Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First Year Goals

As I prepare for my first year as a librarian to begin I have ideas and plans swirling through my mind almost constantly. I felt that I needed to create some concrete goals for myself to focus my attention on. I remembered reading a post on the Blue Skunk Blog on this subject. Using his advice I have decided on a few goals for myself.
1. Build relationships with students, staff, and parents to create a feeling of shared ownership in the library.
2. Build foundation for reading promotion programs and information literacy instruction with teachers.
3. Communicate progress with students, staff, administration and parents at least monthly.
I have started working on meeting my first goal by planning a grand reopening of the library. I have completely cleaned and rearranged the library, new carpet has been installed and I am purchasing some new furniture to change the atmosphere. I want it to be obvious that things are different and I want students to feel welcome and interested in what this change means for them. I have reached out to teachers over the summer by creating a group in Diigo (as mentioned in a previous post) and I have received positive feedback. One of our school goals was to build classroom libraries to supplement our Silent Sustained Reading program. I compiled some guidelines and suggestions for the teachers and sent an email with links to resources to assist them. I received many thank yous. I hope to continue this type of support. I want them to know that I am here to help them. I plan to create a parent resource center in a recently cleaned out closet. The other two middle school librarians in my district have decided to meet monthly to plan and share ideas.
I have considered building a library committee, but after speaking with several colleagues in my district I decided it against it. I know that many would frown upon this decision, but I have seen the politics of committees with my school and I feel that it would not be a positive choice for me.
For my second goal I am taking the library program from ZERO collaboration and reading programs to integrating the library into many aspects of our curriculum. Thankfully we have a SSR program in place that I can build on. I started a reading program this summer for students and staff. I allowed selected students to check out books for the summer. I may extend this to everyone if it turns out well. I am going to have a book club during lunch times for each grade and have book talks and trailers on our morning news program. I asked for and received time to speak with the new teachers during the induction program. I am speaking with them next week and will blog about it later.
It is important that I keep all stakeholders informed of my progress. I plan to provide the school administration with monthly reports. I would also like to create an annual report similar to Buffy Hamilton's. If we don't tell others about what is going on in the library we can not be surprised when administrators and teachers do not advocate for us.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Social Bookmarking Comes to Palmetto

One of my priorities this year is to introduce the faculty to web tools. To get this goal in motion I will begin with Diigo. This summer I created a group for our faculty on Diigo. I have been using this site for a while and I love it. I have a Delicious account as well, but I find myself going to Diigo more often. After creating the group I moved all of my bookmarks to the group by going in the advance mode, selecting all and then Share to Group. I have my library organized into lists for each subject area, general education, web tools, and then lists just for me about library services. I emailed the faculty to invite them to join and already have five new members out of a faculty of fifty. I had to request that the site be unblocked by our IT department (more about that issue in future posts I am sure). I hope to introduce a new tool at the beginning of each faculty meeting in an "Eliterate Minute" series. Diigo will be one of the first tools so that even more teachers will get on board. I read somewhere that teachers start thinking about the next school year around one month before the year begins and we are within that time now. I suppose I am just one of those strange few that get excited about the next year as soon as school lets out. Find me on Diigo if you want to share links @tlcox1978. If you have your own story about social bookmarking I would love to hear it. Also visit Fran Bullington's post that relates.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Reform Symposium 2010

Reform Symposium

I am very excited about the FREE education conference Reform Symposium coming up July 30-31. The conference will highlight reforms in education and the future of education. If you have not registered yet I encourage you to do so. Check out the schedule and list of speakers. The list includes my favorite blogger, Richard Byrne, of Free Technology for Teachers. Tweet about it using the hash tag #rscon10. Be my friend for the conference @coxtl.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

SCASL Junior Book Award nominees

I created a video to promote the SCASL Junior Book award nominees. I plan to use this to introduce the books to my students and hope to have a large number read several of these books and participate in the voting in the Spring. I have read all of them and as usual it is a great group of books for middle schoolers.
Enjoy and share the video!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Retaggr Social Media Business Cards

I created a profile on Retaggr this morning. This is great tool to put all of your social media profiles on one virtual business card.

SCASL Junior Book Award nominees

I have been collecting book trailers of the SCASL Junior Book award nominees on my Youtube channel. I plan to use these to promote the books to my middle schoolers by playing them to classes as book talks and playing on a video digital frame at the circulation desk. If anyone finds more I would love to update the list. There is also a discussion group on Shelfari about these and the YA nominees.
One of my favorites is the Hunger Games trailer.

Using Text for Library Notices

Thanks to my gadget obsessed husband I have an iPad. I have been searching through the apps to find things that might be useful to me during my first year as librarian. I discovered Text Free and Text Plus. These apps allow you to send texts for free from your iPad without using your own phone number. I have been thinking about using texts for library notices and announcements, but could not find a service I liked or could afford. There is a service called Send GM but they only allow 25 contacts which would not work. Even if I had an account for each teacher it would not be enough. Due to budget cuts our class sizes are going to be close to 30. I also thought that many parents would want to receive the texts as well as the student which would double the number of contacts, or possibly triple because of blended families. I hope that this app will be the answer I have been looking for. I tested it on a few numbers this morning with success. I plan to place a sign up sheet at registration so that parents can provide their numbers and sign off that they understand standard text rates apply. I hope to use it to send overdue notices or bills for lost books in addition to new book shipment arrivals and programs scheduled in the library. I will post any successes or problems with implementing this idea.

Summer preparations

I have been a voyeur on my PLN for too long. It is time for me to contribute. I have been keeping up with my Twitter account because I installed Tweetdeck on my iPad. I have been reading lots of blogs and marking sites and articles on Diigo. I have been collecting all of this information and now it is time for me to implement ideas. I created a page attached to my Facebook page for the library. I made it generic as advised by Gwyneth Jones. The page is called e-Literate Librarian. I already have several students as my friends and some of them became fans of the page. I started a discussion, but no luck yet. Most of the students are probably not into this over the summer, but, I plan to promote it more during the year especially with the book club. I have started a wiki in the hopes that the principal will let me have a staff development on PLNs. I have been trying to tweet more and now it is time to start and maintain the blog. This is my first year as the librarian so this blog will help me process my thoughts and evaluate the year.