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

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

After the Conference..... Reflect and Re-Energize with Steve Farber's Book

For those of us who attended our CSLA annual conference, I hope you are as inspired as I am!  The energy was high all weekend starting with a tour of Google, some practical and hands-on workshops at Santa Clara COE (thank you Peter Doering), a thought-provoking talk about engaging our students curiousity and natural desire to 'find out' by Tasha Bergson-Michelson; then great vendors who had lots to share with everyone, to our breakout sessions on so many topics everyone found something of interest during every block, to Sun. evening's CYRM banquet of great conversation with colleagues, authors, illustrators and a wonderful presentation by Gennifer Choldenko. 

But it didn't end there! On Mon. the energy continued to build with our Leadership Summit and a fabulous presentation from Steve Farber about qualities of extreme leadership which I must say, not intending to brag, I believe the teacher librarians I know have these qualities already!! Love, energy, audacity and proof.  Because of Steve's admiration of the work of teachers he has made his newest book available for FREE to all educators.  Please take advantage of his generous offer and share what you learn from it with the other teachers at your site. 

Access your copy of: The Radical Leap Re-Energized.  Please let Steve know what you think and that you were informed of this through CSLA. 

Thank you Glen for organizing a great leadership summit.  Thank you Jane and Janice for a great conference.  Thanks to everyone on the conference committee who made it all run so smoothly with such a positive energy.  Please share with us, in the comments, something that stood out for you from the conference.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Attending the Google Tour?

Here is an interesting recent blog post from KQED's MindShift titled Why "Googling it" is not Enough.  I especially found the comments section an interesting read.  Read before attending the tour as you will have an opportunity to ask questions.  Tasha Bergson-Michelson wrote another post for them last March - Builiding Good Search Skills: What Students Need to Know which you might also want to read before the tour.  Another great graphic that I found about Googling can be found here: Get More out of Google (make sure you zoom in to see it).  Have fun everyone!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Political Odds and Ends a Week Prior to Election Day

Our CSLA Advocate, Jeff Frost sent this report to CSLA leadership yesterday. We would like to share it with our membership and Listserv members. I hope it is helpful and informative to you. As an Association we do endorse a yes vote on Proposition 30 and a no vote on Proposition 32. Jeff's article is below.

Please do exercise your right to vote your own hearts,
Pam Oehlman
CSLA President

Political Odds and Ends a Week Prior to Election Day

Recent Polling on statewide propositions

Scott Lay, who does an outstanding daily blog on current political events
called Around the Capitol, is out with his most recent poll averaging - 10
days prior to election day.  As a reminder, these averages look at the broad
field of public polls, which are then weighted on recency and methodology.
Here are the current numbers:

Proposition 30: Temporary Taxes to Fund Education. Guaranteed Local Public
Safety Funding. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Yes: 49.0% (-1.8%)
No: 41.2%
Undecided: 8.7%

Proposition 31: State Budget. State and Local Government. Initiative
Constitutional Amendment and Statute.
Yes: 26.5% (-4.2%)
No: 42.3%%
Undecided: 31.1%

Proposition 32: Prohibits Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction.
Prohibitions on Contributions to Candidates. Initiative Statute.
Yes: 41.7% (-2.7%)
No: 46.0%
Undecided: 11.0%

Proposition 33: Changes Law to Allow Auto Insurance Companies to Set Prices
Based on a Driver's History of Insurance Coverage. Initiative Statute.
Yes: 54.8% (-1.0%)
No: 33.6%
Undecided: 23.1%

Proposition 34: Death Penalty Repeal. Initiative Statute.
Yes: 43.5% (-0.4%)
No: 44.3%
Undecided: 12.2%

Proposition 35: Human Trafficking. Penalties. Sex Offender Registration.
Initiative Statute.
Yes: 79.7% (-2.5%)
No: 12.3%
Undecided: 8.0%

Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law. Sentencing for Repeat Felony Offenders.
Initiative Statute.
Yes: 67.0% (-4.5%)
No: 20.6%
Undecided: 12.5%

Proposition 37: Genetically Engineered Foods. Mandatory Labeling. Initiative
Yes: 49.0% (-7.2%)%
No: 38.6%
Undecided: 12.2%

Proposition 38: Tax for Education and Early Childhood Programs. Initiative
Yes: 41.2% (-0.9%)
No: 48.7%
Undecided: 9.9%

Proposition 39: Tax Treatment for Multistate Businesses. Clean Energy and
Energy Efficiency Funding. Initiative Statute.
Yes: 54.2% (-0.5%)
No: 30.7%
Undecided: 15.1%

Proposition 40: Redistricting. State Senate Districts. Referendum.
Yes: 44.2% (+0.0%)
No: 25.8%
Undecided: 30.0%

Poll shows Molly Munger chipping away at Jerry Brown's support

Ever since the beginning of the campaign, Gov. Jerry Brown and his allies
have worried that Molly Munger's rival ballot measure would siphon away
support for his tax plan. It appears they were right to be concerned,
according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.  Support for Brown's
tax measure, Proposition 30, sank nine points to 46% in the last month amid
a barrage of criticism from Munger, who is pushing Proposition 38.  Poll
data show that fewer of Munger's supporters are also willing to vote for
Brown's measure, falling 10 points to 75%. In a close election, that kind of
drop can be decisive, said David Kanevsky of American Viewpoint, a
Republican firm that worked on the poll.  "The legacy of Proposition 38 will
be what happens to Proposition 30," he said. "If Proposition 30 loses by a
very close margin, you could make a case that Proposition 38 helped kill

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research, a Democratic company, also worked on the
poll, which surveyed 1,504 registered voters by telephone from Oct. 15 to
Oct. 21. The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points.

Brown's plan, Proposition 30, would increase the sales tax by a quarter-cent
for four years and raise income taxes on the wealthy by one to three
percentage points for seven years. The governor says it's the only way to
avoid billions of dollars in cuts to public schools this year.  Proposition
38, which Munger has bankrolled with tens of millions of dollars, would
increase income taxes on most Californians on an ascending scale and spend
the money on schools, early childhood education and debt payments.

Pollster Stan Greenberg said Brown can still pull out a victory on Election
Day, Nov. 6.  "This is likely to turn back," he said.

GOP's California Dream Dashed

A very interesting article by Jake Sherman in Politico, shows how the
congressional races are going in California.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Republicans started the year with high hopes for a
revival in this reliably blue state.  The party spent millions of dollars
working to identify and bring out Republican voters, after a nonpartisan
redistricting process created a dozen competitive seats where there was just
one before.  But the Golden State isn't the golden opportunity the GOP
thought it was this cycle. Nearly every Republican in California and in D.C.
privately concedes the same thing: They could wake up on Nov. 7 having lost
every competitive seat in the state.  House Republican leaders, who hoped to
be on offense in California, are now playing an expensive game of political

The story of why this is happening is best told in California's sleepy state
capital, which has morphed into the most competitive House media market in
the country.  Two Republican incumbents in GOP seats - Reps. Jeff Denham and
Dan Lungren - are on the ropes against well-funded Democratic challengers.
Despite their own polling - which has shown both men below 50 percent - they
refuse to concede the race is truly close.  The American Action Network -
which has spent tens of millions of dollars supporting House Republicans -
has had to spend roughly $3 million to prop Denham up - their biggest
expenditure in the nation. Internal polling has both races near a dead heat.
And because Republicans are on defense in those two seats, they can't lend
help to GOP challenger Kim Vann, a 37-year-old county executive, who is
running against liberal Rep. John Garamendi in a barely Democratic district
that stretches north of Sacramento. In fact, the media market is so
saturated, outside groups are having difficulty finding air time to buy.

A series of missteps, a popular incumbent president, a saturated media
market and a population with a large percentage of minorities makes winning
seats in this state a tall task for House Republicans.  They also can't
really criticize the health care law, which is more popular here. And
incumbents are difficult to dislodge.  In essence, the national party's
entire election playbook is rendered ineffective in California.  To show how
uphill the climb is here for Republicans, perhaps their best hope for
knocking off a Democrat is in a Stockton-area seat, where Ricky Gill - a
25-year-old Indian American with piles of cash - is trying to paint Rep.
Jerry McNerney as a Bay Area liberal who moved into the moderate valley to
save his political career. Here's the problem: President Barack Obama won
that district by 16 percent in 2008.

And it's not only Northern California where Republicans are seeing their
fortunes flip. In Palm Springs, Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) is seeing her
race tighten. In San Diego, Rep. Brian Billbray's race is also close.
Republicans counter and say Democrats have made mistakes too. They didn't
find a candidate to run against Republican Rep. Gary Miller in a Democratic
seat in the southern part of the state. Republicans are also poised to hold
a seat in the northern part of the state, and snatch another in the south.
It's crucial that Republicans make inroads in California because it's now
the most competitive House landscape in the nation. To build - and sustain -
a strong majority in D.C., both parties will have to learn how to win in the
state. So far, it's bedeviled Republicans.  "This state is the road for the
Democrats to go back to the majority," McCarthy said in an interview. "It's
a very competitive state. We're building a long-term narrative to win
seats," adding that their goal stretches beyond this election cycle.

Republicans face stiff headwinds. They're 30 percent of the electorate, and
have been on a steady decline. They don't boast a single elected minority in
a state where Asian Americans, African-Americans and Latinos are the drivers
of the population. The only woman in the Republican delegation is Bono Mack.
"What happened is the Republicans' complete and utter inability to connect
with Latino voters and Asian-American voters in this state," said Garry
South, a Los Angeles area consultant who ran Gray Davis's campaign for
governor. "It's going to be the death knell for the Republican Party. Far
from being able to rebuild itself, the California Republican Party is in
danger of becoming just another special interest group."  Plus, they're
tethered to a national Republican Party that has policies far out of step
with the state.  "I always hear people say, 'We're going to change the
California Republican Party and make it different and do different things.'
But no matter how much money the California Republican Party were to raise
and spend, we are stuck with the way the Republican Party is run in
Washington," said Matt Rexroad, a Sacramento GOP consultant who once was a
political aide to Minority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.). "We might like to
be different to make it more palatable here in California, in the larger
view of Republican politics, the sorts of things people would advocate for
wouldn't work in the United States."

One additional note on this story is that there is very strong evidence that
the House of Representatives will remain in Republican hands in the 2013-14
session even though its majority will likely shrink by a dozen or more.

Read more:

Department of Finance Releases Revenues for September

On a final note more focused on the state's budget rather than the
elections, the Department of Finance (DOF) released its monthly report on
state general fund revenue collections for September.  The DOF reports that
overall revenues for September were below estimates used to build the
current budget. General Fund cash for September was $147 million below the
2012-13 Budget Act forecast of $7.096 billion.  Year-to-date revenues are
now $379 million (-2.1%) below the expected $18.374 billion.  This data
shows that the state's economy is remaining steady but is not showing rapid
signs of strong growth.

The DOF's assessment of overall economic indicators highlights modest labor
market improvement and some improvement in the housing industry.
California's unemployment rate dropped from 10.6% to 10.2% in the last
month. While public sector employment has declined by 41,000 jobs in the
past year, California's private sector has added over 303,000 jobs since
September of 2011. The median price of existing, single-family homes sold in
August was $343,820--a 15.5% increase since August of 2011. This was the
highest statewide median price since August 2008.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

5 Great Reasons for Attending the CSLA Conference in November

by Joan Kramer

The following arguments will help make the case to your administration that attendance at the November 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 math and science curricula that will save your school money in selecting the right program for your students.  One workshop is titled  “50 Free Online Reference and 2.0 Tools (K-12)” – with long-time expert Peter Milbury.
  • 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 conference preview 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.
  • 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.  The book repair workshop is invaluable for those with restricted budgets.   
  • If you register before Sept. 30th, you will save even more money – between $35 and  $45 for full registration.
2.  You will become a more effective teacher librarian
  • 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 Web 2.0 tools and social networks that students enjoy and teachers need to know.
  • Sometimes very simple ideas can enhance your efficiency as a Teacher Librarian – 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 other TLs 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 TL.
  • You will be more valuable to your school because you will have the tools to teach the 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!!

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. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

And the TL of the year is......

from Nina Jackson

     This year the Long Beach School Librarians Association presented the Teacher Librarian of the Year Award to Jane Brooks from Cabrillo High School. If you asked Jane why she was given the award, she would say, “I don’t do anything special!”  But Jane does many things very well and she IS special.
     Some years ago, when she was the Teacher Librarian at Cubblerly K-8, she invited other TLs to come once a month after school to share lessons, materials, and challenges. This is so very typical of Jane; she sees a need, and does everything in her power to fulfill it. She is the most resourceful person I know. She knows where to go and who to ask and doesn’t know the meaning of “no.”
     When developing the collection for the new library media center at Cabrillo, she knew her student population and hand picked every title.  She was sure to select books of interest to her students as well as books to develop critical thinking skills and to challenge her students to stretch and reach for the highest achievements.
     She has transformed the library at Cabrillo into a warm, welcoming oasis. All are welcome, and all come, knowing that they will behave appropriately. No nonsense and mutual respect is the abiding theme.
     Jane goes to great lengths to obtain materials for students and faculty alike. It might be an interlibrary loan from another TL, driving by the Office of Multimedia Services on the way home so that a teacher might have just the right video for her class the next day, or working a deal with the local big box store to purchase materials at a reduced price. She works tirelessly for her students and staff in developing collaborative lessons that meet today’s educational standards.
     Jane seeks out professional development, attending workshops and conferences with the California School Library Association, American Association of School Librarians, and the American Library Association. She seeks innovation and new technologies, providing foundational guidance to staff and students. She is a past president of the Long Beach School Librarians Association and has served as a board member in many capacities since. In addition, she is a site leader at Cabrillo, and presently serves on Cabrillo’s Shared Decision Making Committee. Jane also has worked for our Long Beach Public libraries for many years and she epitomizes the best in both school and public librarianship.
     To sum up Jane in three words, she is tenacious, resourceful and dedicated.  Oops….. One more word…. SPECIAL.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Importance of Union Affiliation and Leadership

by Joan Kramer

Dear CSLA members, Teacher Librarians, former Teacher Librarians, retired Teacher Librarians, and supporters of school libraries:

Several times I recall reading discussions on Calib that highlight the need for Teacher Librarians to become involved in our local unions – whether AFT or NEA affiliates – and at the state level as well. 

After attending the CTA (NEA) State Council meetings for the past year, I have concluded that the only way we will get recognition from our unions and fellow teachers is for us to be active and get elected to our local boards and as state council delegates, to both CTA and CFT.   I know this adds another burden to our already complicated and encumbered lives.  But it is not enough to have liaisons to our unions.  We must have active leadership of our locals and participation in all the fights that are now part of the attacks on public education – which means that as TLs we take positions on high-stakes testing, VAM evaluations of teachers, privatization of public schools, and imposition of the Common Core State [sic] Standards.  We must continue to oppose the “charterization” of our school which is a big reason why so many of us are losing our jobs – our money is going to charters which do not hire teacher librarians nor fund school libraries.  [LAUSD TLs did a search of charters in our area and I only found one “affiliated” charter that had a library and hired a classified employee to work in it. There is one charter high school that still hires a Teacher Librarian and I believe, allows their teachers to belong to our local union.  This is the exception to the rule.]  One reason we TLs are constantly in danger of being cut is because we lose more and more students to “Independent” charters that don’t even include libraries in their budgets.  Los Angeles has the highest number of independent charters in the United States.  Our Teacher Librarians used to number 150, and now we have only 50 that are funded by the central district.  Any other positions for TLs are funded by some of the individual schools, but not many.

CTA state council meetings are powerful and meaningful to teachers and support staff on so many levels.  Not only are they grappling with the nuts and bolts of state budgets, and how they affect local districts, they are defining the very issues and endorsing the politicians who will impact our lives for some time to come.  CTA (NEA) is one of the most powerful forces in California politics, and our State Council, which meets in October, January, March and June, is where these decisions are made.  Every Teacher Librarian might benefit from attending at least one session to see 800 teachers, representing their local chapters, giving Yea or Nay to every important issue that affects the people of the state of California. An example of an extremely critical issue that was passed on at the June meeting was the draft “CTA Teacher Evaluation Framework” a project of three years that CTA members know is critical if we are to pre-empt the attempt to pass VAM and other misguided and inaccurate evaluation methods for teachers and other staff.

One liaison from CSLA to CTA is not enough.  A liaison cannot speak or vote.  We have been assigned to the Student Support Services Committee that is comprised of counselors, psychologists, nurses, and Teacher Librarians.  We are rarely considered in the deliberations of our meetings although everyone there speaks to the importance of libraries.  Fortunately the liaison from CTA to CSLA, Renee Ousley-Swank, is part of the curriculum committee where she has made great inroads into affecting policy.  Had I understood better what the role would be, I would have endeavored to be an active part of my local chapter – UTLA – a formidable group in the first place.  Many of you who reside in smaller districts stand a much better chance of being elected to your local chapters and then to the state council.

In January of this year three of Los Angeles’s Teacher Librarians spoke at the Student Support Services Committee at the invitation of Arlene Inouye, our local UTLA chapter Treasurer and a former Speech Pathologist.  This committee is one of several committees that comprise CTA State Council, and as such has a voice in influencing CTA policy and decisions.  Our TLs explained the precarious situation we were in in Los Angeles. On the advice of Susan Midori-Jones, the CTA Consultant to the Student Support Services Committee, Arlene Inouye initiated a Williams Complaint campaign on behalf of all support services staff in Los Angeles – all of whom are constantly in danger of being cut.  Nurses, counselors, psychologists, social workers, and teacher librarians went to their school communities and were able to collect 600 Williams Complaint forms at 175 schools – showing unequal access and services to students.  In May, these forms were submitted to the Board of Education.   While for the most part they have been dismissed as “inapplicable” or “inappropriate”, Arlene also learned that several schools were told by the Superintendent to hire more nurses.

The Williams Complaint Campaign could be waged on a state-wide basis on our behalf.  We need to carry out the battle for our jobs on as many fronts as we possibly can. 

But ultimately I believe we also need to support the larger issues that affect teachers in order to forge ties and win support and recognition at both the local and state levels of our unions

Joan Kramer

Sunday, July 8, 2012

eCOLLAB-Free Professional Development from AASL

AASL has recently launched a new service - all their webinars, podcasts and other resources from various AASL professional events available to members for FREE (or for a subscription price to non-members).  Tagged "Your eLearning Laboratory: Content, Collaboration, Community" these resources are invaluable to you for your own learning needs as well as providing material for you to use when providing presentations to your own staff, administrators, boards and parent groups.  Visit the website today to see what they have to offer and bookmark for future use!  eCOLLAB

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

CSLA 2012 Election Results

CSLA Election 2012
            Congratulations and thank you to all our members who have volunteered to serve CSLA.  These dedicated people will be working to serve our membership:
President-Elect:  Janice Gilmore- See                              Secretary:  Nina Jackson
VP Professional Development:  Wendy Chason            VP Government Relations: Glen Warren
Northern Region
President-Elect:  Andrea Catania                                     Treasurer: Renee Ouseley-Swank
Secretary:  Christina Larrechea                                        Section 1 Rep: Donnine Davis
Section 2 Rep:  Liz Coman                                              Section 3 Rep:  Lisa Huddleston
Section 4 Rep:  Valerie Barth                                          Section 4 Rep: Lisa Bishop
Southern Region
President-Elect:   Yvonne Weinstein                              Treasurer:  Rebecca Johnston
Section 1 Rep:  Sondra Keckley                                    Section 2 Rep:  Laurel Bullock
Section 3 Rep:  Lia Lades                                              Section 4 Rep: Lydia Smith-Davis
Section 5 Rep: Erin Southam                                         Section 6 Rep:  Mark Williams
      Diane Alexander, Past-President

Sunday, May 6, 2012

CSLA Election 2012

Check out the CSLA candidates biographies and philosophy statements.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Why I Present at Conferences and You Should Too

by Jane Lofton, CSLA President Elect
The first time I did a presentation for a CSLA event, during a Southern Section Workshop, I have to admit that I was extremely nervous and I promised myself on my way there that I would never put myself through that stress again. Well, I broke that promise less than a week later when I submitted a proposal to speak at the next CSLA Annual Conference. Why? Well, here are just a few of the reasons why my very first presentation at a school library professional event got me hooked:
  • I learn so much about my topic every time I prepare a presentation.  Whatever I may know about a topic before I start planning my talk, I always develop further expertise as I do more research, look for additional resources to share, and ponder how I am going  to organize what I say. If there is something you want to become an expert at, volunteer to do a presentation about it; you will grow into that expertise as you prepare.
  • I learn so much during the presentation itself. I learn which delivery techniques work, which don’t so well, and what I can change the next time. I learn from the questions members of the audience ask that may make me think about the topic in a new way. Questions also give me the validation of realizing how much I really know about my topic that others want to hear about from me.
  • I learn related new skills, such as how to better exploit the capabilities of presentation and graphics software. I first learned Prezi.com, which is now my favorite presentation application, because I set myself a challenge to use it for a presentation that was coming up.  
  • I meet new friends and my PLN (personal learning network) grows. There is nothing more gratifying than having people introduce themselves and tell me they enjoyed hearing my talk.
  • And, yes, I definitely get an adrenal rush from the stress beforehand, a few moments in the spotlight during it, and the satisfaction afterwards of a job well done. And, yes, I bet you will too. :)  

So, treat yourself to some fun, hard work, and a growing experience: prepare a proposal to present a concurrent session at the CSLA 2012 Conference in San Jose. Concurrent Session Chairs Ellie Goldstein-Erickson and Sandra Lane await your submissions! Proposals are due on April 14. Visit this link for information.

If you are reading this and have already had the great experience of presenting, please share a comment about why YOU choose to present.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Boopsie Webinar 3/28/12 - Library Mobile Web App!

All CSLA Members are welcome to attend Library Mobile Web App Webinar sponsored by CSLA Southern Region Section 4 and Boopsie.
This online meeting will take place from 7-8pm PST on Wednesday, March 28th. Please join us!

Here is a mobile web app survey for sign ups: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dGhBa3Jwb3NTWF85bWh3c0p3SlBRZ2c6MQ

We look forward to learning about this exciting new development with you!

Check out the Orange Lutheran HS Boopsie app at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/orange-lutheran-hs-library/id495286021?mt=8&ls=1

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Generation NOW kids & why schools have to change … (Part 2)

iCenter 2020 ~ What it Looks Like

by Janice Gilmore-See, CSLA Southern Section Past-President/2012 Conference Chair

In October 2011, I attended Treasure Mountain and the AASL Conference in Minneapolis. When I got back, I reviewed my notes and the book The New Learning Commons: Where Learners Win!: Reinventing School Libraries and Computer Labs, 2nd ed. By David V. Loertscher, Carol Koechlin, and Sandi Zwaan. We heard presentations from a variety of experts, too, including Joyce Valenza and Ross Todd. Then I sat down and thought about my vision for school and specifically from the lens of school libraries in California.

Libraries are the verbs in the content standards: examine, read, research, analyze, explore, investigate, discover ...

1. iCenters
School libraries will morph into iCenters. They will not stop delivering typical library services (circulating materials, story times, information literacy lessons, research assistance and instruction), but the name will change because of the strong association the word “library” has in most people’s mind with print materials. The term iCenter will make more sense in a learner centered model that reflects that it serves also as the information laboratory, learning commons, learning work space, and the learning resource center. It is accessible to everyone at the school and the mission of the iCenter is to meet the needs of each individual that walks through the door or connects virtually. This name change also reflects the change in focus from providing mostly print materials to an ever decreasing amount of print and increasing amount of electronic resources.
In all aspects, the mission of the iCenter will have a client focus; its holdings and services will be determined what the “customers” (meaning students, teachers, parents, and administrators) need and want.

2. Help Desk
The iCenter will serve as the technology Help Desk of the school to troubleshoot minor problems and to generally facilitate minimal loss of instructional time due to technological issues. While major repairs will continue to be in the domain of the IT Dept., students and teachers need a customer-service oriented person devoted to solving problems – issuing replacement devices, resolving password errors/lockouts, demonstrating and training others, and following up with technical support from a variety of vendors.

3. Flexible space/hours
The iCenter differs greatly from the current set up in libraries and computer labs. The wall and floor space devoted to shelving and permanent fixed computers will shrink (there will still be significant numbers of computers and books), but the furniture/shelving is designed to move to allow it to function in other ways (as dividers, as noise barriers). The iCenter is equipped with robust, reliable wireless access, and depending on the activities in progress, the room could transform from one configuration to another. The iCenter is bustling with students and adults flowing in and out; working independently or in groups, consulting with library staff or visiting teachers, and collaborating. There will be banks of computers to accommodate work on major projects and for completion of electronic assessments. There must be space for group work (tables, chairs, and places to plug in), individual study and reading areas, spaces for classes to come for instruction, and a place for silent study. These activities must be able to happen concurrently. Additionally, it must be designed to be comfortable for sustained work, and this space must be open and staffed all day long – because closing for lunch or before and after instructional sessions defeats the purpose of the iCenter.

4. Homework
The traditional temporal boundaries between home and school will become blurred as teachers and students build learning environments that function 24/7. We don’t need kids to sit in classrooms more; we need them to engage in learning activities more. This will be done increasingly outside the classroom; at home, from other locations in community, or in the iCenter. Some classes will flip the lecture portion of class to an online on-demand video or audio enhanced presentation, and face-to-face time may actually be devoted to what is typically sent as homework today. Blended learning environments (of many different shapes and structures) will become the norm.

5. The Tests
Standardized tests will be taken electronically, but they will be smarter and shorter, adjusting as the student progresses through it. These assessments will be graded immediately, with feedback sent to the teacher, student, and family. Testing will not be a tedious, school-wide requirement happening on the same day in the same place with the same rules for every student. The data will actually be useful because assessments will create a baseline for proper student placement in key subjects, periodic benchmark tests will occur that will allow students to receive intervention, stay on course, or accelerate (or even advance to a higher level) based on just-in-time assessment data. In addition, we will see digital portfolios replace test scores as the way many students establish competency because it is a better snapshot of student development over time. Critical thinking, creativity, and passion-based learning will be valued over standards based content memorization and results on multiple-choice tests. This will be demanded by the public in reaction to the over-testing that happens in the next decade.

6. Students move at their own pace
There is no reason why every student needs to stay in the same grade for the same number of days in the same courses of study as every other student. Students will progress through classes based on ability and time necessary to master content rather than by their chronological age. Teachers will be able to increasingly handle classes where students are at many different points in the curriculum rather than all moving at the same pace by having content delivered digitally and having help available during face to face time. The iCenter will be central to this idea.

7. Staffing
The iCenter will need to have a dedicated staff of at least two (for a very small school) and many more for larger ones ~ but as a minimum there must be one fully credentialed Teacher Librarian (TL) and one Technician in order to serve the needs of the school. This said, the iCenter is an extension of the various classrooms of the school and thus is a place everyone owns. Specialists and classroom teachers would come and go as they consult with individuals, small groups, and whole classes.

7. Instructional materials & curation
Textbooks and teacher materials, as well as library books, will be available electronically 24/7. The textbook will not drive instruction, but will be one tool within a larger arsenal of electronic resources provided by both publishers and database vendors. Evaluating and picking the best ones will become the important process. Teachers will be able to tailor their own curriculum by publishing their own creations digitally, which will integrate features such as video, audio, and social media. The Teacher Librarians in iCenters will build curated collections of resources to make sure the content is vetted and of the best quality, and this will be the clearinghouse for what can and can’t be used in many schools.

8. Differentiation – every child with an IEP?
Education in 2020 will be more individualized, leaving the bulk of grade-based learning in the past. Students will move forward when they are ready and they will be given the gift of time when they need longer than their peers to master skills. The structure of K-12 will be fundamentally altered. Teachers will have figured out how to use technology to personalize learning since students will be moving at their own pace through much of the curriculum. Face-to-face instruction will provide experiences that can’t be duplicated well electronically; group discussions, live presentations, team building, socialization with peers, language acquisition for EL, experimentation (science, math, using manipulatives, etc.) understanding learning goals and monitoring progress, monitored assessment, and character education. Differentiation is one reason the TL(s) working in the iCenter will be important, as this is just a natural part of the skill set – the TL is trained to be a generalist that covers all the grades instead of just focusing on one and that maintains a baseline knowledge in all disciplines rather than departmental specialization.

9. BYOD – Device Management
Our concept of what is a computer has already changed, but will continue to evolve as everything goes mobile and cloud-based, and by 2020 we’re going to see every individual computing via handhelds. Books will still be used (especially by teachers that have taught primarily with print), but by 2020, over half the reading will be via digital means. Students will be allowed and encouraged to bring their own devices just as we would allow students to bring a book to school from home today. Whether the student is using their own or a school issued device, small technical glitches will bring progress to a halt. The iCenter staff will be the mechanism to ensure that learning does not stop due to BYOD.

10. Connectivity
No, this isn’t about IT bandwidth. Teachers will have a larger number of students then they have now, but must be able to connect on a personal level to develop relationships. It is this connection to the teacher that is motivating to students. Teachers will become mentors or life coaches to students where they see potential, and will often maintain relationships even after the student has moved on to other instructors. The job of the teacher will be to help students discover their talents, passions, and dreams, and connect them to experiences. This could be internships in the community, field trips, or recommendation to extracurricular activities. Teachers will be able to meet with flexible groupings of students based on need. Since all students are not present at once, teachers can manage a much larger class size while still providing support and guidance to those students that need more. Instead of having 35 students all day long, smaller groups can come for focused and directed instruction. The iCenter will play an important role as it will be a safe space on campus for students to work while waiting for their class or group to meet. Additionally, the students will develop relationships with the iCenter staff that will last for all the years they attend the school.

11. Bringing the community in ...
The resources in the community that can be brought to the school plant are immense; intergenerational, business, and healthy recreation. The iCenter is the place where these interactions can occur safely and with supervision. The iCenter will, at times, look more like a public library with a variety of speakers and activities and events scheduled outside of the “academic” time.

12. Electives, choice and enrichment
What will attract and retain students in our schools? Sure, we need solid programs to help students master reading and mathematics, but also history and science, and what really attracts and excites parents (and engages students) are enrichment programs; technology, engineering, drama, art, cooking, music, dance, sports, shop, etc.

13. Progressive seat-time (slow release model)
School buildings are going to become ‘home-bases’ of learning, not the institutions where all learning happens. Schools will be able to be smaller and greener, and student and teacher schedules will change because there will be less people on campus at any one time. Rather than each teacher having a dedicated space that is used only by one class, teachers will share common spaces. With this said, the early grades will need the most face-to-face instruction and progressively as students develop in ability and maturity they can be released to do more and more on their own (either in their home or in the iCenter or in a proper ESS-type setting, predicated on what will work for the family). Beginning in grade two, students will be released to do 10% of their instruction virtually. This percentage of time will increase each year until grade 8 where up to 60% of instructional would happen outside the classroom. High school students then could end up taking courses in a hybrid environment or completely online.

14. Students as active participants in their learning
Students and parents will have a greater voice in school and teacher choice and evaluation. This will empower students and parents, and teachers will be rewarded according to their responsiveness to their needs (not to the results on a high-stakes test). Students will not only have goals set by the state and/or national government, but will set targets to achieve their own learning goals. Teachers will consult and coach the students in these personalized goals, but the iCenter will be actively involved in obtaining resources and offer assistance so that these goals can be met.

15. Where the staff keeps learning, too
No one knows a school as well as someone that works there and interacts with all the groups on campus; students, parents, teachers, and administrators. The TL will often be the most logical person to attend train-the-trainer meetings and bring information back to provide onsite professional development and follow up. The TL will serve as an “on-call” member of all site PLCs, and that way teachers can request training they need at any time during the year.

16. Parents as educational partners
Parent-teacher interactions in virtual reality (teleconferencing, email, and digital access to learning resources) will encourage relationship building; changing from a few annual encounters at events like curriculum night, conferencing, and open house to an enduring partnership for creating the best instructional plan for students. Parents will drive schools to become ever more tech integrated.

17. Batch mentality will be minimized
Master schedules will become more flexible by necessity. While Kindergarten and first grade may still look and feel like it does today, with structured start and end times, recess periods, and meal breaks, beginning in second grade students may come to school based on the times that prove manageable for teachers, students, and parents. Students will have access to the cafeteria when they are hungry, access to the Health Office if they get sick, hurt or need medication, access to the iCenter when they need somewhere to work independently or need additional support, and access to a variety of other activities based on their interests and abilities. These ancillary services will be seen as central to the reason students need to be on campus at all, and will be a marketing point that sells one school over another. The more rigid the program, the less attractive it will be to the parents and students, so the regimented system in place now would seem impossibly inappropriate.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

CSLA elections

Serving as an officer for CSLA is a great opportunity in several ways. Officers attend meetings which, are usually virtual where they hear more about what is happening in the organization and in our field. They also meet other library staff so they can share concerns and ideas. When they go to CSLA events they know more people so they have more fun. Of course, the most important reason is that they are giving back to CSLA, which has served our profession for almost 100 years.

The positions that are open on the State board are President-Elect, Secretary, VP Government Relations, and VP Professional Development. The Northern Region needs a President-Elect, Secretary, Treasurer, and one representative to serve in each of the four Sections. (There is already one representative in each region.) The Southern Region has openings for President-Elect, Treasurer, and one Representative from each Section. Members currently in the positions may also run.

The election will be in April. Please let me know if you have any questions or if you would like to serve in any of these positions. dapa@comcast.net

Diane Alexander, CSLA Past-President

Monday, February 13, 2012

California State Survey Time

It is time again to complete your CDE State Library Survey: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/lb/schlsurvwelcompage.asp Some survey facts to remember

1. A survey is submitted for each school by site or district personnel.
If assistance is needed see #8.

2. There is a password. Type it as you see it here: @YourLibrary
Then select the "Start Survey" button

3. CDE needs your numbers. The survey is essential to develop an accurate
picture of the condition of school libraries across the state.

4. The survey is collecting information about last year, 2010-11

5. You can see collected prior year survey information at any time.

6. NEW! Tutorials that show you how to use your automation system to
answer question #10. Thank you, Janice Gilmore-See, Marie Slim and
Kathie Maier for creating these!

7. Please share this information with others in your district!

8. Need assistance? Just ask.
Lisa Leiplein, lleiplein@cde.ca.gov 916-319-0441 or
Barbara Jeffus, bjeffus@cde.ca.gov 916-319-0445

Submitted by Barbara Jeffus

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Petition Success!

Thanks so much to everyone who signed the "Ensure that every child in America has access to an effective school library program" petition on the whitehouse.gov site. We got the 25,000 signatures required by February 4. In fact, we got 26,982 signatures! It now goes to President Obama. Stand by for what we need to do now. :)

Scholarships and Awards

Scholarships and Awards

Some of the many advantages of CSLA membership, are the awards and scholarships we offer. They all can be found with their application forms under “Foundation” on the CSLA website, www.csla.net . The deadline for all the applications is May 30.


DEMCO/Betty Barkema School Library Improvement Grant - $5,000

Leadership for Diversity Scholarship - $1,500

Northern Section: Jewel Gardiner Memorial Scholarship - $1,00 twice a year

Paraprofessional Scholarship - up to $100 per class

Southern Section (due 3/30): Teacher Librarian - $1,000; Paraprofessional - $500


Administrative Leadership Award

Innovation Award

Advocate for School Libraries Award

Leadership for Diversity Award

Good Ideas! President’s Award

Honorary Membership Award

Technology Award

Take a look at the website to see if you want to apply for any of these or nominate someone else. This is a great opportunity to reward deserving people.

Diane Alexander, CSLA Past-President

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kids Got It Easy

Generation NOW kids & why schools have to change … (Part 1)
When I was a child, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they growing up; what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... barefoot and in the snow… uphill... BOTH ways...

I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to tell my kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it.

But now that I'm older and a school librarian, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. They've got it so easy.  I mean, compared to my childhood, they live in a Utopia. 

To begin with:
  • Our parents told us to stay outside and play (without providing supervision or advice on activities) ... all day long. Now children are never left unsupervised and have packed schedules with camps, lessons, sports, tutoring, enrichment … or if the family can’t afford these things the Internet and TV are the babysitters.
  • Everything is safer now. I remember roller skating (metal wheels) on the sidewalk without the benefit of pads and helmets. My knees were permanently scabbed. I rode my bike without a helmet, often with no hands. Seat belts and car seats were for rich people with new cars.  My mom let us ride wherever we wanted – even in the open bed of a truck and we hung on.  If we were lucky, we got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly. Not only that, but the recharging ports in cars … those were cigarette lighters, and there were also ashtrays that slid out and were full of butts. People actually drove around smoking while the kids were in the car -- with the windows rolled up (which was actually a chore because you cranked a handle to make windows roll up).   
  • We didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove. Making popcorn was a real ordeal. You either had to have a special popper or you got this foil package that you put on the stove and then all the kernels in the bottom were burnt.
And then there was technology:
·         The television had 13 channels. We had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. There was no such thing as channel surfing because we had to get UP and walk over to the TV to change the channel, which we did by turning a dial ~ I remember being the remote control. Not only that, sometime the reception was fuzzy and if I wanted a clear picture I’d have to stand in front of the TV holding the rabbit ears just so.
·         There were no DVRs or TiVo or OnDemand or streaming TV from a website, so if we wanted to watch a program we had to watch it when it was being broadcast and there was no fast-forwarding through commercials. There was no Cartoon Network either so we had to wait all week long for cartoons that were only on Saturday mornings. Late night TV ended sometime after midnight, and then the station played the Star-Spangled Banner to “sign-off” and then there was nothing on except a test pattern until morning.
·         After school, there were reruns of wholesome shows like The Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, and I Dream of Jeannie … oh and Bewitched. I think I may have seen every episode of these shows several times because nothing else was on. Every once in a while there was an Afternoon Special that was really corny and always had a moral lesson for you to learn. What do kids do now after school? They’re multi-tasking, switching between several activities incessantly; listening to music, texting friends, doing homework, sending IMs, watching YouTube, checking email and Facebook, sending tweets, eating, and playing a game … yes, they are trying to do all these things simultaneously.
·         Our only telephone was stuck on the wall with a long cord that got tangled up as we walked as far away as it would stretch. We were lucky that we weren’t on a party line where your neighbors could listen in. Even so, I remember my parents getting very irritated having to listen to my long, inane conversations. Now parents often don’t have a clued what their kids are talking about; half of it is in acronyms (LMAOROFL) and it is filled with bizarre emoticons ;-)
·         There weren't any fancy features like Call Waiting, either. If we were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it. There was no Caller ID so when the phone rang we had no idea who it was!  It could be our school, our parents, our boss, our grandma, the collection agent... we just didn't know! We had to pick it up and take our chances. There weren't any cell phones either, so if you left home you just missed the calls – see, we didn’t even have answering machines! If you wanted to make a call away from home, you’d have to find a phone booth – sometimes you can see them still.
·         TEXTING? Yeah, right – although for a while there were these beeper things that people carried around to know when they were desperately needed for an emergency.
·         Yes, there were computers (I’m not that old!), but they existed in huge rooms in big companies and even with that gigantic computer it was less powerful than an iPhone now.
·         No one had personal computers, and the Internet wasn’t open to the public.  If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, using the drawers in the card catalog! Information is now instantaneous and customizable with RSS feeds, blogs, interactive websites, and … Google.
·         There was no email.  We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen!  Then we had to find or buy a stamp and put it in the mailbox, and it would take a week to get there.
·         There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes!  We had records in vinyl with beautiful jackets that were like artwork. There were no CD players, but we did have giant boom boxes that were really heavy to carry around.  We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and sometimes the tape deck would “eat” the tape when ejected. And if we wanted to steal music, we had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up! 
·         I remember the first video games like Pong and Space Invaders and Asteroids.  Our screen guy was a little square (well, we used our imagination) and there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen… forever! Oh, and you could never win; the game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died!  Just like LIFE! Now there are sophisticated game systems like PlayStation or Xbox with high resolution 3-D graphics, and these devices also serve as DVD players, Internet connectors, and you can control the games with your body. World of Warcraft, and other MMORPGs, are so absorbing that kids can concentrate on them for hours on end, seemingly loosing track of where their virtual life ends and their real life begins.

I hate to say it, but the kids today don't see how good they've got it … they wouldn't last five minutes back in 1970. But by the same token, I can see that their experience growing up is not “easier”, just different.
And this is why school can’t look the same as it did in 1970. We’re talking about the NOW connected generation, with their own obstacles to overcome. Students today are not engaged by spending 6-hours daily listening to a teacher talking at the front of the classroom, often moving too fast for some, too slow for others, and not using any of the tools they use to learn on their own.
[To be continued] Look for Part 2 in February, which attempts to answer the question of how schools need to change to meet the needs of Generation NOW students.
by Janice Gilmore-See, Southern Section Past-President