School Libraries

School Libraries

Librarians Without Borders on the Ground in Guatemala: The Asturias Library Project

27 members of <a href="http://lwb-online.org/"> Librarians Without Borders</a> (LWB) are currently on the ground on a service learning trip to Guatemala, from April 22 - May 3, 2011. This is part of a partnership with the <a href="http://www.asturiasacademy.org/">Miguel Angel Asturias Academy</a>, a non-profit private school founded in 1994 to eliminate education disparities through subsidized tuition and create informed, critically-thinking, socially conscious citizens through its curriculum. The partnership between LWB and Asturias is focused on promoting literacy and libraries in Guatemala, and development and operation of the <a href="http://www.asturiasacademy.org/donate-now/community-library-readmore/">Asturias Community Library</a>. As part of this trip, the group will learn about Guatemalan culture and education, participate in community organizing and change making workshops, and complete a week of work at the Asturias Academy and Community Library.

Bill Gates: How state budgets are breaking US schools

President Obama Delivers Another Slap in the Face to School Librarians

Not again. President Obama delivered the same message to media specialists as he did last year. In his FY2012 budget to Congress on Monday, he proposed eliminating Improving Literacy Through School Libraries, a decade-old federal program designed to boost academic achievement by providing students with access to up-to-date school library materials.

And he didn't stop there.

For the first time since taking office, the president is cutting monies to public libraries, asking to slash funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) by about 10 percent—or $20.3million—to $193.2 million from its current $213.5 million. That would mean only $161.3 million in grants would be available next year for our nation's 123,000 public libraries, down from $172.5 million in FY2010.

Full article at School Library Journal

Texas Library Budget Crisis

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, [librarians are] "normally a quiet bunch" but about 250 from all corners of the state made some noise Wednesday at the Texas Capitol as they tried to head off looming budget cuts that would virtually eliminate state support for public libraries.

"If these programs are not funded, then it will affect every community, every school and every institution of higher education in the state," said Gloria Meraz, communications director for the Texas Library Association.

The cutbacks could mean reduced access to TexShare, a mammoth database service available in 677 libraries, and to a K-12 database provided for 4.5 million Texas schoolchildren and 500,000 educators.

"If the Fort Worth Public Library had to negotiate for the TexShare database on their own, it would cost $2 million a year," said Peggy Rudd, director of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Also targeted for elimination is funding for TexNet Interlibrary Loan programs and Loan Star Library Grants, which provides money to extend hours and other services.

Read more: http://www.star-telegram.com/2011/02/16/2855602/at-texas-capitol-librarians-protest.html#ixz...

Austin School Librarians Falling to the Budget Ax

About 485 campus positions could be cut because of a change in staffing formulas unanimously adopted by the Austin school board Monday.

The new formulas, which were proposed by Superintendent Meria Carstarphen under the cloud of several extremely bleak state budget forecasts, would cut 220 elementary and 229 secondary school positions plus another 35 parent support specialists from the district's staffing formulas. The move saves the district $26.5 million, officials said.

The changes would require the board to approve declaring a financial emergency to terminate contracts at a later date. Several board members have said such approval is likely.

At the last minute, trustees changed Carstarphen's proposal to save 52 elementary school librarian jobs. Another 22 librarian positions at the secondary school level, however, were eliminated from the formula, at least for now.

Austin American Statesman.

WO librarian featured in Christian Science Monitor

A digital twist on a dying craft has earned a couple of local librarians place in the national spotlight.

Cynthia Dobrez, librarian at West Ottawa Public Schools’ Harbor Lights and Macatawa Bay middle schools, and her colleague Lynn Rutan have run a blog, Bookends, about youth literature for just more than two years. It can be found on the website booklistonline.com.

Both are accomplished librarians. Rutan, also a former West Ottawa librarian, sits on the committee that hands out the envied Newbery Award to new children’s books, and Dobrez has chaired the American Library Association’s Printz Award committee.

Full article here

Fighting Censorship in School Libraries

From SLJ:

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) recently recognized author Lauren Myracle, school librarian Dee Ann Venuto, and 19-year-old college student Jordan Allen for fighting against censorship in schools.

NCAC's annual "Celebration of Free Speech and Its Defenders" ceremony in New York City brought together more than 150 authors, publishers, and First Amendment advocates to celebrate the work of the 36-year-old organization.

Venuto, a media specialist at the Rancocoas Valley High School in Mount Holly, NJ, was honored for her efforts to keep a list of gay-themed books on her library shelves. The titles Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology (Alyson, 2000) edited by Amy Sonnie.

Venuto followed her district's materials review policy, which outlines the steps that must be taken when library materials or other instructional material are questioned, when a local grassroots organization called the 9/12 Group challenged the books, drawing media attention.

Venuto says she's grateful to NCAC for spreading the word about the challenge and for the professional and personal support they gave her.

Don't Cut Our School Librarians!

Article from Scholastic.com by Carole Ashbridge, who has been a school librarian for 35 years and is active in state and national library associations.

Score one for child labor

Durham students work to fill laid off library position

Library assistants may be gone, but Durham Elementary School students are making it work.

But for students at Durham Elementary School, it’s no big deal.

“We like it” said Sydney Ningenfelter, 11.

Since the beginning of the year, fourth- and fifth-graders have been working in the school’s library, volunteering their time in a position that used to be filled by a paid library assistant.

Full article here

Super Public/Middle School Librarian

<a href="http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Society/2010/1206/Super-librarian-figures-out-secret-to-getting-kids-to-read">Super-librarian' figures out secret to getting kids to read</a> Librarian Cynthia Dobrez uses e-readers, bibliotherapy, and her own intuition in her middle school library in Michigan.

Beautiful New Brooklyn School Library, With No Librarian

From the NYTimes: The shelves were stocked with books. The maple benches were grouped like shin-high honeycombs across the beeswax-colored floor. The Book Hive at P.S. 9 and M.S. 571’s joint facility on Underhill Avenue seemed to have everything. Everything, that is, except a librarian.

After years of planning, The Book Hive opened on Nov. 12, only to promptly shut its doors. The library, which services two Prospect Heights schools sharing the same building, will remain inactive until the schools hire a librarian, a daunting task in the age of slashed budgets and shared services.

“That’s what is so surprising about this whole thing,” said parent Karen Fein, 42. “I mean they were willing to get a half a million dollars to construct this library and outfit it beautifully, and now we don’t have a librarian.”

The Book Hive was constructed with $500,000 in city funding obtained through the offices of Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilwoman Letitia James. The staff went to work, converting a neglected temporary classroom back into a library.

Chicago's Lack Of School Libraries Sparks Dispute

Chicago's Lack Of School Libraries Sparks Dispute

Nearly one in four Chicago public elementary schools and more than fifty high schools don't have staffed, in-school libraries. Parents at one school were so incensed, they occupied a school building for more than a month to pressure city officials to add one. School officials say they value libraries, but in an era of tight budgets, they often lose out to other priorities.

School Librarian Allegedly Continued Teen Tryst

CALGARY, ALBERTA - An "inappropriate" relationship between a junior high school librarian and a student continued even after court-imposed orders forbade contact, police alleged Thursday.

The librarian, identified by QMI Agency sources as Agnes Kooy, reported to be in her late 40s, was charged this summer following a complaint brought forth by the parents of a 15-year-old boy who police say had entered into the "ongoing" relationship that began earlier in the school year.

Ted Flitton, a spokesman for the Calgary Board of Education, would not reveal the school in question, citing privacy legislation.

"What I can tell you is when Calgary Police Service told us in July that they had laid charges, we took immediate steps to have her removed from the school and all schools, and with a view to her not returning to work," Flitton said.

Police said the alleged relationship, consensual but illegal due to the boy's age, was brought to their attention by the family as well as the school.

"After remedies weren't satisfied through some sort of intervention with the parents and the school, they went to the police," Staff Sgt. Mark Hatchette told CTV.

The Desk Setup: A Look At Librarian Computers

The Desk Setup

Like many technologists, I may have had some vague notion that librarians had something to contribute to discussions about information and metadata and standards and access, but my concept of what librarians did and what they knew probably had more to do with stereotypes and anecdote than on an understanding of reality. Which is a shame. Although in the last few years I think we’ve done a really good job of making clearer connections between libraries and technology, I don’t think anyone is surprised when librarians are omitted from discussions about and between prominent technologists, such as the one facilitated by the Setup. (Note: by “librarians” I mean anyone who works in, with, or for libraries. Hat tip to Eli Neiburger for saying what I’d been thinking, only less clearly, for some time before he said those words out loud.)

Not Your Parents High School Library

Lamar (TX) High School’s library is in the midst of an overhaul that is shifting around more than the books. The project is redefining how the study space will be used and how students will access the information resources it holds.

More specifically, the conversion under way means fewer physical books on the shelves (and fewer shelves), but more equipment on site for tapping into the books, periodicals and research tools available in electronic formats.

As explained by Principal James McSwain, the project includes:

Laptop computers (100 now and hopefully 100 more to follow) that can be checked out for use only in the new center and accessible only by a student ID code that also connects to the new Lamar portal, “Sky Drive.”

Longer hours of operation, (6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.) to increase access to the new computer equipment and online information for students who might not have other study venues or research tools.

Space for peer tutoring and teacher-led tutorials, and

A small coffee bar that also serves healthy snacks for studying. Students in the culinary division of Lamar’s magnet program in business management will run the new amenity.

"The Last Librarian?"

Sexy or not sexy...not words I would choose, but hey it's the "OC"...

From the OC Register: In California, as we plod through this not-so-great recession, there are two kinds of education-related cost cuts in play – the sexy kind and the not-so-sexy kind.

Any reduction in spending that might crank up the number of kids in a third-grade classroom, for example, is easy for parents and other tax payers to understand. Same for cuts that wipe out arts classes or PE or, the latest craze, several school days a year.

Teacher Librarian Marie Slim dresses the part of "rock star" during her "Read Like a Rock Star" 2009 book fair at Troy High School to raise funds for new books.

All those cuts, popular or not, attract attention and debate. In short, they're sexy.

But farther down on the radar is another kind of cost cutting – the one that wipes out the often stereotyped resource known as the school librarian.

We all know the images of the school librarian. She shushes. She shelves. She sits, quietly, behind a desk. Dewey Decimal anyone?

Not sexy.

But head into Orange County's school libraries and you'll discover what I've found: passionate, dedicated, tech-savvy teacher librarians.

Grant Opportunity for School Libraries

Are you in a school library in CA, NV or NY? Read on...

GlobeNewswire via COMTEX -- City National Bank today announced that it is now accepting applications for grants to support literacy-based projects at public and private elementary, middle and high schools in California, Nevada and New York.

Educators interested in applying for a literacy grant can access an online application by visiting Reading Is the Way Up. Any full-time teacher, librarian or administrator at schools in counties where City National has offices is eligible to apply. California counties include Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Ventura. The Nevada counties are Carson City, Clark, Douglas and Washoe.

Approximately 100 grants totaling up to $75,000 may be awarded. Grants will provide up to $500 for the recipients to create, augment or expand literacy projects that are judged to be creative and engaging, and that may help improve student achievement. Awards can be used for books, videos, CDs, DVDs, computer software or hardware, or in other ways so long as the recipient shows that the project for which funds are sought will support literacy.

Opinion: There is a time to ban books from school libraries

"Banned books are a sign of an oppressive regime. That said, forcing age-inappropriate reading materials on youngsters not ready to deal with the material -- and doing so just for the sake of a bigger principle -- is just as oppressive..." Read more at <a href=http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/ynews_ts3726>Yahoo News</a>

How to Save School Libraries and Indie Bookstores and Prepare Our Kids for Standardized Tests

Melissa Stewart, award-winning author of over 100 non-fiction books for children writes in Celebrate Science:

Sound too good to be true? It’s not.

Let’s start with some background. About 80 percent of all children's nonfiction titles are sold to schools and libraries. This was great in the 1980s and 1990s when teachers were able to find lots of creative ways to integrate children’s literature into their lesson plans.

But then 2001 rolled around. That’s the year the No Child Left Behind Act was passed. And everything changed.

Suddenly educators had to teach to the test. They no longer had much time for creative teaching strategies, and they had to greatly reduce their use of trade books in the classroom.

The result is no surprise. Sales of nonfiction books have fallen significantly over the last decade. And in response, trade publishing houses have reduced their nonfiction lists on average 25 percent (and in some cases as much as 50 percent).

That’s a shame because trade nonfiction titles are meticulously researched and expertly crafted to delight as well as inform. They engage young readers in a way that text books and other standard teaching materials can’t.

Teachers know it.

Librarians know it.

We all know it.

HS Librarian Helps Solve Long Lost Class Ring Mystery

Ranee Ellefson-Jones, of Monroe, WI found a class ring recently while cleaning out her deceased mother’s jewelry box. It was in a bag with other rings, but the one with the big blue stone stood out. It was a class ring. The thing was, it wasn’t her mother’s class.

Her mother Joan Ellefson was a 1960 graduate of Monroe High School, and while Ranee at first thought the tiny date on the ring said 1960, the ring also had a big “S” in the middle of it.

“I thought maybe an old boyfriend had given it to her,” Ranee said this week. It was a week or two later, she said, when she got a chance to ask her dad about the ring. He didn’t recognize it, or have any idea where it came from. Still curious, Ellefson-Jones examined the ring more closely, eventually using a magnifying class.

The mystery continues to unravel in the pages of the Wisconsin State Journal.

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