Thursday, October 25, 2007
RENO GAZETTE-JOURNAL October 25, 2007
When Keenan Davis needs help at the school library, he can count on the staff at Hug High School.
"If you're having problems finding a book or looking up something, they'll come to you and help personally, if you need assistance or anything," said Davis, a Hug junior.
Hug is among Washoe County public schools with a certified teacher-librarian. If a bill before Congress becomes a law, more specially trained librarians could be in local schools.
The need will be discussed Friday in Reno, when the American Association of School Librarians will meet at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center. A Friday morning session includes enhancing the library media specialist role in school achievement.
The bill, the Strengthening Kids' Interest in Learning and Libraries Act, calls for a state-certified media specialist in every K-12 school building by 2010. The bill could be included in the federal No Child Left Behind act.
"I definitely feel that librarians with classroom experience can, in many ways, support the curriculum within the individual school to a greater degree," Ellen Fockler, library media technology coordinator for Washoe schools, said. "They can collaborate with teachers to a greater degree."
Washoe County middle schools and high schools have certified librarians, about 24. But among elementaries, only Roger Corbett has a certified librarian. The other schools have library assistants.
"This means they do not necessarily have teaching degrees," Fockler said.
It's not known how much the proposed federal measure would cost Washoe schools, but Fockler said he thinks it could be put into place gradually.
"We have some wonderful elementary librarians in the Washoe County School District," she said. "Whether or not they have a degree is not necessarily an indication of the job that they do. We have some elementary librarians who do a superb job."
One concern is finding qualified people for the positions.
"I do feel there are qualified people taking library classes who already have teaching certificates, but I'm not sure we're going to be able to find enough," Fockler said.
The bill takes that into consideration.
"It does not require a district to hire a certified librarian in every school if reasonable arguments can me made to suggest that it is not possible," Fockler said.
School library budgets in Washoe County are determined building by building with principals determining how much to allocate.
Many school libraries also apply for grants and hold fundraisers.
"Quite frankly, there's never quite enough to go around," Fockler said.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Oct. 23, 2007
VICTORIA – According to the results of this year’s Foundation Skills Assessment, many Grade 4 students are doing well at writing and math, while reading skills could be improved, Education Minister Shirley Bond announced today.
“This year’s results are evidence that we need to tackle student achievement one student at a time,” said Bond. “Our focus on early learning, along with the legislation we introduced in the spring to appoint superintendents of achievement and to make boards of education more accountable for student results, will have a positive impact on student success over time.”
The Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA) is designed and developed by B.C. educators and measures the performance of students in grades 4 and 7 in reading, writing and math. Approximately 85,000 students participated last May.
“FSA results are valuable because educators can use them to identify where to help students improve,” said Bond. “It’s clear that we need to help students improve their reading. We will continue to work with school districts to ensure they have district literacy plans in place to support individual student success.”
Provincial results for students meeting or exceeding expectations in writing remained at 90 per cent for Grade 4 students, with results for girls, Aboriginal and ESL students improving by one per cent over last year. Eighty-six per cent of Grade 7 students are meeting or exceeding expectations in writing, down one per cent from last year, but up seven per cent from 2002/03.
Other results showed:
- Overall, 82 per cent of Grade 7 students are meeting or exceeding expectations in math, a decrease of two per cent from last year.
- 86 per cent of Grade 4 students are meeting or exceeding expectations in math, which is the same as last year; the results for Grade 4 girls is up one per cent from last year, to 86 per cent, while the results for Grade 4 boys went down two per cent to 86.
- In reading, 77 per cent of Grade 4 students are meeting or exceeding expectations, a decrease provincially of three per cent over last year but the same as in 2002/03.
- 72 per cent of Grade 7 students are meeting or exceeding expectations in reading this year compared to 73 per cent last year and 77 per cent in 2002/03.
“We know that early learning lays the foundation for future success,” said Bond. “That’s why we’re increasing support for youngsters and their caregivers through initiatives like StrongStart BC Centres. I strongly encourage parents to spend time reading with their children so they can gain valuable literacy skills both in and outside the classroom setting.”
The Province has made improving reading skills one of its five great goals for the coming decade. Since 2001, the Province has provided more than $125 million in new literacy programs and services, including its comprehensive literacy plan ReadNow BC, in support of its goal of making British Columbia the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction in North America.
This year’s FSA results are available at
Public Affairs Bureau
Ministry of Education
250 920-9040 (cell)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The reading abilities of B.C. students are continuing to fall, suggest results released today from a provincewide test of basic skills in Grades 4 and 7.
This year, 77 per cent of Grade 4 students were meeting or exceeding expectations in reading, a decline of three percentage points from 2006.
In Grade 7, 72 per cent of students were meeting or exceeding expectations, compared to 73 per cent last year.
Education Minister Shirley Bond said the results were better for Grade 4 writing and math.
"This year's results are evidence that we need to tackle student achievement one student at a time," Bond stated in a release. "Our focus on early learning, along with the legislation we introduced in the spring to appoint superintendents of achievement and to make boards of education more accountable for student results, will have a positive impact on student success over time."
About 85,000 students wrote the tests - known as the Foundation Skills Assessment - last May.
The province has been striving to improve literacy for several years and has said improving reading skills is one of its five goals for the coming decade.
Since 2001, the government has spent more than $125 million on new literacy programs and services, the ministry noted in the release.
Sixty-five books have been nominated in the OLA Forest of Reading. They were announced this morning at a press conference for J.K. Rowling in Toronto. All titles are now on the OLA Web site for the Blue Spruce Award, the Silver Birch Express Award, the Silver Birch Fiction and Non-Fiction Awards, the Red Maple Award and the White Pine Award.
At the 8 a.m. press conference, Martha Martin from Greater Essex District School Board, representing The Teaching Librarian, asked J.K. Rowling what Canadian authors Harry, Hermione and Ron would read if they had the chance. Rowling said Hermione would probably be reading Margaret Atwood but Harry and Ron would not likely be reading anyone. (I guess they would be candidates for the OLA's Forest of Reading). J.K. did indicate that, while she would not write a prequel or sequel to the Harry Potter series, she is considering a decoder manual, proceeds from which would go to charity.
The children get their encounter with J.K. at 10 a.m. and spirits are running high. The last tickets won in the OLA lottery have been picked up and the magic at the Wintergarden Theatre is about to begin. Children have come from almost every province and territory, including Nunavut and the Yukon. For those who have not seen the Wintergarden, it is the perfect location. The ceilings are all hanging branches (from real trees) with lanterns and a hovering moon.
The OLA Forest of Reading Web site for 2008 Nominations
Monday, October 22, 2007
DEBATES OF THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY
MONDAY, OCTOBER 22, 2007
Volume 22, Number 12
D. Cubberley: On Friday I had the opportunity to join over 700 people at the Speaking of Kids Conference at Killarney Secondary. The place was bursting and the buzz infectious as we waited to hear from Henry Winkler — a.k.a. the Fonz — about his unhappy days growing up with dyslexia.
Winkler, now a co-author of best-selling children's books, handled the topic of struggling kids with wit and self-deprecation but pointedly reminded us, with the defiance of one long baited as dumb, that every child has talents that can be released.
Winkler's plea for the arts as a vehicle for learning was deeply moving. But the high point of my day actually came in conversation with a young teacher-librarian keen to express his enthusiasm for kids' learning potential. A self-described techie who teaches distance education courses, Aaron Mueller's true passion is the library, which he was eager to show me.
Being pro-D day, the place was strangely still, without the animation of kids excitedly searching in the cornucopia of choices around them. What an impressive library. How sad that Aaron cannot be a full-time teacher-librarian, his true passion.
Why, I ask provocatively, do we need physical libraries at all? Why not just have kids go on line?
"Because," he said, without missing a beat, "the library is the hub of learning, the place where kids come to discover new books and resources, to seek guidance on where to look and what to find. I wish you could experience it with the kids here," he said with pride. "I love every minute I get to spend connecting kids to learning."
Today is National School Library Day, a time to honour the role libraries play on the road to literacy and lifelong learning, to honour those whose calling it is to engage young readers. It's also a time to ask whether, for the sake of literacy and the love of reading, we can't do more to put a physical library with a skilled librarian within reach of every child in B.C. — not a 0.2 or 0.4 librarian, not a clerk to handle the book returns, but a living, breathing, full-time teacher-librarian.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
As president and CEO of Indigo Books & Music, Canada’s largest book retailer, Heather Reisman likes to call herself “chief book lover.” She's confirmed that title by addressing the crisis in her nation's school libraries: In 2004, she founded her nonprofit Love of Reading Foundation, which annually awards three-year $150,000 grants to 10 of her county’s neediest school libraries...
Friday, October 19, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
On Wednesday morning Grade 2 French immersion students at Trafalgar elementary sat in groups writing down their thoughts about "la bibliotheque" on sheets of white paper.
"J'aime les livres de la bibliotheque," scribbled one, "La bibliotheque est formidable et excellent," scrawled another.
It's exactly how teacher librarian Elly Werb hopes the children feel about their embattled school library, which she believes is key to student academic success.
"Numerous studies show that a school with a vibrant library and a teacher librarian to teach information and research skills score much higher academically," she said.
Her enthusiasm seems reflected in the reading habits of Trafalgar. Its circulation of books and materials stood at 72,500 last year--the highest such number among the district's elementary schools. Werb credits parent volunteers and the school's parent advisory committee for supporting literacy.
"My motto is I don't want to see the books on the shelves--I don't think that's where they belong," said Werb who encourages students to take out 10 to 12 books at a time.
Trafalgar's library--the school has both an English and French immersion program--includes English and French books, as well as small Chinese and Japanese sections.
Popular authors include J.K. Rowling, who writes the Harry Potter series; Darren Shan who writes titles like Lord of the Shadows; and Geronimo Stilton who writes funny stories about mice.
"The strange thing is in kindergarten, Grade 1 and Grade 2, they're crazy about non-fiction--rockets ships, whales, you name it," added Werb.
French and English graphic novels are also popular. Some critics question their value, but Werb maintains they encourage students to pick up books, especially those with learning problems or those trying to pick up the English or French languages since the pictures help them understand the text.
Students note down books they want Werb to acquire, and she does her best to comply.
This week, Werb was preparing to celebrate National School Library Day Oct. 22, which calls attention to the importance of school libraries. But she worries about how budget cutbacks have affected libraries in this district. Aside from checking out books, teacher librarians focus on improving literacy, set up projects, and instruct children about how to do research and how to avoid pitfalls like plagiarism--increasingly common in schools and universities because of the Internet.
"The only thing that breaks my heart is with cutbacks there's less time in the library and less time to do collaborative teaching," she said.
In the 1980s, Werb said $20 per student was allocated each year to buy books, a figure that has now dropped to $8.
"You can't even buy a paperback with that anymore. The price of books is skyrocketing and we're really suffering because of that," she said.
While all schools were affected by budget cuts, since libraries are funded in a budget that includes the language assistant, ESL and special needs programs, certain schools suffered more than others. In Trafalgar's case it needs both French and English language assistants and has a high ESL population.
"All Vancouver schools had a budget cutback in their resources, but because libraries are lumped in with language assistants and ESL that's where the differences happen," explained Werb. "Some schools have only French language assistants if they're entirely French, and some schools have English language assistants if they're completely English, but we are both so we have to spread those cuts over more people. Also, we have huge numbers of ESL students whose needs are very different. Some schools don't have ESL students or very few. That's why we were hit by a double whammy and some other schools were as well."
Werb must fill in for teachers during their prep periods the equivalent of two days a week, which cuts down on the time she focuses on the library. Only a few years ago Trafalgar was entitled to one-and-a-half library positions.
Mary Locke, a teacher librarian at General Gordon elementary, agreed budget cuts are a problem. The district has lost the equivalent of five full-time elementary teacher librarian positions since last year, she said, with some school libraries down to one day a week.
"Administrators have to make very uncomfortable decisions about which they need more. Do they need an LAC [learning assistant] teacher, do they need an ESL teacher or do they need a teacher librarian?" she said. "Because they're only given a certain number of [full-time equivalent positions] to cover those three [areas] and to take care of the needs of special needs children. I know the board does try to take into consideration these kinds of things--they have a formula but it never seems to be enough."
Locke is planning an author visit next week to mark National School Library Day, and added that Surrey school librarians have challenged the province to stop whatever they're doing Monday at 1 p.m. to read--a challenge she plans to accept.
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 19, 2007) - On Monday, October 22, 2007, school communities around the world are celebrating the ninth International School Library Day with the theme of "Learning: Powered by your school library." The connection between reading and the application of knowledge is well recognized and appreciated all over the world and libraries are an important aspect of learning.
"The Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) has always been a strong supporter of school libraries and is taking this opportunity on International School Library Day to reiterate the importance of properly staffing school libraries in Ontario," said Ken Coran, OSSTF President. "Clearly, a challenge for our schools is to ensure equity of access for all students regardless of their school or region.
"The current government has begun to recognize the vital role of school libraries but sustained funding and a commitment to staff libraries appropriately with professionals is key to improving the current situation and offering quality library programs in all schools," concluded Coran.
OSSTF/FEESO, founded in 1919, has 60,000 members across Ontario. They include public high school teachers, occasional teachers, educational assistants, continuing education teachers and instructors, psychologists, secretaries, speech-language pathologists, social workers, plant support personnel, attendance counsellors, and many others in education.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
The Chronicle of Higher Education: 2007 October 19
Most people are familiar with the stereotype of librarians. They are twenty- or thirtysomethings, with tattoos, cat's-eye glasses, and vintage clothes, schmoozing with famous authors, and playing DJ at parties in Brooklyn.
Wait, that's just the stereotype in The New York Times. Last summer the newspaper declared young librarians hip — and, in the minds of some librarians, actually reinforced the other stereotype: that older members of their profession are reclusive bookworms and cranky old ladies...
Now that the Liberals have been returned to government, the Ontario School Library Association will revive discussions that were held with government officials during the campaign about the campaign promise to dedicate $120 million to school library collections and staff over the next four years. Government, OLA organizations and private interests all wish the promise of this campaign announcement to achieve its intent, to see the money get into the hands of school library staff and to see the positive impact on student research, classroom achievement and literacy that we all know can be achieved.
At the OLA Board meeting on Friday, two resolutions were passed. The Board explicitly supported OSLA in its negotiations with the government to address the pedagogical and accountability issues at the heart of the McGuinty initiative supporting school libraries. It also stated that the Association will work with OLA's associate members to ensure that the government's good intent results in the least disruption to the book publishing and distribution industry.
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
School libraries are getting a boost on the shelves every month.
The Add A Book Club is a program initiated by the District Parent Advisory Council to provide new books to school libraries, says a press release from DPAC.
“The goal of this project is to create a unique literacy project that will excite students in our schools with new literature by giving their library a gift of two books once a month,” says the press release.
“The objective of this project is to highlight the new books each month and encourage reading and discussion about them.”
The DPAC has received two grants totalling $10,500 for the project.
“Once the Add a Book club has demonstrated the success of this program, the District Parent Advisory Council hopes to initiate community involvement in this project,” says the release. “Our goal is to find at least one sponsor from each of our six main communities on the North Island.”
Books will be chosen by a committee comprised of a parent, a school district administrator, a teacher-librarian and a first nations education representative.
Students will also be encouraged to submit the names of books they’d like to see in their library. The committee’s choices will focus on books that have received Canadian awards, books that address current concerns, books that are rich in history and books that complement the school curriculum.
The success of the program will be measured by how often the new books are signed out of the libraries and through book reviews and book talks from students.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Thursday, October 11, 2007
- No improvements were achieved in specialist positions. These positions support the students with special needs. Counselling is an essential form of support for those with special needs—and other students as well—but that support did not increase. Teacherlibrarian positions finally stopped falling, but these positions that support the development of a literate populace were already down substantially over the first years of this decade.
Oct. 11, 2007
VICTORIA – Over 44,000 kindergarten students in British Columbia will each receive a complimentary copy of the award-winning children’s book Stanley’s Party, Education Minister Shirley Bond announced today.
“Offering the gift of reading is a wonderful way to support our earliest K-12 learners,” said Bond. “Our goal is to ensure all students have every opportunity for success in the classroom and in life.”
In Stanley’s Party, Vancouver author Linda Bailey and Ontario illustrator Bill Slavin tell the story of a dog named Stanley and his adventures in his family’s home. Meanwhile francophone kindergarten students will receive the book Moka by Gilles Tibo and Bruno Saint-Aubin. Moka is a story about a cat who dreams of flying like a swallow, but who eventually discovers the benefits of being his true self.
In June, Premier Campbell presented the first-ever Time to Read book award for early literacy to Bailey and Slavin, for their work on Stanley’s Party. For the fourth year in a row, every kindergarten student in B.C. will receive a book, to help them to develop key literacy and language skills.
“We want our children to begin developing strong literacy skills from an early age because we know that will help to open doors of opportunity when they are older,” said Bond. “It is our hope that by reading books like Stanley’s Party and Moka at home with their parents or caregiver, children will start to develop a love of reading.”
Time to Read: The British Columbia Achievement Foundation Award for Early Literacy will be presented annually for four years. This year’s award was open to all themes. For the 2008 award, preference will be given to a book on B.C. culture and history to celebrate 150 years since the province’s founding as a crown colony, and for 2009, to a book that celebrates the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The award is provided by the B.C. Achievement Foundation, an independent foundation endowed by the Province to celebrate excellence in community service, arts and the humanities.
“The Time to Read award celebrates reading, writing, and the magic of storytelling,” said Keith Mitchell, chair of the BC Achievement Foundation. “We are very proud to contribute to early literacy in the province through this unique award program.”
Providing books for kindergarten students is part of ReadNow BC, a literacy action plan to help the Province reach its goal of being the best-educated, most literate jurisdiction on the continent. Since 2001, government has invested more than $125 million in new literacy funding, including $5 million for up to 80 StrongStart BC early learning centres and $9.5 million for the kindergarten readiness program Ready, Set, Learn.
For more information on ReadNow BC, please visit www.readnowbc.ca online.
October 11, 2007
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education's recently released national test scores further confirm the need for a library in every school staffed by a state-certified school library media specialist.
According to the results of the test - the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) - with only a few exceptions, reading and math scores have remained flat for the years under No Child Left Behind, 2002-2007.
“This news comes as no surprise to school librarians, who know from both experience and from concrete data just how vital school libraries and librarians are to academic achievement,” said ALA President Loriene Roy. “More than 19 state studies show that school libraries that are well-stocked and well-staffed can and do raise test scores, especially reading test scores.”
“That's why the SKILLs Act is so important.”
The SKILLs Act would require that each school have a school library staffed by a state-certified school library media specialist. Introduced in June, the bill is vital to the future of today's school libraries and, therefore, student achievement.
"Not only do school librarians provide the necessary access to carefully-chosen literature and reading guidance for students' reading needs, which has an obvious and undeniable effect on test scores, "added Sara Kelly Johns, president of the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), "but they are also the teaching professionals who give students vital 21st century skills, empowering students to be critical thinkers, skillful researchers and ethical users of all the information available to them."
“Only about 60 percent of our school libraries have a full-time, state-certified school library media specialist on staff,” Roy continued. “The SKILLs Act would correct that, and would change the scores of national tests like NAEP for the better.”
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
Tuesday, October 09, 2007
Thank you to the CanWest Raise-a-Reader program. Without your charity, many literacy programs would starve.
So far, the government has not directed any of its literacy funds toward school library programs, despite studies indicating that well-funded, professionally staffed school library programs are the single most effective way of raising student achievement.
B.C. school libraries are now competing with each other for mercy funding from Chapters-Indigo, which is smart enough to be able to connect the dots between school libraries and future readers.
When will the government figure it out? When I was in school, libraries got enough money to be able to buy three books per student per year. Now they average enough to buy one book for every three students. It's not good enough.
Our kids deserve better.
Karen Lindsay, teacher-librarian,
From Monday's Globe and Mail
October 7, 2007 at 9:26 PM EDT
Depending on whom you ask, Toronto-based Indigo Books and Music has cornered at least 65 per cent and perhaps as much as 80 per cent of the Canadian retail book market. And now, according to some industry observers, it's positioning itself to become the dominant player in supplying non-text books to school libraries in Ontario and possibly the rest of the country.
The concern among some wholesalers, distributors, independent booksellers and school librarians arises from the Sept. 19 announcement by Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty promising that, if his Liberals gain a second term in Wednesday's provincial election, he will provide $80-million in new funding for books for Ontario school libraries over the next four years.
Under the scheme, Indigo is to be the sole supplier of books to school libraries. Indigo says it will provide these books “at cost” – meaning that “any books purchased [by school boards, individual school librarians and teachers] will be purchased at our cost,” an Indigo spokesperson said last week. “The intention is for us not to profit from this initiative.”
Indigo founder and CEO Heather Reisman strongly lobbied for the Premier's commitment, and even appeared alongside McGuinty when he made his vow at Indigo's flagship store in downtown Toronto. Reisman said she hoped other provinces would emulate the McGuinty model, and indicated she would be approaching other premiers and provincial education ministers to join the cause.
It's the Indigo connection that irks the educational book sector and has raised howls of protest in the waning days of the provincial election campaign. Eleanor LeFave, president of the Canadian Booksellers Association and the owner of Mabel's Fables, a modest-sized children's bookstore in Toronto, said last week that “it's quite fantastic that [Reisman] got more money out of the Premier.”
Anne Ledingham, national sales manager for Mississauga-based S & B Books, a wholesale supplier of books to school libraries nationwide for 28 years, calls it “a wonderful gesture.”
But they both warn the exclusivity that's been granted Indigo is according to Ledingham, “short-sighted of the Premier and ignores a regime of suppliers that's been efficiently supporting school libraries for decades.
“Any wholesaling business is going to be small margin. Our rule overall is to make 20 per cent somehow,” Ledingham says. She predicts that if the deal goes through by the turn of the decade, “there won't be a man standing in the school library market — or a woman for that matter.” Except Indigo which, for its 2006-2007 fiscal year, reported net earnings of $30-million.
Members of the CBA and education wholesalers held an emergency meeting last Friday in Toronto to discuss the issue but are waiting for the results of the election before deciding what to do. This week they'll be arranging meetings with the Premier, the education and culture ministers and the Ontario School Library Association.
“What we really don't want is one supplier to our public libraries,” said LeFave, whose own store has sold books to more than 100 school libraries in Ontario. She and Ledingham are concerned that Indigo may lack the expertise in curriculum-related book selection and sourcing, invoicing, cataloguing and processing that wholesalers and community-based booksellers have developed over decades.
S & B Books, for instance, has a supply contract with the Peel District School Board, one of Ontario's largest education jurisdictions. Indeed, S & B “estimates that 80 per cent of our educational business comes out of Ontario.” Part of that contract requires S & B to first send books bound for elementary-school libraries to Duncan Systems Specialists, an Oakville company that laminates the books' covers and affixes catalogue and loan data to them.
“It is a very strange sector, it's so alien from the retail market,” said Ledingham. “So why set up a whole new model that I don't think will work . . . to the satisfaction of schools and boards?” In fact, the CBA's LeFave and James Saunders, vice-president of Collingwood-based Saunders Book Company, a distributor to wholesalers and libraries since the late 1960s, argue McGuinty should “just give the $80-million to the librarians. They know the curriculum; they're in close touch with the teachers; they know what's missing.”
For their part, the Liberals say that the “investment [announced Sept. 19] won't preclude schools from continuing to make ongoing purchases of library books as part of their school budgets.” But Ledingham doubts this will happen: “If the government gives every school library in Ontario that money, then every principal in this province will say, ‘That's it. I don't need to spend any other money elsewhere.' ”
At this stage at least, Indigo has no plans to set up a dedicated educational division. Said Lisa Huie, the company's manager of public relations: “I don't think that's a corporate initiative we'd agree to venture into . . . I don't think that's necessarily (a) our role and (b) our position.”
She added that the deal likely would be orchestrated through Indigo's corporate side, and not through the Indigo Love of Reading Foundation, which Heather Reisman founded as a charity in 2004. Since 2005, the foundation has given $150,000 each to 30 high-need elementary schools across Canada for library books.
Asked how long discussions between the Premier's office and Indigo had been going on prior to the Sept. 19 announcement, Huie said: “I don't think discussions with the Premier per se date that far back.” More time was spent on Writing on the Wall, a recently released documentary on Canada's literacy “crisis” that the Love of Reading Foundation commissioned at least a year ago.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
By Steve Hargardon -- School Library Journal, 10/1/2007
Blogs, wikis, podcasting, social networks… it seems the entire world has gone 2.0 crazy. Among the followers are educators, who, in ever increasing numbers, are integrating these online, interactive tools into their classrooms and yes, even libraries...
More than 4,000 school librarians, educators, publishers and guests will gather to discuss such key issues as new technologies; “No Child Left Behind” and how the legislation impacts school libraries; and information literacy. The conference will also serve as a platform for the release of AASL’s highly anticipated “Standards for the 21st-Century Learner,” which identify the skills, dispositions, responsibilities and strategies learners will need to survive and thrive in the future.
According to the American Library Association, students make 1.5 billion visits to school library media centers during the school year - 100 million more visits than to movie theaters in 2005.
“School library media programs play an integral role in education,” said Sara Kelly Johns, AASL president. “Research shows that the highest achieving students attend schools with good library media centers that offer access to current print and Web resources. It’s not enough for students to know how to read – they must be information literate, and study after study shows that well-trained library media specialists have a positive impact on student academic achievement.”
The conference will offer a variety of sessions on technology. Programs like “Gadgetpalooza” and “Podcasting!!! What is it GOOD for?” will analyze audio and video podcasting as tools that can be used to excite students and support learning; and hi-tech gadgets that best support student achievement.
The environment will also be an area of focus. Organizers have encouraged all conference presenters and attendees to go “green.” Complimentary wireless Internet access will be available throughout the convention center, so attendees will be able to pull up session handouts on their laptops live during the sessions.
Several exciting preconference programs offered on Wednesday, October 24, and Thursday, October 25, will focus on current library trends and will guide attendees through the creation of long-term advocacy action plans, dynamic technology tools and Web 2.0. Four school tours will also be offered as part of the conference’s special touring program. The school tours will focus on rural, elementary, independent and public schools that showcase examples of excellence in a wide range of school library media programs.
Best-selling author Dan Pink, expert on innovation, competition and the changing world of work, will keynote the Opening General Session on Thursday, October 25, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Pink also writes “The Trend Desk” column for Yahoo! Finance and has provided analysis of business trends for CNN, CNBC, ABC, NPR and other networks.
Omar Wasow, co-founder of BlackPlanet.com and well-known on-air technology analyst, will keynote the Closing General Session on Saturday, October 27, from 3 - 4:30 p.m. Wasow strives to demystify technology issues through frequent TV and radio segments on shows such as “Today,” CNN’s “American Morning” and public radio’s “Travis Smiley Show.”
Other award-winning author events will feature Wendelin Van Draanen, author of the “Sammy Keyes Mysteries”; David Lubar, “Hidden Talents”; Julie Ann Peters, “Luna”; Marilyn Reynolds, “Detour for Emmy”; Laura McGee Kvasnosky, “Zelda and Ivy”; and Kathleen Duey, “The Unicorn’s Secret” series.
The conference will feature three full-day and five half-day preconference workshops, several school and educational tours, more than 100 educational sessions, author events and more than 200 exhibiting companies.
The American Association of School Librarians, www.aasl.org, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), promotes the improvement and extension of library media services in elementary and secondary schools as a means of strengthening the total education program. Its mission is to advocate excellence, facilitate change and develop leaders in the school library media field.