Tag Archives: American Library Association

The evolution of libraries: Los Angeles Public Library to offer high school diplomas

11 Jan

The American Library Association (ALA) has the imitative, Libraries Transforming Communities:

The American Library Association’s The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities is a groundbreaking libraries-as-change-agents initiative. ALA has partnered with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation to provide librarians with the tools and training they need to lead community engagement and innovation.
The Harwood Institute has a clearly articulated vision of “turning outward,” supported by a tested practice rooted in community conversation and ownership that emphasizes shifting the institutional and professional orientation of libraries and librarians from internal to external.
ALA receives grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to advance library-led community engagement
“Building on a deep reservoir of trust, public libraries are in an excellent position to lead their communities toward a shared vision and a foundation for growth and innovation,” said ALA President Barbara Stripling. “With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, libraries and librarians will be better able to engage deeply with their constituents and support community aspirations.” During the grant period, ALA will work with the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation to provide training opportunities and learning resources. Libraries interested in the in-person training and coaching will be recruited through an open application process that will be announced in January 2014. To receive an alert when the application period for Libraries Transforming Communities opens, interested libraries should sign up for the ALA Public Programs Office’s PPO Grants electronic discussion list at http://www.ala.org/offices/ppo/about/ppolist.
Tools for Community Engagement and Innovation:
The following tools have been customized for library use. Links to tools will download PDF files.
• Turn Outward (PDF): Are you mostly “turned inward or outward”? Librarians may use this tool to assess the focus of their efforts in the community as they further shift their orientation from internal to external.
• Aspirations (PDF): This tool helps librarians to focus on their community’s aspirations, identify next steps for creating change, and to create an aspirations-based story for their community as a starting point for library action.
• Intentionality (PDF): Librarians may use this tool to test the external orientation and mindfulness of their community engagement choices and decisions.
• Sustaining Yourself (PDF): This tool helps librarians to personally map the components that feed their motivation and commitment for community work.
• How Librarians and Libraries Can Lead Community Conversations for Change (PDF): This conversation guide, inspired by The Work of Hope by Richard C. Harwood, provides a step-by-step plan for librarians to convene small group community conversations about shared aspirations and to share their findings with the community.
More on the Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities project:
This project aligns with ALA’s 2015 strategic plan to provide leadership in the transformation of libraries and library services in a dynamic and increasingly global digital information environment. The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities is the first step in building a sustainable, scalable national plan for library-led community engagement. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services. http://www.ala.org/transforminglibraries/libraries-transforming-communities

Moi wrote in The GED as a door to the future:
There are a variety of reasons why people fail to complete high school and fail complete their high school education, According to the July 24, 2011 NPR report, School Dropout Rates Add To Fiscal Burden by Claudio Sanchez and Linda Wertheimer, “Nearly 1 million kids who start high school every year don’t make it to graduation.” http://www.npr.org/2011/07/24/138653393/school-dropout-rates-adds-to-fiscal-burden

There are many reasons why kids drop out of school. Kate Convissor lists the following reasons in the EduGuide article, Why Kids Drop Out of School:

While the reasons kids drop out vary, the following are six important risk factors:
1.Academic difficulty and failure. Struggling in school and failing classes is one of the main reasons teens drop out, and this pattern often shows up early. Students who fail eighth grade English or math, for example, are seventy-five percent more likely to drop out of high school.
2.Poor attendance. Teens who struggle in school are also absent a lot, and along with academic failure, absenteeism is an important future predictor for dropping out. As with the previous example, students who are absent for twenty percent of their eighth grade year (one day per week) are also highly likely to drop out in high school.
3.Being held back (retention). Linked to academic difficulty, students who are held back and who are older than the kids in their grade also tend to drop out.
4.Disengagement from school. Many kids who drop out say that school was boring and teachers did little to connect learning to real life. They didn’t feel invested in their school and they didn’t feel that adults seemed interested in them or their high school experience.
5.Transition to a new school. A poor transition from the smaller, more protected environment of middle school to the anonymity of a high school can cause a teen to have difficulty catching up-and some kids never do.
6.Other life factors. Pregnancy, family problems, and financial difficulties are all factors that distract a student from schoolwork and make keeping up more challenging. http://www.eduguide.org/library/viewarticle/2132/

Because many entry level jobs require at a minimum a high school diploma, the General Education Development Test or GED is often substituted for the high school diploma to show that an individual has reached a basic level of education achievement. https://drwilda.com/2011/11/17/the-ged-as-a-door-to-the-future/

An example of the type of community project contemplated by the ALA initiative is the Los Angeles Public Library’s plan to offer diplomas. Julie Watson of AP reported in the article, Los Angeles Library To Offer High School Diplomas:

A Los Angeles library plans to take its role as a place of learning a step farther and will start offering residents the opportunity to get an accredited high school diploma.
The Los Angeles Public Library announced Thursday that it is teaming up with a private online learning company to debut the program for high school dropouts, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
It’s the latest step in the transformation of public libraries in the digital age as they move to establish themselves beyond just being a repository of books to a full educational institution, said the library’s director, John Szabo.
Since taking over the helm in 2012, Szabo has pledged to reconnect the library system to the community and has introduced a number of new initiatives to that end, including offering 850 online courses for continuing education and running a program that helps immigrants complete the requirements for U.S. citizenship.
The library hopes to grant high school diplomas to 150 adults in the first year at a cost to the library of $150,000, Szabo said. Many public libraries offer programs to prepare students and in some cases administer the General Educational Development test, which for decades was the brand name for the high school equivalency exam.
But Szabo believes this is the first time a public library will be offering an accredited high school diploma to adult students, who will take courses online but will meet at the library for assistance and to interact with fellow adult learners.
High school course work is not required for a GED diploma, which can be obtained by passing an extensive test. The online high school program, however, will require its students to take courses to earn high school credits. The program is slated to begin this month.
“I believe with every cell in my body that public libraries absolutely change lives and change lives in very big ways,” Szabo said….

Unless, children are given a meaningful education which provides them with basic skills to adapt to a changing environment, the education system is producing a permanent underclass which will not be able to participate in the next “new, new thing.”

The real issue is reducing the number of high school dropouts. The Los Angeles Public Library is giving many the chance to go forward and have a future.


Parent homework: Make friends with your local library https://drwilda.com/2014/01/06/parent-homework-make-friends-with-your-local-library/

More research about the importance of reading

The University of Wisconsin ‘Flexible Option’ program: A college GED? https://drwilda.com/2013/01/25/the-university-of-wisconsin-flexible-option-program-a-college-ged/

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Parent homework: Make friends with your local library

6 Jan

This is an absolutely jaw-dropping statistic. According the article, Opinion Brief: Detroit’s ‘shocking’ 47 percent illiteracy rate which was posted at The Week:

More than 200,000 Detroit residents — 47 percent of Motor City adults — are “functionally illiterate,” according to a new report released by the Detroit Regional Workforce Fund. That means they can’t fill out basic forms, read a prescription, or handle other tasks most Americans take for granted, according to the fund’s director, Karen Tyler-Ruiz, as quoted by CBS Detroit. Her organization’s study also found that the education and training aimed at overcoming these problems “is inadequate at best,” says Jackie Headapohl at Michigan Live. http://theweek.com/article/index/215055/detroits-shocking-47-percent-illiteracy-rate

Illiteracy is a global problem, with some geographic areas and populations suffering more from illiteracy than others.

Education Portal defines illiteracy in the article, Illiteracy: The Downfall of American Society.

Most people think of literacy as a simple question of being able to read. But while a young child who can work her way through a basic picture book is considered to have age-appropriate literacy levels, an adult who can only read at the most fundamental level is still functionally illiterate.
The world requires that adults not only be able to read and understand basic texts, but also be able to function in the workplace, pay bills, understand legal and financial documents and navigate technology – not to mention the advanced reading comprehension skills required to pursue postsecondary education and the opportunities that come with it.
As a result, when we talk about the effects of illiteracy on society, we’re talking primarily about what happens when you have a large number of adults whose literacy skills are too low to perform normal, day-to-day tasks. However, it is worth keeping in mind that childhood illiteracy is, of course, directly correlated to adult illiteracy.

The key concept is the individual cannot adequately function in the society in which they live. That means that tasks necessary to provide a satisfactory life are difficult because they cannot read and/or comprehend what they read.

ProLiteracy provides basic facts about illiteracy in the article, Basic Facts about Literacy:

Literacy is the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.
• There are 759 million adults–approximately 16 percent of the world’s population–who have only basic or below basic literacy levels in their native languages.
• Two-thirds of the world’s lowest literate adults are women (640 million women have basic or below basic literacy skills).
• In the U.S., 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
• An additional 30 million — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
• Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
• The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
• Adult low literacy can be connected to almost every socio-economic issue in the United States:
o More than 65 percent of all state and federal corrections inmates can be classified as low literate.
o Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $236 billion each year in the U.S.
o Seventy-seven million Americans have only a 2-in-3 chance of correctly reading an over-the-counter drug label or understanding their child’s vaccination chart.
o Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
• Globally, illiteracy can be linked to:
o Gender abuse, including female infanticide and female circumcision
o Extreme poverty (earning less than $1/day)
o High infant mortality and the spread of HIV/Aids, malaria, and other preventable infectious diseases http://www.proliteracy.org/page.aspx?pid=345

Many of those who are illiterate are successful in hiding the fact that they cannot read.

The University of Michigan Health Center explains why reading is important in the article, Reading, Literacy and Your Child:
What is literacy?

Literacy means being able to read and write.
Why is reading important?
A child’s reading skills are important to their success in school and work. In addition, reading can be a fun and imaginative activity for children, which opens doors to all kinds of new worlds for them. Reading and writing are important ways we use language to communicate….
There are many ways to include reading in your child’s life, starting in babyhood, and continuing through the teen years. Focus on literacy activities that your child enjoys, so that reading is a treat, not a chore. http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/reading.htmhttps://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/

Education is a partnership between the student, parent(s) or guardian(s), the teacher(s), and the school. All parts of the partnership must be active and involved. Parents are an important part because they enforce lessons learned at school by reading to their children and taking their children for regular library time.


More research about the importance of reading https://drwilda.wordpress.com/tag/reading-literacy-and-your-child/

The slow reading movement https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/the-slow-reading-movement/

The importance of the skill of handwriting in the school curriculum https://drwilda.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/the-importance-of-the-skill-of-handwriting-in-the-school-curriculum/


Kathryn Schwartz of IPL2 wrote in Learning to research in the library:

Get to know your library
The resources available to you will vary a lot depending on whether you’re using an academic library at a large university, a public library in a large (or small) community, or a high school library. Find out early in your research project what resources your library has, by visiting and taking a tour, if possible. Some college libraries offer an online tour of the library or a self-guided tour using handouts in addition to tours guided by librarians.
Many people who use libraries don’t make full use of the reference collection except for the encyclopedias, while reference librarians have spent large amounts of money and time in developing wonderful reference collections for research. See Reference Sources in Libraries to see a small sample of the kind of information may be hiding in your library’s reference room.
Libraries build their collections based on what they think their patrons will need, so the collections of reference materials, fiction and non-fiction will differ between a public and an academic library. Be aware of what kind of collection you’re working with, and make arrangements to visit a different library if necessary.
Learn to browse – understand the classification scheme in your library
A library’s classification scheme is a system by which books are organized to be placed on the shelves. Browsing the shelves is an important step when you’re trying to get ideas for your research project, so it’s worth the effort to become familiar with your library’s system.
Most libraries in the U.S. use either the Dewey Decimal system or Library of Congress system, while Britain uses the UDC and other countries use various systems. All of the systems attempt to “co-locate” books with similar subject matter. In a smaller library, many times you can bypass the catalog as a starting point and go directly to the shelves for a first look at your topic, so long as you have a chart of the classification scheme as a guide.
Remember, though, that a book can have only one location in a library. Some books cover more than one subject and the cataloguer has to choose one place to locate the book. Also, non-book materials such as videos and films, will be located in a different section of the building and could be missed by simply shelf-browsing the book collection.
See our charts summarizing the Dewey Decimal Classification System and the Library of Congress Classification System.
Learn how online library catalogs work
A library catalog is a listing of all the items held by a particular library. A cataloguer examines the item (book, video, map, audio tape, CD, etc.) and decides how it will be described in the library’s catalog and under what subject it will be classified. When the item is entered into the library’s online catalog database, information is entered into different fields, which are then searchable by users.
Library catalogs usually treat a book as a single “item” and catalog it that way, even if it might be a book of poetry or a book of essays by different authors. You can’t find a reference to a particular poem in the library catalog, nor to a particular essay within a book of essays. The same is true of magazines, journals and newspapers. The library catalog will tell you if the library keeps a particular periodical in its collection, but will not list all the articles within the periodical, nor will it necessarily even list all the issues of the periodical which are kept. There are other publications in the reference room which will help you retrieve these individual items, but usually not the library catalog (see Reference Sources in Libraries for examples, as well as the Find out how to search for journals and newspapers section below).
Most catalogs are searchable by author, title, subject and keyword. Some of the important things you need to know about the information in those fields is discussed below.
Searching the catalog by subject and keyword
The subject field of a catalog record contains only the words or phrases used by the cataloguer when assigning a subject heading. If the library is using Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), for example, the subject heading for a book about how playing football affects the players’ bodies would probably be assigned the subject heading “Football—physiological aspects.” Unless you type in that entire phrase as your search term, you won’t find the book by searching the subject field.
Subject field searching can be very helpful, but you must find out how the subject you’re looking for is worded by using the subject manuals or getting help from the reference librarian. Once you zero in on an appropriate subject heading, a search in the catalog will give you a list of all the items in the library’s collection categorized under that heading, so you can browse the collection online. Note also that most items are classified under one or two very specific subject headings, rather than under many subjects.
The keyword field of a library catalog generally searches several fields in the database record—the author, title, and description fields. The description is any information about the catalogued item which may have been entered by the cataloguer. This is not the full text of the book, nor is it an abstract (summary) of the book but rather a short paragraph containing information the cataloguer thought would be helpful to a user. This is not like searching for keywords in an indexed database like Alta Vista on the internet, where every word in a document has been recorded.
For this reason, keyword searching alone could miss an item pertinent to your research project if the keyword you use was not included in the short paragraph written by the cataloguer. It’s best to use a combination of keyword searching and subject-field searching to make a comprehensive search of the library catalog.
Searching other libraries’ catalogs
There are lots of library catalogs on the internet—but so what? You can search the catalog of a library in Timbuktu, but that doesn’t get you the book. Remember that library catalogs do not have full text of books and documents but are just a database with descriptions of the library’s holdings. There are a few, and will be more, actual online libraries where you can go to read or search full text documents. Just don’t confuse these special resources with a library catalog, which is very different. See Reference Sources on the Web for links to online books.
Find out how to search for journals and newspapers at your library
Most libraries have either print, CD-ROM, or online (either in the library or sometimes on the Web) indexes of magazine, journal and newspaper articles (referred to as periodicals) available for users. Some of these are abstracts of the articles, which are short summaries written to describe the article’s contents in enough detail so that a reader can decide whether or not to seek out the full text. Some of these sources may be in the form of full text, where the entire articles have been entered into the database.
The databases will include particular periodicals published within a span of time (for example, a popular newspaper index goes back 36 months for certain major newspapers). Know what the database you’re searching contains and whether it’s represented as abstract or full text. Get some pointers from the reference librarian about how to search that particular database, and build on what you’ve learned about search syntax and search techniques from Skills for Online Searching.
Note that these resources, whether print or digital, contain information about periodicals which may not be held by your library. If the database does not have full text articles, you may find an article right on point to your topic, but that particular newspaper or journal may not be in your library’s collection. There are ways to get these articles, the fastest ways involving paying a fee to a company in the business of providing articles to researchers! Check out your options with the reference desk if you need an article that’s not in your library’s collection.
Bibliography surfing
Web surfing is finding an interesting Web page and then using the hyperlinks on that page to jump to other pages. If you find the first page interesting, chances are you’ll also be interested in the pages the author has chosen to link to.
Librarians and researchers have been doing this for a long time, in the print medium. It’s a valuable tool for identifying sources on your chosen topic.
What you do is use the bibliography provided at the end of an encyclopedia article, journal article or book that you’ve found particularly pertinent to your topic and follow the bibliographic references much as you would hyperlinks on the Web. Since you’re locating items which influenced the author of the original article and to which he or she referred, they’re likely to be “on point” to your topic. Then use the bibliography at the end of those cited articles to find even more items, and so on.
Consult the reference librarian for advice
Several times above, you’ve been advised to consult the reference librarian. Reference librarians can help save you a lot of time because they know their library’s collection very well—both the reference collection and the nonfiction collection—and can often tell you “off the top of their heads” whether or not the library has a particular item you’re looking for. They are also skilled searchers, both of the library’s catalog and of online resources such as CD-ROM, online databases and the internet. In addition, they’re trained in teaching others to use these resources and are glad to do so.
Learn about search syntax and professional search techniques
To be successful at any kind of online searching, you need to know something about how computer searching works. At this time, much of the burden is on the user to intelligently construct a search strategy, taking into account the peculiarities of the particular database and search software. The section on Skills for online searching will get you started. http://www.ipl.org/div/aplus/library.htm

The American Library Association recommends:

Online Resources for Parents and Children
America Links Up
America Links Up was a broad-based public awareness campaign to ensure that every child in America has a safe, educational and rewarding experience online. The site is no longer active and is being hosted here by GetNetWise for archival purposes. http://kids.getnetwise.org/americalinksup/index.shtml
Child Safety on the Information Superhighway
Larry Magid, a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times, gives tips for becoming street smart on the Web. His “Guidelines for Parents” explains how to deal with everything from suggestive or misleading content to the danger of online-arranged meetings with strangers. http://www.safekids.com/child-safety-on-the-information-highway/
Especially for Young People and Their Parents
This page includes links to online safety rules and suggestions, designed-for-children search engines, all ALA great sites, and other great sites for parents and young people. Also includes links to privacy pages.
An online service of companies and non-profit groups concerned about child safety on the Internet. The Web site provides a comprehensive “Web-wide” resource with safety tips, ways to report online trouble, tech tools for families, great Web sites for kids and a glossary of Internet terms.
Great Web Sites for Kids
Links to Web sites for fun and learning. Recommended and organized by topic by children’s librarians. Sponsored by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the ALA. http://gws.ala.org/
Kids’ Safety (GetNetWise)
Learn about the risks kids face online, based on age levels or types of activities. Concerns about privacy are addressed as well. Quick tips for kids, teens, and families.
The Librarian’s Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids
See The Librarians Guide to Great Sites for Kids below.
The Librarians Guide to Great Sites for Kids http://www.kids.getnetwise.org/
Formerly titled The Librarian’s Guide to Cyberspace for Parents & Kids. Telephone: 800-545-2433. ext. 5044/5041 or e-mail pio@ala.org for more information.
The Parents’ Guide to the Information Superhighway
Rules and tools for families online from The Children’s Partnership. Comprehensive look at the information superhighway and what parents should know to help their children use it safely and wisely.
Parents’ Guide to the Internet
From the U.S. Department of Education (archived information; 1997), this guide suggests how parents can help their children tap into the wonders of the Internet while safeguarding them from potential hazards. http://www2.ed.gov/pubs/parents/internet/index.html
Privacy (GetNetWise)
As the Internet has grown in complexity, many consumers feel they may be disclosing information about themselves and their online travels that they’d rather keep private. GetNetWise provides information about tools and techniques to better control how much personal information you share with online stores, Web sites, emailers, chatters and other people who may use your computer. http://privacy.getnetwise.org/
Privacy Resources for Librarians, Library Users, and Families
This resource is intended to help librarians and all library users understand the issue of privacy and confidentiality.
Safety Tips for Kids on the Internet from the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Site focuses on online safety and ways to report abuses. http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
A Safety Net for the Internet: A Parent’s Guide http://www.nypl.org/help/finding-things
What parents should know about the Internet from the New York Public Library. http://www.ala.org/Template.cfm?Section=litoolkit&Template=/ContentManagement/ContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=50662

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:


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The 01/27/13 Joy Jar

26 Jan

Moi has been attending the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Seattle. Several times a week, she goes to the main branch of the Seattle Public Library. It always feels like home. The main library is in the middle of a very diverse city. In fact, moi often says the only places where all classes of people in Seattle meet regularly are the library and the dollar store. Some people who visit the library have issues like mental illness and may be in the throes of some substance. A couple of times moi was at the library and a person had a meltdown. The librarians always try to treat people with dignity and courtesy, no matter who you are. Today’s deposit into the ‘Joy Jar’ are librarians.

Most people don’t realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn’t value its librarians doesn’t value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Don’t mark up the Library’s copy, you fool! Librarians are Unprankable. They’ll track you down! They have skills!”
Charles Ogden

The real heroes are the librarians and teachers who at no small risk to themselves refuse to lie down and play dead for censors.”
Bruce Coville

To all my librarian friends, champions of books, true magicians in the House of Life. Without you, this writer would be lost in the Dust.”
Rick Riordan,
The Red Pyramid

Good librarians are natural intelligence operatives. They possess all of the skills and characteristics required for that work: curiosity, wide-ranging knowledge, good memories, organization and analytical aptitude, and discretion.”
Marilyn Johnson,
This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All

In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us to swim.”
Linton Weeks

When the going gets tough, the tough get a librarian.”
Joan Bauer

2013 ALA Seattle: Midwinter Meeting: Librarians as guardians of public knowledge

25 Jan

Moi is attending the Seattle Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association (ALA) and that causes moi to reflect about the role of libraries and librarians in preserving public knowledge. Margaret Jackubcin of Southern Oregon’s Mail Tribune gives ten excellent reasons why libraries are important to a community.

  1. Public libraries are good for the economy.

  2. Libraries are a cornerstone of democracy.

  3. Libraries play an important role in helping young children develop reading skills.

  4. Public libraries provide support to schools and students.

  5. Libraries are forward- thinking, and play an important role at the cutting edge of information technology.

  6. Libraries are repositories of the accumulated understanding of mankind.

  7. Public libraries are a bargain.

  8. Libraries provide a neutral community gathering place for the free exchange of ideas, culture, and entertainment.

  9. A vital and attractive library helps define a community, encourages civic pride, and invests residents with a sense of ownership.

  10. Libraries are the heart and soul of a community and reflect the value residents place on literacy, education, culture, and freedom.

Key to the success of libraries are librarians.

The ALA has a great description of what librarians do:

Me, a librarian?

It’s not every day that you find a job that can make a world of difference in people’s lives. Libraries have been empowering people by offering resources, services and training to expand their knowledge for thousands of years. Consider joining the 400,000 librarians and library workers who bring opportunity every day to the communities they serve.

While there’s no magic test that will tell you if a library career is right for you, there are many characteristics and values that librarians and library workers share:

  • Enjoy helping and serving other people 
  • Interested in developing and providing services, resources and materials that inform and entertain, such as books, movies, music, storytelling, websites, local history, databases, and puppets 
  • Thrive in a technologically changing environment 
  • Interest in information research, preservation and instruction 
  • Willing to connect people with a wide variety of value and belief systems to materials that represent multiple points of view
  • Believe strongly in First Amendment rights protecting the freedom of speech and of the press 
  • Wish to contribute to the greater good of a literate society
  • Want to be part of a professional community that encourages sharing information, opinions and expertise
  • Respect and uphold people’s rights to privacy and the freedom to read what they choose
  • Believe all information resources provided by libraries should be equitably accessible to all library users

If you hold many of these values, then visit Oh, the Places You Will Go to discover the many opportunities available to you in librarianship. http://www.ala.org/educationcareers/careers/librarycareerssite/mealibrarian

If there is a trait that most librarians share, is the love of learning and sharing knowledge.

Ramon Barquin eloquently describes the importance of librarians in his speech, Debt to Librarians:

We have to remember librarians have been the guardians of knowledge from the very beginning of man’s attempts to capture information outside the human brain. The media in which explicit knowledge was stored evolved from clay tablets, parchments and papyrus scrolls into books. But librarianship today has gone substantially beyond books, and the focus of its work is connecting people with a need to know something to the right source of content for that knowledge. Most of these knowledge sources now are online databases or virtual documents that exist in cyberspace.
It’s a far cry from the image we have of the librarian of the past. In fact, many schools of library science have now either changed their academic name outright into schools of ‘information science’ or have added that term to their traditional library science denomination.
And well they should since they are very much into the thick of information science and hence IT, as well as knowledge management. Take something as hot these days as search. There is little that has a higher priority than search for an enterprise that must find specific content in the mountains of virtual documents in order to address the needs of its knowledge workers. Well, to a large degree this is what librarians have been doing for millennia. For them, it starts with developing taxonomies and classification schemes that allow the storing of content in a way that will make it easier later to retrieve what they are seeking. The card catalogues of our school libraries provided a basic example of a multidimensional approach to search. We could look under the author, title and subject  headings in order to find a specific tome or list of possible books that might be helpful in researching a given topic.
With automation came quantum changes in libraries too. Fairly soon we saw the computerised catalogues allowing us to search a library’s collection, then expanding its reach to permit searching sets of collections across collaborating schools or other domains. And because the scope of librarians is no longer tied just to books, the content in databases and knowledge spaces is very much their bailiwick.


The ALA is the primary professional group representing the many facets of library science.

The ALA describes its mission:

Mission & History

Founded on October 6, 1876 during the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, the American Library Association was created to provide leadership for the development, promotion, and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all. Our current strategic plan, ALA Ahead to 2015, calls for continued work in the areas of Advocacy for Libraries and the Profession, Diversity, Education and Lifelong Learning, Equitable Access to Information and Library Services, Intellectual Freedom, Literacy, Organizational Excellence and Transforming Libraries. http://www.ala.org/aboutala/missionhistory

So, about 10,000 librarians have come to Seattle for a weekend of seminars, meetings, fellowship, and affirmation.

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The 01/13/13 Joy Jar

12 Jan

According to the American Library Association (ALA) “There are an estimated 121,785 libraries of all kinds in the United States today. No single annual survey provides statistics on all types of libraries.” Moi goes to the Seattle Public Library’s central library several times a week. One of the joys of moi’s life is that Seattle has an excellent public library system. It really is a temple of knowledge. Today’s deposit in the ‘Joy Jar’ is the public library.

I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”
Maya Angelou

The very existence of libraries affords the best evidence that we may yet have hope for the future of man”
T.S. Eliot

The only thing that you absolutely have to know, is the location of the library.”
Albert Einstein

Few pleasures, for the true reader, rival the pleasure of browsing unhurriedly among books: old books, new books, library books, other people’s books, one’s own books – it does not matter whose or where. Simply to be among books, glancing at one here, reading a page from one over there, enjoying them all as objects to be touched, looked at, even smelt, is a deep satisfaction. And often, very often, while browsing haphazardly, looking for nothing in particular, you pick up a volume that suddenly excites you, and you know that this one of all the others you must read. Those are great moments – and the books we come across like that are often the most memorable.”
Aidan Chambers

The love of libraries, like most loves, must be learned. ”
Alberto Manguel,
The Library at Night

The public library is where place and possibility meet.”
Stuart Dybek

Why libraries in K-12 schools are important

26 Dec

Kimberly Shearer, Kentucky Teacher of the Year, has a great piece in Kentucky Teacher, Why You Need Your School Librarian:

Now, think about the Common Core Standards. These standards emphasize 21st-century skills and require our students to be able to collaborate with others within small and large communities. They require our students to be able to locate and evaluate sources using technology. And they require our students to be able to share information and to build their own arguments while considering things such as audience, purpose and language. Sound familiar? All of these skill sets are not too far from the behaviors our students exhibit when they utilize social media like Facebook. Those relevant connections between their personal and their academic lives are so important for teachers to make in our classrooms.  

Unfortunately, it takes a lot of creativity and know-how to generate such connections for our students. The good news? We have our school librarians to help. School librarians have the resources, training and knowledge to help us make those meaningful connections between the Common Core Standards and our students’ interests and lives. Here’s why you need your school librarian now more than ever:

  • Students must be able to evaluate information. Technology has ensured that our students have unlimited access to information. While this is exciting, it is also frightening. Our students must be able to sort through all this information and separate the credible from the unreliable. Your school librarian can help you co-plan and co-teach lessons that focus on the evaluation of sources and information, providing your students with the discernible eye they’ll need to survive in college and the workplace. 

  • Students must be able to collaborate. Technology and today’s global economy have made it necessary for our students to master collaborative skills. Being a part of a community in which they must share ideas, work and goals is important to students’ personal and academic growth. Your librarian can help you generate collaborative projects for your students that incorporate both information literacy and the Common Core Standards. And, working with your librarian helps you refine your collaborative skills, as well.

  • Students must master technology. Regardless of the career paths they choose, all your students must be able to use technology to locate and create information. You’d be hard-pressed to find a business that doesn’t rely on computer software for day-to-day operations. Your school librarian can help you develop lessons for your students that focus on both content objectives and technology objectives. Blogs, digital stories, website creation – there are endless possibilities for transforming your current assessments into something more meaningful (and — GASP — more enjoyable) for your students. 

  • Students must be readers. Reading skills are always said to be the gateway skills to all subject areas. If a student can’t read, he or she is not going to flourish in any subject area. And the best way to get our students reading is to help them find the right book. When students find a book that gets them excited, they are more likely to pick up another book. And when they continue to pick up more books, their reading fluency and their vocabulary are going to improve. Your school librarian can help match your students’ interests with the right books, and he or she can help you incorporate more books into your curriculum to help support student learning. Plus, reading for enjoyment has its advantages, as well. Nothing beats a good book, and our students will benefit personally from becoming readers, too.     http://www.kentuckyteacher.org/kentucky-teacher-of-the-year/2012/07/why-you-need-your-school-librarian/

Chancellor Kaya Henderson of D.C. Public Schools is reaching the same conclusions as Ms. Shearer.

Emma Brown reports in the Washington Post article, DCPS should guarantee librarians in every school, task force recommends:

All D.C. public schools should be guaranteed money to hire a librarian, according to a task force convened by Chancellor Kaya Henderson to make recommendations regarding school libraries.


Research supports a strong library component in K-12 schools.

The December 2012 District of Columbia Public Schools School Library Task Force:

Recommendations for School Library Media Programs reported about prior studies:

The results from studies on the impact of school library media programs on student achievement have been consistent. For example:


higher numbers and weekly hours of librarian and total library staff;

offering more weekly hours for flexible access/scheduling;

librarians spending more time planning and teaching cooperatively with classroom teachers, and providing in-service training to teachers;

larger collections of print volumes and video materials;

access to more library and school computers that connect to Access Michigan, library catalogs and licensed databases, and the Internet and the World Wide Web;

more frequent individual and group visits to the library; and

spending more on library operations.

(Rodney, Lance, Hamilton-Pennell, 2003)


school librarian and total library staff hours per 100 students;

print volumes per student;

periodical subscriptions, video materials, and software packages per 100 students; and

school library expenditures per student.

(Lance, Rodney, and Hamilton-Pennell, 2003, VII)


school librarian staff hours; and

support staff hours.


teach cooperatively with teachers;

integrate information literacy skills standards and curriculum;

provide in-service training to teachers;

serve on standards committee;

serve on curriculum committee; and

manage information technology.

(Lance, Rodney, and Hamilton-Pennell, 2000 and 2011)


The American Library Association (ALA) has a position statement about library resources.

Here is the ALA Position Statement on Appropriate Staffing for School Libraries:

The success of any school library program, no matter how well designed, depends ultimately on the quality and number of the personnel responsible for the program. A well-educated and highly motivated professional staff, adequately supported by technical and clerical staff, is critical to the endeavor.

Although staffing patterns are developed to meet local needs, certain basic staffing requirements can be identified. Staffing patterns must reflect the following principles:

  1. All students, teachers, and administrators in each school building at all grade levels must have access to a library program provided by one or more certificated school librarian working full-time in the schools library.
  2. Both professional personnel and support staff are necessary for all library programs at all grade levels. Each school must employ at least one full-time technical assistant or clerk for each school librarian. Some programs, facilities, and levels of service will require more than one support staff member for each professional.
  3. More than one library professional is required in many schools. The specific number of additional professional staff is determined by the schools size, number of students and of teachers, facilities, specific library program. A reasonable ratio of professional staff to teacher and student populations is required in order to provide for the levels of service and library program development described in Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs.

All school systems must employ a district library director to provide leadership and direction to the overall library program. The district director is a member of the administrative staff and serves on committees that determine the criteria and policies for the districts curriculum and instructional programs. The director communicates the goals and needs of both the school and district library programs to the superintendent, board of education, other district-level personnel, and the community. In this advocacy role, the district library director advances the concept of the school librarian as a partner with teachers and promotes a staffing level that allows the partnership to flourish.

Revised 09/01/2010 http://www.ala.org/aasl/aaslissues/positionstatements/appropriatestaffing

School libraries are evolving with technology.

Moi wrote in The changing role of school libraries:

Laura Devaney wrote the article, School libraries changing with move to digital resources, which was posted at eSchool News.

As schools across the nation move from printed textbooks to digital materials and digital learning environments, school libraries are adapting to keep pace—and new advancements are changing the very definition of school libraries and library media specialists.

Many of today’s students do not know what a card catalog is, and challenges lie not in locating information about various topics, but in narrowing it down and determining whether resources are trustworthy or not…

I see librarians as media specialists,” McConnell said. “We still have literacy, whether it’s reading or research…the librarian is the perfect partner for the classroom. The role of the librarian has shifted” for the digital age, he said.

McConnell said thinking about physical learning space is critical even as school districts and higher education migrate to digital resources and virtual workspaces…

We think about different ways of doing business, and it’s not all about economics—it’s also about quality,” Suddreth said. “There are quality resources, and there are not-so-quality resources, and going with the cheapest model is not always the best. Tech directors are the perfect people to make it really clear to people that purchasing the least expensive model is not always going to support teaching and learning.”

Other challenges include:

Content expertise—Nearly every subject area has people who are proponents of that subject area being taught in a particular way, and other people who are against a particular method.
Hardware—Not every school has computers or tablets for every single student, even though 90 percent of all homes have a computer at home and 70 percent of the population has internet access. “Having hardware in the schools is something we see as our responsibility for students who don’t have it at home, but it’s also a challenge,” Suddreth said.
Security—Often of great concern to parents is what student access. Also, issues arise regarding protecting student information. Online assessments lead to security concerns.
Parent reactions—While student are very excited about working with the technology, where they can really be immersed in learning games or web research, parents are not always familiar with that and have concerns over what their students might be able to access. Parents sometimes have a fear of letting go of a more traditional way of learning.
Accessibility—This includes non-native English speakers and students with disabilities, as well as students’ ability to access the internet at home. “In Utah, because we have large families, when a family has five or six children and one computer, this does pose a problem after school,” Suddreth said.

McConnell said that as technology changes learning, libraries are evolving and will partner with students and faculty to help everyone understand how to research topics and filter information.


For many children a library is where the are introduced to reading and learning.


Are School Librarians Expendable?                    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/06/26/are-school-librarians-expendable

The True Value of the Work We Do http://www.schoollibrarymonthly.com/articles/Tilley2011-v27n8p45.html


Reading is a key component of learning                     https://drwilda.com/2012/01/18/reading-is-a-key-component-of-learning/

Helping at-risk children start a home library                   https://drwilda.com/2012/06/13/helping-at-risk-children-start-a-home-library/

More research about the importance of reading              https://drwilda.com/2012/06/05/more-research-about-the-importance-of-reading/

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