The issues of the teacher librarians and para-professionals in California School Libraries. Please share your concerns, feedback and questions.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

An interview with Karen Morgenstern, producer of the new CSLA advocacy video

The new CSLA video “Does Your School Have a Teacher Librarian?” has garnered state and national interest (over 3,000 hits in the first two weeks). What’s the backstory behind the video?

Dr. Lesley Farmer, who suggested to CSLA that they should involve Karen Morgenstern in this advocacy video initiative, interviewed this teacher librarian, who works at an independent K-6 school library. Karen had eleven years of film industry experience before starting her school librarianship preparation at CSULB where Dr. Farmer coordinates the program.

When asked how she felt about the video, Karen replied, “It’s one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever experienced. It’s so satisfying to show what I know, to create something to advocate to get more teacher librarians in California.”

Karen continued, “Probably the most startling statistics are the comparisons between California and Texas.” Karen remembers her research days at CSULB. “Information science has certain sets of facts based on research, but in the education world, that data hasn’t hit teacher preparation programs.” She continued, “I remember saying in my class that there needs to be a documentary about what kids are doing with information.” As a teacher librarian in an independent K-6 school, Karen was startled by the difference between the openness of Internet access for her students compared to a CSULB peer’s “closed universe” public high school. “Access to the Internet is not enough; kids need access to teacher librarians.”  

Karen recounts the many connections in the process of making the video. “I heard that several CSLA members were going to do a presentation about the value of teacher librarians at the California School Board Association’s conference in San Diego last December. When I found out that no one was taping the session, I thought that the presentation should be documented for CSLA. I went to the high school Media Academy where my sons learned film making, and I borrowed a high-quality video camera from their former film teacher James Gleason.” Karen’s son videotaped the presentation, which she edited—her first foray into editing.
Karen explained to Gleason that documenting this panel presentation was part of a larger process of producing a CSLA advocacy video, and Gleason said he would be interested in shooting and editing it with his former student TerryKhai Ngo. James is very active in an ongoing nonprofit international student film festival always in need of support. The California School Library Foundation approved the funding, using Follett’s donation. “James really believed in the project, even if he didn’t know much about teacher librarians.”

Karen didn’t write a script, but organized the video’s content around interviews she conducted with James and TerryKhai of a variety of teacher librarians and other experts in the field during a CSLA conference. “The narrative would come out of the stories people told.” In one day James and TerryKhai filmed at three school libraries, which showcased the experts’ messages.
Karen said that every interview was valuable. “I have enough raw footage to create several topical videos.” Karen transcribed every interview, and boldfaced important sound bites for James to include in his draft video. Karen also interviewed her own students, prompting them: “Just talk about what I have taught you.” The results were authentic and compelling. “I’d like to compare the statements of legislators’ and superintendents’ own children about school libraries and information literacy with the statements of students who have had school librarians. It would confirm the difference that a teacher librarian makes.”

Then James handed off the video to Terry, who was a wonderful young collaborator. “He anticipated every change I thought should be made, and every problem.” Karen also connected with her school’s music teacher, Lilly Aycud, who is also a composer and performer. She and her husband, Marc Stuart, composed the score for the video, which was their first such effort. “I learned how much music can contribute to the film’s effectiveness. The film and the music came together beautifully.”

When asked what was the most challenging part of making the video, Karen answered: “Confining what we did to ten minutes without having just talking heads. The kids needed to be seen. The school settings needed to be seen. I had to strip the video down to the bare essentials.”  Karen continues, “I would like to include footage showing teacher librarians in action—actually teaching a lesson.”

Karen continues, “I would like to interview college professors and have them talk about the contrast between their students who have had access to teacher librarians with those that haven’t. I would like parents to see that difference. What I see is a disconnect all along the way. Classroom teachers don’t know how to teach information literacy and many don’t know the value of teacher librarians. It’s such a waste of time and energy when students are not using reliable and accurate information. It makes so much sense for all students, including elementary school students, to have teacher librarians.”

Karen concludes, “My message is for California administrators: hire more teacher librarians. And make sure they are full time, utilized to their fullest, and let them provide professional development to other teachers. Karen also says, “I learned so much in making this video—it was a librarian’s dream.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 Great Reasons for Attending the CSLA 15 Centennial Celebration Conference in February

The following arguments will help make the case to your administration that attendance at the February CSLA conference will benefit the entire school because:

1.  You will save your school money in times of shrinking budgets.
CSLA workshops and sessions provide time-saving, money-saving and innovative ideas that all teachers and students can use.  There are links to Common Core ideas that will save your school money in selecting the right program for your students, for example, the workshop " I've Got A Digital Tool For That! Tools to Create, Collaborate and Connect" with Shannon McClintock Miller.
  • You will learn new ideas from the workshops and sessions, and equally as important, from fellow teacher librarians whose expertise and experience in the field will enhance your ability to serve your teachers and students.  Take a look at the Preview Guide for workshops.
  • The many exhibits will give you an opportunity to review products and services that might fit the exact needs of your school. This networking with vendors is invaluable, often providing cost-saving solutions to some of your school’s needs.
  • The “Exhibitor Learning Sessions” are an ideal way to see demonstrations of new products and preview new product lines.
  • One of your important duties is selecting resources for your library and school, and the CSLA conference includes experts in Young Adult and Children’s literature.  We have four author panels for you to attend, as well as the California Young Reader Medal Banquet, with CYRM winner Lisa McMann presenting.
  • If you register before Dec. 19th, you will save even more money – save $50 on full registration.

2.  You will become a more effective teacher librarian or library paraprofessional
  • Innovative ideas, strategies, and technology that you learn at sessions and from colleagues will serve your users and help you manage your time more efficiently.  These include many of the latest cloud-based tools and social networks that students enjoy and teachers need to know.
  • Your network of library resources will grow from meeting people from all over California at the conference. Some of the benefits from past conferences have included connecting with the California State Library, resources from the University of California including the California Digital Library  and Calisphere educator resources, etc.   All of these are free resources that make you and your teachers more effective and provide additional resources for your students.
  • Sometimes very simple ideas can enhance your efficiency as a Teacher Librarian or library paraprofessional – for example, learning from an experienced TL specific techniques to involve your administrators and teachers so that they utilize library resources and services more effectively.
  • Learning from experts in the field what has made their program successful can help you implement the new ideas, or adapt them to your own situation.  We may think we cannot or do not have time to do something innovative until we learn how it was done by another.
  • You will be more valuable to your school because you will have the tools to teach the Common Core State Standards, Model California School Library Standards, Digital Literacy, Internet Safety, Cyber Safety for students, Copyright and more.

3.  You will learn how to advocate for your library program
  • Our advocates in Sacramento share important legislation that affects school library programs.
  • The school library consultant to the California Department of Education recommends important ideas and strategies to support site library programs.
  • Other TLs often have great ideas on how to make you INDISPENSABLE to your school, and district.

4.  You will bring fresh new innovative ideas to your school that will energize your teachers and students and, most of all, YOURSELF!!
  • ‘Leave behind “conference guilt” - the sense that leaving your campus for PD disadvantages students and teachers. A day of PD many inspire months of great ideas.’ Carolyn Foote, School Library Journal, October 2014, p. 20.

5.  You will bring recognition to your school library and enhance its reputation by participating in professional development and showing your commitment to innovation and improving services to all stakeholders.

Promise yourself that when you return you will provide your administrator with a written report and share the information you learned from sessions, workshops, vendors, informal meetings and special events with your school staff.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Join/Renew Membership Incentive

Join/Renew CSLA Membership During November and Receive 2 Workshops for the price of 1 at the Annual Conference ~ Burlingame, February 5th-8th!

During the month of November 2014, in connection with registration for the annual conference, we are offering you a very special bonus membership benefit:

  • Join or renew by November 30, 2014, and you can get a 2-for-1 Workshop coupon valued at $55.00.
To be eligible for this offer, you must join CSLA or renew your CSLA membership by November 30, 2014. This offer applies to CSLA Professional and Paraprofessional memberships only.
You will receive a coupon code for your conference registration discount within one week of submitting your membership/renewal. NOTE: You must redeem your 2-for-1 Workshop coupon with your conference registration by January 30, 2015.

What if I am already a current CSLA member, and not yet due to renew?
You can still take advantage of this offer if you renew your CSLA membership in advance by November 30, 2014, extending it an additional 12 months from your current expiration date.

Where do I do this?

Click this link to join or renew: http://bit.ly/1tsX6SO

CSLA featured on TL News Night

California School Library Association will be featured on TL News Night on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 5 PM.  This show takes place live the third Monday of each month in news show format. It reviews what is happening in school libraries across the country. Each month also features guests from a different state library association.

TL  is anchored by a team of super teacher librarians from across the country. They include Nikki D Robertson, lead anchor, and Michelle Cooper, Elissa Malespina, Sherry Gick, Sue Levine, and Shannon Miller.

Our CSLA panel on November 17 will include:
  • Liz Dodds, CSLA President
  • Beth Oshewsky, CSLA President Elect
  • Glen Warren, CSLA VP, Government Relations
  • Jane Lofton, CSLA President, 2012-2013
Our panel will be sharing about the upcoming Centennial Conference, our early and recent history as an association, the state of school libraries in California, our new advocacy film and other advocacy efforts led by CSLA and its leadership team. 

The show is broadcast using Google+ Hangouts as the software platform, and viewers can watch the live stream from the site home page at http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/TL+News+Night or on their Google+ pages.  

Viewers are encouraged to post questions and comments on Twitter using the #TLChat hashtag, and commentators and guest panelists respond during the show. CSLA's hashtag is #4CSLA.

While viewing the show live is the best option, since you get the chance to submit questions and comments via Twitter, you can also view the show recording at any time. All the show archives are posted at http://tlvirtualcafe.wikispaces.com/TL+News+Night

TL News Night had its first broadcast in September 2013. CSLA will be the 11th state featured on this informative, lively, and fun program. Please tune in on Monday, November 17 at 5 PM to view the show live.

CSLA State Board

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Butter Book Trailer Online Book Discussion Dec. 3

Please join us on December 3 at 3 pm (Pacific) to discuss the book Butter by E. J. Lange. Contact Jane Lofton
(a former CSLA president) to get the Google Hangouts link. Students and
staff are welcome, although we're mainly concentrating on students.
Butter is an overweight boy who decides to eat himself to death on
camera, online. He crowdsources the menu for his last meal. We hope to
have students from Texas, Connecticut, and several places in California.
All are welcome.

Friday, September 26, 2014

CSLA Awards

All state level awards and scholarship deadlines are October 1, 2014, and they will be presented at the Annual Conference in San Francisco in February, 2015.  Application can be found on the Awards section of the CSLA website.

Administrative Leadership Award

The purpose of this award is to honor administrators with direct responsibility for a school or group of schools who have made influential, unique and sustained contributions to effective school library programs, furthering the integral role of the library media programs in elementary and/or secondary schools. Traditionally, administrators have been nominated by teacher librarians working in the same district. 

Advocate for School Libraries Award

Please contact CSLA at info@csla.net if you have a candidate you would like to nominate for outstanding advocacy in support of California school libraries.

Good Ideas!

Newsletter contains compelling ideas for administrators, teachers, the PTA, and the school board. It is published once a year by the Committee for Standards Integration of CSLA, whose mission is to provide leadership to ensure that California educators and students are effective users of ideas and information. Winners receive $50 discount on annual conference registration. 

Honorary Membership Award

The Honorary Membership Award recognizes retired members of the Association who have made outstanding contributions to school library programs and the Association over a sustained period of time. The Honorary Membership Committee publicizes and solicits nominations throughout the year and tries to make the nomination process an easy one. Individual active members may submit nominations. 

Leadership for Diversity Award

The purpose of the CSLA Leadership for Diversity Award, is to recognize an elementary or secondary Teacher Librarian who has facilitated a lesson or project in collaboration with a classroom teacher that promotes multicultural literature or media and emphasizes diversity in any curricular area. The award of $1,000 will be used to purchase materials for the winner’s school library. 

Presidents’ Award Sponsored by Demco

DemcoThe CSLA Presidents’ Award is a $400 award funded by Demco, Inc. and presented to an outstanding teacher librarian selected by the State, Northern, and Southern section presidents. The award money may be applied to transportation, lodging, conference registration fees, and incidental expenses. Nominations may be made by library peers, administrators, teachers, or by the nominee himself or herself. This is award honors an individual who, through the library program, directly affects students and teachers. 

Technology AwardMackinVIA_Logo

Showcase how 21st century technology skills are part of effective school library technology integration: We want to hear about strong teacher-librarian use and promotion of technology tools for students, teachers, school, and/or district, as well as ways they are collaborating to combine technology with curriculum to research or present information. Nominations should brag about student and/or broader school community technology use and programs, and incorporate one or more of CSLA’s three core messages of “equitable access,” “school library standards,” and “strong school libraries build strong students". Award candidates must be CSLA members who are credentialed Teacher Librarians working at the site or district level. Applicant may be self -nominated. This award is sponsored by Mackin and includes $1,000 award money for use in the award-winner’s library. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Is this December or is this September?

I don't know about you- wait- maybe I do... the beginning of the school year seems long ago, doesn't it? We are now deeply into testing and tablet and laptop carts and reconfiguring them and learning MS Office 365 and becoming acquainted with PBS Learning. Most students have now been to the library at least once and the freshmen have heard my refrain- I get to see you and know you for four years and your classroom teacher only gets to know you for one year. In that way we're similar to coaches and office staff, counselors, and administration. But the four years goes fast. One minute they're goofing around (as freshmen are wont to do) and the next they are walking across the stage at graduation. It is such a privilege to be part of that four years.