Posts filed under ‘ALA’

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Specialists- at least that’s what’s listed on our teaching certificates- but not necessarily the name listed in our outdated job descriptions and contracts.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

A New Role at ALA Annual

I’m in Chicago in order to attend what must be my 20th American Library Association annual conference. I have lost count of how many annuals I have attended. My first was Los Angeles in 1983 when my family began accompanying my mother, who is also a librarian, to the conference for our summer vacation. LA was just the first of many other conferences. I also went to Dallas, New Orleans, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco (a couple of times), Chicago (also a couple of times) and several others that I have since forgotten.

ALA meant only one thing to me when I was growing up: free stuff. I looked forward to the seemingly endless rows of exhibits that promised loads of goodies to bring home. At first one of my parents would accompany me up and down the aisles but I was eventually allowed to walk through the exhibits by myself. As long as I met my parents at the previously established meeting time, I could spend as much time as I wanted looking at all of the books. At the time, it never occurred to me that I might one day attend the conference as a librarian.

Not long after I started library school in 2002, I asked my mother (as I did every year) if she was going to attend the annual meeting in Toronto. After she replied that yes, she was planning to attend, I remember imagining yet another experience of walking up and down the exhibit aisles filling my bags with swag. Then it slowly dawned on me that the upcoming conference would be an entirely different experience–I would be attending ALA as a soon-to-be-librarian. I would actually have to go to meetings and presentations!

My experience in Toronto was completely different from any of my previous conferences. I spent a lot of time walking or riding the bus from one meeting to another and I barely had time to go to the exhibits. People sometimes say that they find ALA overwhelming and before attending my first conference as a librarian, I didn’t really understand what they meant. How could a place full of free books be overwhelming? Toronto thoroughly disabused of this idea. Just figuring out which meetings and presentations to attend can take quite a bit of time and energy.

Now I am once again attending ALA in a new role. As a doctoral student, only a few of the meetings mesh with my particular research interests. This means that I feel quite a bit of pressure to attend all relevant meetings even when they are scheduled at the same time. I am constantly looking at my printed schedule to make sure that I don’t miss anything. The exhibits are, of course, secondary.

Before becoming a librarian myself, I had no idea that there were many librarians out there who were quite disappointed with ALA and its work. My mother always seemed recharged and energized for her work after attending a conference. Of course, this is the essence of some librarians’ problems with ALA. What does one get out of being a member other than the conference?

For me, being a member of ALA reminds me that I am part of a larger community. Before returning to school, I worked in a small theological library — a setting that is very different from a public library. By reading through my American Libraries every month, I was reminded that even though my library had a specialized mission, we were still part of the wider library world. Now that I am a student again, I feel even further removed from librarianship. Attending this conference has helped me remember why I am in a library and information science doctoral program. When I am in the McCormick Center, surrounded by 27,353 other librarians, I recall that my research is not just for my own edification but that it will also aide the profession as a whole.

By attending the conference, I am reminded that even though I no longer work in a library I am still a librarian. I still have one more day of running around the conference center to attend meetings and racing through the exhibits. And, like my mother, I hope to return to New Jersey from this conference recharged and energized for my classes in the fall.

July 13, 2009 at 4:59 pm 5 comments

Unconference? – Pres4Lib – A Review

Ok, I will admit it—when I heard the term ‘unconference’ I groaned. When I read the definition, I groaned even louder. I mean really, how could you not groan when the words “jam-session” are used to describe a conference. I assumed it was just another Boomer driven conceit—an excuse to navel gaze instead of doing real work. I wasn’t much more interested in attending camp. Yet, when I heard about the Pres4Lib unconference, I wanted to go.

Why? Because the topic—a camp for library speakers or trainers is of great interest to me. Plus it was being organized by fellow LibraryGarden bloggers—Pete Bromberg, Janie Hermann and Amy Kerns (along with John LeMasney) and would take place at Princeton Public Library, MPOW. Still despite my faith in my friends and fellow-bloggers, I was a bit dubious—could something without structure really hold my interest for an entire day?

My concerns were unfounded—Pres4Lib was easily one of the best training days I have participated in since becoming a librarian. The topic was relevant to my job—I teach and give presentations. The speakers were experienced, informative, and entertaining. Best of all, the lightening talk format insured that no speech would run so long that it could become dull or even mildly painful. The break-out sessions, in the birds-of-a-feather format, were a bit more hit-or-miss, but still quite good. All in all, I met a number of interesting people, learned a great deal, and had a good time in the process.

What made Pres4Lib work in a format that I am still not convinced would work most of the time? For starters, this was not a completely unstructured conference. By using a wiki and the free on-line survey tool Zoomerang (one of the best take-aways from the conference), when the camp began an agenda was already set. While it could change—that’s a primary rule of an unconference—the basic outline for the day was set. This was a good move—participants told of the first hour at other such events being spent hashing out the day. Wow, dull, dull, dull—for me, my ego doesn’t need to drive things and my patience wears thin watching others vie for dominance.

The other critical factor—the participants. This was a diverse group with only one thing in common—the train and they speak-in-public. That diversity meant the message was not the generic this is how to present. Participants are the conference, so if you have a group that lacks skills and experience, or without much personality, I could see an unconference being a really tedious event. Finally, the day ended with a Battle Decks session that was funny and goofy and the perfect way to end a long day at a conference focused on presentation skills.

For me the highlights of the day were Pete Bromberg’s lightening talk and John LeMasney’s birds-of-a-feather session on Creative Commons. Both really made the best use of the ‘unconference’ format.

Pete was funny, informative, and engaging. His tips and advice were really spot-on—both quantity and quality were higher than I anticipated. It was an amazing ten-minute show–Pete really raised the bar for PowerPoint presentations. He is in his own league. Check out the video.

John did not have a scripted presentation for his session. In fact, it was not ‘his’ session. His job was simply to get things started and generally keep an eye on things if they needed a nudge. He was perfect—his knowledge of the topic allowed for immediate Q&A. More importantly, he kept things rolling as the topic strayed from where to find CC items to how to use them, how to attribute them, and how to share your own work. The one hour session flew by and I found several tools I will start using immediately—FireFox, Zemanta, and PhotoExpress. All my breakout sessions were good, but none had as much information that was immediately beneficial to me.

While I remain skeptical that all unconferences would be as worthwhile, I will consider attending another one. I know what to look for—how well organized is the unorganized event and who is attending. Thank-you to the organizers and the participants. It was a day I will not soon forget. But be warned—next time I encounter Battle Decks, I will be a participant!

June 15, 2009 at 4:07 pm 1 comment

ALA Council Passes Resolution Defining Core Competences for Librarianship


Core competences for librarianship were finally defined at the very recent Midwinter Meeting in Denver, where the ALA Council passed the resolution, and this Tuesday, ALA sent out a press release summarizing the resolution and providing links to the core competences site and a pdf. The document defines the basic knowledge to be possessed by all persons graduating from an ALA-accredited master’s program in library and information studies.

The core competences “stress the role of library and information professionals in promoting democratic principles and intellectual freedom, knowing and applying the legal framework guiding libraries and information agencies – including laws relating to copyright, privacy, freedom of expression, equal rights and intellectual property – and identifying and analyzing emerging technologies and innovations.”

I especially enjoyed reading from their press release the “identifying and analyzing emerging technologies and innovations” phrase above myself! ;)

Do take a look at the entire core competences doc for all of the details when you get a moment.

-Robert Lackie

Technorati Tags: ALA, core competences, emerging technologies, librarianship, Library Garden

February 26, 2009 at 8:03 am 4 comments

Speaking of Nominating

There have been dozens of posts made over the last few months reminding everyone to nominate their favorite Mover and Shaker from libraryland for the annual Library Journal supplement. I myself am in the midst of polishing my M&S nomination for submission before the deadline on Monday November 10th, so I thought while everyone was in nominating mode I would post a reminder that nominating season need not end on Monday!

There are lots of ALA professional recognition awards that you can nominate your colleagues and institution to win — and many of the awards given by ALA have a December 1st deadline, giving you three weeks to put together your nomination!

I spent the last two years serving on the ALA Awards Committee and this year I was appointed the chair of the jury for the ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award. This is not only a really prestigious award but a really cool one too — as is evident by the list of past winners. Look over the requirements, then think about what your library is doing and how you might possibly qualify:

… to honor an individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

Criteria should include the benefit to clients served; benefit to the technology information community; impact on library operations; public relations value; and the impact on the perception of the library or librarian in the work setting and to the specialized and/or general public.

I know, for a fact, that there are many libraries with innovative, forward-thinking and amazing technology-focussed programs that are deserving of this award, so step forward and nominate yourselves or your colleagues.

November 6, 2008 at 12:44 pm

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