Join the [Book] Club.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has been doing a common reading program since the 2009-2010 school year, when they featured Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. In 2010-2011, they read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and in 2011-2012, Enrique’s Journey. To be honest, even though I’ve been in Madison since 2007, I’ve never had anything to do with it. I love Michael Pollan’s work, but didn’t read that one. I read a preview chapter on my Kindle of Henrietta Lacks, but never followed up. I did read Enrique’s Journey, but after the fact this August, and it came on my radar independently.

This year, they are reading Radioactive by Lauren Redniss. Now that I am more officially attached to the university through library school, I was given a copy through my course this semester. We are using it for a couple course activities, from examining the sources/archives of the research to investigating grants supporting community reading programs such as this one.

For the record, I read it a few weeks ago and it was DELIGHTFUL. Marie and Pierre Curie were incredible and I wish that I had been exposed to more of their life history earlier. The book was a sort of graphic novel and the art was pretty neat. The cyanotypes made the pages look almost transparent and well, the cover glowed in the dark. So cool. I wasn’t able to attend the presentation by Lauren Redniss when she was on campus the other day, but there are lots of other activities all year long that might be interesting.

Sometimes, my church organizes a book group that I participate in. I’ve read books with them about the saints, Ignatian Spirituality and the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul. Always lively discussions, but often too much material in too short a meeting period. The last book they did only met twice (half the book each time) and let’s just say that I only had enough time to read about a third–but I went anyway.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about book clubs and my direct experience with them. What is the appeal? You see, when you CHOOSE to read something and it turns out to be interesting (for the positive or the negative), I think it’s human nature to want to discuss what you’ve learned. While books invoke the imagination within, I think it’s even better to let the ideas out.

I want to start my own.

The idea came up over the summer while I was in a teacher inservice to start some book clubs with the high school kids at the school I work at. It would be so simple, so fun, so perfect. Even my ESL students, who mostly aren’t the greatest or motivated readers [in English], have expressed interest when I’ve told them about how people sometimes go to book clubs and talk about what they’re reading. If they’d be tempted to participate, I KNOW there are avid readers who would also be game.

Ideally, we would do it during the lunch periods (we have three) so that the kids who are hyper-involved with clubs and sports and part0time jobs could participate. If we selected three books, and each book had a group that met during each lunch, we would need 9 staff members to host the groups. Weekly would probably be too frequent and monthly too spread out to keep people engaged, so I think every other week would be best.

I stopped by the local public library to talk to the children’s librarian there. Once we get this rolling, I’m hoping she’ll be a good resource for book selection or even securing copies of the books. There is another English teacher and the school librarian that I work with who’ve expressed interest in making this happen, so I think there is a good chance that it will!

And for the love of reading, getting more kids to read for fun is a very good thing.

My Self-Published eBook (TRY ME!)

Here is my eBook Publishing handout.

As part of my Director’s Brief, I tried my hand at digital self-publishing. This is a multi-media guide with text, pictures and videos. (So if you have a black-and-white eReader, the content will be limited.) Here is one of my attempts, created on Apple’s iWork Pages:

http://tinyurl.com/knitbook08092012

Please try it out! It’s a little buggy yet with line return formatting (and I suspect that all of the video clips are showing the same thing somehow, at least on my device), but I’m moving on for now. You have a couple of options for access:

  • download the file (39.6MB) and load it to your device manually
  • open the link in a browser on a device enabled to read EPUBs
  • download it and use something like www.magicscroll.net or the Firefox add-on called EPUBReader

If you have an Apple device, this is easy…
a) import it into your iTunes library and then sync it with your books.
b) open the link in a Safari browser and iBooks will take care of the rest!

It is published as an EPUB, which according to Wikipedia, can be read on the following platforms (pretty much everything, except Amazon devices):

Unfortunately if you are a Kindle user, as I am, you are out of luck for the moment. Amazon’s eReaders do not support the EPUB format quite yet. (There are rumors that they will someday…)

So, what do you think…?

An Online Professional Learning Network for School Librarians

Goals Statements

My Online Professional Learning Network will help me to…

  • Connect with other school libraries that have similar needs and populations to serve
  • Pursue grant resources for technology implementation and collection development
  • Use the online LIS Professional Commons as an initiation to the library learning community since I am only a Special Student and am not officially admitted into an MLIS program yet
  • Develop my skills in outreach programming for at-risk learners, especially bilingual and reluctant readers
  • Engage in trend-spotting of up-and-coming digital tools and instructional technology strategies

 

Defined Scope

It is my goal to be a secondary (preferably high school) Library Media Specialist in Southern Wisconsin. I would like to work in a place that honors my technology skills but does not require that the majority of my professional time be spent fixing computer problems. I want to serve students and staff directly by meeting their media needs and increasing their information literacy skills. I also intend to keep my “eye to the sky” because I have a strong interest in working in public libraries if I ever decide to leave K-12 education.

 

Resource Network

 

School Librarianship

The Adventures of Library Girl
http://www.librarygirl.net/

This blog features explorations of a lot of trends in school librarianship. The author, Jennifer LaGarde, has been honored as a Mover and Shaker of 2012 by Library Journal.

 

American Association of School Librarians @aasl
http://www.ala.org/aasl/

This website has information about issues, advocacy and continuing education for school librarians, plus an interesting section for school librarian students.

 

Association for Library Service to Children Listserves
http://lists.ala.org/sympa/lists/subject/school

I can use these listserves as a means to casually tap in to discussions between school librarians around the country.

This is a listserve for discussion of all matters regarding library service to children.

This is a discussion listserve about partnerships between public libraries and schools.

This is a listserve that discusses children’s collection management.

 

Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts
http://blog.cathyjonelson.com/

This blog by a Nationally Board Certified Teacher Librarian features posts about the integration of technology in authentic and ethical ways to increase student engagement.

 

The Daring Librarian
http://www.thedaringlibrarian.com/

This award-winning blog by Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones shares lots of ideas and reflections for school librarians.

 

School Library Journal @sljournal
http://www.slj.com/

This is website by a respected journal provides online content of the print publication plus other news, features, and leadership tools for school librarians

 

Teacher-Librarian Twitter Feeds
http://blog.schoollibraryjournal.com/neverendingsearch/2010/04/20/lets-start-tlchat-2/

  • #tlchat
  • #teacher-librarian

These are the primary hashtags teacher librarians are using to share interesting insights and links on Twitter.

 

A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet
http://mediaspecialistsguide.blogspot.com/

This blog shares digital resources for school librarians and the teachers they serve. Especially unique is a collection of information on book repair, which seems to be vital knowledge for school libraries that coordinate textbook checkouts.

 

Teacher Librarian
http://www.teacherlibrarian.com/

This is the web-presence of a journal for school library professionals. Some parts of the site do not seem to get updated regularly, but the current issue is always available.

 

TL Virtual Café
http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/

This wikispace has webinars (upcoming and archived) and conversations about teacher-librarians and educational technology.

 

 

Grant Resources

DonorsChoose.org
http://www.donorschoose.org

This is an online charity specifically that schools and classrooms make requests for materials they need.

 

Grant Wrangler
http://www.grantwrangler.com/librarygrants.html

Among other school subjects, this website lists grants for school libraries, literacy grants for schools, and reading grants for school librarians and media specialists.

 

Indiegogo
http://www.indiegogo.com/

This website is a crowdfunding platform where people who want to raise money can create online fundraisers to get the money that they need.

 

The Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries
http://www.laurabushfoundation.org/

This foundation offers grants for school libraries to update, extend and diversify their collections.

 

Library Grants
http://librarygrants.blogspot.com/

Authors of the book, Winning Grants: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians with Multimedia Tutorials and Grant Development Tools, Stephanie Gerding and Pam MacKellar offer a blog for librarians interested in grant opportunities.

 

Scholastic Library Grants
http://www.scholastic.com/librarians/programs/grants.htm

Scholastic keeps an online list of current and ongoing grant opportunities for school libraries, complete with links and deadlines.

 

Tech and Learning Grant Guru
http://www.techlearning.com/section/grant-guru/55/page/1

Gary Carnow offers grant-writing advice and tips for people seeking grants in educational technology. They also link to a calendar for 2012-2013 of grants for education compiled by Dell and Intel. http://www.techlearning.com/portals/0/Dell_Grants_Calendar_2012-13.pdf

 

Wisconsin Humanities Council Grants
http://www.wisconsinhumanities.org/grants.html

The Wisconsin Humanities Council offers grants and mini-grants to public humanities programs that encourage conversations, connections and reflections upon our world.

 

 

Initiation to Library Learning Community

Hack Library School @hacklibschool
http://hacklibschool.wordpress.com/

This is a group blog that tries to redefine library school using the web as a collaborative space outside of any specific university or organization.

 

In the Library with the Lead Pipe @libraryleadpipe
http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/

This “peer-reviewed” blog offers essays from librarians, educators, administrators, library support staff, and community members to help improve our communities, our libraries, and our professional organizations.

 

Librareo
http://blog.gale.com/librareo/

This is an online forum for LIS students that offers discussion opportunities, resources for LIS studies and free subscriptions to Library Journal and School Library Journal upon graduation.

 

Librarian by Day @librarianbyday
http://librarianbyday.net/

This blog by Bobbi Newman has been honored by the Salem Press. She is interested in digital services, the digital divide and innovative new practices.

 

LISNews: That New Librarian Smell
http://lisnews.org/

This is collaborative blog devoted to current events and news in the world of Library and Information Science.

 

LIS Twitter Feeds

  • #LIS
  • #MLIS
  • #library
  • #librarian

These are popular hashtags being used on Twitter by the LIS community.

 

PLN Starter Kit
http://www.livebinders.com/play/play_or_edit?id=441748

This resource guide hosted on LiveBinders is a crowdsourced collection of resources for connected librarians and educators who are looking to begin a Professional Learning Network. It especially highlights popular Twitter feeds and Blogs.

 

ResourceShelf ResourceBlog
http://web.resourceshelf.com/go/resourceblog/

This is a blog where librarians and researchers share the results of specific, sometimes unique, web searches for information and resources.

 

Connecting to At-Risk Readers

American Library Association Listserves
http://lists.ala.org/sympa/lists/divisions/yalsa

These listserves are ways for me to keep up with discussions about at-risk readers around the country.

This is listserve discusses how libraries are addressing the needs of teens who do not or cannot use the library because of socioeconomic, legal, educational, physical or other relevant factors.

This is a listserve is about serving non-English speakers in public libraries.

 

Children’s and YA Lit Twitter Feeds

  • #titletalk
  • #YAlit

There are a few hashtags being used on Twitter to recommend books for children and young adults.

 

Colorín Colorado @colorincolorado
http://www.colorincolorado.org/

This is a bilingual website for educators and families of English Language Learners that promotes reading and academic success. There is a specific section for librarians.

 

Go Big Read @GoBigRead
http://www.gobigread.wisc.edu/

This is a local common reading program that seeks to engage students, faculty, staff and the entire community in an engaging way through online and live outlets.

 

Library of Congress for Parents and Educators
http://www.read.gov/educators/

This website contains resources that help young people unlock the power of reading.

 

Read Wisconsin
http://www.readwisconsin.net/

This website is hosted by the Department of Public Instruction of Wisconsin to provide webinars, videos and other resources about reading for those serving diverse populations.

 

Wisconsin State Reading Association
http://www.wsra.org/

This website offers advocacy ideas, resources and professional development that             addresses issues and trends in reading and language arts.

 

Tech Trendspotting

ChadKafka.com @chadkafka
http://www.chadkafka.com

Chad Kafka is a technology coach who trains educators and shares his ideas and presentations on his website.

 

EdGalaxy @edgalaxy_com
http://www.edgalaxy.com/

This blog compiles the latest technology, tools, toys and news for “teachers who want to work smarter.”

 

The Edublog Awards
http://edublogawards.com/

This website gives annual awards through a pubic nomination and voting process on social media such as blogs, hashtags, wikis, podcasts and their educational applications. This is a great resource to see what has been popular and useful in instructional technology every year.

 

Edudemic
http://edudemic.com/

This is a website with articles featuring technology tools and trends by covering the leading edge of digital learning.

 

Free Technology for Teachers @rmbyrne
http://www.freetech4teachers.com/

This daily blog by Richard Byrne delivers ideas and resources on instructional technology tools and social media applications.

 

iLearn Technology
http://ilearntechnology.com/

This blog is written by a former schoolteacher named Kelly Tenkely who now consults on how technology can  meet students’ needs and engage them.

 

Libraries and Transliteracy
http://librariesandtransliteracy.wordpress.com/ https://www.facebook.com/librariesandtransliteracy

This is a group blog and Facebook group that shares information on all types of literacies relevant to libraries (digital literacy, media literacy, information literacy, visual literacy, 21st century literacies, transliteracies, etc.)

 

Make Use Of
http://www.makeuseof.com/

This is a website that features articles and reviews of websites, technologies and internet tips. It is also a great learning resource for unfamiliar digital tools.

 

Social Media Examiner @smexaminer
http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/

This is an online social media magazine that businesses (err… libraries) can use to guide their development of their social media presence.

 

 

Network Maintenance Plan

In order for my Online Professional Learning Network plan to be meaningful, I will be using tools such as Google Reader, Twitter and possibly Diigo to keep it organized and accessible to me. These tools are ones that are reasonable for me integrate into my daily routine at a minimal level of about five minutes a day. The key will be to make the maintenance of my OPLN to become a habit so that it remains meaningful to me. This way I can make minor additions or adjustments gradually whenever I discover new ideas or resources.

When I am admitted officially into an MLIS program, I will probably find that the goal statements of my OPLN will need to be tweaked once I have received official career and course advising as to what my plan and path through library school will be. This plan will also probably need a complete overhaul of goals and resources when and if I make a career move from ESL Teacher to School Library Media Specialist (and again if I decide to move to public libraries). At that point, my OPLN should reflect my needs in my precise professional role. This is a reasonable expectation at any career change point thereafter.