries. A project that investigated the ways in which public libraries engage with libraries. Some interesting implications for school libraries and the ways in which we engage with our communities. (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Reading in 2016 – digital vs print, the ultimate smackdown! Yes! To all this, yes! Please let’s not have the either / or debate anymore. It should always be “and”; as Kay rightly says, with purpose, pedagogy and learning objectives driving choices. Thanks, Kay, for articulating so well what many of us in Libraryland think! (Shared by Helen Stower on Twitter.)

Research: Yes, Being Helpful Is Tiring. Possibly explains why I finished Term 3 so exhausted! I like that it has tips for those that ask for help, as well as those who are helpers. Now, I’m off for a restorative nap. (Shared by Tim Kong on Twitter.)

Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

Online life is real life, aleph-nought in a series. A good reminder that this whole online vs real life is an artificial construct. There is just life. Some of it you will spend online. Some of it you will not. And goes towards the point I tried to make at an ICT steering committee meeting – we need to teach our guys about being “good men” in all contexts, and not just inside the school gates. (Shared by John Scalzi on Twitter.)

Why are we still ignoring @SirKenRobinson? Because New Zealand government policy demands us too? Or because our educational leaders are not brave enough to run their schools in ways that meet policy demand but are not driven by them? Either way, it’s pretty much why I left classroom teaching. (Shared by Richard Wells on Twitter.)

No benefit to single-sex education, Australian Psychological Congress to be told. Aargh! As a feminist, I have such angst at working at a boys’ school. This did not help! But I found it a really interesting read as this is the main thrust of the marketing our school runs. Should I put the cat among the pigeons and share it with our SMT? (Shared by Stuart Kelly on Twitter.)

Genre readers have less empathy? I’m not feeling that. A few weeks ago I shared a post about how literary fiction makes us better humans, so it seemed only fair to share Val McDermid’s response. And what a response! Pithy, funny, and throws some shade. Read what you like, people! (Shared by Rachel van Riel on Twitter.)

That moment when you realise…

you-are-part-of-the-problem

Recently I have been weeding our fiction section. And I have been quite brutal.

I began by carefully removing the books that had not been read for a while according to neatly printed borrowing statistics. Then I moved on to throwing out the items that looked like they were about to fall apart. Getting caught up in a weeding frenzy, I next began to remove the books that still had handwritten spine labels (because these began to be printed at least eight years ago). These were soon followed by books that just did not look that great anymore.

Soon I had a table covered in stacks of books and that is when it hit me. I am part of the problem.

While I can blame the large number of books sitting on that table that had never been read on the purchasing choices of previous librarians; after six years, I can no longer pretend that the choices that I make do not matter. Next year, some of the books that come off the shelves will be books I have bought. Tax payer dollars that I have spent, trying  to encourage the students at my school to read. So why is this a problem?

Recently, two Year 10 boys, who had been sent over to find something to read, made the comment that there are too many books in our library. I found this an interesting comment and one I could not ignore. Now these two boys have only been at our school for about 18 months, so they do not know that when I started there were actually about 4,000 more books in our collection – roughly a third bigger than it is now. Yet, in their eyes, it is still “too big”. There is too much choice for them and it makes it difficult for them to find the titles or authors that they are looking for.

While I have worked hard to reduce the number of physical items on our shelves, I am still part of the problem because I am responsible for what is being brought in. Part of why I chose to become a school librarian is that I love books. And the opportunity to buy them with someone else’s money? Well, that was just too good to ignore!

Unfortunately, I get a little too excited when faced with boxes of new titles. When our local bookseller comes to see me with a load of new books, I get carried away in the moment and don’t always make the best buying decisions. I am better with the national book reps I see, I am able to make cold, rational decisions about what will actually be used by the students. But when it is our local seller, we both get caught up in the excitement of talking books and soon I find myself cataloguing books, shaking my head, with thoughts of “What was I thinking?”. So, yeah, I am part of the problem.

To remedy this I have created a flow chart to help clarify what I should be bringing in to our fiction collection. I want to make sure that I am buying the books that will be read, enjoyed or found useful. I want to make sure that I am using the money I am given wisely. And I want to make sure that, in five years time, the books that are being weeded have at least been read once and do not represent money down the drain. I want it to be hard to see these books leave the collection – just as it was hard for them to get in.

should-i-buy-this-book

Now, let me at the non-fiction collection!

Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

You are not a digital native: Privacy in the age of the internet.  A really interesting post about how companies are getting away with invading privacy by saying “but the kids are digital natives so they know what they’re signing up for”. I love Doctorow’s definition of privacy, ‘[it] doesn’t mean that no one in the world knows about your business. It means that you get to choose who knows about your business.’ (Shared by Cory Doctorow on Tumblr.)

How to be mediocre and be happy with yourself. In praise of being average! Who knew that this was even a field of study?! The message here is learn to embrace your mediocrity. I’m entirely comfortable with mine! (Shared by a teacher, FF, at school and leading to another post by Mark Manson.)

4 creative PowerPoint uses you probably haven’t tried. Don’t hate on PowerPoint – use it more effectively! (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Using PowerPoint as a design tool. And this post from Ned Potter shares some more PowerPoint goodness. Am now feeling the need to redo every slideshow I’ve ever made…(Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

Why ‘medalling’ and ‘summering’ are so annoying. An interesting and entertaining look at the “verbing of nouns” in the English language. Made me snort and nod my head. But not simultaneously, that would just be weird. (Shared by an English teacher, FF, at school.)

Privacy – important even if you have nothing to hide. A great post on digital citizenship, discussing how we might not have that much privacy even if we think we are doing all the right things. Lots of interesting links are shared. Will definitely be spending more time with this post. (Shared by Carole Gardiner on Twitter.)

The privacy problem. Speaking of privacy…an interesting discussion was had on the NZ schoollib listserv recently about our duty to protect student privacy. Many of us break this privacy (without even thinking about it) when we deal with overdue books and borrowing statistics. A good reminder to have some policies in place dealing with this issue! (Shared by Karen Clarke on the schoollib listserv.)

On white fragility.  If you’re not aware of the whole #WeNeedDiverseBooks thing you should probably get out more. This is an excellent post on why white people hate talking about race and a thoughtful reflection on why this author has decided she will no longer write books with a PoC main character. If you only ever click on one link that I share, make it this one. (Shared by Justine Larbalestier on Twitter.)

Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

Screw digital natives: Behaviour not age, is what matters. As an educator, I hate the term “digital natives” and this post pretty much sums up why. Lots of our students think they are really awesome online, but actually their skills are pretty limited or limiting. And maybe so are some of the tasks we set. (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Millenials as digital natives: Myths and realities. Another interesting read on the “digital native” myth that appeared on my timeline. I particularly love the last two paragraphs in the section titled “How Being a Digital Native Does Influence Behavior” – which is certainly the behaviour that I observe at school! (Shared by Trish Webster, I can’t remember where!)

Literary fiction helps us ‘read’ others. Just in case you know someone who needs convincing that reading is good for us. Or who perhaps needs encouragement to read a “literary” novel in between all the crime fiction. It’s not being a book snob, it’s encouraging being a better human! (Shared by Rachel van Riel on Twitter.)

5 tips for helping a student find the right book. Some good reminders here about how we can help our students find “the” book. Time to find a book is one of my favourite strategies – and something I need to remind our busy teachers about! (Shared by Rebeca Zuniga on Twitter.)

Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

How I made my advertisement in keynote. Some good tricks in here for how to use presentation software to make more than simple slideshows. This post focuses on Apple’s Keynote, but you can probably find similar tools in the software that you use. Oh to have time to play! (Shared by Richard Wells on his blog.)

Always click the first Google result? You might want to stop doing that. As Alison Hewett pointed out when she shared this on Twitter, this is nothing new to librarians! However, this could be the thing to share in case your students or teachers need convincing about moving deeper into their search results and that the filter bubble is really a thing! (Shared by Alison Hewett on Twitter.)

What business are libraries in? I don’t have an elevator pitch. I know I need one, but I find it almost impossible to explain what I do and why it’s important. I agree that it is important to separate out the personnel from the building – but what are my eight words? (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

4 reasons gifted programs are irrelevant. I have quite a few problems with “gifted” programmes. One of the main ones is that generally “gifted” is used to mean smart. Certainly at the school I work at their is no programme for students who are gifted in areas such as the arts or physical education. Another big problem I have with it is that (again, generally speaking) it’s not about the students – it’s about the parents or for school marketing purposes. Why shouldn’t all students be given the care and attention that the “gifted” receive? (Shared by Mark Barnes on Twitter.)

Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

Interesting Reading by Gyula Kardos, shared on Wikimedia Commons as a public domain work of art

I can’t even with librarians that don’t read diversely. This. So much this. This to all those school librarians who say they don’t need to buy Pasifika books because there are no Pasifika students in their schools. This to all those school librarians who don’t even read. I. Just. Can’t. (Shared by Book Riot on Twitter.)

John  Dewey hate your digital citizenship curriculum. I’m part of my school’s ICT steering committee and we have been talking about how we don’t teach our students anything about digital citizenship. I think this post is full of important messages and questions we should be asking ourselves before we develop any sort of programme. I’m a big believer in just teaching our guys to be good citizens no matter what space they are in. But I love this idea of COMMUNITY as well. I’ll be sharing this with the rest of the committee. (Shared by Sally Pewhairangi on Twitter.)

Daniel Pennac, The Rights of the Reader. I love the way Austin Kleon writes about the books he’s read. I was a late discoverer of this book. And I’ll admit to having bought a copy that I haven’t yet read. This post has moved the book up to the top of my TBR pile. And I have no doubt that I will refer to it often as I think about devising a long-term literacy strategy for my school. (Shared by Austin Kleon on Tumblr.)

Libraries matter: 18 fantastic library infographics. Some great facts and figures here to help advocate for libraries. And while it’s heavily American-based, there’s also some really good dos and don’ts of design to be seen in the various infographs.  (Shared by Bridget Schaumann.)

Close reading X: The reader-centred library service

Open book

Image shared on Pixabay with a Creative Commons public domain licence

Chapter ten: Reader-centred strategy

There is so much important stuff in this last chapter – stop reading this, get your hands on the book and just read it!

The strands of advocacy and services and procedures are all linked into a strategic plan; yet I wonder how many of us in New Zealand school libraries have actually put any recent thought into a vision or goal for our libraries? Time, resourcing and staffing mean we often lack the opportunity to just sit and think, however, a number of big problems that can arise would be solved if we did. Maybe it’s time we give ourselves permission, or ask it of our principals, to think about the big picture so that we can ensure what we are doing day-to-day is effective and moving us towards our larger goals.

Of course, a school library’s goals should always be linked to those of the school and reflect the community they serve, but they should also have a vision of their own. How do you want the school library to be seen? to be used? to contribute to the school and community? From this thinking, a strategy can then be mapped out. From page 315:

A strategy should articulate why you’re doing what you’re doing, why it matters and how you can get to where you want to be with the least effort and use of resources…A clear strategy will help set priorities for daily work.

A strategic plan will help you advocate for your library and yourself, you will have a clear understanding of what you want your library to achieve and how you are helping to do that. Strategic thinking will allow you to evaluate the services you offer, drop those that aren’t helping you move towards your goals and introduce new ones that will. Day-to-day practices should also be looked at through the lens of your strategic plan – if it’s not getting you where you want to go stop doing it and do something that will. (For example, is your overdue policy helping to grow the love of reading in your school?)

This, from page 353, really highlighted for me why I need to have a plan for what I’m doing:

Wherever you are in the power hierarchy, you will have more effect if you are able to show clearly why what you want to do matters, who it will benefit and how you will make it happen.

Actions arising from this chapter:

  • update policies and procedures manuals – include vision / strategic goal
  • survey staff and students about what they want from the library – use this to inform strategic planning
  • collect evidence for why reading matters to act as bedrock for strategy / services / procedures and budget negotiations

Reference:

Riel, R. V., Fowler, O., & Downes, A. (2008). The reader-friendly library service. Newcastle upon Tyne: Society of Chief Librarians.

Close reading IX: The reader-friendly library service

Open book

Image shared on Pixabay with a Creative Commons public domain licence

Chapter nine: Evaluating reader-centred work

There is a lot of useful information in this chapter about evaluating programmes in general. Points that particularly resonated are:

  • if something isn’t working, we need to understand why not in order to plan a different course of action
  • be clear from the start who the evaluation is for (users / staff / managers / stakeholders)
  • to learn immediate lessons, evaluate straight away; to evaluate long-term impact, wait six months
  • questionnaires will be filled in by a self-selected group, those who feel strongly and more likely to respond
  • encourage participants to reflect on their own experience for a more useful evaluation (what was most useful? was the content pitched right? is there more you want to learn as a result?)

And perhaps the most important point (from page 309):

Whatever the tools you use, there will be no point to the evaluation unless you summarise what you have learned and plan to take action. Not acting on the results of evaluation is the single biggest cause of the cynicism which an evaluation process often generates.

Actions arising from this chapter:

  • summarise the feedback from our last Central region PD day!

Reference:

Riel, R. V., Fowler, O., & Downes, A. (2008). The reader-friendly library service. Newcastle upon Tyne: Society of Chief Librarians.