Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Confessions of a Bookless Librarian

So it's been awhile since I've posted anything on here, but I thought maybe I should get back into it. Especially with the year I've had. I started a new job as a Middle School Librarian in a brand new building. My library space is absolutely amazing!!! However the shelves were completely empty the day I started. I had to build the collection from scratch, oh and did I mention my very limited budget? So with no books and no money I had to get creative. I took donated books from who ever would give them to me, I used some scholastic book credits, and I used all the money I had to order about 2,000 books from Follett. But the best thing I did was get involved in the Library of Congress Surplus Books Program. So far this year I have gone down to D.C. twice and received free books from the Library of Congress. All together I have probably aquired 1500 books through this program. And now I am proud to say I have almost 7,000 books catalogued and shelved in my library. Looking back now it's hard to believe I've accomplished that in just a few short months, and I have to say I'm pretty proud of my self. My goal was to reach 5,000 by the end of this year and 10,000 by the end of next year. Which I now hope will be easily (compared to this year) accomplished.

Now with the end of the school year in sight I am definitely anxious for Summer, but at the same time looking forward to starting my second year in this wonderful new library (now that it has books in it) next September.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Social Networking

I have been on MySpace and Facebook for years, but I mostly just use them as a fun way to keep in touch with friends. But these other sites like twitter and Teacher Librarian are also fun, and much more useful. I can really see myself using both of these sites has a I continue my degree in Library Science, and as I embark on my future as a School Library Media Specialist. I especially like the fact that I can now be connected to hundreds of other people in my field all over the world, and can share ideas and comments with them that might better serve my school's library program.

I am learning so much in this class and I'm having so much fun...but I'm afraid I might start loosing sleep, cause I have so many cool new things to do online. Good thing it's Summer!!! : )

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


My home computer is a Mac, so when I open safari there is a Mac Toolbar that I can add favorites to. So I have always used that as my bookmarking tool. But I did find it frustrating that I only had my favorites saved on that one computer. So I tried a few other online bookmarking sites, but I never really liked any of them. Until now...del.icio.us is great!!! It is so easy to use and extremely convenient. I especially like that I can tag my bookmarks. This is nice if I am trying to locate a particular kind of site.

I will definitely use this at work to make hotlists for different topics. This way if I am putting a lesson together I can save the websites from year to year. I would imagine this will come in handy because I could totally revamp the lesson but still have a list of useful resources. And the best part it is I can access it from anywhere!!!

Photo Sharing

I had never used flickr, but I often use Snapfish, Photobucket, or the Kodak Picture site. These are all great tools for photo sharing. For me it is nice because I have family and friends who live all over the country and I often want to show them a picture or group of pictures, and it's really just not realistic to print them out and mail them.

Professionally the only time I really use photo sharing is when I am directing one of the school plays, I take pictures at rehearsals and the performances and then I save them on my work computer. The only time they are then shared is if the school wants to put them up on the school website, or a parent asks for some of them. In the past I have always just emailed pictures to parents, sometimes we do it as part of a fund raiser and we sell the pictures. But I have never put them up on a photo sharing website, because it has always made me kind of nervous, even though I do have parents sign a specific permission slip allowing the pictures to be used. This is definitely something i will consider for next year though. It might be cool to do a an album from the night of auditions to the last performance. Although I think maybe doing that through a Theatre Dept. Wiki or something would be better. This way I could also post a rehearsal schedule. I think especially being a young teacher, I have to be extremely careful though when it comes to sharing photos of students.

My Dad Uses Flickr?

So i thought that I would find a cute picture of my town. I typed in "Southampton Town NY" thinking maybe a picture of Main St. might be nice. And an interesting panoramic picture of the village did pop up, however underneath it was this picture of my dad and I thought that was funny so I decided to post this instead. He's the guy at the podium.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Weblogs in Education Reflection

After watching the short film Weblogs in Education by Will Richardson, I started thinking even more about how I could use blogs in my classroom. As I previously posted, I think online discussions can be a great tool to get students involved. But what I hadn't thought of was how they would react to having their ideas published online. One of the students in the video who was part of an online discussion about the book The Secret Lives of Bees, expressed excitement at the thought of people googleing that particular book, and coming across the words she had written. And although I'm sure there are some students who would be a little nervous knowing that their thoughts and ideas would be available for anyone to see, I think most students would have same reaction the girl in video did at seeing their work published.

I could also relate to Richardson when he said something along the lines of, how we have to accept that students often know more about technology then we do. And I think that this is an important idea, because education is very much a two way street. I learn from my students all the time, and I think that if they feel comfortable teaching me what they know, then they are more responsive to what I teach them.

My First Blog

Dear Diary...Ok so I wasn't sure how to get started so I thought I would go with an old standard. I'm really excited because this is my very first post on my very first blog. I have always been a avid journal writer, I feel that it's a great way to clear my thoughts and organize my ideas. But I never got into blogging, probably because I always thought of journal writing as a private way of expressing myself. So this is my first venture into public, or semi-public journal journal writing. I'm also really excited about this class, because I feel as though it's opening up a whole new world of technology to me.

As I began my pre-class reading last week I started thinking about how much there is to learn, and what a great field Information Science is, because it is ever changing. There will always be some new program, or idea that I will be able to bring into my classroom. And that in itself is exciting. As Joyce Valenza said in 30 Years of Information and Educational Change: How should our practice respond? "Retooling was essential for me. It is essential for the survival of the profession" And I am looking forward to that "Retooling", part of the reason why I want to be School Media Specialist is because of the variety. I like that I won't have to do the same thing year after year or even day after day. And even though I am new to teaching, I remember what it was like when I was student, how things have changed. In the article School Library 2.0 by Christopher Harris, he talks about a group of students that are participating in an online discussion group about the book Night by Elie Wiesel. Not only would the students be communicating among their classmates in their own school, but also in other schools, creating a virtual bridge that spans 700 miles. And what a great way to get students excited about reading. I'm sure many of them are already spending a good majority of their time online, why not get some school work done well they're at it? I also think that blogging can be great for students who have a lot to say but have a hard time saying it. Having spent most of the last two years working in a middle school, I know that a lot of students at that age are very insecure, and are not always comfortable speaking in front of their peers. Blogging gives them a new way of staying active in their learning experience.

All of the articles we have read so far have really gotten me excited not only about blogging but also about the future of a School Media Specialist. There is so much out there, and there are so many fun and exciting ways to get students involved. My head is already swirling with ideas of how I can implement all the new things I'm learning, and will be learning, into my lessons.