Posts filed under ‘ALA’

National Library Legislative Day 2011 is Here!

Posted by Robert J. Lackie

National Library Symbol

National Library Symbol

Libraries are increasingly essential in these tough economic times. People are flocking to our nation’s libraries for job and career information, small business research and e-government services as well as support for formal and informal education and lifelong learning. Congress made across-the-board cuts to federal programs in its FY2011 budget, and libraries fill the gaps made when other agencies and services. Unfortunately, libraries are also receiving federal budget cuts.

Even if you can’t make it to Washington for National Library Legislative Day on May 9, you can join us by contacting your representatives and senators during Virtual Legislative Day. Please contact your elected officials with the following requests:

APPROPRIATIONS FY2012

  • Fund the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) at $232 million, the level last authorized in December 2010;
  • Preserve the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program with its own budget line and appropriate the program at its FY2010 level of $19.1 million;
  • Maintain funding for the U.S. Census Bureau’s Statistical Compendia Branch at $2.9 million in order to preserve publication of “Statistical Abstracts” and other publications;
  • Fund the Salaries and Expenses work of the Government Printing Office (GPO) at $42,173,000 to preserve public access through the FDLP and FedSYS.

Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (School Libraries):

  • Support student performance by including an effective school library program as part of ESEA through the LEARN Act to include:
  • A school library staffed by a state-certified school librarian;
  • A school library with up-to-date books, materials, equipment, and technology, including broadband connectivity; and
  • Instruction by librarians for students and staff on digital and computer literacy skills, including collaboration between classroom teachers and school librarians to develop and implement the curriculum and other school reforms.

American Library Association

While these issues are the most urgent at this time, there are many other critical pieces of legislation impacting libraries.  For full list of key issues that will be discussed at National Library Legislative Day, click here.  ALA has also drafted issue briefs on the following areas: Access, Appropriations for Libraries, Broadband & Telecommunications, Copyright, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Government Services & Information, Surveillance & Privacy and the WILL Act

Visit http://capwiz.com/ala/issues/alert/?alertid=44989511&queueid=[capwiz:queue_id] to learn more and send your congressman and senator a message.

-Robert

Robert J. Lackie

Robert J. Lackie

May 9, 2011 at 11:56 am 1 comment

Money Smart Week® @Your Library (April 2-9, 2011) and ID Theft Resources

Posted by Robert J. Lackie

American Library Association logo

American Library Association logo

The American Library Association (ALA), the Federal Reserve, and I hope that many librarians and their libraries are participating in the first ever national Money Smart Week® @Your Library this week, April 2-9, 2011! Money Smart Week (a registered service mark of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago) events are taking place now at member libraries across the country covering topics from learning how to apply for a mortgage to teaching young people about credit to ID theft protection, with many resources uploaded to the Money Smart Week® @Your Library official site, linked above. Visit this site for information on this initiative and for news and important links you can use this week, right now!Money Smart Week @ Your Library: April 2-9, 2011

Additionally, Rider University’s Center for Business Forensics (CBF) has hosted several free interactive panel presentations for the general public (students, staff, community members, etc.) and law enforcement personnel focusing on the major issues surrounding identity theft—including financial literacy—and providing insight into the widespread, varying, and serious nature of identity theft.

Rider University's Center for Business Forensics

Rider University's Center for Business Forensics

Dr. Drew Procaccino, a professor of computer information systems at Rider, has organized and led these Identity Theft: What You Need to Know sessions with panels of experts from law enforcement, banking, legal, library, IT, CIS, and health care organizations. As a panelist several times and as a new member of the American Library Association’s Academic MSW@Your Library Committee, I want to again provide everyone with some frequently repeated “best practices” from the panel experts for detection and protection, especially since this week (until April 9, 2011), we are officially celebrating the 10th year anniversary of Money Smart Week. Here are the 10 best practices/advice from our panel of experts at Rider’s CBF sessions:

1. Shred with a crosscut or micro shredder pieces of mail that contain any personal information before throwing them in the trash at home or at work.
2. Place outgoing mail and retrieve incoming mail via a locking mailbox or official Postal Service box.
3. Use a virtual credit card number (available through most banks) for online purchases, rather than your “real” credit card—connected to your card, the virtual number can be set up to only be used once, for that one online purchase (or for longer, but only if you wish).
4. Keep an eye on your credit card when you are paying for something—don’t allow it to disappear out of your sight (skimming of your card could occur).
5. Inventory/photocopy what is in your wallet/purse and place that photocopy (back and front of cards) in a locked cabinet—if your wallet/purse is stolen, you have all the info.
6. Never respond to an unsolicited email from your bank, medical organization, etc., and don’t unsubscribe—don’t even click on the link, just delete it.
7. Cover the ATM keypad from prying eyes and cameras with one hand while you enter your PIN.
8. Review your credit reports (you can get a free one each year from each of the three credit reporting agencies, and if you stagger requests, you can get one every four months).
9. Clear private data from your browser (i.e., Firefox, IE, or Safari): delete temporary files, browsing history, cookies, cache, saved form information, and saved passwords, especially when using a public computer or kiosk at a library, hotel, airport, coffee shop, etc., and then shut down your browser.
10. Use different passwords for different sites—and try changing/updating your passwords to passphrases.

Last but least, my annually-updated free website, Personal Profiles and Other Publicly Available Information: An Internet Hotlist on Detecting and Protecting Your Digital Footprint, contains some of my favorite ID theft protection, privacy information, and financial assistance sites, among other things, found on experts’ sites on the free Web, including our Identity Theft: What You Need to Know seminar project’s 29-page handout from Rider University, available to all.

Remember, according to Terri Cullen, author of The Wall Street Journal Complete Identity Theft Guidebook: How to Protect Yourself from the Most Pervasive Crime in America, ( “…Identity theft covers several different specific crimes, and collectively,…is one of the easiest crimes to commit, one of the hardest to prosecute, and one that is drawing increasing attention from the media.” So, feel free to share this information with all of your patrons and students, especially because proactively protecting your digital footprint and your finances is much easier than dealing with them after the fact as a victim—being a victim can be a very emotional, time-consuming, and financially-unrewarding process. Again, prevent it from ever happening to you, and help others do the same.

Money Smart Week @ Your Library small icon/logo

Money Smart Week @ Your Library

Anyway, I hope this all helps you during Money Smart Week® @Your Library this week, April 2-9, 2011. Enjoy partnering with and/or sharing pertinent information from your community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations, and other financial experts this week to help all of our consumers learn to better manage and protect their personal finances!

-Robert

Robert J. Lackie

Robert J. Lackie

April 4, 2011 at 1:57 pm 3 comments

Midwinter in chilly San Diego

by April Bunn

San Diego has a high today of only 59 degrees, so it’s not the warm getaway I expected, but it’s still a welcome relief from the piles of snow I left behind in New Jersey.

The 2011 ALA Midwinter Meeting is underway and today the convention center was full of dedicated librarians today, scurrying off to one meeting or another, or visiting the over 450 exhibitors.

I am always impressed at how well ALA does a conference. Every person I spoke to was helpful and friendly and the speakers here are always interesting- Neil Gaiman, Nancy Pearl, and Ten Danson are on the line up for tomorrow. I am really looking forward to attending my first Youth Media Awards on Monday morning.

As Vice President of NJASL, I’m here with our President Elect, Fran King and President, Judith Everitt to attend the Affiliate Assembly meetings for AASL.  I respect all of you that are attending this conference and participating in multiple committee meetings to better yourself and this profession.

In these tough times, it is crucial that we network and advocate every step of the way.

January 8, 2011 at 8:34 pm 1 comment

All Types of Libraries Invited to Join “Money Smart Week @ Your Library” National Initiative

Posted by Robert J. Lackie

American Library Association logo

American Library Association logo

The American Library Association (ALA) has announced in October 2010 a partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to make “Money Smart Week @ Your Library” a national initiative from April 2-9, 2011, and things are beginning to heat up now in late December—at least for this national initiative!

Money Smart Week logo

Money Smart Week logo

Celebrating its 10th year in 2011, Money Smart Week’s mission is to promote personal financial literacy (Note: Money Smart Week is a registered service mark of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago). Throughout the 10-year history of Money Smart Week, libraries have been instrumental in facilitating and hosting quality Money Smart Week events. For instance, libraries of all types in Illinois (and Chicago), Indiana, Iowa (and Quad cities), Michigan, West Virginia, and Wisconsin participated in Money Smart Week in 2010, partnering with community groups, financial institutions, government agencies, educational organizations, and other financial experts to help consumers learn to better manage their personal finances.

ALA and the Federal Reserve hope that even more librarians and their libraries will be participating in the first ever national Money Smart Week this spring, from April 2-9, 2011. Events will take place at member libraries across the country and will and cover topics from learning how to apply for a mortgage to teaching young people about credit. We all, librarians included, can benefit from that! Watch this site ( http://www.chicagofed.org/webpages/education/msw/index.cfm ) for information on joining the initiative, for news, and for important links you can use right now.

I will be posting again later this week requesting info from all Library Garden readers on programming ideas, as I am now, as of this month, on the Academic Money Smart Week @ Your Library Committee for ALA.

-Robert

Robert J. Lackie

Robert J. Lackie

December 20, 2010 at 11:00 am 1 comment

The [sad] State of NJ School Libraries

by April Bunn

Is this some kind of nightmare? No, it’s really happening.

Our state is broke and they’re coming down hard on everyone, especially education to help make up much of the 2 billion dollar deficit. Our relationship with the state government is so bad that even our acting Commissioner of Education Rochelle Hendricks decided not to address teachers at last week’s NJEA convention, as has been tradition for years.

In my post a few months ago, I talked about the recent change of our title  back to School Librarian.  To quote myself, and where I was at the time, “I love my job, no matter what the name or the place is called. I pledge to continue to work as hard as I can to keep my board and community aware of what I am doing as Media Specialist, Librarian, or Teacher-Librarian in our Media Center, School Library, or Information Center.”

The war against NJ Govt.

Now it’s early November and the budget cuts were beyond devastating

to schools and school libraries. Entire districts, like Woodbridge, lost their librarians.

It’s estimated that hundreds of positions were lost. My little one school district lost its librarian too. Yes, as a result of the mid-March enormous state aid cuts, my Board was put in the position of cutting almost $500,000  and my position and program were included in those cuts (along with teachers, a secretary, all the lunch aides and part of our basic skills program). Note: I still have a job because in addition to my School Librarian certification, I also have an Elementary Teacher certificate. So, I’ve transitioned to the 2nd grade classroom of one of my colleagues who was let go.

Our library program was strong and popular. Some of the current Board members had been active volunteers through the years.

Just some of the programs that will be lost with this decision:

A Weekly Book Club, held at lunchtime

Poetry Cafe
Recess Library Assistants in 4th-6th grade
Bookmark Contest
Reading Contest
Six Flags Reading Club
Collaborative projects with tech, art, and language arts on subjects such as: endangered animals and alternative energy

Recess quiet reading/study area

Student book reviews
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race tracking
Award-winning books gallery

Reader’s advisory for emerging and reluctant readers up to voracious YA readers

Visits to the public library to promote membership and familiarity

What will happen to these libraries? In my school, classroom teachers are responsible for taking their classes to the library and allowing students to pick books. Parents in my community are volunteering to come and help with book re-shelving.  While I’m always grateful for parent volunteers, they cannot replace a certified librarian. It’s a disgrace. The students will lose out in so many ways.

Pat Massey, past- President of NJASL, testified to Chairman Louis D. Greenwald and Members of the Assembly Budget Committee on March 25th, arguing that students need resource-rich school libraries that are staffed by state certified school librarians. The transcript can be found here.

I am sad and mostly angry at what happened here. To put salt in the wound, I am now Vice President of the New Jersey Association of School Librarians (NJASL) and am not even be doing the job while serving my term! I’ll work to advocate for the recall of these positions, but according my administration, we’re in this situation for a minimum of 4 years.

The outlook is bleak

I just saw a posting from a library school student on the YALSA listserv looking for a place to do her practicum in northern New Jersey and she is struggling to find a program that is still afloat. What does this mean for our award-winning MLIS/MLS programs that are producing excellent school librarians?

These budget cuts are far-reaching into the future of education. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) is fighting the cuts in education, and local teacher associations are rallying to get the public’s support. Barbara Keshishian, president of the NJEA, the state’s 200,000-member teachers’ union, said in a statement that the proposed budget “is a disaster for public school children and for older students who want to further their education beyond high school … Gov. Christie is slashing education in order to pay for tax breaks for the wealthy.”

Working hard and advocating for our jobs is the most important thing we can do right now.

Keep advocating. Don’t give up. Tell your towns that cutting school libraries (and public libraries) is not an option.

Keep the faith that we’ll wake up and find out that this was all a bad dream.

November 7, 2010 at 4:34 pm 12 comments

ALA Unconference

Looking to spice up your ALA Conference with something a little different?  Something engaging?  Something fun?  Then get thee to the UNCONFERENCE, June 25, 2010 from 9am-4:30pm.

The incomparable duo of Michelle Boule and Sean Robinson, have joined together to bring you this year’s #unala10 unconference!   So mark your calendars for June 25, 2010 from 9am-4:30pm, and then go register.  Do it now, space is limited.  Shhh.. listen…  I think I just heard another seat fill.  Hurry, register for the unconference now! (http://annual.ala.org/2010/index.php?title=Unconference_Registration)

WAIT, I WANT TO KNOW MORE

You want to know more?  I already told you Michelle and Sean are involved, that’s not enough?  Ok… They are mixing it up this year with flash debates, Pecha Kecha presentations, and a fishbowl at the end of the day.  (A whatbowl?  A fishbowl— Read the wikipedia entry.)  The event is conveniently located in the conference center so there should be good free wifi too!  What more could you want?

Complete information is available at: http://annual.ala.org/2010/index.php?title=Unconference.

Posted by Peter Bromberg

June 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm 1 comment

Books still matter (and so do school libraries)

by April Bunn

Times are rough for librarians in New Jersey. In the education world, librarian positions are being cut at an astronomical rate due to severe cuts in state aid.

I have been quiet here on Library Garden lately because I am part of the statistics- my position was cut- leaving our school without a librarian. I have been busy advocating for our positions with my teacher’s association and the New Jersey Association of School Librarians.

While I’m shocked at what happened to school budgets in the Garden State in such a short period of time, I’m finding a shimmer of hope in the cover story of the May issue of the New Jersey Education Assocation (NJEA) Review: Keeping Dewey relevant in the digital age: Why books still matter by East Hanover teacher and author Ralph Rabb.

Rabb argues that with our help, books, in their original printed form, will inspire  literate, passionate readers. His primary concern is that students are doing their reading online and not picking up hard-copy text enough. The new term for all this online reading is called being  “e-literate”.

I was immediately hooked into the article because Rabb describes one of my major reasons for loving libraries since I was very young- the SMELL of books- “It’s absolute olfactory heaven.” He calls libraries “temples built for the love of books” and suggests that teachers need to take their students on field trips to the great libraries, such as the New York Public Library and the Library of Congress.

I take my youngest students each year on a trip to our public library and their excitement is contagious. And while my library is not a NYPL, it is still my temple and it’s still a baby. I’m extra sad to see it close* next year since I “built” it from scratch. The prior superintendent had a vision for the school that included a large library with an adjoining technology lab and they were dedicated in September of 2005. She’d be sad to see this happening.

*I said it was “closing” next year, which I consider the case, but my Board doesn’t see it that way- they think teachers taking their students down to “pick out books”  and volunteers shelving books is keeping it alive. By the way, the technology department experienced no budget cuts.

May 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm 2 comments

Name Change from Media Specialist to School Librarian- moving forward?

by April Bunn, Media Specialist, Teacher-Librarian, School Librarian

NAME CHANGE ALERT!

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL)  decided to change our job title. We’re going to be called School Librarians… again.

The board of directors voted for the change at  January’s  midwinter meeting in Boston. The response has been heated.

Response to the news:

What’s in a Name?, LearnCentralWebinar

Nancy White’s Calling All School Librarians!

Cathy Nelson’s Techno Tuesday

School Library Journal

Many feel this name change represents a loss in a long-standing battle with our image . University of Washington I School professor and school library advocate  Mike Eisenberg responds, “To me, it’s retro – conjuring black and white images of stereotypical 1950s librarians.”

My first response is one of fear.  Taking the words ” media specialist” out of my title will just give the powers that be (Board of Ed. or the state) more juice to eliminate my job. Public and academic libraries have held on to the traditional title without change through the years, so what’s the difference? In schools, we’re in a crises of unknown identity- Administration still doesn’t know exactly what we do.

“Branding” the Name and the Space

In New Jersey we are School Library Media Specialists- at least that’s what’s listed on our teaching certificates- but not necessarily the name listed in our outdated job descriptions and contracts. In other places the most common title is Teacher-Librarian. In a power-house packed webinar, called What’s in a Name?Mike Eisenberg encouraged us to find a consistent “brand” in what we do. Our librarians, our spaces, and our local and national organizations all have different names (i.e., Media Center, School Library, Information Center).  In the Garden State, we were ahead of ourselves when the Educational Media Association became the New Jersey Association of School Librarians in 2006, to match the national organization of AASL, and help people understand who we are. Maybe we just didn’t see that this change was always in our future?

Do we need the word “Teacher”?

As an elementary teacher, I would prefer to have “teacher” (Teacher-Librarian) in the title, but either way, it’s a “kinder and gentler” name for what I do- Media Specialist was always a foreign concept to young children.  It also coordinates much better with my colleagues in public and academic libraries.

What do we do?

The problem continues to be that the public doesn’t understand all that we do in a 21st Century learning environment. As a single-operator school librarian,  I wear every hat, from traditional storytelling and book searches to Web 2.0 infused lessons,  and I work every day to keep my program afloat and dynamic.

In an effort to include advocacy in this post, I looked for a good job description for our position. I like this one, by Sara Kelly Johns, President of AASL (and currently running for ALA President), describing our essential (and varied) role in the school-

Media Specialists:

  • work with educators to design and teach curriculum
  • create curriculum and promote an engaging learning experience tailored to the individual needs of students
  • evaluate and “produce” information through the active use of a broad range of tools, resources, and information technologies
  • provide access to materials in all formats, including up-to-date, high-quality, varied literature to develop and strengthen the love of reading
  • provide students, educators, and staff with instructional materials that reflect current information needs.

Budget Cuts  & Lost Jobs

If the state and school boards really understood what we do, they wouldn’t approve massive job eliminations during budget cuts, like the local situation in Woodbridge, where they eliminated all the elementary school librarians, serving 16 schools,  in a massive budget cut this year (by the way, in that article, they called them “librarians”).

If there is a person in the position of school librarian who is indispensible, making an impact (and showing it!) on student achievement, creating a culture of collaboration, and being a leader in the integration of 21st century skills – whether that person is called a school librarian, library media specialist, or teacher-librarian – they will survive this and any future budget crisis.

- Nancy White, on CASL’s blog

Advocacy tools:

I love my job, no matter what the name or the place is called. I pledge to continue to work as hard as I can to keep my board and community aware of what I am doing as Media Specialist, Librarian, or Teacher-Librarian in our Media Center, School Library, or Information Center.

School Libraries Work!-outstanding resource,  including research statistics on the impact of school libraries on student achievement.

NJASL Advocacy Wiki- great resource, including procedures and contacts divided into areas of concern

I hope we can save ourselves before it’s too late, and stop this nonsense of cutting positions that are essential in the 21st Century.

February 20, 2010 at 8:09 am

New name, new blog. CLENE is now LearnRT

Happily sharing this press release from Lori Reed, Board Member and Communications & Marketing Chair of the Learning Round Table of ALA

ALA Learning Round Table Chooses New Name, Retains Mission

by Lori Reed

The name may be changing, but the mission of the “Learning Round Table of ALA” remains the same. The American Library Association’s round table dedicated to quality continuing education for library workers has changed its name from CLENERT to LearnRT.

Under its new name:

  • LearnRT will continue to promote quality continuing education for all library personnel, helping you network with other continuing education providers for the exchange of ideas, concerns and solutions.
  • LearnRT will serve as your source for continuing education assistance, publications, materials, training and activities.
  • LearnRT is your advocate for quality library continuing education at both the local and national levels.

NEW BLOG–ADD US TO YOUR FEED READER!

In addition to the name change the Round Table is sponsoring a new blog/website, “ALA Learning” (http://alalearning.org), which will feature training and learning news, information, best practices and thoughtful discussion from leading trainers and staff development practitioners in the library field.

Contributing authors include:

JOIN AND BENEFIT FROM OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE AMERICAN MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION

Membership in LearnRT is only $20, in addition to ALA membership dues. Among the many membership benefits, LearnRT members enjoy, through a unique agreement with the American Management Association, the following valuable AMA benefits:

  • Preferred pricing on all AMA seminars-least a 10-percent discount.
  • Unlimited access to AMA’s Members-only Web site – an ever-growing library of both timely and timeless information on practical issues of management.
  • Access to case studies, how-to articles, trend pieces, best practices, profiles of leading executives and companies, best-selling book excerpts, author interviews and recent research results.
  • Interactive self-assessments that reflect the abilities and knowledge of today’s high-value managers.
  • Exclusive discounts and special offers on AMA products and services.
  • Thirty-percent discounts on “Last-Minute Seats” at numerous selected AMA seminars announced each month.

To become a member of ALA’s Learning Round Table complete the ALA membership application: http://www.ala.org/ala/membership/joinrejoinrenewadd/default.cfm.

(Please note that we may be listed as either CLENERT or LearnRT in various places until the name change has fully circulated throughout ALA.

August 27, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Make ALA Connect Work For You: An appeal for Notifications ON!

UPDATE 7/28/09, 3:00 PM: Check out Jenny Levine’s post on changes coming to ALA Connect–esp. regarding improvements in notifications!
——————————————

I’m excited, hopeful, and joyously optimistic about ALA Connect, ALA’s hybrid social network, bulletin board, listserv, calendar, project management tool.

Like all networks ALA Connect is only as useful and powerful as the number people that use it; and in fact it is getting exponentially more useful and powerful with each new user.

The more I use the ALA Connect, the more I realize that selectively turning on Email Notifications is key (for me) to integrating Connect into my professional life. This ensures that updates (the ones I want anyway) are pushed out to me, which is important as I only tend to pay attention to whatever wanders into my field of vision…

I’m appealing to you, dear reader; help ALA Connect thrive and grow by logging in and turning on your notifications too–and help spread the word by posting this attractively designed and competitively-priced banner ad (in both border and non-border stylings you’ll notice) on your blog, homepage, or social network of choice. Extra points for tattooing directly upon your body. No pictures please, I’ll take your word for it.

Another feature I’ve found useful for keeping up in Connect is the ability to view my unread messages through the “My Unread” page and feed. Links to your “My Unread” content can be found on the lower right of the ALA Connect page under “Community Notifications”. (These links will work for you if you’re logged in to ALA Connect–otherwise you’re seeing “access denied” messages.)

To learn more about ALA Connect, check out the these great video tutorials created by Emerging Leaders Group I (aka Melissa Dessent, Ahniwa Ferrari, Jaime Hammond, Jennifer Jarson, Jason Kucsma). The videos are in the process of being uploaded to ALA Connect proper.

Thanks everyone, see you on ALA Connect!

July 28, 2009 at 2:00 pm 3 comments

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