Washington Moms Do it Again!!!

I just saw a reference in the AASL Blog to this posting in School Library Journal about school library programs being supported in a most concrete and dynamic way.

After months of wrangling, Washington lawmakers late last night passed the basic education reform bill, which includes a permanent line item for school library materials—and an allocation of funds to pay for a certified librarian in every K–12 school by 2018.

This is just amazing!! At a time when school librarians are being replaced with paraprofessionals and library budgets are being slashed across the nation, Washington is going against the big wave. And as we all know, it is coming about because three moms were not going to let the library programs become sacrificial lambs to the budget knife.

This is an incredible testament to the tenacity and advocacy of someone dedicated to a cause. Can we replicate this in any other state?

North Central Evaluation

Debbie Stafford posted an interesting discussion about North Central accreditation on the AASL Blog. Having been a high school librarian, the secondary schools were particularly concerned with our North Central status. Some of the elementary schools even sought North Central accreditation. However, much of that changed with meeting the Missouri School Improvement Program standards and many of the elementary schools dropped North Central as an evaluation tool. I would like to know how many high schools have continued with North Central accreditation.

I haven’t had a lot of experience with the administrative aspect of getting accreditation, but I was involved with the leadership of the Missouri Association of School Librarians when North Central proposed to eliminate the quantitative standards for libraries. As we all know, the 1998 standards no longer indicate the number of items that should be in a library or even how much square footage should be present. We worked diligently on our letters to North Central but to no avail as North Central with the school improvement route.

Currently the Accreditation Standards for Quality Schools has very little to say about school libraries:

Standard 3: Teaching and Learning

3.10 Provides comprehensive information and media services that support the curricular and instructional programs.

Well, at least we’re in the document, although the word “library” doesn’t appear any place.

Debbie in her original posting asks

A question – do we have a need for the old qualitative “guidelines” in addition to the more general learning standards? Are we better or worse off without them?

I ask the question of how important is North Central to schools at this point? I don’t really know. Is it important enough for us to discuss trying to go back to the old quantitative standards?

Books on iPhone and iPod Touch

I have a deep and abiding love affair with my iPod Touch. I wanted the iPhone but couldn’t talk the wife into changing phone providers so this was as close to cool as I could get.

At any rate…

I’ve had lively discussions with my selection classes about why they are still buying print books. Of course, there are lots of reasons to do so, but one of the biggest drawbacks has always been the poor quality e-readers which are very expensive.  Of course, Amazon’s Kindle has made a great advance in this territory in the quality of the physical e-reader, but the cost is still an issue. Now there is a free Kindle application in Apple’s App Store for the iPhone and the iPod Touch.

This means that you don’t have to buy the separate Kindle ($359) to go with all of your other fun technological toys. You can download your books (cheaper than the print cost) from Amazon and read them on the iPod Touch/iPod you have with you all the time anyway. Of course, if you have one of those other brands of MP3 players or phones, this discussion isn’t for you.

At any rate, I think this will continue to force schools to reevaluate their policies regarding cell phone use in the school. I’m not sure what the solution is, but the technology continues to march forward and the schools will need to come up with a plan for how to integrate the technology that is part of 99% of every student’s life. It could be that Janie is playing “Grand Theft Auto” but she might also be reading Crime and Punishment. This will continue to push schools and libraries to have the information available in a digital format that will be present at the student’s point of need — not when the library is open and makes it convenient.

I’ve not used the Kindle application for my iTouch, but when your Apple product can now hold hundreds or even thousands of books without buying the Kindle itself, it would seem that we are once again at a dynamic shift.

I assume someone is working on how libraries will be able to share this material. My undertstanding at this point is that the titles are not transferable from one device to another.

Will this have changed by next month?

School vs. Library

This video has popped up on a number of blogs. It is so powerful to hear a student compare the restrictions of the classroom to the freedoms students enjoy in the library. However, I couldn’t help but wonder if he would have had the same thing to say about the school library.

Have we put so many restrictions on students that they perceive the school library nothing but another classroom? How many of our students are restricted by the labels put on books indicating the reading level from which they are not supposed to stray? How many students are restricted from what they want to read because there isn’t an AR test that goes with that title?

I think it may be illustrative of how students perceive those of us in the school setting and our facilities when this student specifically sings the praises of the public library.

Public Schools and Public Libraries, YouTube


Michigan Has It’s Act Together

MAME – Michigan Association for Media in Education has put together a terrific wiki helping LMSs in the state (and everywhere else, thank you WWW) to implement in AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. There is a lot of good information there, but I particularly thought the visualization of the standards by four strands, four standards, and nine common beliefs was particularly effective. Linke to the four standards are links to additional information that explain and expand on the concepts.

It’s the best visualizatsion I’ve seen of the AASL Standards so far. Bravo.