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Reviews - Professional Articles for Teacher Librarians
I always have a stack of professional journals waiting to be read. Somehow there is never enough time to read them all. The article reviews below are all related to school libraries and teacher librarians. Our goal is to provide article reviews that are current within the past two or three years. Students in the Professional Development Studies program, part of the MCLIS at Rutgers University wrote the article reviews below.
Assessment in the SLM Program
Differentiating Instruction in the School Library
Plagiarism and Cheating
School Digital Libraries
Scroll down to find article reviews on the above topics.
Harada, Violet H., and Sarah Hughes-Hassell. “Facing the Reform Challenge: Teacher-Librarians as Change Agents.”
Dec. 2007: 8-13.
Teachers and Librarians, transform yourselves! Transform yourself into being the best teacher you can be. Nothing is more crucial to community than helping young people overcome their obstacles in life. The public schools will ensure that they provide equity and excellence in education. Teacher librarian’s and classroom teachers want nothing but the best for their students. Harada and Huges-Hassell wrote this article as a continuation of a chapter in their recent book, School Reform and the School Library Media Specialist (Libraries Unlimited, 2007). This article challenges the school library community with questions that mostly relate to school reform initiatives. There are five key areas: first, address the issue of diversity in our schools by helping the non English speaking students. TL’s and CT’s need to promote bilingual resources. Families need to involve themselves in more literacy development programs. Next, is building strictness in what students learn. More collaboration needs to go on between the students, TL's and CT's. The third is incorporating information and communication technologies. There needs to be a commitment to make quality learning and teaching the central focus of every classroom. We need to promote the best possible use of technology in a classroom.
We need better technology skills to receive a better outlook on the education world. No one can foresee the future of educational changes, but, if all goes well, it can be a rewarding future for (stakeholders) students, TL's and CT's. Teacher librarians believe that every child can learn, so they work persistently to make sure that every child does. (BK, 10/6/08)
Loertscher, David. "Nonfiction Texts and Achievement." Teacher Librarian 35.1 (Oct. 2007): 37.
The length of this article at a scant page and its dry headline belie its relevance to school librarians. David Loertscher’s meticulously documented article pinpoints the educational value of explicitly teaching children how to attack nonfiction text for information and meaning. He cites research that shows that children who are strong fiction readers do not necessarily perform well on tests of comprehension of expository texts. Among the research findings Loertscher cites with direct implications for the school library are results that show that students who are explicitly taught to use text structure and skimming and scanning techniques score significantly higher on comprehension measures. He notes that teacher-librarians, because of their role supervising student research, are well positioned to teach students how to use textual features to extract relevant information from informational texts. He urges school librarians to “(i)mmerse children and teens in nonfiction as you would in fiction.” Finally, he encourages the use of Web 2.0 technologies to get children writing, illustrating, publishing and distributing works of original nonfiction to further boost their facility with informational texts. (M.K.R.)
Loertscher, David. “Invention, Transfer, Efficiency, and Innovation: 21th-Century Learning Abilities Can be Taught."
. 34.5 (June 2007).
David Loertscher, professor and director at the School of Library and Information Science at San José University, presents the reader with the research report of Daniel A. Schwartz and colleagues. The report details strategies on producing life-long learners that can compete within our global economy.
In Loertscher’s summary we are presented with the theoretical and the practical application. In a collaborative effort a classroom teacher and teacher librarian have the ability to foster inventiveness (i.e., creativity), transfer (applying said creativity to a new situation), efficiency (demonstrating creative thinking in productive and timely manner) and innovation (developing new ways of problem solving with said creativity). Assessment of these qualities is done using conventional/traditional methods. The article delineates how each of these characteristics can be taught, demonstrated and assessed, guiding the reader through the process in order to cultivate better information literacy within students to become life-long learners in a competitive global market. (TT).
Sherman, Will. "Are Librarians Totally Obsolete? 33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians Are Still Extremely Important."
35.1 (Oct. 2007) : 21-27.
Sherman's article has been in the blogosphere for a few months now, as it appeared on Degreetutor.com in January, 2007. If one assumes that the article is written FOR the teacher-librarian, it is simply preaching to the choir, since we should know why libraries and librarians are important. However, the article is a good talking piece for librarians to share with their stakeholders. Sherman is not a librarian. He is a professional writer specializing in search engine optimization who is clearly a library-lover. Sherman gives 33 reasons why librarians (and libraries) are important. He reminds the reader that not everything is on the internet and not everything on the internet is free. He recognizes that libraries are changing to meet the needs of their users; he also recognizes that there is some value in librarians serving as the “gate-keepers” of information, and as the preservationists of existing physical collections. He reminds the reader that the internet is a mess, subject to manipulation, and that the “wisdom of crowds” is sometimes untrustworthy. As teacher librarians, the most critical piece is Sherman's point that librarians are the best professionals to “guide”. Although there should be nothing in this list really new to librarians, it is a document that librarians should keep handy, because it will help us create our elevator speeches and help persuade our funding sources that we are important. Sherman also includes a two-page bibliography of recent works to support his points. (C.H.).
Martin, Ann. “The Evolution of the Librarian as Advocate.”
36.1 (Sept/Oct 2007)
Ann Martin poses the question “Are advocates born or developed?” in relation to individual school library media specialists. It is a very helpful guide to demonstrate how a librarian can advocate for her own facility’s media program, as well as taking full advantage of the resources of professional organizations. The steps necessary to advocate are clearly broken down using the acronym VALUE (Validate, Anticipate, Lead, Understand and Educate). Validation can be achieved by making all members of the community aware of the value of the library to the school. The SLMS anticipates patrons’ needs by staying one step ahead of evolving technology and understanding current and future needs. They lead the community in promotion of information literacy. They understand users’ needs, and meet those needs by connecting curriculum to real-life applications. The SLMS promotes the importance of literacy skills toward lifelong education, as well as continuously educating herself through workshops, conferences, publications and Web sites. Each category gives examples of how the SLMS can relate to users of her facility as well as the larger community and clearly communicate the value of the program. By breaking it down into these five steps, this article sets a clear framework for success, which could be adapted to any media center. The conclusion is that advocates are developed, and that it is possible for any SLMS to become an advocate with the assistance of professional organizations. This is particularly important to understand in an age when many question the continuing importance of the librarian in view of technological advances.
Harada, Violet H. and Joan M. Yoshina. “Assessing Learning: The Missing Piece in Instruction?”
School Library Media Activities Monthly
22.7 (2006): 20-23.
Assessment is an essential part of teaching, providing data for evidence-based practice, helping to focus teaching, providing feedback for improving instruction, and enhancing the library’s position in the school community by providing “tangible evidence about the power of learning through libraries.” In this article, Harada and Yoshina outline the critical questions to be applied when assessing learning: 1.What do we assess? (Identify specific learning target.) 2. What are we looking for? (Develop criteria for assessment.) 3. How do we conduct the assessment? (Select an assessment tool.) 4. How will students demonstrate their understanding? (Design a performance task.) 5. How can we use the results to adjust our teaching? (Use the results to improve instruction.) The authors provide clear examples of effective assessment of student performance in the school library media center for both the elementary and secondary school levels. They also provide tips on devising and accessing assessment tools. The reference to assessment as the “missing piece” in instruction refers to the phenomenon of mysteriously “clueless” students who lack sufficient library skills despite well-intentioned teaching efforts by school librarians. By shifting our focus from teaching to learning, we can improve our effectiveness as teachers.(
Harada, Violet H. " From Eyeballing to Evidence: Assessing for Learning in Hawaii Library Media Centers
School Library Media Activities Monthly
24 (2007): 21-25.
This thought provoking article was written by Violet Harada, a professor in University of Hawaii’s Library and Information Science Program. This is a follow-up to an article that was published in November 2006. That article detailed a pilot program in Hawaii with twenty-four K-12 library media specialists. They were challenged to move from “eyeballing student performance” to designing lessons and assessments that could provide measurable evidence of student performance. The librarians in the pilot group were asked to identify lessons that could fill in the learning gaps that were identified by standardized testing. They had to challenge their thinking and move from basic library skills lessons to lessons that required high order thinking. They realized they needed to plan their lessons with their end goal in mind and involve their students in the assessment process. One of the most difficult and rewarding aspects was collaboration. This article discusses the original program, what lessons have been learned, what goals have been reached, and the ongoing work that is still taking place. This article can open your mind to new ideas, and point you in the right direction on how to implement them. (M.W.)
Stiggins, Rick. "Assessment Through the Student's Eyes."
64.8 (May 2007): 22-26.
Academic Search Premier
. EBSCO. Rutgers University Library, New Brunswick, NJ. 13 October 2007.
Rick Stiggins has written an excellent article that encourages educators to move beyond assessment methods that focus on verifying teaching to one that assesses learning that is using an “assessment for learning.” Stiggins points out that the role assessment plays in schools has profoundly changed from a sort and rank distribution (with clear winners and losers) to one where every student is required to attain a certain level determined by a state’s predefined academic achievement standards. He rightly states that past assessment methods did anything but foster confidence, optimism and persistence that a low achieving student needs to succeed particularly in light of NCLB.
Using assessment for learning, students are aware of the goals their teachers have set for them, are assessed frequently with descriptive feedback and use self assessment. Noticing improvement over time they will begin to realize that given persistence they too can succeed. While not eliminating failure in all cases, it may stop students from labeling themselves chronic failures. Educators must realize the importance of emotional dynamics from a student’s perspective and create assessments that encourage students not to give up. (DN)
Holmes, Allison and Enda Tobin, E. “Motivation through Collaboration at St. George’s School of Montreal.” School Libraries in Canada. 25.2 (2005) : 35-39.
Written by an English language arts teacher (Holmes) and high school teacher librarian (Tobin), this article offers a detailed summary of collaboration as seen by both educators. The authors begin by discussing the environment, circumstances, goals and motivations that foster their collaboration effort in their Canadian school. Interestingly, the reader is guided through the educators’ process, consisting of four elements. They are: 1. Collaborative Planning, where student pre-assessment and skills are evaluated and objectives are determined and articulated; 2. Collaborative Teaching, where planned scripts are formed and interruptions, questions and clarifications are to be expected and addressed as needed; 3. Collaborative Assessment and Evaluation, where rubrics, self, peer and teacher evaluations are used to formulate feedback on the student process and final product; and 4. Debriefing, where discussion of the learning process is addressed between the two educators and the students, as well as separately between the classroom teacher and teacher librarian in order to adapt, modify and revise elements of the collaboration effort for future instruction. The paramount to collaboration, as seen by these educators, is flexibility and continual adaptation, as students’ needs change and are better determined and refined. [TT]
Moreillon, Judi. “Show Them What We Do: Strategies for Collaborative Teaching.”
School Library Media Activities Monthly.
24.1 (September 2007) 45-47.
The premise of this practical and timely article about collaboration is that teacher librarians need to find those golden opportunities to “show” or demonstrate to teachers exactly what they do in the library. Many library classes are on a fixed schedule and students’ classroom teachers do not participate in library class. Moreillon speaks of the ideal library setting which is the “open-access, flexibly scheduled library media program” that allows librarians to show their colleagues their direct impact on student achievement. Another main point is that librarians and teachers can use collaborative teaching to lower student-to-teacher ratios. Studies show that reducing class size has been proven to impact student achievement. Other types of collaboration, such as, “one teaching, one supporting,” where one educator teaches the class and the other observes and monitors students; “team teaching;” “alternate teaching;” and “parallel teaching” are stressed. The author provides many other useful collaborative tips for educators. All in all, if we as librarians don’t SHOW administrators and co-workers what we DO, then we will continue to ask ourselves, “Why don’t they understand what we do?” (J.P.)
Moreillen, Judi. "Position Yourself at the Center: Coteaching Reading Comprehension Strategies."
35 (2008): 27+.
Library Literature and Information
. WilsonWeb. Rutgers, New Brunswick. 31 Oct. 2008.
Since one of the goals of a teacher-librarian is to make students effective users of ideas and information, it is especially important for these students to understand what they are reading. In this article, Moreillen demonstrates the value both to the librarian and to the teacher of collaboration in teaching reading comprehension skills. Co-teaching comprehension is a natural extension of the librarian's role of promoting reading. Since reading and literacy are a priority for principals and teachers, becoming a prominent member of a school's literacy team, will enhance the teacher-librarian's status at the center of the school's academic mission. Participation in literacy programs, according to the author, will help the teacher-librarian gain entrance into collaborative relationships with teachers.
One way that teacher-librarians can create a connection with teachers in teaching reading is to align information literacy standards with reading comprehension standards to show how these competencies overlap. They can also work together with teachers to develop a shared instructional vocabulary and to share their expertise. Having two teachers in one room is beneficial in several ways, says Moreillen. They can break classes into smaller groups, differentiate instruction and jointly model learning tasks. Students will benefit by learning from different teaching strategies and have the opportunity to receive more adult feedback. The author gives evidence of case studies that detail successful co-teaching experiences. This article provides useful strategies for teacher-librarians who want to begin collaborating with classroom teachers and shows that becoming a literacy leader in one's school provides evidence of the value of the school library program. (HM 11-8-08)
Roberts, Julia. “ Building a Community of High School Readers.”
Sept./Oct. 2006: 24-29.
Julia Roberts' tenure at a needy school has resulted in a truly exciting article. The author shares her experience as a high school librarian in Danbury, Connecticut, a disadvantaged urban community with a large immigrant population. "If reading comprehension is the number one skill needed for success, then pleasure-reading books needed to be part of the curriculum." Roberts was determined to take a powerful role in creating readers. After coordinated efforts aimed at developing readers-for-pleasure and the bounty of benefits that goes with that, a major change in the school, Roberts and her readers are thrilled with the results. The three-year action research project involved stepped-up and overhauled collection development, novel funding efforts, teacher education, library marketing and PR, relaxed circulation policies, ample SSR time, and collaboration with teachers in every department. The effects were seen in the public library’s statistics, in standardized test scores, and in heartwarming personal stories. With literacy at the center of the school improvement plan, and the library at the center of literacy efforts, Roberts’ success is our inspiration.
S. LaGatta (2)
Haycock, Ken . "Collaboration: Critical success factors for student learning."
School Libraries Worldwide, 13
.1 (2007), 25-35.
In this article, Haycock shows examples of just how much collaboration between teacher librarians and classroom teachers positively affects student learning. Past studies have shown how collaboration can increase interactions students make outside the classroom, and even ignite “creative fire” in students. Different aspects and environments of collaboration are presented and discussed, showing the benefit outcome of these relationships. Haycock also discusses what is needed for collaboration to occur, including cooperation from the classroom teachers, teacher librarian, and from the administration. This may come in the form of flexible scheduling so time is available for collaboration, supporting materials for all participating collaborators to use, or simply commitment from the teachers to work on it. It is also important to set reasonable, attainable goals, so the program will be reachable. This article was interesting, but a little hard to follow in form at times. However the information given about the importance and possible benefits of successful collaboration for student learning out-weighs the problems with the organizational style. (MU)
Zmuda, Allison. "Where Does Your Authority Come From?."
School Library Media Activities Monthly
23.1 (Sep. 2006): 19-22.
Zmuda notes that in recent years, state and national standards for information literacy and technology have been identified. However, there is a gap between said standards and assessment of these required skills. Zmuda goes on to discuss ways to measure this gap and lists guidelines for gathering data. She gives examples of powerful data sources including: existing information literacy requirements; analysis of state content standards in all subject areas; required core assessments; daily attendance figures including times when library use is limited; percentage of teachers bringing students to the library; and frequency of visits per year. She also notes two conditions to be met to positively impact student achievement: 1. Library Media Specialists view every point of contact with a teacher and his/her respective students as a true collaboration; 2. Library Media Specialists view the collection, analysis, and reflection on student achievement data as a primary part of their work. Also included in the article are two useful charts: a worksheet to give to teachers before their classes come to the Library; and a chart noting the nature of the Teacher/LMS collaboration. Zmuda advocates collaboration at the partnership level to maximize the effectiveness of instruction. [S.B.]
Agosto, Denise E. "Building a Multicultural School Library: Issues and Challenges." Teacher-Librarian 34 (2007): 27-31.
This article discusses the importance of building a collection of multicultural resources. Agosto, an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Science and Technology at Drexel University, states that a well-balanced collection can benefit students in many ways. It can represent the perspectives of a wide range of cultures. In addition, minority students can feel a sense of belonging in their classrooms. A diverse collection can also teach non-minority students about “the true nature of our diverse world”. Agosto stresses the importance of properly assessing multicultural resources before purchase. She offers the readers a framework on how to evaluate multicultural resources. High quality multicultural resources share five major characteristics: “accuracy, expertise, respect, purpose, and quality.” Here are several examples of what these characteristics mean 1): Works that include inaccurate portrayals can “misinform students and perpetuate stereotypes”. 2) The qualifications of the author/illustrator and descriptions of research and consulted sources should be included in the text. 3) Works should not include any stereotyping, condescending, negative tones and unequal power distributions. 4) Obviously the multicultural resources should meet the same general quality standards that teacher-librarians apply to all other general resources. The article concludes with a list of recommended print and electronic resources to consult when building a diverse library collection. Agosto states that Teacher-Librarians must respect and honor each student. By trying to represent them as much as we can in our school libraries through the development of a diverse library collection, we can build school communities “founded on acceptance and pride”. NM 11/17/08
Barack, Lauren. "Concern over Copyright."
School Library Journal
(Nov 2007) 22-23
This article discusses the unfamiliarity of many teachers with copyright law. It cites studies which have surveyed teachers and found that they misunderstood copyright issues. Because teachers are afraid of violating copyright laws and prefer not to seek permission and pay to use material, they are likely to avoid using materials which would help them teach their lessons. Many teachers are unaware of fair use laws which allow use of copyrighted materials if the benefit of their use outweighs the harm in using protected material. Studies have found that teachers are either unaware of fair use entirely, or misunderstand it. Because of this fear and misunderstanding, teachers are not including copyrighted materials such as articles and multi-media clips in their lessons. Adding such materials could improve lessons. Teachers need to be educated on copyright and fair use laws, even though many of them are reluctant to ask for help.
Reutter, Vicki. "MORALITY PLAY."
School Library Journal
52.8 (Aug. 2006) :36-37.
This short but excellent article discusses digital ethics and how confusing the issues of copyright and fair use can be to students, faculty, and even media specialists. The author points to an example of video gamers who are permitted by some video companies to modify code to customize their games. This is not cheating, copyright infringement, or a violation of fair use. However, these students, applying this same liberal attitude to music videos or CDs, would be, perhaps unknowingly, in violation of copyright and fair use laws unless specific permission was granted by the copyright holder. The author suggests that it is important to open a dialog with students about these ethical issues and teach about them in the classroom and in the media center. As Web 2.0 tools continually evolve, it is likely that many of these thorny issues will be played out in the courtroom. It is important that media specialists be aware not only of how students are using digital technologies, but also of the ways that we can inform students and faculty about the responsibilities of using these tools in a legal and ethical manner. (R.R.)
Koechlin, Carol, and Sandi Zwaan. "Everyone Wins: Differentiation in the School Library."
35 (2008): 8-13. June 2008.
The need to address the individual learning styles, abilities and intelligences of all students is a challenge which all teachers face. In this article, Koechlin and Zwaan discuss the role of the teacher librarian in providing differentiated instruction to a diverse school population. They point out that the library media specialist is a obvious resource who can supply teaching strategies and advice about technologies as well as a physical environment that is conducive to learning. Citing the book
Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding By Design
, by Tomlinson and McTighe (2006), the authors refer to four basic design elements for providing differentiated instruction to students. These elements are content, process, product and learning environment. In the content area, the teacher librarian provides a diverse collection and a variety of material types, develops reading lists and pathfinders and teaches students to evaluate sources. In the process area, instructional strategies are provided and information literacy is taught. The teacher librarian assists in modeling potential products including posters, pamphlets, power point presentations and articles. Finally, the school library provides a real world learning environment with areas for small and large group instruction and the media tools for creating successful products.
The authors conclude this clear and concise article by encouraging teacher librarians to educate themselves about differentiated instruction, to become familiar with the diverse populations of their schools and to build up a collection of instructional strategies so that they can be an important resource to teachers and learners. (HM 10/1/08)
Koechlin, Carol, and Sandi Zwaan. "Everyone Wins: Differentiation in the School Library."
35.5 (June 2008): 8-13
In this article, Koechlin and Zwaan discuss the role of the teacher-librarian in differentiating instruction for students in the school library. They refer to the book
Integrating Differentiated Instruction and Understanding By Design
by Tomlinson and McTighe (2006), who recommend that if students are to achieve success, teachers should design a wide variety of learning experiences for their students, differentiating through the four distinct instructional design elements of content, process, product and learning environment. Teacher-librarians are already in the unique position of providing various instructional methods, resources and technology tools that they tailor to meet the needs of their individual school community. They are encouraged to broaden their knowledge of differentiation and to promote more active involvement of the library in differentiating instruction throughout the school.
Koechlin and Zwaan are nationally and internationally respected authors on information literacy and school librarianship. This article by them is both informative and persuasive, offering many suggestions for how differentiated instruction can be designed and implemented in school libraries. Focusing on the four design elements listed above, the authors expand and elaborate on each one, providing examples of possible strategies that are both exhaustive in variety and adaptable for all grade levels and abilities. This article will empower teacher-librarians to use a variety of techniques to reach all learners in the library. (SF 10/03/08)
Weeks, Ann Carlson. "The International Children's Digital Library: Increasing Children's Access to Books through Technology."
School Library Media Activities Monthly
(Mar. 2007) 27-30
A solid introduction to the International Children's Digital Library (ICDL), a free multilanguage database of complete children's books from many countries, is provided in this article by Weeks, a professor at the University of Maryland and the director of ICDL. The materials selected for the library teach children about the cultures and societies of the world. The library is for children ages three to thirteen, their educators and caregivers, and people studying children's literature. Authorities on children's literature select the books from their country or culture. As of March 2007 there were 1500 titles in 38 languages in the library. Searching is easy for children and includes some unusual categories such as book's color and size. Copyright compliance and library funding are also explained. The website address is
This free resource makes an excellent extension of the library book collection. It would be especially valuable for foreign language students to have supplemental stories to read, and for immigrant children as a source of recreational reading in their native language. (C.E.)
Callison, Daniel. "Evaluation Criteria for the Places of Learning."
35.3 (Jan. 2007): 14-19.
While a library can be physically attractive, architecturally well designed, and centrally located, it can still be isolated from classroom activity. The author offers many suggestions found in the literature and of his own design that will transform your library from a mere physical place with books into a place of learning. Suggestions include creating a climate of comfort and learning, using the group setting to encourage inquiry activities where students learn from each other’s mistakes, utilizing the empty space usually found in libraries to display concept maps, and creating a learning environment where the student can be “heard, seen, critiqued and appreciated." The author then goes on to ask us to consider transforming our school libraries into modern information learning laboratories by displaying artwork for consideration, providing video recording areas and creating portals to view student work in progress. Included in the article is a “Rubric for the Places for Inquiry, Exploration, Conversation, and Discovery”. Using the rubric you can determine whether or not your library rates as basic, progressive or exemplary. (D.N.).
Subel, Sue. “Facility Design as an Agent of Learning.” Knowledge Quest 35.3 (2007): 38-41.
Subel’s article exemplifies how the theories of the “Students Learning through Ohio School Libraries” study were applied to the new library media center at Chagrin Falls High School. While highlighting the features of the new center, she conveyed how each represented (one or more of) the components of the study that identified school libraries as an “agent of learning”. Subel noted that this was unintentional since the study was still being conducted during the planning stages of this project. From the beginning, the intention of the facility was to create an instructional space that would accommodate individual, small group and entire-class research exercises that were based on the curriculum. An example of this unintended correlation was seen through the library media center’s technology infrastructure and diverse resources. Subel illustrated how these components emulated the “information base” of the study through the center’s use of various materials that were available in print, e-book, video (streaming and tape) and DVD formats. Other areas of the facility that served as parallels to the study included the production and small group areas as well as the Interact Distance Learning Room. Although the author was able to make very clear connections between the facility and the results of the study, some objectivity of the article was lost. This was due to her association with it as well as some personal commentaries that were made throughout the article. However, this should not distract from its usefulness as an additional reference when designing new library media centers. [AC 10/02/08]
Creighton, Peggy Milam. "Just How Flexible Are We? The Current State of Scheduling in School Libraries."
Library Media Connection 46
.3 (2007) 10-14.
Creighton's article details the ongoing battle between fixed and flexible scheduling in school library media centers. Generally fixed scheduling occurs most often in elementary and intermediate schools, whereas high schools utilize flexible scheduling as they are on a research-based schedule and tend to offer instruction sessions and information help on an "as needed" basis. Recent research regarding flexible scheduling suggests that although group visits do not necessarily enhance student achievement, students visiting the media center independently score higher on standardized achievement tests. The controversy that continues to follow implementing flexible scheduling into more schools can have a lot to do with administrators who fail to see the media center as a research area gut rather as a place to have monthly meetings, AP testing, etc. The author states that frustration is normal when dealing with fixed scheduling as well as issues with administration and to remember that the majority of library media specialists are coming to terms with these problems also. (TM)
Scott, Thomas J., and Michael K. O'Sullivan. "Analyzing Student Search Strategies: Making a Case for Integrating Information Literacy Skills into the Curriculum."
33.1 (Oct. 2005) : 21-25.
This article outlines some of the difficulties high school students face when conducting research on the Internet. Although students are comfortable with all forms of technology, using the Internet effectively and efficiently remains a struggle for many when attempting to navigate Web sites for specific information. The authors engaged in action-research and observed that students primarily used a “hit or miss” search strategy to navigate Web sites rather than assessing the site itself to determine the layout and structure which might have helped them target their search. As teacher librarians, many of us have often observed this inefficient searching behavior on the part of our students, as well as their frustration when the first keyword does not provide the desired results. What is relevant about this article is that the action-research shows us where we can provide the support necessary for students to become more hypertext literate. By observing their inefficient searching behavior, we can better illustrate and hook them into more efficient methods of searching. Additionally, by integrating effective search and evaluative strategies into all areas of the curriculum, our students will be speeding along on the information highway, rather than breaking down and trying to hitch a ride. (RR)
Baxter, Veanna. "Library Media Advocacy Through Grant Writing."
School Library Media Activities Monthly
(October 2007) 24. 2.
Baxter explores the possibilities of school librarians writing grants to help fund their libraries in this current article.
Information Power: Building Partnerships for Learning,
a source frequently cited here
describes one role of the library media specialist as "program administrator and in that role they must be proficient in the management of staff, budgets, equipment, and facilities." Guiding libraries and librarians to funds often requires grant writing in districts where there is little funding for the library program. Baxter points out that a national library agenda is presently being prepared by former ALA president, Leslie Burger. This document can be accessed at
. The article includes a sample "Action Plan," containing goals, objectives, and activities, that would be useful to new and established school librarians who are considering writing a grant. The author suggests that librarians get help either by working closely with a grant writer or a library committee comprised of teachers, parents, students, one administrator, and people from the community. Baxter writes in an easy-to-read manner that could motivate librarians who are searching for funding to start writing action plans. (J. P.)
Crow, Sherry. R. Information Literacy: What’s Motivation got to Do with It?
Knowledge Quest, 35
.4 (2007) 48-52.
This article examines the role and importance of intrinsic motivation in teaching information literacy. Intrinsic motivation is the foundation for independent, lifelong learning, and is instilled in us at birth. However, our desire to learn quickly fades around third grade and continues to decline over the years. To counteract this trend the author utilizes Self-Determination Theory (SDT), which posits that in order to be intrinsically motivated 3 psychological needs must be met: autonomy (self-initiation), perceived competence (the belief that one is able to accomplish a task) and relatedness (feeling socially connected and cared for). The author concludes that it is only by fulfilling these needs that students will retain their spark for learning. Crow’s ability to distill SDT into its most basic constituents is impressive, as is her use of clear and practical examples of how the school library media specialist can enhance, or hinder, its application. However, the author’s brief attempt to compare the values of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation is a little too cut and dry. Though research has indicated that extrinsic motivation may lead to impaired performance the provision of such may, on occasion, help satisfy a basic need. (BP)
Holmes, Thomas. “The Hero's Journey: an Inquiry-Research Model."
34.5(June 2007) :19-22.
Holmes suggests a novel approach to teaching information literacy skills. He takes the narrative structure of the hero’s journey (as identified by Joseph Campbell) and applies it to the research process. The goal is “to think of learning as an enjoyable endeavor rather than as drudgery … we want them to look forward to doing research as an active process, not a passive one…” Holmes breaks down the stages of the hero’s journey/information literacy into the following stages: the call to adventure (the assigned topic and engaging the problem), supernatural aid (the essential question), the threshold (information need or knowledge researcher lacks to solve a problem), challenges and temptations (laziness, boredom, bad information, etc.), the abyss (information overload), revelation (problem clarifies and solutions and analysis begin to take place), transformation (synthesis), atonement (answer to the essential question and integration of knowledge), and returning the gift of the goddess (presentation). Holmes goes on to give an example of this method in a collaborative unit of study. The goal of the hero’s journey method of information literacy is to create a dynamic, transformative process and instill in students the excitement and passion of research. (S.B.)
Lickteig, Mary K. "Informational Books to Help Students Learn Organizational Skills."
School Library Media Activities Monthly
Jan. 2005: 26-27.
This article describes ways in which library media specialists can design lessons that use informational books as models of how information is organized and presented. Knowledge of a variety of organizational approaches will enable students to use the same methods to remember and to write reports. Several examples using specific books are given that show different arrangements and presentations of information. Examples of organizational techniques that she gives include arranging topics alphabetically, a question and answer format, pictorial representations, and even a poetic format. The author encourages library media specialists to engage students in using the organizational techniques. For example, she suggests having the students read material from their science or social studies text and then make a "Did You Know?" section. The library media center, with informational books incorporating varied organizations, is an ideal place to implement this type of lesson in collaboration with a classroom teacher using their curricular subject content.
Rankin, Virginia. "Using Discussion to Extend and Enhance Student Research."
33.3 (Feb. 2006): 8-12.
Virginia Rankin is an author, consultant, and retired teacher-librarian. This article gives examples of how asking good questions can raise the discussion level and promote critical thinking in student research projects. Once students have gained some knowledge from initial research, a question like: "Did you discover anything that surprised you?" can provoke responses based on real feeling. As the discussion evolves students realize that their research is interconnected. They become aware of additional areas of study and new lines of thought. Practical suggestions are illustrated as well as ways to engage all students in the discussion. Teachers are encouraged to keep a file of questions that work well. As the lesson is repeated, the teacher's own knowledge of the subject increases and potential questions can be added to the file. Rankin states: "First, make inclusion a goal; then employ strategies to reach that goal." Examples of good questions and how they were used by Rankin to lead specific research discussions are highlighted in the article as well as references for further study on the topic. Discussion should be an integral part of the research project and should never be concluded before everyone has had something to add to the topic. (CC)
Scott, Thomas J., and Michael K. O'Sullivan. "Analyzing Student Search Strategies: Making a Case for Integrating Information Literacy Skills into the Curriculum."
33.1 (Oct. 2005) : 21-25.
This article outlines some of the difficulties high school students face when conducting research on the Internet. Although students are comfortable with all forms of technology, using the Internet effectively and efficiently remains a struggle for many when attempting to navigate Web sites for specific information. The authors conducted action-research and observed that students primarily used a “hit or miss” search strategy to navigate Web sites rather than assessing the site itself to determine the layout and structure which might have helped them target their search. As teacher-librarians, many of us have often observed this inefficient searching behavior on the part of our students, as well as their frustration when the first keyword does not provide the desired results. What is relevant about this article is that the action-research shows us where we can provide the support necessary for students to become more hypertext literate. By observing their inefficient searching behavior, we can better illustrate and hook them into more efficient methods of searching. Additionally, by integrating effective search and evaluative strategies into all areas of the curriculum, our students will be speeding along on the information highway, rather than breaking down and trying to hitch a ride. (R.R.)
Stripling, Barbara. "Dispositions: Getting Beyond "Whatever"
School Library Media Activities
vol 10, (Oct. 2008): 47-50.
Stripling strives to bring us an understanding of the Dispositions in Action, one of the four learning standards from the
Standards for the 21st Century Learner
, the new AASL IL standards. (AASL, 2007), “Dispositions in Action”. The
document is much more involved than its predecessor, the
Information Literacy Standards.
Stripling attempts to demystify the placement of dispositions into the standards and clarify why its inclusion in the document is such an important part of students learning. Stripling starts the process of demystification by providing a definition of “disposition” from Webster’s as “prevailing tendency, mood, or inclination: the tendency of something to act in a certain manner under given circumstances”. The author explains that dispositions can not be overtly taught but need to be structured “into learning experiences so that students practice behavior that is an expression of the “disposition.” In a sense, the goal is not to “learn” a disposition but to adopt it as a new behavior in information literacy. Students can only acquire the dispositions through a series of structured experiences over time. Therefore, dispositions are not evident until students exhibit the demeanor that communicates the underlying characteristic. Stripling points out that in order to facilitate a successful assimilation for all learners, teacher librarians must work with classroom teachers and administrators to adopt a school wide culture for the inclusion of dispositions into the learning process. (MD 10.06.08)
McPherson, Keith. “Product Placement : Facing Yet Another Dark Art.”
35.3 (Feb. 2008): 66-70.
In contrast to traditional advertising, paid product placement frequently appears in a variety of visual and audio media formats entangled within a program’s content. Covertly transmitting inferences of endorsement and desirability within the program, and being undeletable from programs recorded by consumers, this type of product placement has raised ethical concerns. Product images are already present in the virtual worlds of preteen and teen students, impacting their audiovisual literacy experiences. McPherson emphasizes the need to help students develop critical thinking tools to identify and take action on the issue of product placement.
Although some of the online resources that McPherson provides teacher librarians do not work easily, there are other Web site resources provided for research and discussion on the methods, implications and ethics of product placement advertising. Incorporating movie trailers and
videos will clearly engage students in grades 8 -12 to sharpen their critical visual literacy skills and higher level thinking skills as they explore the pros and cons of product placement. The author also includes an activity in which students work in groups to create their own product placement advertising based on authentic research and by using multimedia software to create their product. This topic is timely and complex on many levels. Identifying strategies for product placement will lead to an awareness of new advances in digital-multimedia tools and techniques, broadcasting issues, and even copyright laws for viewing these multimedia resources, as well as school and parental permission to pursue this learning activity. (HC 11/16/08)
Stripling, Barbara. "Inquiry: Inquiring Minds Want to Know."
Media Activities Monthly
25 (2008): 50-52.
Stripling is a constant when it comes to helping school library media specialist understand the domains of the new AASL
Standards for the 21st Century Learner
. In this article Stripling tackles the subject of inquiry. Inquiry based learning; a concept that is being embraced in more curriculums can differ in focus across the content areas. The focus, attention and recognition that Inquiry based learning is now receiving within the educational community leaves the SLMS poised and ready to assist our collegues and students thanks to our familiarity and expertise. We have been focusing on the skills our students need to develop good questions. The SLMS can take on many roles for many people with in the Inquiry process: Collaboration with teachers to design authentic cross curricular activities; Teaching students to develop and focus on the ability to ask good questions not just find good answers: Develop resources, both physical and electronic, for staff and students to utilize in inquiry based learning and Leadership for encouraging and promoting inquiry throughout the school; As well as offering professional development for staff and administrators to experience inquiry based learning. Our active participation in the total process will benefit all with in our own learning communities. (MD 11/17/08)
Weisburg, Hilda and Ruth Toor. “Safe in Cyberspace.”
The School Librarian’s Workshop
. (Fall 2006) 1-2.
With an introduction to the growing need for teachers and parents to educate students in the expanding and changing role of the internet through Web 2.0, there is an increased need to alert and inform individuals of the abundance of social networking sites and how these may be misused. Sites such as myspace.com, facebook.com, and livejournal.com have all experienced issues of harassment and bullying but in a far more profound and faster way than email or blogs have in the past. While most school districts have activated filtering tools on their networks, this article specifically attempts to raise the awareness of parents and teachers to a better understanding how these social networking sites can not only enhance but also adversely affect a student’s well-being. Listing and describing websites such as CyberSmart (
), i-SAFE America (
), Web Wise Kids (
) and Wired Kids
) educators, parents and teacher librarians can become better informed of the online internet safety information to prevent such detrimental situations. With multimedia activities to additionally enforce proper behavior these sites can work to inform children on how to behave and the consequences that may result from inappropriate behavior online. (TT)
Johnson, Doug. "Staying Safe on the Read-Write Web."
Library Media Connection
26.6 (Mar. 2008): 48-52.
Johnson’s article introduces elements of Web 2.0 as well as their associated risks that they pose for young people. Included in the author’s descriptions are social networking, blogs, wikis, bookmarking and others. Johnson also assesses the validity of dangers that include online predators as well as risks associated with social networking. The article also includes proposed solutions that can be used to minimize the threats. For instance, in an effort to ensure online safety, Access Use Policies should be reviewed and incorporate issues such as cyber-bulling. While filters are perceived as tools for protecting young people, the author calls for the realization that blocking web sites especially in response to the Deleting Online Predator bill is problematic since it’s criteria is based on format and not content. Filtering is also an issue since it conveys a false sense of security since many students are able to bypass the restrictions via other means (i.e., texting). The best method for combating these risks involves educating parents, students and educators. Johnson advocates for the need to allow students to utilize the internet for social reasons while in school as well as in their daily lives. The author stresses that there needs to be a balance between engaging students and protecting them. The article is an informative resource at the introductory level and higher. It can be utilized by new teachers and veterans. The inclusion of recommended web sites is also beneficial since it provides researchers with addition resources that can be used for further investigation. [AC 11/14/08]
Brooks-Kirkland, Anita. "Podcasting for Learning."
School Libraries in Canada
25 (2006): 44-47.
Who loves podcasting? This article discusses a possibility of podcasting in school libraries. Are teacher librarians ready for this move? Will teacher librarians move forward with excitement for this new technology or will it make them run the other way? Podcasting technology is growing at a rapid rate. Recently, the patrons at the Waterloo Public Library, Waterloo, Ontario, received podcasting online. So, where does podcasting fit into school libraries? Teacher librarians already use different types of media, for instance, electronic tutorials and online websites. Podcasting in school libraries should be a wonderful new technology development for students and teachers. This new piece of media will spark an interest for students. Students can come up with their own understanding of a subject area and podcast it on the web. Some teachers already have been listening to their students’ work by podcast. Some of the student’s grades and subjects are fifth grade poetry, grade one on the solar system, high school and school club discussions etc… If nothing else, make sure you have student safety when podcasting. This is a very informative and must read article if you are a teacher librarian, classroom teacher or principal. It gives you a lot to think about on how the teaching word is turning technology. (BK 11/16/08)
Rosenfeld, Esther. (2007). "From Literacy Support to Literacy Leadership." 34.3 (2007)
This article discusses the importance of teacher librarians becoming literacy leaders in their schools. Rosenfeld acknowledges that teacher librarians can act as literacy teaching partners with classroom teachers. However, Rosenfeld argues that teacher librarians must act as literacy leaders rather than just simply supporters of literacy programs. Some suggestions Rosenfeld gives to advocate literacy in schools are promoting reading for pleasure, providing online resources to foster literacy in curriculum areas, developing special events and programs promoting reading, and modeling lifelong learning and reading for pleasure. By assuming a leadership role in literacy, teacher librarians are ensuring that the school library is an essential part of the school's literacy program. This article would be useful for all teacher librarians who are interested in becoming advocates for literacy. The article would be especially useful to teacher librarians who are looking to start developing specific literacy programs at their schools because of all of the concrete suggestions provided. (JK)
Cart, Michael. "Teacher-librarian as literacy leader." Teacher Librarian Feb. 2007: 8-12.
This article stresses the imperative need of teacher-librarians becoming literacy leaders. Cart, a former director of the Beverly Hills Public Library and the author of a dozen books, argues that since teacher-librarians are learning leaders, they must also be literacy leaders. These leaders make a difference in students’ lives because they create and sustain a community of readers. Cart provides concrete suggestions as to how teacher-librarians can become literacy leaders. First students should not be thought of as a “homogeneous whole”, but rather as individuals, and it is the teacher-librarian that should lead the student to the right book. Cart then discusses the importance of modeling reading behavior. It is not enough to be seen reading and enjoying a book. A literacy leader should share what he/she has read enthusiastically and passionately. Teacher-librarians should also read reviews from professional journals and subscribe to list serves devoted to young adult literature. Other suggestions include talking about books and keeping the collection current. Collections should include attractive displays that promote the library’s resources. A literacy leader is also involved in the larger community. A literacy leader is visible and establishes a network of supporters and partners. Literacy leaders also speak the language of the curriculum and believe in the power of reading. This article is especially helpful to teacher-librarians who would like to become literacy leaders. This article can also help teacher-librarians become more visible in their school, demonstrate their impact on student learning and become more proactive. NM 10/5/08
Fisher, Peter. "Learning about Literacy: From Theories to Trends." Teacher Librarian 35.3 (2008): 8- 12.
In this article, Fisher presents some of the theories and practices that relate to the many aspects of the teaching of reading to children. He describes familiar behaviors that children go through, such as pretending to read, which contribute to a child’s emergent literacy. Research shows that there are many ways to successfully teach children to read, and the best methods involve teaching children to use different reading strategies that involve all of the cuing information systems (graphic, semantic and syntactic). By teaching children multiple strategies, such as analytic phonics, to work out unfamiliar words, they can engage in aspects of the metacognitive process. Comprehension and vocabulary instruction can similarly be taught using various techniques, such as learning from text, and using prior knowledge by using the KWL model. Oral reading fluency leads to better silent reading fluency, and possibly to better comprehension. Finally, writing workshops have had an enormous impact in literacy education.
Fisher interweaves early concepts in the reading process with more recent research to build a deeper understanding of the theories, providing a particularly useful resource for the teacher librarian who might want to incorporate some of these techniques. The discussion of phonics and the emergent reader is particularly interesting for considering the selection of easy or early reader books. Appropriate materials might include a selection of basal readers that use controlled vocabulary and real books with real text. HC 10.6.08
Tilley, Carol L., and Daniel Callison. "New Mentors for New Media: Harnessing the Instructional Potential of Cognitive Apprenticeships."
35.5 (May-June 2007) : 26-31.
Tilley & Callison write a thought-provoking article about what skills experienced teachers, new teachers, and students bring to the classroom. They argue for the creation of “cognitive apprenticeships”, where mentors (who could be either students or adults) share their skills and knowledge with the apprentice (who can be either the teacher or the student). Cognitive apprenticeships are differentiated from traditional apprenticeships in that the “skills and knowledge that a mentor shares are almost wholly tacit, hidden in his mind”. Tilley and Callison discuss information and communications technology (ICT) literacy, and how many seasoned teachers are stuck in a “print-based culture”. They quote the Pew Internet and American Life Project, discussing how students view the internet as a tool for communicating with the world, while teachers view it as a resource to be consulted. This creates a major disconnect between the two groups. The authors propose that cognitive apprenticeships are one strategy to bridge the gap between current and evolving understanding of ICT. The article is intriguing...it proposes a way of learning which is forward-looking, where the teacher and the student together work as a team, sometimes switching roles as they forge new understandings. The authors frame their proposal in social constructivism, and they introduce Vgotsky's theory of education as supporting their proposal. The authors include an extensive bibliography of works cited, which will provide further reading material for those intrigued by the topic. (C.H.)
Cooper, Janice. “Patchwork Plagiarism”.
35.4 (May/April 2007) :62-65.
Cooper suggests students have been producing research projects which are pieced together from various sources, much like a “patchwork quilt,” which raises plagiarism issues. Cooper believes this practice shows a lack of information literacy skills (ILS) and does not advance thinking beyond the lower stage of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Reasons are presented why students do not advance beyond patchwork research, including, but not limited to, a lack of confidence in skills. The author asserts that a thorough knowledge of ILS is the best way to help students avoid plagiarism. The adoption of a constructivist approach to teaching, concentrating on ILS, and the use of “document-based questions” (DBQs) are essential strategies toward helping students to make connections between sources and a better analysis and evaluation of information as they construct new understandings. Examples of responses to a DBQ are given showing the difference between patchwork and higher-level responses. Cooper also proffers practical ways for teachers and LMSs to model and guide the learning of the above skills. Cooper makes many valid points and recommends that if LMSs teach these skills students will be better able to produce higher-level research projects benefiting them in school and beyond. (K.M.)
Foster, Karen K, Deb Theiss, and Dawna Lisa Buchanan-Butterfield. "Pourquoi Tales on the Literacy Stage."
The Reading Teacher
61.8 (2008): 663-667.
Pourquoi tales are stories about how humans or animals originated and why they look or behave a certain way. The characteristics and elements of pourquoi tales are described briefly and research is cited that encourages using literature to enhance reading and writing. The authors then discuss three instructional strategies using song, digital art or drama in conjunction with pourquoi tales to encourage active student participation and contribution, stressing the positive outcomes when students construct their own learning in social situations. Students can create story frames based on a pourquoi tale and use a familiar or original tune to sing the parts of the story out loud. Software programs such as
can be used on hand held computers to integrate technology in literacy learning. Using this program, students construct graphic images for each story frame and animate them, creating a movie of the pourquoi tale’s sequence and development. Finally, each group of students can compose a short sentence that depicts part of a pourquoi tale and have one child dramatize each word while saying it aloud. Pourquoi tales are enjoyable, simple stories that lend themselves to creative performances. This article offers a variety of innovative and appealing ways to enhance students’ understanding of how language works. These strategies also present many opportunities to engage and motivate students by allowing them to work in groups, create performances, and discuss, compare and evaluate each other’s work. (SF 11/14/08)
Lane, Holly B. and Tyran L. Wright. "Maximizing the Effectiveness of Reading Aloud." The Reading Teacher 60.(2007): 668-675.
In this practical, useful article, Lane and Wright, teachers at the University of Florida in Gainesville, describe read aloud techniques developed by researchers that promote literacy development. Since research has shown certain benefits to children from using these techniques and there is limited time in schools for it, read aloud time must be optimized. Teachers have to be aware of how much time is spent on reading aloud, what they read, how they read, and how the book is connected to the curriculum. The authors present the three techniques of dialogic reading, text talk, and print referencing, and they support them with excellent examples. They suggest holding workshops to educate parents on how to do read alouds.
School libraries are ideally suited to incorporate these read aloud strategies in their programs, educate parents, and supply curriculum related books. Every preschool, elementary school, and children's librarian should learn and use these techniques in their programs. (CE)
Lu, Ya Ling, & Carol Gordon, "
Reading Takes You Places
School Library Media Research
, 10. November 20, 2007.
This study tackles the issue: “Does Summer reading matter?" Summer reading programs are planned to prevent loss of reading comprehension over the summer vacation. This loss of reading skills happens more with disadvantaged students. The authors studied a summer reading program from Barnstable High School in Hyannis, Massachusetts, which offered online reading lists in twelve categories, and linked the lists to local library and online booksellers to help students obtain the books easier. The average student read about three books, an increase over previous summer programs. The surveyed students who did the reading enjoyed it, and gained more than just reading skills. The books also helped students tackle tough personal and social issues. The study concluded that the reading list could have included books at various reading levels and more nonfiction books to increase participation by boys and students at lower reading levels. More research will help educators create more effective reading programs. (B.W.)
Edmunds, Kathryn M. & Bauserman, Kathryn L. (2006). "What Teachers Can Learn about Reading Motivation through Conversations with Children."
The Reading Teacher, 59
.5 (2006) 414-424.
After constantly hearing comments like “I hate to read”, the authors of this article decided to investigate what really motivates children to read. Authors surveyed 831 students in one K-5 school through conversations. Students revealed that they were motivated to read narrative text based on personal interests, characteristics of books (like illustrations or humor), and choice. Choice alludes to the fact that students selected their own book instead of being assigned to read it for class. Students were motivated to read expository text based on knowledge gained, choice, and personal interests. The study revealed that the school library was the number one source where students received book referrals. The article says, “The children’s response indicated that exposure to the school library positively affected the children’s motivation to read by introducing them to a variety of books” (419). When it comes to sources of motivation for reading, students said family members, teachers, and themselves were all motivating factors. Actions of others that motivate students to read included receiving books as presents, being read to, and sharing books they are reading with others. The authors offer recommendations to increase reading motivation which include allowing students choose the books they are going to read, providing a wealth of reading material corresponding to students’ interests, providing more opportunities for children to go to the school library, and involving parents and peers in the reading process. This article does not present any groundbreaking findings, but it does highlight the reading motivations of students and some strategies that would be useful to school librarians.
School Digital Libraries
Valenza, Joyce Kasman. (2006). The Virtual Library.
Educational Leadership, 63.4 (2006)
This article insists that in order to “maintain relevance, the 21st century school library must expand and reinterpret library science.” (p. 54) What the author is trying to state in a rather wordy manner is that school libraries have to keep up with their technology-literate students. Most children come in knowing how to Google but not knowing what subscription databases are. Some recommendations for the libraries to undertake are: 1) a clean web site with easy navigation bars including links to databases, classes, style manuals, the catalog and perhaps even mouseovers explaining where each link goes, 2) Wikis, blogs, pathfinders, and other web 2.0 tools, 3) the ability to lend digital cameras, flash drives, laptops and other important digital items, 4) electronic reference help such as “e-mail the librarian” or a link to the state chat reference (such as Q&A NJ). Show the student body that the library is more than books, but a gateway to information and the librarian is there to help them cross into this world. (CB)
Valenza, Joyce Kasman. (2005). The Virtual Library.
Educational Leadership, 63
.4 (2005) 54-59.
In this article, Valenza addresses the issues faced by the generally technologically advanced, but not research savvy students in our schools today. Valenza admits that “Google rocks… but it is not the only band in town,” (p.55). Students need to be introduced to other more selective sources of information, for example databases. And the best way for students to get access to these alternative resources is through a well designed and easy to use school library website. Valenza also touches on many of the other topics libraries will run into they become more “virtual,” including plagiarism (as a part of the “copy-and-paste generation”), pathfinders and class related content, school blogs and wikis (like this one), and circulation of library resources beyond books (software, digital cameras, etc.) While this article does not come up with anything really new or innovative, it’s concise writing and use of examples would make it a benefit for any librarian starting a new (or simply doing a face lift) on their school library webpage, and wanting to incorporate technology seamlessly into their library. (MU)
Sturm, Brian W. "The Process of Sharing Stories with Young People." Knowledge Quest 36 (2008): 12-18.
This informative article relates the art of storytelling. Brian Sturm explains the importance of picking a story that will appeal to more than one child. Sturm concentrates his efforts especially to the art of storytelling folktales. He indicates the "Storyteller's Sourcebook" as an impressive guide. Knowledge of child development is also touted as a helpful tool.
Sturm reveals the "5-P" Story Learning Process. This includes reading for pleasure, powers, pictures, phrases, and lastly practices. When the artist has mastered this final step they are free to perform the story. He refers to the storyteller as the performer and builds the readers skills and passion throughout the article. This informative document closes with a list of 22 helpful tips for the storyteller.
This article was informative and useful. The author never left out the importance of passion for the story or the audience. There was conflicting information given on the importance of plot to the storyteller. In the beginning of the article the author claims plot is irrelevant. Sturm goes on to say plot is not the value of storytelling rather a moral or emotional response that is truly important. He later quotes Ellin Green describing the 7 elements that make a story tell able; “A well developed plot” is #2 on the list. The 5 step process Sturm explores really achieves the goal of helping the reader become a more proficient and ardent storyteller. This article is an asset to anyone who is interested in becoming a better storyteller. (AB-09/29/08)
Loertscher, David. (2006). "What Flavor Is Your School Library? The Teacher-Librarian as Learning Leader."
(2006) Teacher Librarian,
This article explores the absence of agreement among teacher librarians about their role in education. Over the past 50 years not one, but five, programs of focus have emerged. Labeled as ice cream flavors, these include the vanilla-flavored organization, or “service” library, the strawberry-flavored reading literacy, the chocolate-flavored information literacy, the mint-chocolate-chip-flavored technology and the spumoni-flavored learning library, focusing on the learner and achievement. The author argues that if the role of the school librarian in education is not to be ignored, or forgotten, then every flavor program should focus on the learner first to some extent. Loertscher’s push for school librarians to become learning-leaders is sound advice in this era of No Child Left Behind. It is also concrete. The author presents numerous characteristics of the teacher librarian as a learning leader as well as specific techniques that one may consider in order to become one. Though Loertscher is quite practical and realistic in his expectation that current library programs should not be completely abandoned, he is equally so in encouraging all of them to at least include a little bit of spumoni. (BP)
De Groot, Joanne. "Social Responsibility and School Libraries: A Case for Children's Literature as a Powerful Teaching Tool."
School Libraries in Canada
26 (2006): 52-61.
In her journal article, De Groot addresses the role of teacher-librarian as the having the opportunity to teach students the importance of social responsibility and global citizenship. De Groot points to children’s literature as the way in which teacher-librarians can teach students the basics of social responsibility and global citizenship. The author describes how children’s literature can be used to help students better understand and relate to these complex concepts on an individual basis. Stories allow for teacher-librarians and students to engage in active debate and interactive methods of learning that result in higher excitement levels among young learners and an increase in active participation. De Groot points out that children’s literature, when used in conjunction with traditional text book lessons, can help the students relate to the overarching themes and can aid in making abstract concepts realistic through characters in the stories. Children’s literature allows for students to develop an emotional connection to characters they are reading about and as result they feel compelled to mobilize and make a difference. De Groot emphasizes the role of teacher-librarian in helping to organize and oversee the efforts of students interested in contributing to various causes both within and outside the library. De Groot presents a very compelling case for pairing children’s literature with traditional text books as a means to broaden student’s education experience as it pertains to social responsibly and global citizenship. Her argument clearly defines the benefits of this multi-faceted approach to help children learn and understand their role in social responsibly and global citizenship. (NMS 10/06/08)
Warlick, David. (2005). "Building Web Sites That Work for Your Media Center."
Knowledge Quest, 33
.3 (2005): 13-15.
David Warlick writes a useful article about different things to consider when designing a web site for your library media center. This article would be useful to any media specialist looking to design or revise their school library website to be both engaging and practical. The first question to consider when designing your website is what purpose the web site will serve and who your target audience is – students, parents, teachers, or all three? With that in mind, Warlick goes on to state that the media specialist must consider the information that will best serve the purpose of your site. That could include any number of things from book reviews from parents and students to curriculum resources for teachers. Finally, the design and format of the site must be developed. Warlick suggests keeping text brief and adding images to catch the viewer’s eye. The media center web site should be a model of communication for the school community with useful information, colorful images, and engaging animations or videos. (J. K.)
Barack, Lauren. "Teens All a Twitter."
School Library Journal
53 (2007): 26.
This article highlights the ideas from an “unconference” facilitated by Library Camp NYC and the Library Camp wiki (librarycampnycwikispaces.com). The librarians who participated discussed the importance of using web 2.0 technologies to reach young people. Many libraries have myspace and facebook pages which patrons can view for information about events and services at the library. A new and exciting tool for reaching young patrons is Twitter (www.twitter.com) which is a free messaging service which librarians can use to spread the word about library information. Twitter can contact users through text messaging, instant messaging, and facebook. Another cutting edge tool is Pownce (www.pownce.com) which enables the library to create a network of friends. The user can then easily send messages, links, files, and invitations to events.
It is vitally important that librarians be familiar with these new ways of communicating with users. It helps patrons be aware of library services and gives the library a modern image. Both of these will help the library attract patrons. This article is important because technology moves so quickly that even the youngest librarians may not be familiar with how “kids these days” prefer to communicate. These technologies are just one more strategy for libraries to market themselves. (JH)
Brooks-Kirkland, Anita. "Podcasting for Learning."
School Libraries in Canada
25 (2006): 44-47.
Who loves podcasting?
This article discusses a possibility of podcasting in school libraries. Are teacher librarians ready for this move? Will teacher librarians move forward with excitement for this new technology or will it make them run the other way? Podcasting technology is growing at a rapid rate. Recently, the patrons at the Waterloo Public Library, Waterloo, Ontario, received podcasting online. So, where does podcasting fit into school libraries? Teacher librarians already use different types of media, for instance, electronic tutorials and online websites. Podcasting in school libraries should be a wonderful new technology development for students and teachers. This new piece of media will spark an interest for students. Students can come up with their own understanding of a subject area and podcast it on the web. Some teachers already have been listening to their students’ work by podcast. Some of the student’s grades and subjects are fifth grade poetry, grade one on the solar system, high school and school club discussions, etc. If nothing else, make sure you have student safety when podcasting. This is a very informative and must read article if you are a teacher librarian, classroom teacher or principal. It gives you a lot to think about on how the teaching world is turning technology. (BK 12/-8)
Cowan, Janie. "Diary of a Blog: Listening to Kids in an Elementary School Library."
35.5 (2008): 20-26.
Cowan, an elementary school librarian, describes her experiences of creating a blog to encourage students to discuss reading preferences and library use. Her initial focus questions were on favorite books, story characters, preferred web sites and what students would like to write a book about. She was surprised when teachers responded to her first questions, but realized that teacher involvement in the project was vital since students would need permission to log on at school, and their enthusiasm and support would motivate students to participate both at school and at home. Student responses were often insightful and thoughtful, with a variety of direct and interesting comments. Cowan also raises a number of interesting observations, which may or may not be associated with the blog’s inception. These included, for example, an increased circulation of chapter books, more student activity around library computers, possibly as students searched for a book mentioned in a blog entry, and more interactions with students who visited the library in person to discuss individual preferences. This article gives a librarian’s honest account of the experiences, trepidations, and surprises she encountered when setting up a blog to find out more about her library’s users. It appears to have been a positive experience, and Cowan includes some ideas for future expansion of the project. This article will definitely encourage other school librarians to dive in and try blogging for themselves. (SF 11/15/08)
Kirkland, Anita Brooks. (2007) "Becoming Teacher-Librarian."
Partnership: The Canadian Journal of Library and Information Science
This article examines the use of social software in the school library. Kirkland reviews the uses of podcasting, blogs and wikis in her own school as examples of students using web 2.0 tools in ways that add to their library learning experience. She explains why libraries are the perfect place for students to explore these new technologies. When students are creating content for the web, they are collaborating, communicating, and becoming critical users and creators of information. The author spends some time discussing how school technology use plans are lagging behind as the new interactive social web tools emerge, but urges teacher librarians to advocate more for their use. These are key student skills in a school library, and should be encouraged by teacher librarians, who should in turn practice and learn the new web tools in order to be able to teach them more effectively. The article concludes with recommended links to some top-rated education blogs. (BW)
Lamb, Annette. and Larry Johnson (2007). "Podcasting in the School Library, Part 1: Integrating Podcasts and Vodcasts into Teaching and Learning."
Teacher Librarian 34
.3 (2007) :54-57.
Lamb, Annette. and Larry Johnson (2007). "Podcasting in the School Library, Part 2: Creating Powerful Podcasts with your Students."
Teacher Librarian 34
.4 (2007): 61-64.
This article presents the new, and sometimes scary, world of podcasting. Beginning with podcasting for dummies, it defines podcasting lingo including the terms vodcasts and vlogs (video blogs). But more importantly, the article shows all the ways this new technology can be used in the library to improve learning for many students. At the same time, integrating this new technology into your library takes all the collection development thought of any other medium - so audience, quality and subject needs are among criteria to be considered when adding these technologies to your virtual library collection. The topics covered are endless, and are often used for coverage of current events and issues, language lessons, and radio programs, but also many of the basic classroom subjects. The second half of the article focuses on how your students can create their own podcasts. Also, at the end of each part is an extensive list of resources including podcast directories. It is casual in its writing, but that is just right for this young, current topic. (MU)
Richardson, Will. (2006, October) "Making Waves."
School Library Journal
October, 2006: 54-56.
Will Richardson takes his reader through the basics of defining and starting podcasts, to evidence of the effectiveness of podcasts, not only in the world of education, but to the world in general. Podcasting “involves the creation of digital audio files and the distribution of those files in a way that makes it easy for visitors to listen to them where and whenever it’s convenient.” These audio files are placed on any MP3 player.
Richardson goes on to tell of usages for podcasting: National Public Radio (NPR) uses it to allow listeners to hear previous broadcasts;
Meet the Press
also distribute selected shows through podcasting. In the education world, podcasting has “exploded." Listeners can learn a new language, students can “create and produce” weekly series such as history projects, museum tours, etc.
This article includes a Pathfinder of websites for help in setting up, creating, designing a podcast, along with sites to visit to hear podcasts. The reason I chose this article was that I wanted to know more about Podcasting. This article not only showed me the “how to”, but gave me the incentive to create one in the near future. (AG)
Gilmore-See, Julia. "Kids 2.0."
School Library Media Activities Monthly 24
.3 (2007): 55-58.
Web 2.0, Library 2.0, and School Library 2.0 are names that have been circulating and creating havoc for librarians since the first term, Web 2.0, was coined in 2004. Since then, library media specialists have been scrambling to keep their programs at the same pace or ahead of the digital curve. This article discusses ways that the "digital immigrant" (the LMS) can ensure their media center's programs are on par with the needs of the "digital native" (the generation of students growing up with access to electronic media from birth). Web 2.0 expresses that "The 1) digital native 2) values ubiquitous connectedness and desires device independence; 3) insists on personalization; 4) trusts the wisdom of crowds; 5) and lives in the long tail of the creative class." These philosophies can be interpreted by the digital immigrant as 1) coping and providing a place where Web 2.0 tools are introduced to bridge the digital divide; 2) understanding that students are used to devices where information is accessible anywhere, anytime; 3) using features similar to the Amazon.com recommendation engine to review current materials and suggest new ones; 4) understanding the Wikipedia phenomenon and how best to instruct students when doing research; and 5) understanding that students want to be a part of the learning and research process, and we should be enabling their inquiry by using tools such as wikis, allowing them to become a more active part of the learning community. School Library 2.0 will succeed when the LMS uses Web 2.0 tools to actively include students, teachers, and parents in the design and delivery of library services. (T.M.)
Lamb, Annette and Larry Johnson. “An Information Skills Workout: Wikis and Collaborative Writing."
34.5 (June 2007): 57-59.
Anyone wondering about wikis and how to use them in the classroom will find solid information in this article by Lamb and Johnson. Wikis are described as "a specific type of social technology involving cooperation, interdependence, and synergy." Groups of students collaborate to submit and update information to their own web page. They are the creators of the content and can include graphics, audio, video, or animation. What separates wikis from other technologies, the authors state, are five characteristics: "unique, collaborative, open editing, simple coding and evolving." Each of these characteristics is then defined. Any intent to create wikis should be preceded by an introduction to what is currently available. Good examples for using Wikipedia and for finding topical wikis are offered. The majority of the article contains practical uses for collaborative writing and for all subject areas and grade levels. One example given is a local historical society working with the librarian and students to create a wiki on the history of the city. Other uses mentioned include collaborative research, book clubs, and resource aggregator. A caution is advised to check school policies on acceptable use before beginning any projects and to assign students pseudonyms to protect their identity. (CC).
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