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