Library Routines Wiki

Despite its name, the Elementary Library Routines wiki is a great resource for librarians working at all levels. Created by Keisa Williams (CA), Catherine Trinkle (IN), Regina Hartley (OK) and Jamie Camp (TX), this wiki is a place where librarians from all over the US share ways that they are doing things in their libraries. Although the focus is on elementary, many of these ideas could be adapted for use with older students. There are sections for routines, administration, curriculum, and promotion, as well as funny things that have happened in the library. The next time you are trying to re-invent the wheel and come up with a better way to do something, check it out.

Elementary Library Routines wiki

We’ve gone digital!

Over the past year, there has been a lot of talk in school library circles about the best ways to provide books in digital format for students. In the Mesquite Independent School District, we’d been following with interest news stories of schools like Cushing Academy, where the majority of the print books were replaced with eBooks. This past summer when Amazon reported that eBooks had outsold hardcover books, it was clear that this was no flash in the pan, but an indicator that eBooks were now becoming mainstream.

Our library listservs are now full of conversation trying to figure out how to offer eBooks for students. Some schools have chosen to purchase sets of eReaders and pre-load content on them for circulation. Others are subscribing to eBook content though various vendors and allowing students to access them via computer. In Mesquite ISD, we opted to take theOverDrive approach, which gives our users 24/7 access to a digital library of approximately 4,000 eBooks and audiobooks via their own desktop/laptop computers, smartphones, eBook readers, and mp3 players.

Mesquite ISD is in a suburb of Dallas and has an enrollment of about 37,000 students. Each of our 44 campuses has a certified librarian who teaches information and technology skills using library resources. We believe that the 21st century library is about learning. Since reading is a fundamental skill for learning, we want to provide reading materials in every format that is available for our students.

As we began researching the best way to deliver eBooks, we found it was helpful to think of digital books in the same way that we think of other non-print formats. Libraries have been circulating VHS tapes, DVDs, cassettes, etc. for years, but not the equipment on which to play the content. We decided that we would follow this same model for delivery of digital content to our students, teachers, and parents.

On November 1, we were proud to launch the Mesquite ISD Digital Library in partnership with OverDrive, and proud to be the first school district in North Texas to offer such a service. Our library features material for students in grades K-12. The collection was selected by district librarians – one for each level (elementary, middle school and high school). While the focus of this collection is on pleasure reading, there is also a selection of professional titles available as well.

We were able to connect the Digital Library with our library management system so that every student and district employee has an account. Parents who would like an account can request one from their school librarian.

At the district level, we have promoted the Digital Library with our principals’ group, district PTA leaders, and Curriculum Council. Campus librarians have done demonstrations of the service for faculty, staff and students. Although more and more of our users have mobile devices and are interested in taking their books “to go”, we emphasize that this is not a requirement for using the Digital Library. All of the eBooks and audiobooks can be downloaded and enjoyed on a desktop or laptop computer. We were even able to have OverDrive’s Digital Bookmobile in the district right before the Winter Break. Over 400 students and teachers came through to learn about the Digital Library and how to use it.

All of our promotion seems to be working – we’ve had over 5,000 checkouts since the beginning of November. The digital library is a definite hit with Mesquite ISD library users!

Originally published on the Digitallibrary blog, January 26, 2011.

10 Tips and Tricks for Microsoft Word

from Gizmodo:

The name’s practically synonymous with “productivity app.” If you’re reading this article at work you’ve probably got a Word doc open right now, and you might think you’ve got a good handle on Microsoft’s word processor. We’ll bet you don’t know as much as you think you do. Don’t believe us? Read on for 10 quick tips and tricks for Microsoft Word.


Horizon Report 2011

horizonreportThe latest edition of the Horizon Report was published last week. A review of this document every year will keep you up to date on the latest technologies and their schedule for widespread adoption.

Read it “The Horizon Report 2011 Edition” here. (40 page PDF)

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon Report.
Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

“This years’ trends are:

Time-to-adoption One Year or Less:
• Electronic Books
• Mobiles

Time-to-adoption Two to Three Years:
• Augmented Reality
• Game-based Learning

Time-to-adoption Four to Five Years:
• Gesture-based computing
• Learning Analytics

Regarding ebooks and their adoption:

”Now that they are firmly established in the consumer sector, electronic books are beginning to demonstrate capabilities that challenge the very definition of reading. Audiovisual, interactive, and social elements enhance the informational content of books and magazines. Social tools extend the reader’s experience into the larger world, connecting readers with one another and enabling deeper, collaborative explorations of the text. The content of electronic books and the social activities they enable, rather than the device used to access them, are the keys to their popularity; nearly everyone carries some device that can function as an electronic reader, and more people are engaging with electronic books than ever before.””

School libraries are a right

“School Libraries – A Right is a statement from CILIP, issued in February 2011, on the role and value of school libraries. It sets out the core entitlements that every child, school’s teaching team and wider school community should expect to receive. It provides the case for a properly resourced, professionally staffed school library.”

Extract from the School Libraries – A Right:

“We believe that throughout their education every child is entitled to:

  • A safe and secure library environment
  • Support from library staff with extensive knowledge, enthusiasm and experience
  • A skilled library practitioner with responsibility and time to help children manage today’s information overload”

Read the full statement here (1 page PDF)

World Read Aloud Day

litworldwrad2011badgeMarch 9, 2011 is World Read Aloud Day. This global rally shows the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people and lets the children of the world know that words and stories have the power to change lives.

What would you miss most if you could not read or write?

Imagine your world without words.

Read with loved ones and new friends in honor of World Read Aloud Day from now through March 9, and tally your minutes to help reach the goal of 774 million minutes in honor of the 774 million people worldwide who cannot read or write.

For more information on how you and your school can participate in the events of World Read Aloud Day:

Participate in WRAD
WRAD Activities
Join the Facebook Event

It’s time to join the global literacy movement.

LitWorld Gala 10 Video from LitWorld on Vimeo.

2011 Reading Challenges

2Right before the Christmas holidays, Mesquite librarians did an online book study. We used a Goodreads group to discuss The Book Whisperer: Awakening the Reader in Every Child by Donalyn Miller. This book motivated many of our group to make a concerted effort to read every day in 2011 – me included. It reminded us that if we want our students (and teachers) to be readers, we have to model reading and talk about reading with them.

To help me keep my personal commitment, I have joined my first ever reading challenge – the Centurions of 2011 on Facebook! This group, created by Paul W. Hankins, is “a group of readers who have set a goal to read 111 or more books during the year 2011. Members will be posting month by month their titles, highlighting at least one pick to total twelve favorites for 2011. All genres accepted from picture books to poetry anthologies to professional texts.”

I’m keeping track of what I read on Goodreads – you can see my profile here.

If 111 books sounds like too many, Goodreads also offers a 2011 reading challenge, where you can set your own goal and track what you read using their site.

With all of the things that capture our attention these days, sometimes plain old reading just gets lost in the shuffle – even for book-loving people like librarians – and it’s something that shouldn’t be lost. As Donalyn Miller writes in her blog post about reading challenges:

…how many books you read isn’t really the point. Reading every day, whether it is a stack of picture books, 30 pages of an adult novel, or a section of that professional book you know will influence your paradigm–making a daily commitment to read is what matters–both to our teaching and our personal lives.

Won’t you join me in making a commitment to read every day in 2011?

Google eBooks

For the past several months, we’ve been working to implement a digital library (powered by Overdrive) in our district. Venturing into the ebook world has been quite an experience, let me tell you. Multiple devices, incompatible formats, DRM restrictions – a person has to really WANT to read in digital format because it’s not always easy getting what you want to read on the device that you have.

The introduction of Google eBooks may change all that.

This is the way digital reading should work!