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.