Friday, May 23, 2008

Catching Up Again

It's been ages since I posted here. I didn't really expect anyone to be reading this after I completed SLL 2.0 last summer, but with the new Classroom Learning 2.0 and people from my district and school participating, I guess I should try to update it a little.

I've been keeping very busy both at work and with CSLA (California School Library Association) activities.

At work, we just finished a busy book fair, and, before that, had a wonderful author visit with Lisa Yee. She has written four great books for middle school students --- Millicent Min, Girl Genius, Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time, and So Totally Emily Ebers -- and has several new books in the works. The students were really taken with her lively presentation, and she had a lot of great advice about how to write. After a large assembly, she did two small question and answer sessions, and I was really pleased with our students questions.

Another notable event at work was getting our new Alexandria library software. The catalog is now online so students and teachers can access it from a web browser. It isn't available outside of our district network yet. I hope that will happen before the summer.

I have also been trying to keep up a booktalks blog that I link to from my library page. I want most of the booktalks to be done by students. I've had some enthusiasm, but want to get more students to follow through and record.

The bad news at work is that the district is considering cutting teacher librarian positions. All six of the TLs in my district have spent an extraordinary amount of time of late advocating for our positions. Teacher librarians help students become critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers, and ethical users of information. Study after study demonstrates the link between credentialed school librarians and student achievement. It is so difficult for me to understand how, even in times of dire budget problems, we can consider cutting back on this. In a recent speech to the Board, I concluded that "The library is no longer merely a physical location where students come to get books. Instead, the library extends far beyond its physical walls to offer students and teachers access to research databases, other quality online websites, interactive online tools, and – coming later this month - our library catalog -- from any computer with internet access. As it does so, students need guidance from professional information specialists in how to navigate this new domain and use what it offers efficiently and responsibly. Please do not deprive our students of this needed guidance in information literacy at a time in the evolution of online information and technology when they need it more than ever before."

So, with all of this going on, I thought of giving my Avatar a sad, or even angry, face. Instead, I decided to get her ready for the beach. Why? Well, I'm attending the American Library Association annual conference in Anaheim the end of June, and I got the nutty idea that CSLA Southern Section, which I have been serving on the Board for as a Region Rep, should enter the "book cart drill team" competition at the conference. Definitely a nutty idea, considering that I am not musical or coordinated. But, I sent out a call for participants, and we are having our first team rehearsal this Saturday! Wish us luck. We're going to do a routine to the Beach Boys California Girls. If you wonder what a book cart drill team is, go to youtube and search for "book cart drill team" for some examples.

So, I don't know where I'll be working in the fall, but I am very excited about attending ALA. I am always so energized by the CSLA conferences and workshops I attend, and I am sure I will find ALA an incredible event, too. To finish catching up on my CSLA activities, my co-Region 2 Rep, Judy Davidson, were responsible for coordinating the presentations at the all-day CSLA Southern Section Workshop March 1, and were able to assemble a wonderful assortment of speakers. Jim Duke, our Southern Section President, did a terrific job of leading the whole board in making the day a great one. Then, at the end of March, we organized our own Region 2 morning workshop with three great LAUSD TLs -- Marc McPhee, Mark Bobrosky, and Karen Gonzalez -- giving us tips on organizing our libraries and our professional lives. I am so grateful to CSLA for all it has offered me in professional development, networking, volunteering, and friendship opportunities. I wouldn't be half the teacher librarian I am without it. So, even with my future uncertain, I have taken the step of agreeing to run for President Elect of CSLA Southern Section. The ballots will go online June 2. I believe I am running unopposed, but, if you are a CSLA member, please vote for me!


Mary Ann said...

I watched a bunch of the "book cart drill teams". - Made my day! I hope you plan to post your performance!

Mrs. Nelson said...

I love your avatar!! Curly girls unite!! I wish I had seen your book cart drill team practice on Saturday!!-- especially since you are using Beach Boy Music!! I do hope you capture your performance and post it online!! :)

aLearner2 said...

Jane - The book cart drills sound hilarious! I would love to see that in action. How about posting a video??? Thanks for the tip about my avatar size. I'll work on it.