Posts Tagged 21st century libraries

The future of libraries is in the hands of librarians

So says R. David Lankes in the opening moments of his presentation School Librarians as Facilitators for Learning embedded below.  We represent the fundamentals of the future of libraries.  Yes!  High Five Folks!  His Atlas of  New Librarianship is a bible, a book to take so much out of.

He says:  The mission of librarians is to improve society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities.  And he is talking to you school librarians.

I’m quite a lot in love with his messages, pretty much all of them.  Watch this presentation and take on board what he is saying.  He is going to give you lots of examples of how you can think about why you do the things you do.  Not the what you do.  Yes, it takes an hour but yes it is an hour well spent.  Great PD.  Really great PD.

It comes from here.

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Tailored services – that’s how we roll

This fabulous cartoon came to me via Teacher Librarian Network on Facebook tonight.

Libraries of the future

What do you think?  Is this the future?  Swallow a pill and you’ve read a classic?  Have the characters in a book step out and become a projected holograph on the wall in front of you?  Robot library staff?  Will we reach a time when paper books are just a fond memory?

I personally think not – at least not for a while.  A quick pop quiz this week with a bunch of Year 10 classes as they passed through my booktalking clutches and quizzed them on their library usage – ours I know about, but I was interested in whether they used the public library.  Most did not, and it certainly depended on the kind of class they were.  Higher streams using it more than lower.  Students seem to have had a range of experiences when they’ve been mixing it up in the public libraries.  It seems staff there aren’t familiar with the kind of things they need, perhaps remembering from their school days what they required, or even more enthusiastically encouraging them to look at new things about which the particular librarian they approach is an expert.  I think there is some room for public librarians to get familiar with the kind of things our students study, to find out what topics are taught and to make contact with school librarians to talk curriculum matters.  What books work for subjects, what won’t work.  That at least is the feedback I got from my guys.  The quest for information to complete assignments often yields better results at school because we are working as a conduit between teaching staff and students, providing specific titles which match specific topics.  We know the level of the resources the students need, and we can tailor our advice to the right level.  (There is an exception to this though, one public library in our area is hugely popular with the students and has an ex school librarian manager, students report that they have loads of things that are useful and that they want to take home, that is awesome!)  However I know that often the experiences of students at public libraries when on a quest for information are often less successful than if they took their query to their school library.  The school library has purchased specifically for that curriculum area, we know the kind of information which will work for the student.

At school we are tailoring our stock specifically to our target audience, it is youth specific and responding to feedback from teachers and students.  No robots can do what we do!  In a school we are tailoring our services to our students, to the people we see in front of us every day.  Micro tailoring if you will.  This just isn’t possible when you are catering to a while town or city with a Public Library.  They have more buying power than we do, are able to stock more copies of popular items but are more general in their approach because they have to be but in terms of having a specific focus on youth and the curriculum then the school library is where it is at.  We should celebrate our specialness, and think about the students we have who are using the public library for homework and research and think about who is taking them there.  That would in most cases be a parent.  Do the parents think about the resources in the school library in the same way that they think about the public library?  I think that perhaps parents are assuming that information is information and that the public library has a youth section and therefore will be able to cater to the needs of their kids.  But that ain’t necessarily so bro!

Parents, your kids should use the school library as well as the public library, most times instead of the public library when it comes to resources for homework.  This is our specialty area.  Our whole library is a youth section!  This again makes me wonder.  How many parents ever set foot in a school library?  Not many I’m thinking.  There is scope for a parents information blitz here I think.  Something to mull further on.

 

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The Role of Science Fiction by Gareth Powell

Science Fiction author Gareth L Powell presented this marvellous speech three years ago, The Role of Science Fiction in our Understanding of the Future, yet it is just as relevant today.

Powell refutes the role of the science fiction writer as a predictor of the future, rather suggesting that their aim is to dream up plausible futures, to model a vast range of possible outlooks. By assessing the sociological and technological trends, they show us what may happen  if man continues on their current path.

Good science fiction looks at the world we know and asks, “What happens if?”
 
  • What happens if the ice caps melt and sea levels rise by fifty feet?
  • What happens if we discover a way to halt the ageing process and everyone lives for 1000 years?
  • What happens if the government puts a CCTV camera on every street corner?

“This is my job as a science fiction writer: to speculate and imagine, and tell stories. The future is truly an undiscovered country. Futurology and philosophy can give us a map of the terrain. But if we want to know what it’s going to feel like to live and work and love there, one of the best tools we have is science fiction.”

He says that futurologists and philosophers can tell us the possible outcomes but that the science fiction writers make the future human by creating characters that must adapt and survive in, generally, these dystopian worlds. The author must take the reader on a journey to really understand what living through such a scenario would be like, to experience such an event, and so the reader asks themselves, “What would I do?”

Gareth Powell’s speech is well worth reading – it puts a clear voice to what science fiction is all about.

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School Libraries and Diverse Student Needs

Dr Ross Todd discusses school libraries and diverse student needs.

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Non-Fiction Books – Are They Still Relevant in a High School Library?

Bev Novak recently posted this video Joe’s Non-Netbook illustrating students’ views on using books for research. Simple, clever, funny and enlightening.

Here’s how I see it.

Our youngest students, Year Levels 7 & 8, irregularly use our non-fiction collection. Older students occasionally utilise the books when their assignment stipulates a number of print-based resources. Why is it necessary to set this criteria? In New Zealand we are fortunate to have the EPIC Databases provided free to all schools by the Ministry of Education – 25 databases containing thousands of international and New Zealand newspapers, magazines and journals, biographies, reference material, images, audio and video on a wide range of topics. These databases quell any argument on quality of online information.

Digital resources allow students to expand images, define words, drag and drop, cut and paste, highlight and comment, to explore links to develop wider understanding, to watch videos or listen to sources that support the learning. Not surprising our students prefer digital resources to the inflexibility of print books.

It comes down to engagement doesn’t it – the learning happens from the engagement. In the 21st Century, the majority of our learners are choosing digital resources over print-based resources. As school librarians we need to reflect on the value and relevance of our non-fiction collections in response to our students’ learning needs.

Source: Bev Novak, BevsBookBlog

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Wise words to take into 2012

It is great when you read something early in the year which you can carry with you in your toolbox of  ‘useful stuff’ as you begin the year.  As you begin the process of indoctrinating your new students to the ways of a new library, helping them to see the value of the library, the services you offer to the school and the students, and getting new staff up to speed with what you do.  Judy O’Connell has posted on Hey Jude a wise and thoughtful writing which made me feel inspired and enthusiastic for the coming year.  I heartily recommend to all school library staff that you head over and have a read.  It is called The Time For Libraries Is Now.  The slideshare is fantastic!

There is a video embedded in the post, which I can’t get to  embed here which is a Core Video in which Lisa Oldham from the National Library Services To Schools, whom many of us have met and it is a great promotional video of the sorts of things that many school libraries in New Zealand are offering, could be offering, best get on and offer!

 

 

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Should You Use Twitter?

Dan Martell from Flowtown created this fabulous and funny-as flow diagram to help you decide whether you should be using Twitter or not

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