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Toxic mold in Guam school library blamed for illnesses, death

The buildup of toxic mold in the library of Jose Rios Middle School in Guam may have been the cause of one death and several cases of respiratory illness among staff members, according to the Guam Federation of Teachers. Administrators at the school and the Department of Education appear reluctant to discuss the issue, claiming only that they never received notice of any concerns regarding the mold. However, the school librarian reported the problem in a letter dated October 17. Officials say that school will reopen on schedule January 5. Get the whole story from KUAM TV-8 News.

Free Iraq War Book offer to America's schools

Daniel writes "The Center for Media and Democracy (The authors of "Toxic Sludge is good for you!" and "Trust us, we're experts" is offering teachers and students free classroom copies of Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq. This book may be useful for classes in current events, political science and communications classes.If you are a high school or college instructor who would like free classroom copies to use with your students, please email them the following information: Your name, title, and daytime phone number; your school's name and class title; the number of books you need, where to ship them, and the date you need them. These books are available on a first come, first serve basis.SOURCE: Center for Media & Democracy, December 17, 2003
      The full story can be read at PRWatch"

Challenges for Writers of Children's Science Books

Wordy1 writes "A story by the NY Times (registration required) discusses the challenges of writing children's books about science. While scientific accuracy is important, sometimes it can conflict with the need to make a book enticing or at least accessible. What's more, the way scientific matters change as time and technology race on reduces the likelihood for longevity of children's books about science. Lisa Von Drasek, a children's librarian at the Bank Street College of Education in Manhattan, points to the constant weeding out of outdated children's science books from school library collections. She says, "You don't want a book sitting on your shelf that says, 'Some day, man will walk on the Moon,'"

Despite all these challenges, authors & illustrators like Peter Sis, Steve Jenkins and David Macaulay spend hours, and even years, researching the subjects of their books. So, will there ever be a children's science book that retains popularity equivalent to, say, Charlotte's Web?"

Book banned in classes

Anonymous Patron tells us, via the Sacramento Bee, that the YA book Don't You Dare Read This, Mrs. Dunphrey has been pulled from the supplemental reading lists of 7th-grade english classes in the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District.

Trustees voted 4-1 to stop the novel from being used for instructional purposes but will allow it to remain in libraries as long as students get parental permission to check it out. Trustee Susan Richardson cast the dissenting vote.
Superintendent Jeffrey Jennings said he did not feel the book was appropriate for seventh-graders.

"We should be able to have some discretion as to what our kids have to read," he said.

Information overload

Sad news Out of Indiana where they say finding a librarian in Indiana school libraries is getting more and more difficult.

As more information than ever is available to students via the Internet, fewer people are on staff at schools to help students make sense of it.

A shortage of both funding and personnel for school libraries is affecting the way students learn to find and use information, but it’s the lack of certified teacher librarians that has local library educators worried.

Librarian-Teacher Partnership Key to Student Success?

The Appoquinimink School District (DE) has begun promoting librarian-teacher collaboration to increase the academic performance of its students, taking a clue from numerous studies that demonstrate the benefits of such programs. Instead of students going to the library for small periods of time for library instruction, the schools' libraries will be open all the time, as classroom extensions, with lessons co-led by librarians and teachers. Despite the obvious benefits, there are issues with money, scheduling, staffing and implementing a new way. More information here from the News Journal Online.

Despite great promise, technology is dumbing down the classroom

Interesting One From SFGate.com that says This past year, as San Francisco school officials were dealing with budget cuts by laying off teachers and librarians and closing school libraries,

spending on city schools was increasing in another area: classroom computers.
Throughout the country, computer technology is dumbing down the academic experience, corrupting schools' financial integrity, cheating the poor, fooling people about the job skills youngsters need for the future and furthering the illusions of state and federal education policy.

Skeptics, Fortune Tellers, and Librarians

Rob Lopresti writes "In James Randi's latest commentary he includes a letter from Annette Paulsen who was upset by a book offered for sale at the fund raiser for her kid's school library:"Imagine my surprise when I saw this book on the shelf: "The Kids Guide to Fortune Telling" by Louise Dickson. I picked the book up and was shocked to see that it was presented as a nonfiction teaching tool. Now, understand that if this book was called "The Kids Guide to Fortune Telling for Fun," I would not have had a problem with it. I'm all for fun and games. I asked the Librarian if she thought that this was an appropriate book for children, thinking that perhaps she had not really looked at the book. Of course, she looked at me as if I had two heads. She stated that she hadn't really looked at it and asked if I also had a problem with Harry Potter? I told her, "Of course not. Harry Potter is a novel and clearly identified as such, and everyone knows that it is fiction. But when a book is categorized as nonfiction, and we all know that fortune telling is not real, I think we have an obligation to the children of our school to remove it from the shelves, until it is categorized appropriately, as fiction...""

Mom Petitions To Get Puberty Book Removed From Library

thedenverchannel.com Reports "The Cat Who Killed Lilian Jackson Braun: A Parody" and "Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture," will remain on the shelves of libraries run by the Weld Library District.

But members of the board still are considering an objection to a book that has explicit depictions of sexual development during puberty.
Second Story Here.

School Library Perspectives

DEH writes ""More than Just a Pretty Face: and other observations on school libraries and teacher-librarianship" is the title of a webpage created by Donald Hamilton, formerly Education Librarian at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. The page offers a collection of short pithy provocative pieces that appeared in several journals over the past decade. They are offered without charge, to the field for any educational purpose. Check out the classic "Inventory: Folly or Fancy?" that has been reprinted many times. You will find the page at members.shaw.ca/donaldhamilton "

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