Monday, March 30, 2009

Computers in Libraries Conference -Day One

Opening Keynote: Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Internet and American Life Project

I am here in very windy Arlington, Virginia waiting for Lee Rainie to begin. The conference is at the Hyatt Regency, which is quite a nice hotel. Unfortunately for me, I was not able to get a room here so I did not know that they had a lovely free breakfast here for attendees and I paid $13.00 for an egg white omelet at my hotel.

I didn't realize what a big conference this is! There are librarians of all types here. -a lot of academic librarians. There are attendees here from 49 states, plus 18 countries outside of the U.S. I just might be one of the very few elementary school librarians here. There are over 2,000 attendees here.

"Information's pretty thin stuff unless mixed with experience." -Clarence Day.

Lee is talking about Twitter. Only 5% of the people here know about or are using Twitter. Surprised.
Lee is talking about “Behold Homo Connectus”: We are a different species with a different sense of things:
1. Volume and variety of information has grown tremendously with millions of users creating content. People can screen out what they don’t want.
2. The speed of information speeds up—the way you find info now through social networks speeds things up. We can create our own playlists of media, in other words, there is a time shift and place shift in accessing media.
3. The relevance of information improves as the number of voices explodes. Voting and ventilating are enabled. We can explain what is going on in our world and there is ample opportunity for us to talk back to institutions.
4. Social networks are more vivid. We can fall back on our social networks for support.

So, how does this relate to the role of the librarian? Less says that personal activities and media have come together; institutions can be active in people’s networks like never before. Librarians can find ways to be reliable gatekeepers and sensemakers that people will appreciate.

Internet @Schools Sessions:
Finally got to meet David Hoffman, editor of Multimedia and Internet@ Schools Magazine. He has been extremely nice and helpful in getting me here to this conference within the conference, aimed specifically at school library media specialists. Our sessions are in another room (not the best venue - has huge columns that block your view of either the speaker or the screen). Due to a cancellation of one of the sessions, my session got moved up to right after lunch from the 4:15 slot (sigh of relief). There are approximately 50 LMS's attending these workshops. The first presenter is Sheila Gersh, from CCNY to talk about her project, CultureQuest.
I am going to connect Sheila with some people in TEAM. I have students creating a collaborative project called Cultureshare - this is a natural. CultureQuest started 5 years ago at CCNY: inquiry-based investigations of other peoples and cultures that are rooted in student questions and based upon student interests. Projects focus on literature, art, music, history, government, and more. Sheila talking about a model-->P is the problem-->E expert learners-->L learners, all working together to solve the problem. CultureQuest projects are based on this model. Talking about ePals for global collaboration.

Leap and the NETS Will Appear:
Next up is Johanna Riddle, who, unfortunately is having many technical problems in her presentation. One of the things she talked about is a project using the book Owen and Maze (love that book) as a jumping point for guided discussion, comparison and research. She is focusing alot on strategies for incorporating visual literacy into instruction with young students.

Using Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasts to Promote Books and 21st C Skills:
This was a very informative session. Patrick Ledesma and Cecelia Carmenate from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia are talking about using blogs to promote discussion. In their example, the librarian creates a blog in which she poses questions that students respond to. For incentives, they have "blogger of the month" in which they give rewards to the students who blog the most. The librarian posts questions, such as "can you judge a book by its cover?" This gives them the opportunity to engage in discussion. Librarian responds to the readers and comments. Can be used to tie in books with current events and books and their movie version. Important to add pictures and media. Blog like this shows that the library can also be a place for fun. You can embed the movie trailer into the blog.

Spotlighting Good Literature Through Technology: Video Book Talks:
Eloise Long and Eileen Kern from PA
They are discussing booktalks in the library - a booktalk is a structured mini-mystery with a cliffhanger ending. They are inspiring me to do this, but I would have my students do it. Some of the web 2.0 tools that they suggest for this are:
Also are recommending the book The Tech-Savy Booktalker: A guide for 21st Century Educators

General Comments About Day One:
I think that my session went very well, I got a lot of nice feedback. I also met Stephanie Rosalia, the librarian who was featured in the New York Times Article (Librarian Job Gets an Update) and had a nice conversation with her. Mostly, I came away from today realizing that I have come a long way as a school media specialist; I don't assume, but sort of expect, that most LMS will know about most of the tools that were presented here today by myself and others - but surprisingly, that is not the case. Many of the LMS here today have to deal with the fact that teachers have to spend so much time teaching to state tests that they don't have time to take their students to the library. My suggestion there was to tell them to let those teachers know that you can help them by creating research projects that deal with a part of the curriculum- take a little of the load off of them.

This was my first time presenting at a national conference that is geared strictly to librarians. I had an 'aha' moment, realizing that I have a lot to offer in the area of professional development to my colleagues. As a whole, school library media specialists are up against a lot~ in many states and districts we are not even mandated and are replaced by regular teachers; we are up against mandated testing, small budgets, lack of help, and often lack of support. This makes it imperative that we take read-write web by the horns and make ourselves indispensable! That was the theme of my presentation. We can make ourselves indispensable by not only being the experts, but also by modeling the use of web 2.0 tools in our library media centers. On top of that, we have to be the ones to lead in teaching digital and information literacy skills to students. That has to be our focus now.


  1. I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


  2. You're so lucky to attend those big conferences. I'm very thankful that you never fail to give us good reviews and stories about them. Anyway, collaboration of technology and books for learning would absolutely have a great impact to the society.