Today's Hours: 7 Total Hours: 74
Hours remaining: 26
Below are the notes that I took during a Connect Library Liaison Meeting, run by Lori Slingerland and Josh Pease, on Tuesday morning, as well as photos from a library visit I did to Western Reserve Academy after meeting their Library Director, Holly Bunt. As I finalized this blog post the next day, I shared some of the resources of information literacy with Dr. Harper, who teachers LIS 60618: Information Literacy, and emailed Lori a thank you and a request for permission to share her resources and expertise with the class. I also emailed Holly to share the photos and let her know how wonderful her library is and how grateful I am to have toured it.
I have copies of the handouts and the certificate of attendance, although I believe since this is for my practicum I may not be able to submit it. Heather approves continuing education credit for Old Trail School; they submit conference materials, a certificate of attendance if given, a summary, and an impact. Connect hosts the servers for all building and teaches classes on cataloging and how to use their software. For Connect, Heather has given presentations on mail merge and volunteer organization. She learned from a colleague about genrefication from another presentation. There are approximately four meetings a year and districts send one or two liaisons, who then go back and train any other librarians or volunteers.
Lori opened the meeting by previewing the agenda. They are the only ITC in the state with the connection to a shared collection through OverDrive. She promised to uphold request to include origami in the future, as well as breakout sessions for different groups, such as parochial schools or high schools. Then, she asked for the guests to be introduced, which Heather did for me and for her senior on a job shadow. Lori was glad to know my name since they recognized me from the cataloging training at Reinberger Children’s Center on Kent’s campus. It was great to see them again.
Another independent school’s liaison asked if it was fine to send updates of patron information multiple times throughout the year, which was OK; they discussed that many independent schools (Heather said it is true for them) and some larger districts need to do this.
She provided interesting background on INFOhio, such as that in the past, providers were speaking for the school librarians, and now they ask for users council representatives; one librarian from Hudson was one volunteer but they are hoping for another.
There are so many new projects going on that there is fighting over the rooms, so they asked everyone for the best days for the 2017-2018 meeting schedule. Most librarians were interested in knowing when others’ school years were ending and when they started back for the first day of the next school year (some schools start the week of August 14th, while others start the week of the 28th). She recommends a full professional development day in August and another half-day meeting in September. She also discussed whether they want book talks – pondering that it is often elementary librarians who prioritize this - or whether they prefer to have hands-on learning and materials they can take back to their libraries; a liaison suggested sending out a survey. She planned October dates with the OELMA Conference in mind, since many attend that as well. She joked that they plan ahead to spend more time on scheduling than other things since it takes awhile to make it work for everyone. Heather used AirDrop to send me a copy of OTS’ 2017-2018 schedule.
They offer Circulation/General Overview, Reports-Overdues, Reports-Overview, Cataloging I and II, and Database Cleanup; they also host an Open Lab in fall and spring for which it is possible to drop in, spend as much or little time as you need, and troubleshoot any topic.
They congratulated Natalie Dickerson from St. Michael’s school on receiving the Virginia Hamilton Arnold Adoff Grant for her proposal of a social justice project.
The Senate is considering HB 59, which would restore the budget to FY15. The line item for INFOhio funding has a large increase. It could be reviewed and revised in the Senate, however. They do not want it to be pulled away, so they recommend contacting the Senator to explain the increase and what it will be used for; it buys digital content at a reduced cost for every student and teacher. Josh and Lori call on the schools’ behalf, but they also asked how many had called. One librarian was told she could not host an all-district event since it was political versus nonpartisan. I used AirDrop to send Heather a copy of my advocacy podcast.
One librarian's administrators put a hold on her new furniture order after visiting libraries without books. Another librarian shared that she talked to others about how INFOhio’s databases relate to students’ needs such as gender identity or impact specific groups, such as refugee populations.
Many advocate as citizens of the district they live in as well as an educator for the district in which they work; one example was a woman living in Stark County, whose schools can only afford INFOhio resources. Another librarian brought up sending thank you emails and following up contacts with photos of students or videos from events, in addition to sending initial advocacy calls. Lori pulled up the May 4 Testimony before the Senate Finance Committee, which included a great analogy of INFOhio and the Louvre.
The evolution of the school library included debates about library spaces; Heather shared with the whole group that her survey of students found data that most students preferred books rather than e-books (she shared with me that Angie in Chagrin Falls told her the middle school lost its book collection last summer). Lori recommended statistics as well as anecdotal evidence. Some of the major concerns were the struggle of more windows clashing with more computers and the struggle to be included in conversations about renovations and building projects. We all laughed at “trailers” being called “learning pods.”
The librarian from Avon asked if Carolyn Brodie was still at Kent State – she “was amazing when she talked about books.” I am sad to have missed her presence and her teaching.
The OverDrive representative talked about the need to read in the format that students will need to read on assessments; therefore, we need a digital content solution. There are staff librarians who work with the specialists on top content and there are others working on ease of use. The collection is device agnostic. In web browsers, students can read and listen and add and export bookmarks, highlight, and notes (students’ accounts include a notes & highlights page that keeps history of when it was opened, how many times it was opened, how many pages were turned, and the total reading time, as well as keeping record of changes for each note). Other settings include large font, background lighting/contrast, dyslexic font, and theme. There is offline access with the OverDrive app, which is read only. The collection is approximately 500 in size and is shared among 13 schools. Students will use their same authentication. Stephen Reyes talked about recently going to a Google conference and a Brainstorm conference; he found that many educators, at the former, and technology specialists and administrators, at the latter, did not know of the resources. Therefore, (fun) promotion is key! They provide email templates, bookmarks, etc. A librarian from an elementary school with 350 students whose circulation was over 6,000 items explained that the teachers received it well; they promote it since students can continue reading a book on their device as they finish a classroom activity without getting up or searching.
While we transitioned presentations, Heather pulled up CLEVNET, Akron-Summit County Public Library, and Cuyahoga County Public Library’s sites, and we compared their digital content. We both loved the audiobook version of Pam Munoz Ryan’s Echo; I liked the “no wait, no problem” or “available now” feature to see a list of obtainable titles for audio and video material. We also discovered that Javaka Steptoe of Radiant Child will be at the Warrensville Heights branch of the CCPL on Wednesday, May 10. She recommended Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child, from which she adapted the Read-A-Lyzer © survey that she previously shared with me. She also recommended I apply for a card at the Peninsula or Hudson Library.
The final item on the agenda was a presentation on Fake News. Lori asked, “What is news? Do students know the definition?” She also referenced a Marketplace article which quoted Daniel Levitin, who states, "‘I object to the term 'fake news', actually, because I think it sounds a little bit too gentle. It's not news at all. There's nothing newsy about it. And 'fake' sounds sort of like a kid faking sick to get out of class. I think we need to come together and just call it for what it is’" (Brancaccio, 2017). Holly from Western Reserve found data from a survey conducted a few years ago that students and faculty got news from social media more than any other source. I wanted to note to go back into the PowerPoint slide on “Holly’s Tips” and to use the INFOhio’s Curriculum Toolbox for Digital Literacy or the INFOhio Citation Guide.
After Heather and I had lunch, we went to see Western Reserve Academy’s library and campus. I have included the photos I took below. It is a beautiful space with extensive resources, but the most impressive aspect was the care and critical thinking of the librarians for the students – they are strategic in how they plan and use their time, spaces, and resources to make sure it is most beneficial to them. For instance, one of their spaces will be a classroom next year, and Holly worked hard to advocate for placement of the teacher with whom they collaborate on students’ yearlong research project, which requires them to find and use twelve scholarly sources. They have also moved both the most engaging and most crucial books for students to the central location where they lounge and work so they see them most easily; books on difficult topics no longer have a barcode, so they can be taken without fear of judgment or stigma. The students in the library looked both happy, comfortable, and productive, and the library clearly meets their standard of excellence and works in tandem with the school’s educational ideals.
I appreciated the professional development and networking of the Connect meeting, lunch with Heather, and WRA library tour today and have many ideas from them that I am ready to implement in my own work.
WRA Photos are shared with Library Director Holly Bunt's permission.
Connect Liaison Meeting materials can be found here, and are shared with permission by Joshua Pease and Lori Slingerland, Connect Library Support.