Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Elena is four years old!

I had just written a post to this blog about reading books and electricity when the electricity went out here in paradise, Chimuri Cottages, Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. It happens on a regular basis. I was worrying about my granddaughter not reading -- because of the attraction of TV, computers, cell phones, games, etc. etc. Already her mother's generation has been wooed away from reading. But I also gave kudoes to the teacher librarians who are making use of technology to entice young people to read books! This is one of the themes of our CSLA Conference, November 19-21 in Ontario, Calif. which I helped plan, but won't be able to attend.
Elena was thrilled to get this book for her birthday. She had already seen the movie and received a stuffed "Wild Thing" from her Dad. I understand the movie wasn't that good -- she fell asleep. But I also think that movies like that are made often for adults.
So this will be short so I can post it before I lose electricity again.
Here's to reading and a future that will include books. I don't think you can replace them as they do not depend on electricity. Of course, they may have to be handwritten in future!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

School Libraries, Special Education, and Charters

Right now my school district (Los Angeles Unified) is turning all of its schools over to Charter Companies which they claim will do a better job than the District itself. The Los Angeles Times claims that Green Dot Charter has done so much for Locke High School, one of the worst in L.A. Here is a letter I wrote to the Times which they won't print:
Re: Cash for the Classrooms (L.A. Times Opinion Piece 9/28/2009)
While Green Dot Charters may provide smaller classes, like all charters they do so because they save money by not providing: 1) Counseling services; 2) Psychological services; 3) Libraries; 4) Special Education; 5) Nursing; 6) Intramural sports; 7) Orchestra; 8) Marching Bands and more. Moreover, Charters generally pick and choose the students they want so they'll test well and be more manageable.

Thirty years in education have taught me that our public schools need to do a better job. But Charters are not the answer. My three year-old granddaughter is receiving excellent services from LAUSD's Special Education. If all schools become charters, who will educate her? Schools will work for our students when money spent on bureaucracy goes directly to the schools. But to achieve this we should not cast aside our special needs students under the Charter mandate of education for the fittest.

Joan Kramer

I am particularly concerned with the loss of nursing, special education, counseling, music, art, and LIBRARIES!!! I have looked at 19 charter organizations and none of them hires a Teacher Librarian. In fact, I'd venture to say none of them has a library!! The head of Green Dot has said "We don't need libraries. Our kids don't read anyway." or something to that effect. This is a pervasive view among many of our administrators as well. I would guess that few of them read anymore, if at all. A teacher came into one of my libraries and sat there telling us that she doesn't read books. She wasn't particularly ashamed of this either. But she did think perhaps she should so she could model this for her students. Isn't this the biggest reason our kids don't read? It's not due to other gadgets and distractions, it's because the adults in their lives do not read!! This is a major loss for our collective good.

CSLA's Conference in November is taking up this most important issue of advocacy. I hope many people can attend and apply some of the good lessons learned by others in Districts where the library personnel have been saved from the chopping block. I fear our Teacher Librarians are in danger in Los Angeles. They have started to cut the elementary paraprofessionals, and I don't think they will stop there. DON'T FORGET TO SIGN UP FOR CLSA CONFERENCE IN ONTARIO NOVEMBER 19-22!!!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Library Without Books

I hope Dr. David Loertscher won't mind if I quote his email of September 17th about the topic of a library without books:
"Ten Things Worse Than a Library Without Books:
1. A library without a credentialed teacher librarian.
2. A library without information in the formats users prefer.
3. A library that restricts access to information in any format.
4. A library that most teachers ignore.
5. A library that most students Google around.
6. A teacher librarian who is afraid of or ignores the impact of technology.
7. A library that only deals in print materials.
8. A library of antiquated computers and computer networks.
9. A library where tech directors have a big sign back of their desks reading: Just Say NO!
10. An empty library."

Dr. Loertscher has been a leader in bringing teacher librarians into the 21st century. He has inspired many young and not so young to embrace the new technology, engage students in how to use it properly, and so much more. When I studied in library school ten years ago so much of this new technology did not exist. I was slow (Turtle Learner) to embrace it, and now realize how much I could have done in my library had I known more. My school was the most requested Magnet school in Los Angeles unified. However, it had a library that was smaller than most elementary school libraries, and was trying to serve a K-12 population. I knew I needed to embrace computers but I only had space for one for student use. Teachers in elementary school brought their classes, but middle and high school did not. It was lonely and frustrating. I spent the bulk of my time as well processing and ordering and collecting textbooks. Of course, I provided many new materials (those were the days of S080 funding for school libraries) and displayed current and popular titles. I increased the multicultural content of the library. I shared websites constantly with my teachers, especially in middle school. But it was still frustrating. The students at my school were not being served. Now I know I could have provided a library website that students could access in the classroom, or maybe at home, to do research, play games, practice math, and so much more. So, yes, I had many books, but I didn't have enough of what the students wanted, even then. I allowed them to research and print their documents. But they needed much more.
P.S. The image here is an elementary library in the valley of Los Angeles that has a gazebo!

SmallTalk: Weekend quotables

SmallTalk: Weekend quotables
Michael Klonsky has some great food for thought on this "SmallTalk" blog. He's posing the questions that we all want answered when it comes to education. Clearly our system in Los Angeles isn't working but we are not convinced that selling off our schools to Charters (partly to fund our District which is out of money, and partly to qualify for stimulus funds from President Obama) is the way to go. Too many charters do not offer a rich and varied curriculum to its students. More importantly to me, they do not provide social and psychological services that many of our students need. One charter I know has a student who is suicidal and cuts himself. How do they help him? Let him walk around school or sit in the office, basically do whatever he wants to do. The leadership of this school is very caring, but this is not helping this student. How can we offer choice as well as comprehensive services to our students, who, as the great Stephen Krashen says, are suffering from poverty, not bad education. How do we really serve these underserved students? How do we give them equal access not just to curriculum but to technology, libraries, music, art, dance, etc. etc. etc.???? One of my colleagues believes that Los Angeles Unified is falling apart, imploding from within so to speak. Our students will suffer even more if this is the case. And breaking up the district means even more inequality and lack of access to all.
My students in south and southeast Los Angeles do not go to libraries except those at their schools. Now the District is cutting library services for our students. How is this equal access?

Our Changing World and What It Means

My friend Benito Del Aguila Malvaez shares wonderful video clips from youtube on his Facebook page. This latest one is from 2008 and I had hoped my Library Services department would share it with our Teacher Librarians. It's titled "Did you know 2008 3.0" and asks "So what does it all mean?" Also available from Teachertube, it lists many facts about our changing world, including the fact that India and China are likely to become great powers soon. But it also emphasizes how much information is available to people compared with earlier times. China will soon become the number one English speaking country in the world. Our students are being prepared for jobs that havent been created yet. "We are living in exponential times." There are 540,000 words in the English language -- five times more words than in Shakespeare's time. Mind boggling numbers that make the job of teachers, especially teacher librarians, a challenging responsibility. I am grateful for School Library Learning 2.0 and for the CSLA Conference coming up in November. There will be many sessions devoted to library advocacy and technology for our changing world. One hot topic is the educational use of cell phones -- our students are always using them, how can we make this an educational tool? I have become addicted to my BlackBerry although I now wish I'd bought an iPhone. I'm sure that when I purchase my next phone, there will be many more uses for a cell phone. Pictured here is my almost four year-old granddaughter Elena who is being a DJ - one of the 34 jobs she might have in her lifetime. She loves to do puzzles on Jigzone. What will her world be like? Will her education be as good as mine was?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Standards for the 21st Century Learner

I'm taking Jackie's advice today and posting this link to AASL's standards for the 21st century learners. Right now some of us in Los Angeles are fighting to keep the jobs of our paraprofessionals. And I think our professionals' jobs are not safe either. Two teacher librarians were cut from their schools because the principals were given the "choice" to keep them or pay for other positions. This has set a dangerous precedent. As well, our paraprofessionals have been cut from all elementary schools under 550 students -- interestingly enough many of these are the best physical facilities as well as the highest performing schools Los Angeles has. So the Board has chosen to further diminish its ability to turn out well-educated students. The Board of Education members are the ones who need to be reading the standards from AASL. Unfortunately our Board of Ed is not run by educators but politicians who are there to further their political careers. Tamar Galatzan, who seemed to be sympathetic, because she has two children in school, turns out to be running for another office. Monica Garcia, Yoli Flores-Aguilar and other board members were promoted by our Mayor whose goal is to be King, apparently. He was originally put in office by the support of the teachers' union where he once worked. Now he attacks the teachers union as hindering progress. Mr. Opportunist -- sorry, I know I shouldn't be attacking people in a blog, but seriously, he and others are using our children to further their careers. Most of them wouldn't dream of having their own children in a school without a well-run and fully stocked library media center. And I don't believe our President or Secretary of Education would allow their children to attend a school lacking the latest in information literacy which is provided by the library media center. Our public school students are expendable, apparently. All they need to do is get high scores on tests. Politicians are not interested in turning out well-educated, critical-thinking students. They have sold our education system to the highest bidder and turned it into a private enterprise. I guess libraries are next. What can we do to stop this profit-motive movement that is undermining the greatest foundations of modern democracy????
By-the-way, this wonderful teacher librarian in my photo is Barbara Warren. I hope she doesn't mind my using this photo of her incredibly busy and wonderful library media center!! Kudos to Barbara!!!

Friday, September 4, 2009

43 Things

I am not exactly bored, but inspired by the 23 things to learn more. So I headed to the page that lists 43 things we list makers could do, many of which include some of the 23 things. The first one I went to was so I could plot a map showing all the countries I've visited. I feel fortunate to have traveled a bit, as well as lived in two other countries for a year each. These experiences were invaluable. As a child my family lived in many places due to political persecution, yes, here in this great country. Then, when I was 16, I had the great fortune to be sent to Huejotitan, Mexico to build the irrigation ditch for the orchard of an orphanage in this tiny pueblo. It was my first enounter with another country, and I loved it because I wasn't a tourist, I was a worker. I and my friends built the ditch, vaccinated pigs, ran a nursery school for the village children, ate beans and eggs and tortillas, and generally lived an unpriviledged life for a month. What a wonderful education for a teenager!! After that, it was difficult to travel as a tourist. I felt I should somehow make a contribution. And I still feel that way. I hope to find out what is needed in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica when I am there. I plan to take some children's books with me, although I'll have to pay extra. Children of the earth deserve books!!! We throw away books that many would treasure. I just sent 8 books to Tanzania where my dear friend is teaching and it cost $42. Wow!! More later.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Keep on Turtle Learning

I'm trying to motivate myself to keep up this blog. At the moment I'm consumed by the fires in our area -- too close to home for health sake, but not in danger of losing our home. My secondary concern is the state of the Library Aides in Los Angeles Unified School District. I am working with a group of them -- there are about 500, and 180 have had their hours cut in half and lost their benefits. My job was also cut, along with five of my coworkers, in this first round of cuts at lausd. About 2000 teachers also were cut, but they managed to save all but about 330 of them. Meanwhile, our superintendent and board have sold our schools to the highest bidder (they want the Race to the Top money) and are telling us on their KLCS TV broadcasts that we shouldn't worry about job cuts, some other employee will step in and do the job!!
I worked at the lowest pay level in 1979 when we were all suddenly cut due to Prop. 13. Our bosses were not cut, and my immediate Director was redecorating his office. When I told the Board this, one of them told me I was a liar. This was pre-television days and tact played no part.
Once again, LAUSD is picking on the lowest paid workers. Actually, this has been true throughout its sorry history. My mother, who never went to college, was able to ascend to a top secretarial position, only to be demoted the following year. Money had to be saved, so the Board targets classified employees. Actually, this year was the first time in my memory that large groups of certificated were also targeted. Fortunately they have stronger unions. Classified have been divided into several units, and therefore conquered. Some of their unions are really "associations" and not unions at all. They know they are in danger of losing so many members, but they don't know how to fight back.
The Library Aides are an intelligent and caring group of people who earn some of the lowest pay in the district. They keep their jobs because they love them. Medical benefits made the job possible for many with families. Sadly, we are not the only district who has cut library personnel, both classified and certificated. My fellow blogger, Jane the librarian, now has a TL in the Classroom blog because she was cut.
I am appalled at a society, state, and government that do not value libraries. Particularly when our economy is in deep, deep recession, we need our libraries to provide people with resources they won't otherwise be able to obtain. I am equally appalled at a society that will allow the richest to stay rich at the expense of the poor. This is happening in our District, and it is happening with the health care debate. Every other advanced capitalist country has paid health care. How is it that we succeeded in brainwashing our citizens into thinking they don't deserve health care??? Actually, polls show that 70% of us favor a single-payer, Medicare type system. I hope for once the majority will prevail.
And I hope that the lausd Board and Superintendent will come to their senses. Our students DO NOT GO TO ANY OTHER LIBRARY except their school library. They need these and their Library Aides to instill early a love of reading. Working in the 21st century demands a literate public. Why are we failing our students???

Monday, August 24, 2009

Thing #23 -- Thoughts and I wish this wasn't the last!

Must all good things must come to an end? I just read that Lawrence Lessig's blog is ending. I was interested in his discussion of "socialism" and the Internet, a term he does not endorse. I did not want to post this last Thing because it meant that I have finished the course. Really, the truth is that this has shown me how much I have to learn and need to explore further.
I wasn't sure what the Discovery Exercise meant about an example or attribution that shows this program has been modified from its original.
My favorite discoveries were many -- flickr, LibraryThing, image generators, but mainly blogging itself. Blogging has replaced the content in newspapers in many ways since newspapers, in my view, are the product of their owners and not a free press. I like that I am able to subscribe to many blogs through RSS feeds, as well as newspapers, tweets, and anything else. So much was enjoyable in terms of extending my knowledge of Internet tools, I believe I have barely scratched the surface. I wish in some ways that my job had not been cut so that I could introduce all this to my colleagues. I am hoping my district will undertake using this and classroom learning 2.0.
Because I am now retired I hope to make use of all these tools to further my desire to create histories of people who have been written out of our history books. My parents and their friends contributed to a better world back in the 1930's and 40's but their stories have never been told. I hope to write them to appeal to young people, so they know there are people who were willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good. Additionally, I will be finding all the new books I need to read by referring to many of the sites I found during this course.
Surprises -- everything was surprising! But in actual fact, the surprise was that the turtle could learn enough and at a pace that allowed me to finish. If I couldn't do something one way, I often found another. And this slow learner knows there is so much more to learn, but now looks forward to doing so.
Please, please, please do offer another course like this. In just the few years you have been teaching School Library Learning 2.0 there have been so many changes. I would like to see some of the links updated if that's not too much.
One sentence: Twenty-first century learning involves so much more than the passive intake of information on the part of the learner, and allows the learner to create, change, and evaluate the learning environment.
Not the best, but certainly a begining!
(P.S. The turtle image is from )

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thing #22 - eBooks and Audio eBooks

How timely a topic this is when we are discussing the possibility of eTextbooks for schools. California already has several free textbooks available online for schools to use. The real issue here however is access to computers and the Internet. Many of our students in Los Angeles do not have a computer for their own use. I believe one of our Calib colleagues stated that we are awaiting the unveiling of a low cost alternative to Kindle that can be made available to all students. So...what do I think about all these books being made available online and electronically? Mixed emotions. I am in the middle of adding my home library to LibraryThing right now, feeling and touching and reading each one. The idea that I might not have books to hold in my hands and flip through at my own pace is disturbing to me. However, I also see the tremendous value of sharing the notebooks of Jane Austen and the original Alice's Adventures Under Ground for all the world to see and enjoy! And to listen to someone reading them at the same time is positively delicious. Somehow I think that both the physical and electronic book will exist for some time to come. But eventually, we will be saving trees and eliminating the nooks and crannies for silverfish (this year I've been inundated with them!) and other bugs to hide. I suppose eventualy we will go to museums to see the last examples of Gutenberg's invention. Interesting to me is that I didn't consider that people can self publish their books online -- books that probably never would have made it in the publishing world otherwise. One site I visited was mostly self-published books, ones I admit I had little interest in reading but can see the overwhelmingly democratic nature of this process!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thing #21 -- Podcasts

A problem I have with podcasting is that I am a visual learner. I don't like listening to books, speeches, podcasts, etc. as I need the written word to follow. My mind begins to wander instead of concentrating on what is being said. I looked at the different sites for podcasts and found the best ones at -- "ALSC Blog Podcast" seemed to be the most relevant. I tried to share to my RSS feeds a podcast from this but don't know if I was successful. The Yahoo link didn't work and I think I had to go to iTunes to get the Yahoo podcasts. I am also a kinesthetic learner -- the combination of listening and writing works well for me. That's how I passed college lecture courses. I took word for word notes sometimes from famous lecturers -- probably still have the notes somewhere. However, I do see the beauty of podcasting. I first learned about them from Julie Drake at the LA County Office of Education who gave workshops on how to do podcasts. It was cutting edge!! The best thing she shared was a podcast by her expert that he did with his two children who were evaluating a sport they were watching. It was fun and especially great to hear the children. So the educational applications are there -- book talks, interviews, step-by-step instructions, etc. etc. Now, another colleague uses Voicethreads. How does that differ from podcasts? And is it easier to do? I'll have to find out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thing #20 again -- another thrilling video

I just couldn't resist -- I had to add this one to my blog. This was the highlight of my experience as a TL -- because we were destroying the myth of the shushing, grey-haired, stuffy librarian!! And I think we did a wonderful job, while promoting our fabulous CSLA organization for ALA. I would do it again in a heart beat if we had more time. We threw this one together rather quickly and had very little time to practice. I hope others will consider entering the competition. We also met two fabulous children's authors: Mo Willems and Jon Scieszka, who were the MCs. I have a photo of one my fellow book cart drill team members with her stomach signed by both of them. I have to get permission from her to publish this photo.

Thing #20 -- YouTube--video sharing sites

For six years I was the cataloger and convener for LA's Audiovisual Media Library, so I have some fairly developed opinions about videos. When our funds were cut in 2004, I continued to make videos available to our schools -- these were all educational, short, quality videos that had been vetted by subject area teachers in English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Science, Health, and the Arts. It was truly a teacher-centered resource -- unlike textbooks or other offerings. I searched for websites that would explain the importance of visual media in order to mount the case for reopening my library, or, at best, providing on-demand programs to our schools. This was supposed to be done by our TV station (KLCS) but has only been implemented in a small number of schools, because it is costly. Teachers need videos. I did not see the value of YouTube until I performed in our wonderful "California Girls" book cart drill team at ALA in 2008. There we were, on several videos, and on YouTube!! What a thrill!! In addition, I admit to loving the emails I receive from friends that show unlikely animals supporting each other in the wild, all courtesy of YouTube. I can see the educational value of course -- students can be so creative and expressive with videos!! This year a Board Member encouraged students to enter their videos in a competition showing the effects of budget cuts on the schools. What a great idea!! And several were truly excellent.

So for this post I chose the video about the new Kindle since it shows a funny battle between a book and a kindle. I am already lamenting the loss of newspapers (I still subscribe) and can't imagine curling up with a Kindle. But then again, it's much easier to travel with a Kindle.

In perusing YouTube for possible videos I did come across some interesting new sites: one in particular was for WizIQ -- free online teaching and E-learning with web conferencing. So much of YouTube is commercial or to push a particular platform. But libraries can benefit from these new resources, as well as the many tutorials that teach how to use Web 2.0 tools and more. I am interested in archiving photos and documents, and I found a video about this as well. So these sites are a valuable, free resource for cash-strapped libraries (aren't we all!!).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Thing #19 -- LibraryThing

This was easy for me as I had joined a year ago, thanks to a colleague who recommended it. I have entered 50 of my books, two were nowhere to be found. I'll have to enter them myself. The only issue I have is the many listings people make of their books (or booksellers on more likely) contain errors. So I am often unable to find the exact copy I hold in my hands. This is disturbing. I sometimes add facts in the tags to correct some of the description. I found the blog LibraryThing for Librarians which talked about adding older books and how they are trying to make it easier. The two books I couldn't find surprised me -- one is by David Horowitz, about Berkeley in the 60's -- perhaps he destroyed every copy he could find since he now renounces what he did? I noticed that the biggest group is Librarians Who LibraryThing and that makes sense. Others like to be challenged to read books. I plan to add all 4000 + books to LibraryThing but wonder if I'll ever finish. I couldn't figure out how to display the dewey number, only the LC classification shows in certain views. Some of my books are very popular, but most are fairly obscure. The conversations about books seem to take people all over the map. Book lovers love to recommend books!!
I had already added a link on my blog last week when I saw this was one of the "things". Useful site but I'd like to improve some of the choices. Perhaps I should enter them myself but that takes time!!
I love this image since I need about two rooms to hold all my books. I forgot about the 2000 inherited from my parents as well. I'd like to have a house of books.

Thing 18 -- Online productivity tools

I am thrilled to learn another online productivity tool with Zoho Writer. I set up an account and started a document easily, inserting an image, changing font and page layout, etc. etc. I love the idea that one can access one's documents from any computer and save them. I am going traveling for five months and wondered what would happen if my computer crashed and I lost all my work. This way my documents can be saved online. I understand there are sites you can pay a fee that will do the same, and this is probably a good idea as well. But this one is so easy to use and has many helpful features. If I get a new computer, I won't bother having to buy Office Works or expensive software programs. I have already used Google docs. with my fellow librarians and others. We have a website and google groups for our Los Angeles School Library Association. It makes communication much easier and allows for more private conversations outside the work setting.
The image you see here is the one I uploaded to Zoho for my ID because I couldn't upload my photo. Too big!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thing #16 -- should be #17

Somehow I got ahead and posted my last entry as #17 and it should have been #16. So this one will have to be listed as #16 but it is really #17. I visited the California Curriculum Connections wiki (so glad Web 2.0 was added to the CDE website!!! -- Congratulations Jackie, et al!!) and read all the wonderful ideas people have added. I think the applications are endless. I know from my experience that most of them would not work unless content area teachers are collaborating on these projects. Wikis in particular would work well if they are assigned by a subject area teacher and then evaluated by the teacher librarian, who could make excellent suggestions for more content, etc. Visuals seem particularly important -- the ability to add photos, videos, podcasts. I particularly liked the idea of students creating their own avatars. These could be used for blogs especially. But my main feeling is that students will participate when they are encouraged to do so by their content area teachers -- and are involved in projects that are collaborative in nature. I left a comment on pbwiki but not on the California Curriculum Connections wiki. I loved the page for CSLA 2.0 Team and Friends that features everyone's avatars. WebTools4U2Use is a great link!!
Today is a good day to go outside and enjoy the sunshine at Echo Park Lake!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Thing #17 - Wikis

Having looked at all the links for wikis, I wonder if this is a tool that is hard to maintain, or is being replaced? The most active wikis seem to relate to conferences (CSLA conference wiki) or ALA (which has many wikis, all of which seem to be kept up to date -- all useful). The ones I enjoyed most were those that recommended books to read (and then linked to their library catalog if you were lucky to live near that library). Library Instruction wiki didn't work on my browser -- I tried it many times. A wiki called Blogs About Teen Library Services very helpful, as was Library Services: A Best Practices Wiki." I have to admit a prejudice against Wikipedia, starting with an entry about my father. I do not generally trust blogs or wikis for information, and question the source of it. But I might also say that Encyclopedias are not necessarily always "correct" -- they all have biases. Perhaps the interactive quality of Web 2.0 is a good thing, allowing a reader to enter information that s/he feels is relevant or more up-to-date. How about Interactive Textbook Wikis -- since we cannot afford to buy new textbooks? We can enter our own information, inviting experts in the fields to weigh in on the content. Wikis are an interesting tool -- but I wonder if they are being replaced by other tools? Face-to-face interactions will be a thing of the past?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Thing #15 - The Future of Libraries and Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0

Having read all the essays suggested and more, I am not sure I am any closer to an answer than I was before I did the research. These articles are by scholarly, knowledgeable people in the library field. Their breadth of knowledge is so far beyond my small world of school libraries in Los Angeles. I thought I would start even closer to home and talk about two family members' feelings about libraries and the Web. My husband, a lawyer, uses online databases to help with his cases. He searches general topics of law and doesn't find anything. He must know the name or number of a specific case. He prefers to go to the closest law library and talk to the librarian. My daughter who must use the Internet constantly for work (she is a teacher) and who urged me to sign up for Facebook just so I could see the newest photos of my granddaughter, does not like to read and told me that librarians never helped her. (Yes - she means me, too!) She also does not like doing research on the Web and asks me to do it for her. The differences between them are that the first is a reader, loves Shakespeare, Dylan Thomas, and Samuel Beckett, etc. and the second is a talker and a doer. My daughter is changing lives by investing her time in her students. My husband is helping clients. Both are contributing to the world, and both have a totally different outlook towards libraries and the Internet. Perhaps it is generational -- my generation prefers face-to-face interaction (online college classes just seem so unreal). The students we are teaching today are socially connected through the Web -- Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, YouTube, etc. etc. They think nothing of using Google to find answers, and Wikipedia is okay too. My vision is that students of the future will walk around with Acer or Asus type computers, interacting with people all over the world to find answers, make contributions, create documents, artwork, videos, and more. Teachers will be remotely viewing students' work from the comfort of home, perhaps? Textbooks will all be online, and research will too -- Wikipedia has a student/school version now that they say is more authoritative than the old Wikipedia. Not just anyone can change the entries, and scholars are doing the research. Is this good? Is this real? It doesn't really matter because it is what is happening. So where do libraries fit into all of this? I think of a CSLA colleague who seems to successfully navigate the world of the web while simultaneously reading and recommending books to her students and friends. Her energy and enthusiasm seem boundless and so appealing! She does an excellent job of promoting her library!! An essential skill for all of us to emulate. Did I answer anything in this blog? I don't think so. I still have so many questions about the future of libraries. I still want my paperback book at my bedside to read into the wee hours. But I also like that I can find my mother's favorite books - not long out of print -- on Google books -- St. Elmo by August Jane Evans, written over 100 years ago. She died with it at her side.
I want students to read and to think and to be critical. I don't care if it's a paperback book or the World Wide Web. Life long learners are what we hope to create -- and if Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0 + helps to do this, then more power to the Web. But I still think we need the people who can navigate the students towards the best resources, tools, and interactions.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Thing #14 - Technorati with tags for blog posts

Whew! I don't think I'm ready for prime time Technorati. Searching the site wasn't all that friendly -- I tried several ways to search for "School Library Learning 2.0" and the results were incredibly varied. One search even gave two different results within a few minutes -- went from 84 results to 76. Is the blogosphere changing that rapidly that 8 blogs can be wiped out in minutes? At first the Tags search wasn't working at all. Also, one has to look at "any authority" versus "some authority", etc., in order to find results. I had to change to "any authority to get any results for Tags Only search. I'm not sure how helpful this is for a library. I think it's helpful for getting your blog out into the world -- I did find many of our CSLA bloggers there. Marie Slim's blog was amazing. How do you find the time???
Actually, my favorite result of this perusal was that the Huffington Post is the #1 Blog in Favorites or popular blogs. I thought that was interesting. Does it mean that it's mostly these types who read and write blogs? Or does it mean that people are interested in creating real dialogues about real problems? There are certainly a varied group of folks writing for Huffington Post which seems a good thing for information literacy. But would you recommend this as a source of information for your students? Not sure. As for tagging, it does seem critical. I never did access the list of 100 tags. I hope it works in future. I was curious that I got such strange results when I searched "education" -- none of the blogs were related to education. I clearly need more time with Technorati.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thing 13 -- Lucky # -- Del icio us and social bookmarking

I watched the videos and perused the site. I can see the advantages of especially the ability to access your bookmarks on any computer. I've often wished I had access to a favorite site when I was using someone else's computer. I also marveled at some of the favorites: seems really amazing. Of course, the best usage is educational -- for bookmarking your curricular needs. I had amazing amounts of bookmarks for Ancient Egypt (it's sixth grade curriculum -- the video said 5th??) and listed them all for my teachers. Now I find myself adding random bookmarks that need to be cataloged? would be very useful. Tagging is something I'm not quite sure about yet. I keep thinking of subject headings. What would be most useful for others to find the bookmark? Most commonly used, or most academic, or most sexy...whoops, this is an educational tool. I think I meant attractive. I didn't set up an account. Still working on some of my other tools. This does take a lot of time!!! I uploaded an image of my avatar since I can't see it on my browser.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Thing 12 - Rollyo - more thoughts

I think I successfully added a "widget" or ?? to the bottom of my blog.
Now I can search my saved search rolls.
I have noticed that some of the links for School Library Learning 2.0 have already come and gone. I guess this is this nature of the web. One way you can tell if a site is worth saving -- it has been around for quite awhile and many people use it.
I'd like to link to Joyce Valenza's blog but I didn't quite know how to do this as a gadget??
Turtle Learning at work. Sometimes I can find another way to do something when I don't understand the first way I tried.

Thing 12 - Rollyo

Rollyo is interesting in terms of creating good sites for research. I created an account and chose several sites to search based on my own interests, as well as general research and news sites already on a rollyo search roll. So I thought I created a search roll too. I'm not certain that this is as useful as it should be because it seems to allow too much to be included -- not simple enough to navigate for users. I also tried to add it to my blog but I guess I didn't understand the directions. I think I need to call someone for help!!!! That's me, needing another cup of coffee.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Thing 11 - Web 2.0 Award-Winning Apps.

Happily I discovered that I have been using an award-winning site for at least a year -- Care 2 -- the #1 Philanthropy site. I receive daily updates through email and can easily support many causes and sign lots of petitions. I guess this makes me feel less guilty about not going out and supporting the issues that I think are important: global warming, endangered species, clean water for all, etc. etc. etc. The site is easy to use and includes interesting Health Tips that are usually not involved with traditional medicine -- natural remedies for the most part. By the way, it's at In the library setting, collaborating with a history/social science, Science, or English teacher to explore possible issues of importance that might encourage students to look beyond themselves. Several educators I have studied believe that an education that involves critical thinking and issues that affect students' lives is the most effective way to get them interested in becoming life long learners. Sorry -- that was an awkward sentence. The students could also explore Care2 to see if they agree, or if the information presented is accurate. Who is creating this information and why? I haven't joined a Ning yet, but I tried the Travel IQ game and didn't succeed beyond the second level. I have to admit I hate these games for myself, but think this might be fun for some students. I have visited and lived in many places on the globe, but I couldn't react fast enough on Travel IQ.
(The image you see here is similar to one I have in my living room -- these are papier mache life-size "enramadas" from Mexico by famous folk artists. Just to catch your eye!)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Thing 10 - Online Image Generators continued

The possibilities seem endless for use: create images with favorite quotations from the book you are reading; make posters with key words about a character in a book; using your photos or other photos, make a poster that encompasses facts you have learned about an animal, a country, a person. Students who don't feel they are creative can begin to be creative with these tools and feel successful. Personal uses are endless, such as this puzzle created with a photo of my granddaughter two years ago. Of course, I would have to buy it!

Thing 10 - Online Image Generators

Just a quick post because I like the image I generated. Will do more. This is really fun! ImageChef Word Mosaic -
Hope this works!

Thing 9 - Explore Blogs/Feeds

In searching for useful bogs and feeds for libraries, I found that teacher-librarian blogs are the most useful. With Bloglines, I did encounter a blog for "Criticas" - the Scholastic journal on best Spanish books for children, a source I used at work, so I added it to my Google Reader page. Using the link to award winning edu blogs, I decided to look at the nominees for best library blog for two years. My favorites were Hey Jude -- where she provided a link to a paper entitled "Future Learning in a Digital Age" by the MacArthur Foundation from http://www.futureof the and A Library By Any Other Name from Texas. The latter is at She has great links to other library blogs including Joyce Valenza, Kathy Schrock's Kaffee Klatsch, Library Stuff, Tame the Web, Weblogg-ed, and more. My favorite quote from this blog is "Patience is one of the tools you have to have in the 2.0 world." Joyce Valenza is by far my favorite although I fear it will take me too long to be able to even understand all that she does. Today she lists AASL's best websites for teaching and learning. Now how much more useful can you be! All of this takes time but I did think that looking for school library blogs is our best bet for resources.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Thing 8 - RSS Feeds

I used Google Reader to set up a news reader. I did it too fast. There were a gazillion items I'd like to read about on a regular basis but I wonder if I'll ever have time to read them. I did find an interesting website/pdf by Will Richardson: RSS: A Quick Start Guide for Educators. I gather he is the guru of this and many other educational issues. This is the link. I shared some of my items on Turtle Learning at the right.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Things 6 and 7 Flickr

My last post should have been Thing 6 as I did explore Flickr sites and start a travel blog.
One problem is that my daughter got me started on Facebook which many people use as a blog. And Facebook is very easy to navigate, although I need to explore some of its options more thoroughly. Here is a photo of my granddaughter that I posted on Facebook page. The problem is that school districts block this site -- or Los Angeles does. I understand the reasons, but they also block academic book publishers' sites needlessly because they sell textbooks about human relationships. Students invariably find ways around these blockages anyway.

Thing 5 Flickr continued

The thing about Flickr is that it seems more difficult to use than just a blog would be.
I started a Yahoo! Trip for my trip to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica and wanted to add photos taken in December and January 2008-2009. But to do that I'd have to learn an entirely different operation that uploads the photos to Flickr in order to add it to Yahoo! Trip. I think there are easier ways to do these things since Flickr started. One colleague says she prefers Snapfish. I'll have to check that out as well.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Thing 5 Flickr

Thing 5 Flickr
Luckily I had a Flickr account created with Marie Slim's help to post photos of CSLA 2008.
So I looked for a beautiful library photo taken at one of my elementary schools in Southeast Los Angeles. The creative Library Aide, Cindy Gonzalez, draws freehand beautiful images for Dr. Seuss Day or whatever she is featuring. I wanted to share this lovely image on my blog. Hope I can figure out how.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

RSS Feeds

I was reading one of my favorite people's blogs and he included a wonderful short video about RSS feeds.
Title: Video: RSS in Plain English. Really clear explanation. Now I need to set it up!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I successfully followed the directions to post my avatar and it didn't work.
The image does not show. What a pity!

Thing #2 and #3 and #4

The first post should have been thing #2. I have completed the first four things. So far it has been fairly straightforward, except I didn't create an avatar. I think avatars are attractive and whimsical and perhaps wishful thinking. I could use all of that. I hope I don't confuse everything by using a different email for CSLA. I need to change my profile -- my old account was abruptly cut when I retired June 30th.

Thing #1

Thing #1 - Tips from lifelong learners is useful. I understand all of it except the confidence part. Decided one can gain confidence by just doing something, learning from failures. I am a turtle learner, slow, slow, slow.