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.)

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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.

Interesting reading this week:

Kardos_Interesting_Reading_1891

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

The WHY of libraries and librarians. I haven’t watched the video yet – but I will come back to it and also the exercise at the end. Because I am all about the WHY. Why do we do stuff? Why should we continue to be employed? We need to have a clear idea and it should be written down in our strategic plan and / or library policies. If we can’t say why we do what we do why should we expect anyone else to know? (Shared by Lis Marrow on Twitter.)

How technology disrupted the truth. I despair of the mainstream media at times – and this did not make me feel any better! Provides some good examples of the filter bubble and a reminder about not sharing links you haven’t investigated. It is also a good reminder about why we should be teaching our students how to be critical thinkers. I hope society gets over its anti-expert thing soon. And I long for politicians to become post-post-truth! (Shared by John  Campbell on Twitter.)

 

The best starter graphic novels for YA readers. This could be a good place to start for those who aren’t sure. I’ve got some of these titles already, others are probably not of huge interest for my demographic (teenage boys), but I’ll definitely be looking out for The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil! There’s some good suggestions in the comments too. (Shared by Libraries & Learning on Twitter.)

Book-loving stars on Instagram: They’re the new Oprah. I love that celebrities are sharing what they’re reading on social media and giving authors and their books greater exposure. But can we please try and keep this organic? Let the celebs pick and choose what they’re going to read and share. Pretty please. And if these women could persuade some of their male co-stars to do something similar that would be excellent. Some fierce male reading role models would be awesome right now. (Shared by Kathryn Schravemade on Twitter.)

Why blog?

Blog

Image by Sophie Janotta, shared under a Creative Commons Zero license on Wikimedia Commons

It’s been 421 days since my last blog post.  So why start up again?  Haven’t I heard that blogging is dead?

The rumours of blogging’s demise has been going around since at least 2012.  This post sums up many of the reasons behind the rumours:

  • the move to collections and curations;
  • the rise of mobile tools;
  • the increasing “nowness” of the web;
  • and the growing appeal of visual text over written.

These are all salient points, but they are far more relevant to the media companies and brand managers the post was aimed at rather than the world of education and librarianship that I inhabit.

This post offers a well-thought out rebuttal to those 15 million rumours of the blog’s death.  The counter-arguments that particularly stood out are:

  • these types of headlines are designed to get click-bait attention;
  • that blogging is evolving, not dying;
  • and that blogging is an iteration of writing and writing never dies.

So far the reading I’ve done has convinced me that blogging as a platform isn’t dead – but my blog sure is on life support.  Why should I resuscitate it?

Forbes can give me reasons to blog for my business, Becoming Minimalist can tell me how it will improve my life, and Michelle can convince me it’s for the greater good of the New Zealand school library community.  But how did I talk myself into it?  These are the things I’m telling myself.

Allows time to reflect and plan:

Most of the time as a sole-charge school librarian I am busy living in the now.  Focused only on the task that is currently on hand and the next thing that needs to be done.  Keeping a regular blog requires sitting still and thinking deeply.  It will make me stop and think about my practice and professional development in a more beneficial manner.  What works?  What doesn’t work?  What did I learn?  What should I change?  How shall I implement these changes?  These are all questions that require time and attention to answer.  Devoting time to maintain this blog will help that.

Keeps a record of learning:

Currently I do not undergo a formal appraisal process, however, this could change in the future.  If it does a record of my continuous professional development will be easily accessible to my appraiser.  In the future I may decide to apply for LIANZA professional registration.  Their registration journal commitments will be a lot easier to complete if a record has already been kept current and up to date.  Also, as a professional (and I am a big believer in school librarianship being viewed and valued as a profession), I feel I should be keeping a record of my learning regardless of requirements from others.  The time and money spent on gathering new knowledge should be recognised and appreciated.  This blog will allow space to do that.

It’s good to share:

I love that so much of what I have learned about being a school librarian was given away freely by sharing and caring librarians who are more experienced, knowledgeable or creative than me.  I love how our profession is so supportive and collaborative.  I want to contribute to that.  And maybe even get the chance to pay it forward to some new librarian who may be feeling lost in the wilderness alone like I did.

Advocacy for school libraries:

By being public in our practice and our learning we are helping to advocate for all school libraries and their staff.  We are showing the value of libraries to their school communities and the huge impact that librarians can have on their students.  We are advocating for school libraries at large but also, at an individual level, we are showing our leadership teams, staff, students and families what we are doing for them.  My inspiring colleague, Michelle, has managed to gather her principal as a follower on her blog.  You can’t get more direct advocacy than that!

Develop my Personal Learning Network:

MyPLN

Created using easel.ly

Some would say that my Personal Learning Network doesn’t need much development.  I already use lots of different platforms to connect with and learn from school librarians and other information professionals around New Zealand and the rest of the world.  Unfortunately I have an (admittedly self-diagnosed) addiction to learning.  I love learning and am always interested in hearing what other people are doing to help their school communities.  This post talks about how PLN’s can use blogs as a place to connect, communicate, collaborate and create with colleagues.  Yes, please!

Have conversations:

A side effect of being a sole-charge school librarian is there is often no one else on site to have library conversations with.  The listserv occasionally offers potential for this, but during a busy day it is often not possible to make the most of these rare opportunities.  Twitter is a great place to share short nuggets of information, but even with an extended character limit it is hard to see it becoming a place for deep conversations.  Blogs offer the opportunity for considered, well-constructed thoughts to be shared and responded to in kind.  They offer the chance to see contradictory opinions, other people’s points of view, and change mindsets.

These are the reasons I’m giving myself to resuscitate my blog.  Why do you blog? Can you give me more reasons to keep me going?