Wednesday, December 26, 2007

"Deal or No Deal"

By the way, I discovered that video by reading a post over at Filipino Librarian. I have found it interesting to see what the librarian profession looks like in other parts of the world and I have a particular affinity for the Philippines (having spent time there off and on about twenty years ago).

By the way, a piece of information: In order to be a librarian in the Philippines, you need to pass a national examination. In the most recent examination, they had 868 test-takers. Out of that 868, only 278 passed. That is 32%! Apparently, it is a difficult task to become a librarian in that country. I wonder why that might be. Perhaps it has to do with job availability.

Librarian Deal or No Deal: The Lantern Parade 2007

While it is difficult to tell from the video, this is a group of librarians in a parade in the Philippines doing a take-off on "Deal or No Deal." It is interesting to listen to the speaker who discusses the same issues that we champion in the U.S.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Introduction to Second Life

I know, I really know that I need to begin to understand this whole Second Life thing. The library program at SJSU already uses it in their instruction. This will only continue. I wonder how generational this is (and whether my 46-year-old self can handle it).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fresno Pacific University goes online!

As most of you know, I am in the library media program at Fresno Pacific University and have been quite pleased with it. Comes new information from the program director, Jo Ellen Misakian, that the entire program will now be available online.

I think it is safe to say that the same quality in the residential program will manifest itself in the online one as well. They will be offering both the credential and the master's degree in that 100% online format.

You can find information on the program here. While it does not mention anything yet about going online, the first cohort will start in May 2008.

If you are looking for an exceptional program, I would encourage you to take a look.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Graphic Novels Poster Contest

One of the things that I brought back from CSLA 2007 was the desire to create a graphic novels poster contest. One of the major reasons was that I have no artistic skills whatsoever, but I wanted to have some unique posters around my new graphic novels section.

I have spent the last two weeks handing out paper for the contest. Students turned them in last Friday and they have been judged. The students were very enthusiastic about participating in the contest. Part of that enthusiasm was certainly due to the lack of access to art in our middle school. Getting big pieces of paper to draw on is, apparently, very cool.

Some good that came out of it:
  • I got students into the library that I do not know (because it was announced every day).
  • Students go to do art.
  • I got wonderful posters with which to decorate my new section.

Response was so good that I may have a second contest in the spring where I have the students create their own graphic novels.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Sebastopol librarian fired revisited

More on the firing of Sebastopol librarian Richie Partington. For me, it offers more questions than answers. The administrator involved appears to give the impression that Partington was fired for a number of things, but gives no examples as to what those might have been.

Bellevue schools book dispute ends in firing

I think ultimately Partington's undoing was his not meeting with the principal. As an employee, he does not have that choice. Given that article, I don't believe we have the entire story yet. Will we? Hard to tell.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Extreme Makeover, Library Edition!

If I thought that the local graffit artists wouldn't destroy it, I would really look into doing something like the libraries below. Wouldn't that be cool? You should definitely take a look.

Cardiff (Wales) Public Library and Kansas City (MO) Public Library

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Library Discovery Day, part 2

As I mentioned downstream, I had a library discovery day for my administrators at my school. I should preface this by saying that I am blessed to have a dedicated admin staff at our school. That being said, they were quite surprised by many of the things that I told them.

If you don't tell them, they don't know.

Just showing them what my budget is for new books was rather astounding. How, you might wonder, could they not know? Well, my school is a Title 1 school. Our site plan is very detailed. If you are not in charge of a program, it is easy not to know what is going on.

If you don't tell them, they don't know.

Being good administrators, they wanted to fix this discrepancy between what we have and what we need. Yesterday at our School Site Council meeting, the council voted to approve an additional expenditure for the library. That amount, while not large, did exceed the amount originally budgeted for the library.

Why did they decide to allocate funds?

Because I told them.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Seneca Library Holiday Song

A song about the library. How can you beat that?

Friday, November 23, 2007

Clickable Resources from CSLA 2007

I have been meaning to put links to websites from CSLA 2007. It has become quite common to give conference participants additional resources on a website (be it a wiki, blog, or more traditional site).

Street Lit: Resources for Librarians (Miranda Doyle)

Exciting Genres by Tommy Kovac and Heather Gruenthal

ROAR Motivation PowerPoint (Megan Fuller)

Getting "Lucky" WithLM_NET (Peter Milbury)

Free Reference Books Online (Peter Milbury)

Did I miss yours? I am happy to include it in the list. Just leave a comment to this post including the URL and I get it done.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Sebastopol Librarian fired over opposition to book banning by principal?

Was a librarian fired because he opposed the banning of a book by the principal of a school and because he spoke out in opposition to that banning? While I do not know both sides, I urge you to read the story below and come to your own conclusions.

A day after informing the District Superintendent that he saw no reason to meet with the principal who had banned a highly-regarded children's book -- until the principal had actually read the book that he had banned -- Sebastopol librarian and author Richie Partington was fired from his position as Library Consultant to the Bellevue Union School District in Santa Rosa, California.

Partington, a part-time member of the faculty in San Jose State University's School of Library and Information Science, and author of the popular children's book review website Richie's Picks, expressed his shock disappointment over what had happened. "Last week I was booktalking at District schools and literally had students fighting over who would first get to read the books I was presenting. The administrators must have thought that there must be something wrong with the books if the students wanted to read them so badly."

The book in question is, ironically, about a young hero in a society where nobody reads anymore. Rodman Philbrick's The Last Book in the Universe has been selected for inclusion by the American Library Association on its list for adolescents of "100 Best of the Best Books for the 21st Century" and has been subsequently nominated for numerous state children's book awards.

Partington, who is active in the American Library Association, had recently been appointed as one of fifteen librarians in the country to serve on the committee that will read thousands of new 2008 picture books and determine the winner of the ALA's prestigious Caldecott Medal.

Partington is best known for his reviews of soon-to-be-published books for children and adolescents that are regularly distributed to more than 8,000 librarians, teachers, and publishing executives worldwide and archived on his website at He is also known for having initiated in Sebastopol the nation's first No Name-Calling Week, which was based upon events in a children's book by James Howe titled The Misfits. No Name-Calling Week subsequently became a nationally-commemorated annual event with nearly half a million school children across America participating in last year's observance. (See

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Upload to LibraryThing

My school library is the fifteenth largest library on One reason why is that there are fairly severe file size limitations for uploads. The first time I tried to upload the file was too large. I had exported too much data on each book. The second time I only exported the ISBN numbers and it worked just fine.

I suspect that is why my small school library, about 10,000 books, is that high up the foodchain. Larger libraries have difficulty uploading their data.

Monday, November 19, 2007


As I mentioned downstream, as of January 1, 2008, the library media services credential will begin calling us "Teacher-Librarian." To be honest, I was not sure if I like the change.

One interesting note is that when I posted about it on CALIBk-12, I received two emails from people who are quite connected in the California school library world and neither had heard anything about it. It does not seem like much input was sought.

Let me tell you my take as of today:

1. I won't have to explain what I do anymore. When I talked with three people outside the library world, they all immediately got it (and didn't necessarily get the whole LMT thing).

2. It brings us more in line with what some other places in the U.S. are doing.

3. In my district, the paras are Library Media Technicians which also equates to LMT.

4. Other people in the library world (public, academic, etc.) are all librarians. No alternative title needed.

People do like the whole LMT designation after their names, though. That's a reality.

Ultimately, I am okay with it. It will be interesting, though, to see how quickly districts adapt with changing job descriptions. Or, and this is important, if they will adapt. I suspect there is no requirement that they follow a CTC designation. Also, it will be interesting to see if library folks will adapt.

One interesting piece of this, it seems, is that the title change happens when new credentials are issued or when credentials are renewed. Does this mean that for a while we will have people with two different titles? Sounds like it.

I am more than a little curious what others think now that the news is a little older.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

CSLA Wrap-up

The California School Library Association was an amazing event for me because:

  • I got free books! I think I ended up with about 16 hard-cover books. That's easily a couple hundred dollars worth of books. (And, yes, I put this first!)
  • Getting to bump into people like Barbara Jeffus and Martha Rowland who have had (and continue to have) these amazing library careers (and who are also neat people).
  • Getting to hang out with my local library folks (whom it is often difficult to see).
  • Having Margaret Baker show me publishers (and if you have never had that happen, you have missed out!).
  • Seeing many of the students from Fresno Pacific's LIB 720 course (and, yes, this was an assignment for all of us).
  • The great presentations from such experienced folks!
  • Putting faces to names from CALIBK12
  • Getting a sense of the "politics" of the organization.
  • Getting to meet some of the authors.
I will definitely go again in 2008. Well worth the time, effort, and money. Being a first year library media teacher, I learned a great deal and, not the least of which, is that I made the right decision to become a librarian.

CSLA, Day 4 (Post 1)

While there were two sessions this morning, I skipped the first one in order to get bags to the lobby.

However, I went to a wonderful session called, "50 Ways to Succeed @ Your School Library." Blanche Woolls offered sound, practical advice about how to manage your library. She is emailing out her list and when it gets to me, I will post more on the subject.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

CSLA, Day 3 (Post 6)

I had a ticket for the California Young Reader Medal banquet. Quite a nice event. It was a little disappoint because one of the big winners, Karen Hesse, was sick and had to back out. Still, it is a major event.

For those not in the know, the CYRM books are voted on by California students. The award is presented by the California School Library Association, California Association of Teachers of English, California Library Association, and California Reading Association.

I think I like it because it is what students have enjoyed. I am hoping to have students at my middle school read the nominated books this year and vote in the spring.

CSLA, Day 3 (Post 5)

Free books. I like free books. Capstone Press and Stone Arch (same company) were giving out free books. Get in line and you can get two books. And, yes, you could go through a second time. So I did.

Then I ran into Margaret Baker (District Librarian, Selma Unified and certified Library guru) who encouraged me to get in line with her. So I got two more. Then Margaret gave me her two.

Eight hard back books. Mostly graphic novels because I am really working at building up that part of the collection and Stone Arch has great graphic novels.

As it happens, I have an order in with them now for some and because of what I saw today, I will likely order more. Smart people. Leave us with a good impression.

CSLA, Day 3 (Post 4)

While not well-attended, the Membership Meeting is an important event for CSLA. It gives folks the opportunity to speak their minds on issues of importance. A couple of interesting announcements:

1. As of January 1, 2008, the credential issued to library media teachers will now say "Teacher-Librarian" instead of LMT. (See a post tomorrow for my take.)


2. The Standards published by CSLA will now be available for free. (This came, I believe, out of many posts on CALIBK12 asking for them to be made available for free.

There were a number of people who came forward to speak. It was interesting to see what is important to some and not on the radar of others at all.

CSLA, Day 3 (Post 3)

Miranda Doyle, who is fast becoming one of the experts on urban (or "street") lit. Her presentation, "Urban Fiction and Teens," was a wonderful opportunity for those of us who work in urban areas to find books that our students will actually read.

Importantly, Miranda has lists. Many lists! And, because I love you, you can find them here. Great site and valuable information. One thing I liked was that she carefully differentiated between what is acceptable for middle school and what is acceptable for high school.

CSLA, Day 3 (Post 2)

I went to see "School Library Learning 2.0: California's Summer Fun." This was more a celebration of those who completed this training as well as a discussion of how it came about.

Importantly, Winter Fun was announced. Same training, but a new place to start and over some vacation time. It begins December 1 - April 1. For someone like me who has not finished the first round, I can just pick up from where I left off. It is definitely, though, for new people.

CSLA, Day 3 (Post 1)

And I found my #2!

As I mentioned upstream, I hoped to bring back two things to implement right away. The first was analyzing my library based on the presentation by Helen Cox (Long Beach USD) from a presentation yesterday.

Today I went to see a presentation (by Tommy Kovac and Heather Gruenthal, both from Anaheim Union USD) called "Creative and Exciting Genres to Reach Every Student!" This was the one that works for me.

This presentation has two basic premises:
1. After students read a book, they often like to read books within that same genre; and
2. Because of this, you should create book displays and bookmarks (with booklists on the back) based on genres.

The genres they talked about were such cool things as Chick Lit, Vampire Romance, Pirates, Manga-Lovers, and so on.

And, importantly, I am going to make your day. This entire presentation and more is up on their Wiki. It includes original and exciting artwork by Mr. Kovac. You really need to go and take a look at this.

This gets implemented in December with two genres and more to follow!

Friday, November 16, 2007

CSLA, Day 2 (Post 5)

I went to the President's Reception this evening. It included a very cool video of librarians in movies (put together by Dr. Lesley Farmer of CSU Long Beach). Also very cool was the book bag given to each person in attendance that included four free books from Capstone.

CSLA, Day 2 (Post 4)

I went to see Helen Cox (Hamilton Middle, Long Beach USD) present "Get Rid of It, Get over it, Get with it: Creating a Scholarly Environment. The basic idea is to take a library that does not present itself well and change it into one that does. She says:

"The modern school library needs to be dynamic and current in order to attract teens."

So true. One important handout she gave asked us to answer these questions:

Do you have...
1. READ posters that are more than five years old?
2. Dust on the bottom shelf of every bookcase?
3. Books that are copyrighted 1989 or older?
4. Dirty ceilings?
5. Unwashed floors.
6. Tape residue on bookcases, tables, desks, walls, doors?
7. A laminator machine or other equipment used primarily by teachers?
8. Furniture that is scratched and drawn on?

And more. My goal for this conference was to bring two things back. This is the first one. Making your library look like a library that wants to have students is a good place to start.

CSLA, Day 2 (Post 3)

What I wanted to see: Scary, Gross, and Enlightening: Books for Boys K-8. Me and everyone else on the planet.

What I ended up seeing: Good Ideas! World Class Teaching and Standards.

Presenters at GIWCTaS all had won for submitting these teaching ideas. While they were all excellent ideas, Janelt Melikian offered a format for a "four-week long book talk project utilizing fcition, nonfiction and biography books." This was a collaborative project with a U.S. history teacher.

The basic premise is that not only would students read books related to U.S. History, but then they would need present it orally to the class. The time limit for the presentation is 4-6 minutes and they are graded on their ability to bring the character to life. They assume the role of the character as part of their presentation.

Cool idea!

CSLA, Day 2 (Post 2)

The first presentation that I went to today was "Bridges to Leadership: Tier One." This focused on an alternative way to earn your administrative credential. While I don't need one now, you never know what life will bring.

The presentation was given by Mark Archon, director of Administrative Leadership Services for Madera County Office of Education. This program is one of those now authorized as an "alternative, non-university" preparation program for the first tier of an administrative credential. The other two options are a traditional university-based course or the examination option.

The program consists of four pieces:
  • Coursework. This is comprised of nineteen meetings over a fifteen-month period.
  • Online. This includes both synchronous and asynchronous activities.
  • Fieldwork. You collect and analyze data from your own site. This also includes job shadowing and a leadership project.
  • Coaching. You are assigned a coach who has been trained in Cognitive Coaching. This supports on-going learning and its application.
The advantages of this program include:
  • Modeling a standards-based system. It's not about the grade; it's about achieving a certain level of quality in your assignments.
  • Modeling a Professional Learning Community.
  • Providing a trained coach.
  • Flexibility with locations, dates, and times.
Your end result includes having to give a 20-30 minute presentation on the Professional Learning Community that you established at your site as part of your Leadership Project.

CSLA, Day 2 (Post 1)

This morning we had the installation of the new CSLA officers and presentation of the various awards. There was also an inspiring short speech by the president of the California Teachers Association, David Sanchez. One interesting note: He is the first Hispanic president of CTA. In California. Where the largest group of students is Hispanic. Go figure.

The keynote was poet Paul Janeczko who not only gave us poetry, but also a humorous look at his disconnect from education during his K-12 school years. Makes me think about what type of poetry would reach my inner-city middle school kids. Food for thought.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

California School Library Association 2007 Conference, Day 1

I am now in my room at the lovely Doubletree Hotel. It is easy to see why they chose this as the conference hotel. It is right next door to the Ontario Convention Center. I have already walked over and registered for the conference.

There was not much going on. Today was CSLA Board meeting and some pre-conference workships for which an additional fee was charged. This evening is the opening night reception. I know I am a guy, but I am never quite sure what to wear to such things. I have been to a number of conferences and it varies widely from jeans to suits.

I have been looking at the program trying to decide what I want to attend over the next few days. I want to hit a mixture of career development, professional development, and just plain personal interest.

More tonight.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I am such a nerd!

Tomorrow afternoon I am flying to lovely Ontario, California for the California School Library Association and I am excited. How big a nerd am I?

As a brand-new LMT, I think it is particularly cool that I am able to go. My school elected to pay for the entire conference for me. This happens when you have effective administrators who are interested in real library programming.

As the conference gets under way, I hope to blog about what I see and experience. I have done this for other conferences and people who were not able to attend have found it useful.

So, come back and read as we head into the weekend!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Library Discovery Day: You need to advocate!

Today I invited all of my administrators to come visit my library and to learn what I know about it. I had pulled together a short PowerPoint (because long ones are dreadful).

We talked about the age and size of the collection.

We talked about the technology.

We talked about the good things and the bad things.

What I wanted to convey was information. My take is that even administrators often do not know how much has been allocated for the library. If you looked at our School Site Plan, you would know why. It is quite long with many budget items.

Without revealing how much is presently budgeted for books, I can say that it is a small amount. They were surprised at how small an amount.

I got an email later in the day and it appears that the effort was well worth it.

Advocacy works.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The L-Team

We are such nerds!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Second Class Done!

If someone had told me ten years ago that I could get excited about library media, I would have thought they were just a little off their rocker. And, yet, I just finished my second class in the School Library Media program at Fresno Pacific University and I am so very pleased with the classes.

This class was mostly done online and had a good mixture of activities to make that work. Yes, we did meet a couple of times. This was particularly helpful during the weeding portion of the class when we all met at a middle school and weeded to our heart's content.

I have enjoyed it so much that I am considering getting the master's degree after I finish the credential. It's only a very few more courses, but it would require a thesis or project. I already have one master's degree, so I need to think carefully about this.

A Fair(y) Use Tale

And, yes, it complies with copyright and fair use. Kind of shows the insanity of copyright laws.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

What does that media services credential really say?

A few weeks back I received my Emergency Library Media Teacher Services Permit. This allows me to do this job for this year and can be renewed four times (for a total of five years).

I found some of the language interesting. In whole, it says:

This credential authorizes the holder to instruct pupils in the choice and use of library materials; to plan and coordinate school library programs with the instructional programs of a school district; to select materials for school and district libraries; to coordinate or supervise library programs at the school, district, or county level; to plan and conduct a course of instruction for those pupils who assist in the operation of school libraries; to supervise classified personnel assigned school library duties; and to develop procedures for and management of the school and district libraries.

A couple of things jump out at me. I have talked with librarians who work for districts where they supervise library personnel and are required to get an administrative credential. This appears to say that it is not a requirement *if* you are supervising library personnel.

To take this one step further, this seems to say to me that a person would not need to have an administrative credential to be in charge of all of the school libraries through a county office of education.

Now, as I am well aware, what the credential says and what reality is can be very different. It is interesting nonetheless.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Rock 'n' Roll Library

I'm working on getting my library to do this!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

California dead last in libraries

If you were looking for something to write a letter to the editor about, this came from a post over at CALIBk12 today. Pretty dismal for California libraries.

From a new study (Reading Across the Nation: A Chartbook):

Number of children age 0-5 per California public library
California 2,688
National 1,368
Ranking 51

California has the lowest number of public libraries per child under the age of five years in the nation. They also have the worst level of school library staffing in the nation (1,400 librarians for 9,000 schools).

And this is key:

To be average, California would have to double the number of public libraries in California and hire 8,000 credentialed school librarians.

(Thanks to Richard K. Moore, InfoSherpa, for this CALIBK12 post on the study.)

A Librarian's 2.0 Manifesto

Friday, November 2, 2007

Library Quote of the Week

The cost of libraries is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation.

--Walter Cronkite

Monday, October 29, 2007

Valley LMT Network

What is the Valley LMT Network? Downstream I wrote about a networking event that I am pulling together with Maria Petropulos for January. After talking some with CSLA, we have decided for the time being for it not to be an official event.

That being said, we believe that the information that we get from this event will guide us to what our next CSLA event might be.

More details as I know them.

Ninja Libraian

Gorilla Librarian

Monty Python? Yes.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Resource: Library Research Service

On CALIBk12, I read about the Library Research Service. This was a new resource to me (but, then, what isn't?), but a cursory look has me quite pleased. I expect that I will use this site a great deal for the library media credential program.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Teacher gets suspended over book choice

A Texas teacher has been placed on administrative leave because a parent filed a police report over a book chosen for a reading list. The book, "Child of God," was part of a list compiled by a group of teachers and not solely by this particular one.

You can read the article here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

LMT Networking

Do you live in the greater Fresno, CA area? Do you sometimes wish you had more LMTs with whom to network. Maria Petropulos (District Librarian, Fowler Unified) and I are pulling together a networking event for January 24. It will be held in a room at the Woodward Park Library.

I should mention that Maria is my professor at Fresno Pacific University and this came out of discussions in that class as well as online (as well as with some other district librarians).

So what does the greater Fresno area mean? My guess is that it is open to anyone that can actually get here. I know that many of you are the only LMT in a district, so this provides you with an opportunity to reach beyond your school for support.

It is unclear who the actual sponsor of the event is at this moment as we are still fleshing out all of the details, but there will certainly be some relationship with this region of the California School Library Association. I should know more soon.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Librarians are such nerds (including me!).

Saturday, October 20, 2007

The Librarian Dialogues

And the sad part is I have known, in my life, a couple librarians that would fit well into this group!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Seek and Ye Shall Find

So there I was minding my own business and I decided to see how I could help out my professional association, the California School Library Association. Downstream you can see a few of the responses that I received to my question. Margaret Baker, district librarian for Selma Unified, saw me coming, and the next thing you know...

I have been appointed to be the Region 3 Representative for the Northern Section of CSLA (they being divided into two sections). This means that I am on the NS board.

Should I wish to continue in the position (and I suspect I will), I will need to run as a candidate this spring.

I haven't mentioned here, but it's all about the connection for me. There is real power in working together to create change.

Monday, October 15, 2007

"Unshelved," the library comic strip

I don't know whether most of you have come across Unshelved yet, but it is worth a read for both library and non-library folks alike.

The Librarian

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Professional collaboration

I asked a question today over at CALIBk12 about how people professionally collaborate with other LMTs. It is a given that the vast, vast majority of us are the sole LMT on our site (and maybe even in our district). How do we work with other people who have this same job?

I am curious as to the responses and I will let you know, in a general way, what I discover.

The Hollywood Librarian Trailer

What a great trailer for librarians!

Friday, October 12, 2007

SLL 2.0, Week #4

This week's techno-gizmo is using RSS feeds. I have set up an account with Bloglines and have selected blogs and other information sources with RSS feeds. I have used RSS feeds elsewhere and the one nice thing about them is that it can:

  • Bring all of your online reading together into one spot; and
  • Allow you to share what you think is important to read on a particular topic with others.

You can see my RSS feeds here. Unfortunately, it is not showing off to the right, but I am at school (on my lunch time!), so it may just not show up here. I will have to check tonight.

School Library Learning 2.0, Week #3

After a brief hiatus, I am back doing School Library Learning 2.0. This week's assignment is to take pictures using a digital camera, upload graphics to, tag them with "School Library Learning 2.0" and then post about it here.

It's a nice set-up for adding pictures online.

CSLA Volunteer Opportunity, #3

Today's volunteer opportunities are from Barb Scheifler, newsletter editor for the Northern Section of the California School Library Association. Her contact information is on the CSLA website.

She offers a list:
  • Become a Northern Section board member. We are always looking for region reps or officers. Contact Mary Ann Harlan, NS President. (Contact info available from CSLA website.
  • Work at the conference. This year it's in Ontario in the Southland. Volunteer at the registration desk or the CSLA booth in the exhibit hall.
  • "Man" the CSLA booth at other conferences. We are always looking for folks willing to sit at our booth at ACSA, League of Middle Schools, reading conferences, etc.
  • Take digital photos at local CSLA events. Then send them to me for inclusion in our monthly newsletter.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

CSLA Volunteer Opportunity, #2

Next up is advice from Deb Stanley, the out-going CSLA vice president for Membership:

"Be sure to attend the Membership Meeting at conference. This is a General Session that has traditionally been a morning event, but has been changed this year to Saturday afternoon at 3:45. Besides honors and awards given to members, and the "Speak Out" forum, a strategic purpose of this event is to extend opportunities for CSLA members to become more involved in this most deserving organization.

Available that day will be forms where attendees can check off interest in a variety of CSLA activities for the general organization such as committees that fall under the four divisions including Membership, Governmental Relations, Professional Development, and Communications. Each of these divisions has four or five committees that offer different levels of involvement. Also, members can get involved in their Northern or Southern Sections as close to home as your Region.

Go to the CSLA website and see the right-hand menu to explore the opportunities just mentioned."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

CSLA Volunteer Opportunity, #1

I got such good responses from my request for information about ways to volunteer with the California School Library Association that I thought I would put them up here. My thought is to put up one a day for the next few days. These are volunteer opportunities for both the conference and for the organization.

Here's the first one:

"One wonderful volunteer opportunity is working at the California Young Reader Medal booth in the exhibit hall. CYRM is a great program that promotes our most cherished core value -- a love of reading. If you participate in CYRM at your school and want to help spread the program, this is the perfect opportunity. If you are new to CYRM, you can still work at the booth. I will train you and turn you into a CYRM true believer. The booth will be open from Thursday evening until Saturday afternoon, and we welcome volunteers at any time."

(From Tony Doyle, Livingston High School, and member of the California Young Reader Medal Committee. If you want to contact him about doing this, send me an email and I will forward it to him.)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

UHF Conan The Librarian

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Mary and the Librarian

From the "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman" series of long ago.

Friday, October 5, 2007

"Give me a reason to go to the library"

If you read one opinion column written by a student about libraries, this would be the one to read. I am pleased beyond measure that a high school student is interested enough in the library to write an opinion column in a newspaper.

While I do not agree with all of Ms. Drusch's points, I like that she is addressing the readability of what sits in our libraries. Some of it is no longer a "good read." It doesn't mean that it shouldn't be there, but it does mean that we need to update what we have in our collections.

I also like her idea of placing new literature in places where students can readily find it. This could be a display or a special temporary section of a library. Students, like many of us, appreciate what is new.

However, her idea to allow food and drinks is doomed to disaster. We have enough problems just with the items that come in without permission. While Drusch seems quite mature, this is not true for all middle and high school students. The general rule is that these students do not throw away their garbage.

My question to Ms. Drusch: Which books have you recommended to your librarian to buy?

Volunteer at CSLA Conference?

I asked an interesting question today over at CALIBk-12. My question was how someone would volunteer at the California School Library Association conference. Interestingly, I have begun to get responses about volunteering with CSLA as well. Both are good things to know.

When I have more answers, I will edit this post and put them here.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Big6 Blog re-visited

And just when you thought it was safe to call a blog ugly, they go and change it and make it all nice and pretty and stuff.

Go take a look at the new Big6 Blog.

My next hope is regular postings, but I know how difficult that can be.

By the way, I am still working on Big6 at my school. What a great research tool! (And that reminds me that I am overdue for a post about those efforts. Tomorrow...)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Body art for the discriminating librarian?

Being a veteran of the U.S. Navy, I somehow managed to escape getting a tattoo. However, were I ever to reconsider the possibility, it would most definitely be one of these.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Video Weekends

One of my loyal readers has noted that I post two videos from Youtube each weekend.

Yes, yes I do.

It's all part of my evil master plan.


It's all part of my desire to provide content while at the same time not working that hard at it.

You decide, but likely I will continue doing so until I have run out of videos on Youtube.

Marian the Librarian

"Marian the Librarian" with Matthew Broderick.

A Youtube Salute to Librarians

Friday, September 28, 2007


I think it is important for new LMTs to become comfortable with technology. The trend is clearly toward more and better technology. We all need to know how to do many things that our predecessors did not.

By the way, this post was created on my new Sidekick ID, sent to a special Blogger-generated email address, and that automatically posted it to the blog.

Technology is good.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Library Orientation redux

I taught library orientation to our SDC students today. Obviously, I needed to completely restructure what had been a 45-minute presentation. And that is okay. Isn't this job all about providing access to information for everyone?

Even more importantly, when I say I taught library orientation to all of the students at my school, it is a true statement.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


So low-key that it takes a little bit to realize how funny it is.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

1987 - Betty Glover Library Workout Tape Ad

Kind of funny in a wierd sort of '80s way. Goofy stuff!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Big6 Blog needs a makeover!

Do I find it mildly amusing that the ugliest blog in librarydom is the Big6 Blog?

Yes, yes, I do.

Big6 Project #1

Today I taught two sixth grade classes all about the Big6. It was a brief overview. Beginning next week, we will be getting into it. Their teacher will be introducing Step 1 on Monday and they will come back to the LMC on Tuesday for Step 2 where I will showcase some Internet sites as well as some online databases. I am going to put them up on the library website this weekend, so that it will provide easy access for the students, but also they will be readily available for the rest of the year.

This first project, and we plan a series of three, is a biography. I provided the teacher with a list of the biographies that we own. He is going to look at it and assign topics on Monday.

I am doing this for several reasons (like, because it's my job!), but one is to show the teachers at my school the possibilities for collaboration. My school has no history of LMTs and classroom teachers working together on a project like this, so I need to show them what it looks like.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Big6 Library Research

I spent twenty minutes yesterday teaching the staff about Big6. For the uninitiated, Big6 is a research model for students that teaches them how to do research in six relatively painless steps.

I started with the teachers yesterday. On Friday I will be teaching two classes from our sixth grade academy and then in January I will teach the rest of the school.

I think, given the make-up of my school, this could be very successful for students. We do not have a student body where you can just tell them to do a research project and they can produce something of value.

What that means to me is that we need to teach those skills, and importantly, it is part of the standards for library media teachers to do so.

For the presentation, I used one of the available PowerPoint presentations on the Big6 website, but then I modified it. They had a six-slide PP and I made it twelve by inserting examples of what it actually looks like. Helpful for the teachers, but also helpful for the students.

It went reasonably well. I was supposed to have a little more time that I did, so I had to rush a little (which is not always a good thing), but it was adequate. I will be doing some serious follow-up including in-classroom demonstrations and in-LMC mini-lessons.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

CSLA Conference 2007

It appears likely that my school will be paying for me to attend the California School Library Association's annual conference. This year it will be in the lower half of the state (and next year in the upper) in the city of Ontario.

This conference is actually more reasonably priced than others I have attended. And that is solely because of the cost of the hotel. The rooms are only $99 a night. Usually at these kinds of conferences, they are at least $50 more than that.

I am really looking forward to it. As it happens, it is a class assignment for my library media credential at Fresno Pacific University. Yes, you can do an alternative assignment, but this way sounds much better.

I might consider volunteering for something at the conference. That's usual a good way to meet people and to understand how this particular conference works.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Library Orientation

Today was the last day of five days of non-stop library orientation. My school has about 720 students as of today and I got to all of them.

Apparently, this was the first time in years that anyone had done orientation for students. It went fairly well although today saw some "interesting" behavior from some students (including the theft and eventual return of some electronic devices).

I have been thinking about what I will do next year. I can do all grades, sixth-eighth, again, but I might decide to only do sixth and seventh grades. Just the new students. It takes a lot of time that is hard to find at the beginning of the school year.

One thing I will do next year is make it shorter. No longer than 30 minutes. I want students to come to me and then go back to their classrooms. Being dismissed from the LMC is a little chaotic. Also, if I am running a little late, that would still leave me plenty of time to finish.

In the next year or two, I would like to develop a video to include in orientation. If I were really on the ball, I would have a group of students develop it for me.

I am curious what others do in the way of orientation.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

SJSU SLIS Second Life Campus

This is one of the things that the SJSU MLIS director mentioned. It's interesting, that's for sure. I would be curious how well it works in a real-word academic environment.

Mr. Bean : The Library

Friday, September 14, 2007

Free online databases (temporarily)

I discovered today on CALIBK12 that Gale is offering trial usage of a myriad of online databases to the California School Library Association. They are quite good and would enable a middle school or high school student to research most anything.

Gale is not being altogether altruistic. CSLA is attempting to convince the state to do a buy for all schools. For the time being, Gale is giving access to school libraries, but that will not be forever. That is why I made a new Databases page for my website. Instead of just placing them on my research page, it made more sense to put it in a place where it can all be deleted (should it go away).

I have already added them to the Tehipite LMC website. You can take the links from there.

It is also available here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Computer Use Policy?

As I mentioned yesterday, I have eleven computers, none terribly new. I struggle a little with a computer use policy that allows access for the Internet-less. Many of our students do not have access elsewhere. We are an Accelerated Reader school, so students need to use the computers for AR tests. It also seems reasonable to use for school assignments. Anything beyond that is an issue.

What I have decided is that I need a stricter policy and I have been reaching out to my fellow LMTs to see what they do. Most do what I describe above.

However, I hate to see a computer not being used. If we don't have students waiting to take tests or working on assignments, the computers would just sit there.

I suppose I need to think on what works for our situation. Quickly.

One of the first things that I noticed about this job was the much greater responsibility for setting policy.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Computers in the Library

I have eleven Mac computers in my library and I am actively campaigning for a new PC lab when our site is modernized in the next 2 years.

The American Library Association is releasing a study today that shows public libraries are not keeping up with the demand from the public for computer access.

A new study from the America Library Association, scheduled for release Wednesday, finds the average number of public Internet terminals largely unchanged since 2002, yet only 1 in 5 libraries say they have enough computers to meet demand at all times.

There are a number of reasons cited in the article including flat funding levels (or even decreases) as well as technological hurdles because the libraries, often older buildings, were not designed to house computers. Because funding has not kept pace, public libraries have felt that they need to focus on their core: books and getting people to read books.

No easy answer here. What do you think?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Making the right program choice

I had the opportunity to go to a presentation last night by the director of the MLIS program at San Jose State University. It is most decidedly an impressive program.. It is now the largest such program in the world with over 2,000 students. Yes, that number is correct.

It is available in residential, hybrid, or fully online versions and it has various tracks for student interest. The school offers 250 internships each semester. Enrollment is based on a first-come, first-served philosophy, so you need to apply early. Enrollment requirements, however, are more stringent than the university's basic requirements. A 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units is required. The program requires 42 units.

I went because the director of the program at FPU offered this as a possibility for students who might want to take what they have learned/accomplished at Fresno Pacific and transfer that into the SJSU program (after completing the FPU program). Fresno Pacific has a great program from my perspective, but it is not ALA approved and unlikely to be so in the near future.

The first question that someone should ask is why I would be interested in such a program when I am already in a credential program at Fresno Pacific University. There are several reasons for why a person would consider attending such a program:

  • It is ALA-approved. This means you could also work in a public library or in an academic library.
  • As noted above, it increases job possibilities. In addition to the ones already cited, you could also work in law libraries, hospital libraries, and, interestingly, the Department of Homeland Security.
  • Many of those other areas have real career tracks (and most school library jobs do not).
While it is not out of the realm of possibility that I would consider applying, SJSU would need to accept more units from Fresno Pacific than it appears that they are likely to do. At this point, it appears that they would accept only nine. However, Jo Ellen Misakian (director of FPU program) is still talking with them.

For me, it may not be a good fit. Locally, it would probably get me a job in a public library, but, because of my school district seniority, that would amount to a drop in salary of about $20,000 a year. That is 20k and I would have to work many more days, plus there is the strong possibility of having to work nights and weekends. Working for Fresno Unified School District, I work more days than regular classroom teachers, but still much less than anywhere else.

Interesting pieces of information for local librarians:
  • Fresno County Library cannot fill all of the positions that they have available. They are always looking for staff.
  • The directors of both Fresno County Library, Tulare County Library, and the associate director of the Madden Library (CSU Fresno) were all at the presentation. This, in part, speaks to their need for qualified librarians.
I have talked with one person who had been considering the FPU program, but now may head in the SJSU direction. For me, after hearing about SJSU, I think I will stay where I am. I consider myself fortunate to have a very good local program. I am in classes with only six other students. It is ramping up to include greater technology and it seems to me a program that is on the rise.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

No Cookies in the Library - Classic Sesame Street

My instructor in my Selection course had this up for her presentation. Something to share.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Library Blogs Galore!

I am now officially registered for School Library Learning 2.0. By the way, you may want to go take a look at the site. It lists many more blogs related to school libraries.

In unrelated news, I start my second class at Fresno Pacific University this Saturday. The class is LIB 720. What that translates into is Analysis, Evaluation and Selecting of Learning Resources. I am looking forward to this course because I have money to spend and I would like to get the most bang for the buck.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

New features!

Note that while I was playing with the blog today to get it ready for School Library Learning 2.0, I added a newsreel and and videos. Both are on the right and down a bit. Both of those features rely on a search term to find the right information. In this case, surprisingly, I used "library."

SLL 2.0, Week 2

And so it begins. Today I created an avatar to use with this brand-new blog. It's off to the right and, no, it looks nothing like me. Uh, except I do have blue eyes. As soon as this project is over, it will disappear. By the way, if you want to create an avatar, it was fairly easy over here.

I should confess that blogging is not new to me. Because I am a writer in my other life, I actually have a couple other blogs. I use both Typepad and Wordpress.

By the way, my school library website is actually a Wordpress blog. What I have done is forwarded to It works well and updates are easy.

School Library Learning 2.0

For those few readers of this new blog, I wanted to give you a heads-up that I have decided to take part in School Library Learning 2.o. This effort from the California School Library Association is a new cool tool used to teach LMTs advanced technological doohickeys. It is a nine-week course.

The reason that I am letting you know is that, as part of this course, there is homework that must be posted to your blog. Instead of creating a new one just for that project, I have decided to use this one. When I do post comments about my progress, I will include information in the title (SLL 2.0 #1, etc.) to let you know to skip it if you are not interested.


I uploaded my entire catalog to LibraryThing beginning yesterday. That website provides a way to allow students, faculty, and administrators to see which books your library holds. Thus far I have been impressed with how relatively easy the process was.

All I had to do was export a file from Alexandria and then upload it to LibraryThing. The first time I attempted the upload, it didn't work because the file was too large. However, after I went back and only exported the ISBNs, it worked fine. The original export just had too much data.

I have now had several teachers try it out. The search engine is adequate, so it can really help students at home wanting to know if we have books on a particular topic.

You can see our catalog here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Bigtime Author calls me!

I received a phone call today from Bigtime Author. He was responding to a fax I had sent the end of last week. He would be happy to come visit my school. He does not charge a speaking fee, but...

And I knew there was a "but..." coming.

He does require that schools make a significant purchase of his books. That significant purchase equates to a few thousand dollars.

I don't begrudge him making a living in the least. He pays his mortgage by selling books. I guess what I wish is that my budget was larger, so that I did not have to make such difficult choices. One speaker or many, many books from other authors.

Not going to happen. Part of the problem is that the other places where I could find that kind of money don't exist in the size they once were. Specifically, Title 1 money is now more closely controlled by the district as opposed to the school site.

I would love to have him come. I have heard him speak before and he is quite good. Also, students like what he writes (and that is usually a good thing).

Readers will note that I have not (nor will I) divulge who this person is. In addition to being an LMT, I am also a writer. I know about the importance of making money from what you write.

So today I have to send him an email and let him know the realities of budgets. I am sure he already knows.

Monday, September 3, 2007

How do you become an LMT?

As part of this shiny new job, I need to complete a library media services credential. As it happens, I am fortunate to have an excellent local program at Fresno Pacific University. I have already taken one course and it was quite good. The next one starts on Saturday.

Saturdays, you say? Why, yes, all of the courses are on Saturdays, usually every other Saturday. The assumption is that you are either:

a. already a library media teacher; or

b. a teacher of something else working toward becoming a library media teacher.

Many people do what I did. They apply for an open position at their own school, get the emergency credential, and start the program.

I expect to take one course a semester until I complete the program. I am in no hurry and I already have the job. The particular cohort that I am in is small. There are about seven students. The other cohort is much larger, but they are significantly further along than we are.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Writing grants for books

I applied for a grant from the National Education Association (NEA) last week. If I end up getting the grant, it would fund a $1000 worth of books.

One reason why I decided to take on this particular one is that there was enough work involved in it for relatively little money that it likely scares off many library folks. This particular one required the usual information, but also required you to submit a list of the books you would buy if given the cash.

Given the size and age of my collection, this actually wasn't difficult. We have less than 12,000 books and other media. We have had very little in the way of funding for the last few years. For those who don't know, 12,000 is not a great number for a school with 750 students. Particularly when you factor in the age of my collection (average age of books = 1994).

So what did I do? I selected all of the ALA award winners for 2007 as well as some other award winners. While not terribly scientific, we need new and engaging literature and we have purchased none of them up to this point.

I do know that there are LMTs who don't write grants. I consider this vital to my work because I know I won't get enough funding for the number of books that I would like to purchase. And I am at a school with a very supportive administrative staff!

Also, I am a brand-new LMT, so I am still excited with all of this stuff.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Not Your Mother's Librarian begins

I am a Library Media Teacher. A brand-new Library Media Teacher. An LMT.

Your mother would call me a librarian. Mine does. She has an image in her mind of the kind, old gray-haired lady at Central High School in Duluth, Minnesota. You remember her. I do. Or at least I remember the Covina, California version.

For the most part, those ladies of old (and the vast, vast, vast majority were ladies, and I am no lady!) checked out books, shelved books, decorated the library, and provided a place for students to get books. They did a great job.

I have someone who does that for me. In my middle school library in Fresno, California, I have a full-time library tech. She checks out books, catalogs books, shelves books, works with computers, and much more. I think she's my mother's librarian!

I do some of what she does, to be sure, but I also write grants, develop a technology plan, select books for purchase, teach library orientantion and library research to the entire school, and, in our case, develop a brand-new library program.

Most decidedly not your mother's librarian.