Thursday, January 2, 2014

Preparing the Library for 1:1

My school district is currently investigating the possibility of going 1:1 next year, probably with iPads. I've read about other 1:1 schools in the past, but now that it is being considered in my district, I've really been researching and preparing, specifically reading about how the library can be ready.
I started bookmarking articles and created a Pinterest board, but I wanted to do more. I surveyed my Tweeps and had a few kind librarians email me to share their experiences. I wanted an easy way to organize all of the information so I created a short survey they I emailed and tweeted out. Here are the results compiled into a Google doc. Yeah, only 13 responses, but it gave me food for thought so it was still worth the time.
Here are a few things that really stuck out to me.
  • Circulation will change. Expect more circulation of ebooks, especially for nonfiction. I've been reserving some of my book budget this year to purchase more ebooks and I've met with one of my district administrators about a grant that we may apply towards ebooks.
  • Fewer teachers come into the library space for research and may leave out the librarian completely. One librarian reported going into the classroom for research instruction, which will be problematic for me because I do not have an assistant; therefore, if I go into the classroom I will probably have to lock the library. I'm not ruling this out though. For me I think part of the answer to this issue is flipped library lessons. If the teachers don't feel that they have the time or need to come to the library for research, I'll let the library come to them. I've already asked my teachers for lessons that they may need in addition to lessons I've been brainstorming. I think I'll use Educreations to record the lessons.
  • Budgets either stayed the same or decreased even though ebooks are usually more expensive. In our annual school board library report it might be wise for us to include the cost of ebooks. I think many people have the misconception that they are cheaper. I don't want to approach this in a complaining manner, but I do think it is important for us to share the we will still need a book budget to ensure that our collection meets the needs of a 1:1 environment. A larger collection of ebooks brings on other challenges such as book promotion and instruction for check out. I've seen some creative book displays for ebooks that I plan to try. I also plan to have a "Library in Your Pocket" orientation for students so that I can show them how to use the apps they will need including Destiny Quest and Easy Bib.
  • The library website is used more often. I'll definitely need to put some time and energy into updating the website, making it mobile friendly, and promoting the site as the gateway for research. I'm leaning towards Symbaloo right now, but I'm still reading and looking at examples.
Before Christmas break we had a meeting with all of our librarians and some of our district administration. Our main goal was to review our new job description (Thanks Jennifer LaGarde for the inspiration) and talk about our role in a 1:1 school. We discussed some of the items above and had a (ahem)... lively discussion about the changing role of the librarian. As a group, a lot of our time is still spent on program administration type duties such as checking books in/out, shelving, etc. We discussed some of our coping strategies for getting away from the circulation desk. I'm not sure how productive the discussion was, but as technology begins to demand more of our attention, things will have to change. 
As it often goes in meetings with more than a few people, we didn't finish everything on our agenda, but a few of us are meeting when we return to talk more about flipped library lessons and items we might need to purchase. I've already purchased one charging station and hope to get a few more. I'm also considering buying earbuds with microphones to sell or check out, portable speakers, styluses, and maybe a large monitor for screen sharing in collaborative groups.
As Jennifer LaGarde mentions in her list of 11 Questions (About Libraries) That Need Answers I've been thinking about what keeps my principal up at night. I'm sure that as we get closer to seeing 1:1 happening, our principals are all concerned about how we can prepare. I asked my principal if I could meet with him about technology before we left for break. He told me to schedule the meeting on our calendar and invite the faculty that I thought should be there. Yay! My principal, assistant principal, two tech savvy teachers/leaders and I met to talk about our plans. We discussed some possibilities for next year if we go 1:1 and we made a teacher professional development plan for learning all about the iPad. All teachers in our district will have iPads in the next few weeks so we are planning twice a month faculty meetings. We're going to be learning how to use at least one creation app, one productivity app and one classroom management strategy each meeting. Our principal was kind enough to give us a budget for prizes such as iTunes gift cards. We're making faculty App Task Challenges. Teachers will sit with their same subject teachers and work on the challenge together as well as sharing ideas for how they can use the app in class. We'll explore productivity apps as well as apps that teachers can use in class like Class Dojo and Stick Pick. Our teachers will win prizes, have fun, earn technology renewal credits, share ideas with each other and, hopefully, get comfortable with the iPads and use them to the fullest. I shared my plans with the other librarians and hope that they will do something similar at their schools. Don't wait on your principal to ask you! Ask for some time to share your ideas and see where it takes you.
I have to give credit to our district's first instructional technologist (and former librarian), Kristen Hearne. She's been kind enough to let me help with some of the district wide staff development including the App Task Challenges. She's doing an awesome job this year and I'm proud to see her represent librarians so well and show the entire district what an asset a librarian can be.
I'm excited about the discussion of 1:1 and I'm going to do my best to ensure that the library is ready for this change.
I would love to hear your ideas, advice and suggestions if you are in a 1:1 school.