Friday, December 30, 2011

Humans have the need to read

The Guardian: 2011 December 30

It doesn't matter if books are delivered in print or by smartphone, the main thing is to get lost in reading them

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Students take field trip to virtual rain forest without leaving the classroom

The Globe and Mail: 2011 December 21

The classroom lights are off. On the walls, insects flit under a rainforest canopy and animals hide among the trees. The Grade 10 students can hear the sounds of Borneo.

Monday, December 19, 2011

E-Book Readers Face Sticker Shock

E-Book Readers Face Sticker Shock

The Passive Voice: 2011 December 15

Cheap new e-readers are expected to be one of the hottest gifts this holiday season. But new owners of Kindles and Nooks may be in for sticker shock on Christmas morning: The price gap between the print and e-versions of some top sellers has now narrowed to within a few dollars—and in some cases, e-books are more expensive than their printed equivalents.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Public education is under 'serious attack'

I try to stay positive even though public education is under serious attack. School libraries across the province are an endangered species.

In the past 10 years or so we have lost half the staff that supports special-needs kids in our school.

Cheriee Weichel Teacher librarian, Charles Dickens school, Vancouver

Monday, December 12, 2011

Literacy scores rise as reading fun drops

National Post: 2011 December 12
The report also cites school libraries as a "largely untapped resource" in terms of building students' enjoyment of reading.

"Unfortunately, the percentage of elementary and secondary schools with teacher-librarians continues to decline in Ontario," the report notes.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Mysterious Paper Sculptures

One day in March, staff at the Scottish Poetry Library came across a wonderful creation, left anonymously on a table in the library. Carved from paper, mounted on a book and with a tag addressed to @byleaveswelive - the library's Twitter account - reading:

Monday, August 29, 2011

Who cares about libraries?

“People have preconceptions about libraries, and many of them are just inaccurate,” says Ken Haycock, emeritus professor of the University of British Columbia’s library science school. “The reality is that use is increasing, in foot traffic and in circulation.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Libraries are eccentric, changing and vital public spaces

He hasn’t said so explicitly, but Doug Ford seems to dislike libraries. The Toronto city councillor has lately made disparaging–and inaccurate–remarks about his city’s library system, which faces possible funding cuts and closures. By suggesting Toronto has too many branches, and then crowing that he would vote to shut down some “in a heartbeat,” Mr. Ford has offended bibliophiles everywhere. And Margaret Atwood is not amused.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The man who killed bookstores

Vancouver Sun: 2011 August 2

All right, coppers. You’ve got me. I did it. I killed Borders.

Not all by myself, of course. I had some help. A guy can’t kill a 399-store chain of bookstores and put 10,700 people out of work all by himself.

But I grew up Catholic, so if there’s guilt to be assigned, lay it on me. I’m used to it.

Yes, I sometimes buy books at I’ll buy ’em at Costco or Target, too, if they’re cheap enough. I get a lot of books from the library. I haven’t bought a Kindle or a Nook or another ereader yet, but I’m thinking about it. I borrowed an iPad and used it to read the e-version of Edmund Morris’s Colonel Roosevelt.

In the fight for better literacy, comic books are teachers’ secret weapon

This Magazine: 2011 August 2

On a cold mid-February afternoon under overcast skies, a school bell rings. The halls of Toronto’s Agnes Macphail Public School flood with children dressed in puffy jackets and schoolbags. Although a swift exodus befalls most schools at day’s end, Agnes Macphail still pulses with high-pitch chatter. Students linger in the foyer while others flock towards the school’s library. Amidst the rows of bookcases and computers, a group of students, ranging from grade six to eight, sit around tables as they talk animatedly and await the start of their book-club meeting.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

E-readers turn every man into his own librarian

National Post: 2011 July 30

I remember from quite some time ago visiting the library of a small school in one of the outport towns of Newfoundland. Only one shelf held books, and even it wasn’t full. Of the 30 or so books that were on that single shelf, eight were the several volumes of a once-popular religious encyclopaedia. Of the rest, a couple were by the great storyteller Robert Louis Stevensons — his books were once the very definition of literary ubiquity, Kidnapped and Treasure Island in particular, being the book equals of Star Wars in our day. There was an old school text of John Buchan’s Prester John there too.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book apps: A reading revolution, or the end of reading?

To understand the new big thing in publishing, the magic that promises to move put-upon paper pushers from the back of the digital bandwagon into the driver’s seat, you do what the lady said: Just put your lips together and … blow.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why librarians should be more like Lady Gaga

School libraries around the country are being dramatically cut as government officials look for places to cut their budgets — even though research shows that the country’s highest-performing students come from schools with good library centers.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Are School Librarians Expendable? - Room for Debate

School librarians are on the chopping block as states and cities seek to cut their education budgets.

In New York City, education officials say that after several years in a row of cutting costs, freezing wages and eliminating extracurricular activities, they may have no choice but to turn to librarians. And with technological advances, education policy makers are rethinking how they view library services in general.

Do superintendents and principals see librarians as more expendable than other school employees? If so, why?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

5 Conversations [About Libraries] I Don't Want To Have Anymore

The Adventures of Library Girl: 2011 June 28

The other day I ran across this post about educational conversations that have run their course. That is to say, ed-chat (not to be confused with #edchat) topics of discussion that have been discussed to death. We've all heard of educational "sacred cows," well... these are their "dead horse" companions. Naturally, this got me thinking about a similar list of library related conversations that I am tired of having. Don't get me wrong, I've spent plenty of time talking about these things myself and will probably be roped into talking about them again. What's more, I am not at all sitting in judgment of those for whom these issues remain compelling and important. Listen, if you're actively involved in dialogue about libraries, education and how librarians serve the needs of students, to you I tip my hat and say a hearty "bravo!" It's just, I guess I'm ready to see these conversations evolve. For me, at least, it’s time to either move these conversations to the next level, or send them out to pasture. Ok. Here goes:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning

ALA | ALA Press Releases: 2011 June 28

CHICAGO – At the American Library Association’s (ALA) 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) announced the 2011 Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning. In its third year, the list of websites honors the top 25 Internet sites for enhancing learning and curriculum development for school librarians and their teacher collaborators. The list is considered the "best of the best" by AASL.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Earth Science Teaching: Lesson Plans, Classroom Activities

Rowling develops landmark for digital publishing

Vancouver Sun: 2011 June 27

The vast majority of books that have migrated to the digital world as ebooks have simply replicated the printed page. Some of them may have search and note-taking functionalities, but most e-books are very much the web 1.0 equivalent of the literary world.

Assessing the Unassessable

NY Times: 2011 June 27

My feeling -- as someone who works in a local tech education center that shares its library with the high school next door -- is that this situation is more complex than administrators' seeing librarians as expendable

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Is This The Tipping Point For E-Books & Libraries?

The American Library Association (ALA) has just released its 2011 Public Library Funding and Technology Access Survey, and among its findings, 67% of public libraries in the U.S. now offer free access to e-books for their patrons. That's up 30% since 2007. Of course, access to e-books ranges greatly from state-to-state: 100% of Maryland and Utah libraries offer e-books, while only 25% of ilbraries in Mississippi do so, for example.

What 21st century teaching, learning really means

Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, a former classroom teacher and school administrator, is a widely known speaker and trainer on the use of interactive technology in K-12 education. She is the co-founder (with Will Richardson) of Powerful Learning Practice, LCC, a professional development provider oriented around digital networks, and the co-author of the forthcoming book The Connected Educator (Solution Tree).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Are you a learner?

Shift to the Future: 2011 June 18

Eric Hoffer’s quote really resonates with me…

"In times of change learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists."

I connected for breakfast the other morning with twitter colleague and learner, Chris Wejr (@mrwejr).  Chris is a principal in an elementary school in a fairly remote school district.  He talked about the power of social media, in particular twitter and blogging, to facilitate his learning.  It is amazing how titles and hierarchies of the bricks and mortar world seem to disappear in the digital realm.  We talked about how we connect and learn along side teachers, principals, superintendents, and renowned speakers.  Last week Chris and another twitter colleague David Wees (@davidwees) facilitated a tweet-up learning event with the BC Minister of Education George Abbott (@georgeabbottbc).  Chris shares his learning freely, shares others learning and ideas freely, and connects with colleagues around the world to ensure he is learning in real time.  Chris is an excellent example of a 21st Century learner!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Communities Stand Behind Librarians Facing Layoffs

As reports of librarian layoffs continue to surface, librarians have put away their inside voices to fight -- with the support from unions, parents, and students -- to prove their jobs are essential for student success

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Appetite for destruction: Say bye to vampires and hello to Hell-on-Earth

National Post: 2011 June 8

Earth may not have ended this past May 21, as a small-but-confident group of religious zealots had hoped, but our planet fares much worse in a new crop of teen fiction: Thanks to Suzanne Collins’ mega-selling Hunger Games trilogy, dystopian and post-apocalyptic kid lit has replaced vampires as the biggest thing in YA publishing

Monday, May 30, 2011

Board chair should resign

Windsor Star: 2011 May 30

The board won't lose as many librarians now, but it's far from clear what that means. How much time will they have in schools? What will the new "learning commons areas" be like? Will they have books? What will happen to the librarians when their positions are reviewed at the end of next year?

What a difference a school library makes

The Australian Library and Information Association and Australian School Library Association have created this wiki to enable parents, students, teachers, and everyone else who is concerned about the state of school libraries, to find out more information about this highly topical issue and to join in the discussion.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Digital 'gold rush' gains speed at BookExpo

Province: 2011 May 29

As American publishers gathered in New York last week to promote the best of what's coming in the year ahead, more and more attention was focused on the growing influence of digital publishing.

Companies at last week's BookExpo America agreed that while the book publishing industry is losing money overall, the increasing sales of e-books and e-readers are offering investors a chance to bet on the winners and losers in the future of publishing -where print books may eventually become obsolete.

Switching off the Interactive White Board for good

Steps in Learning and Teaching: 2011 May 28

IWB’s have had their day. I personally can’t see any future for them in classrooms and the sooner schools stop buying into them the sooner the money can be spent on better educationally interactive tools.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Slave Lake’s new library a casualty of devastating blaze

Globe & Mail: 2011 May 27

Before the Slave Lake public library moved into its new building a year and a half ago, it was crammed into a room with small windows, low ceilings and little space for computers. At the new 6,000-square-foot library, sunlight streamed through giant windows, illuminating a spacious room with high ceilings and gleaming wooden tables, chairs and bookshelves.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Books can't make history without people

Globe & Mail: 2011 May 25

A few days ago, announced that for the first time ever, it’s selling more e-books than paper ones. Although the company wouldn’t cite hard sales figures, it did suggest that since April, Amazon’s customers have bought 5 per cent more digital than traditional books.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The state of the library

Two unrelated yet interconnected articles have come to my attention in the past week or so that have made me think about libraries and their future.  The pieces sent to me were a blog post written by Seth Godin called The Future of the Library and an article from Inside Higher Ed called A Hole Lot of Books.  (Thanks Morgan and Ivy!)  Both offer a unique insight on how libraries are changing and what they are doing to keep up with the changes. 

Winners in ALA...Why I Need My Library teen video contest announced

ALA: 2011 May 25

CHICAGO–Of the 157 videos entered into the Why I Need My Library teen video contest, it was two original music videos that rose to the top, netting $3,000 in prize money from ALA for their creators’ libraries.

Margaret Atwood on Why School Librarians Rule

“The librarian is the key person you don’t want to remove from a school.” She said being able to surf online isn’t a substitute for having a librarian who can handpick and recommend books for students in their early years of reading.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Libraries face growing demand for ebooks, and complicated rules about using them

VaNcouver Sun: 2011 May 24

The book-lending business at public libraries used to be a simple affair: Buy books, catalogue them, loan them out and keep them in good repair. But that's all changing with the soaring popularity of ebooks.

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Take on Librarians

Culture of Yes: 2011 May 23

Teacher-librarians are our second circle of support.  In a recent interview with Dr. Paul Shaker on Your Education Matters, I said that as we move forward “teacher librarians are more important than ever.”   My experience has been that next to the principal, the teacher-librarian is often key in moving the learning agenda forward.  In schools that are moving forward, it is very often the teacher-librarian, working side-by-side with teachers on staff, who find new ways of working with students.

'Dragon' librarians come out fighting

The Age: 2011 May 24

STEREOTYPED as dragons in cardigans, derided by colleagues who think they do little more than check books in and out, and starved of resources, school librarians are pouring their hearts out.

Inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools

Parliament of Australia: 2011 May 23

On Monday 23 May 2011, the House Standing Committee on Education and Employment tabled its report on the inquiry into school libraries and teacher librarians in Australian schools entitled School libraries and teacher librarians in 21st century Australia.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don’t discard the librarians

The world of librarians was thrown into a tizzy this week – it doesn't take much these days – when the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board announced it will shut its school libraries and dump all but four of its library technicians. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Behind student success, an LAUSD librarian

LA Times: 2011 May 20

Rosemarie Bernier, the librarian at Hamilton High School, sees hundreds of students every day. She knows them by their study habits, the questions they ask and the books they read.

Joelle and Johanna love to run their fingers through old books. We find them in the stacks, admiring the beautiful, old binding of a Jules Verne novel.

A Country Without Libraries

The New York Review of Books: 2011 May 18

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.
—Groucho Marx

All across the United States, large and small cities are closing public libraries or curtailing their hours of operations. Detroit, I read a few days ago, may close all of its branches and Denver half of its own: decisions that will undoubtedly put hundreds of its employees out of work. When you count the families all over this country who don’t have computers or can’t afford Internet connections and rely on the ones in libraries to look for jobs, the consequences will be even more dire. People everywhere are unhappy about these closings, and so are mayors making the hard decisions. But with roads and streets left in disrepair, teachers, policemen and firemen being laid off, and politicians in both parties pledging never to raise taxes, no matter what happens to our quality of life, the outlook is bleak.“The greatest nation on earth,” as we still call ourselves, no longer has the political will to arrest its visible and precipitous decline and save the institutions on which the workings of our democracy depend.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Department of Education withdraws federal support for school libraries

ALA:2011 May 17

WASHINGTON, D.C.– The Improving Literacy Through School Libraries program was zeroed out under the Department of Education’s allocation for FY2011 funding released today.

Improving Literacy Through School Libraries is the only federal program solely for our nation’s school libraries. This program supports local education agencies in improving reading achievement by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials; well-equipped, technologically advanced school libraries; and professionally certified school librarians.

School-library cuts a miscommunication problem, education group says

Montreal Gazette: 2011 May 16

While governments say librarians are necessary to teach the skills needed to navigate today's information environment, schools aren't hearing the message, a report released Monday suggests.

Vancouver school kids contribute to book of ‘dreams’

Vanciuver Courier: 2011 May 17

Last week Ethan Lam achieved what most writers spend entire careers working towards—his words were published. They appear in a book entitled Our Place: Celebrations and Dreams of Vancouver, launched May 9.

LAUSD Doubts that Seasoned Teacher-Librarians Can Teach

American Libraries Magazine: 2011 May 18

“There’s no better use of limited funds than paying attorneys to harass educators who’ve devoted their lives to helping our children,” Bennett Tramer of Santa Monica, California, said in a letter published May 17 in the Los Angeles Times. A tongue-in-cheek response to the May 13 Hector Tobar column, “The Disgraceful Interrogation of L.A. School Librarians,” the letter concluded: “I also applaud the valuable presence of armed police officers at the hearings; you never know when a librarian will pull out a book and start reading.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Our Learning Commons: One “How To” for 21st Century Learning

Learning the Now: 2011 May 16

A few months back, I began reading Building the Learning Commons: A Guide for School Administrators and Learning Leadership Teams.  Much of what follows is a summary of the book, the impact that it has made in transforming our library at John Oliver and the importance of the Learning Commons as a “hub” or centre of learning in our school (and the district).  It is a facility that will be characterized by “hum and hub, not hush”. 

How to make school libraries relevant again

Globe and Mail: 2011 May 17

Transforming school libraries for the digital age is no small task for financially strapped boards, and so a school board in southwestern Ontario should be encouraged, not condemned, for making the attempt.

L.A. Unified's librarians on trial

L.A. Times: 2011 May 18

Soon after I became a school librarian, a teacher came to me about Mario, an eighth-grader who had never read an entire book. Mario struggled to read at all, and English was not his first language, but he was a bright kid whose teacher believed in him. I recommended a short, funny, mysterious book that appeals to reluctant boy readers. Mario took it home, read it in a week and came back with his friends in tow to check out the remaining titles in the series.

Layoffs, Interrogations: L.A. School Librarians Under Fire

SLJ: 2011 May 17

Just be grateful you're not a school librarian in L.A. The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is poised to layoff 85 middle and high school librarians at the end of this academic year, a move that's set to leave most of the district's 700 K-12 schools without media specialists.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Students walk out to protest library cuts - Windsor

CBC News: 2011 May 16

Students in Windsor walked out of class Monday to protest against a Catholic school board decision to cut librarians and close libraries.

"I don't like this move by the Catholic school board. It's just ridiculous," Michael Lajoie, an Assumption High School student, told CBC's Early Shift host Tony Doucette. "They're laying off librarians due to budget cuts or no money. I find that a load of bull."

School Libraries and Information Literacy

People for Education
May 2011

Reading, researching — and having fun

.ca: 2011 May 16

It’s home to a reading club and students come in all day — even before school starts, at lunch and after school — to sign out books.

Libraries are worth saving

570News:2011 May 16

Libraries should not be on the chopping block when it comes to cutting costs at Ontario school boards.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Librarians fight for a role in a digital world

In a time before the internet, children gathered among stacks of books arranged according to letters and numbers taped to their spines. There, a wise person known as a teacher-librarian would guide students’ imaginations to far off places through the pages of atlases, encyclopedias and other rare texts.

History of School Library Standards - A Timeline

While working on my dissertation I created a timeline of important events in the history of school library standards.  Taking a look at the events and people involved with the always evolving school library profession has helped me to realize what a varied and rich historical progression has led to the current standards.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

LAUSD prepares to ax school librarians' jobs. What would August Wilson say?

Charles Darwin, Franz Kafka and playwright August Wilson (pictured) are not three names typically linked together.

But this astonishing piece Friday by Los Angeles Times columnist Hector Tobar brought them to mind all at once.

Inquisition: Los Angeles school librarians grilled by lawyers

San Francisco Examiner: 2011 May 14

WHAT: Some 85 credentialed teacher-librarians at the Los Angeles Unified School District can only keep their jobs if they survive cross-examination by district lawyers and prove to an administrative law judge that they have taught students within the last five years.

The disgraceful interrogation of L.A. school librarians

...this week, you'll find them in a makeshift LAUSD courtroom set up on the bare concrete floor of a building on East 9th Street. Several sit in plastic chairs, watching from an improvised gallery as their fellow librarians are questioned.

A court reporter takes down testimony. A judge grants or denies objections from attorneys. Armed police officers hover nearby. On the witness stand, one librarian at a time is summoned to explain why she — the vast majority are women — should be allowed to keep her job...

Friday, May 13, 2011

SD23 Board highlights

  • Mr. Alan Smith, Teacher Librarian from Kelowna Secondary School, recently received the British Columbia Teacher Librarian Association (BCTLA) President’s Award for exemplary service and contributions to the profession.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Kuhn ‘an inspiration to others’

Rossland News: 2011 May 11

RSS teacher-librarian Nicola Kuhn is the recipient of the 2011 B.C. New Teacher-Librarian of the Year Award by the B.C. Teacher-Librarian Association (BCTLA).

Margaret B. Scott Award of Merit

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is pleased to announce Heather Daly as
the 2011 recipient of the:
Canadian Association for School Libraries / Margaret B. Scott Award of Merit.

Angela Thacker Memorial Award

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is pleased to announce
Moira Ekdahl
as the 2011 recipient of the
Angela Thacker Memorial Award

School Libraries/Follett International Teacher Librarian of the Year Award

The Canadian Association for School Libraries is pleased to announce
Judith Comfort
as the 2011 recipient of the
Canadian Association for School Libraries/Follett International
Teacher Librarian of the Year Award

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Background Papers re Govt. Cuts

Vancouver Sun: 2011 May 10

The BCTF has provided the following background documents that were entered as evidence during the trial over Bills 27 and 28 (which removed from contract the BCTF's ability to negotiate class size, composition and specialst teacher ratios).

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

23 Studies Find Positive Link Between Library Spending and Student Learning

Newswise: 2011 May 2

It is an article of faith among many critics of public schools that there is no correlation between spending and learning outcomes. But it’s not so—at least where library spending is concerned.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

AASL's Distinguished School Administrators Award recipient “walked her talk” and improved student learning | American Libraries Magazine

American Libraries Magazine

CHICAGO – Donna Haye, district assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction for the Atlantic City Board of Education, is the 2011 recipient of the American Association of School Librarian’s (AASL) Distinguished School Administrators Award.

From instituting schedules that allowed for flexible scheduling to ensuring that each elementary school had a fully cataloged online collection, Haye’s philosophy that the “school library should be the heart of the school” has transformed schools in the Atlantic City Public School District.  Upon assuming her role as assistant superintendent, Haye created a new district library supervisor position and rallied library colleagues to evaluate the current status of the district’s school libraries.  Finding the libraries in dire need of an update, Haye immediately took action.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ALA | Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Lesson Plan Database

ALA | Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Lesson Plan Database

The American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) Standards for the 21st-Century Learner Lesson Plan Database is a tool to support school librarians and other educators in teaching the essential learning skills defined in the AASL Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.

Friday, April 15, 2011

From a School: A Letter in Living Color

We recently received, in a tube sent by postal mail, something new in our experience: a 15-foot-long scroll to the editor, below. Birch Lane Elementary School in Davis, Calif., took issue with an article about picture books, and set out on a monthlong campaign to promote and read them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Court sides with B.C. teachers on their ability to negotiate class size

The B.C. Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional a provincial law that denied teachers the right to bargain class size and class composition.
In a decision released today, Justice Sandra Griffin sided with the B.C. Teachers' Federation (BCTF) in finding that the Liberal government trampled teachers' rights nine years ago when it passed legislation limiting their bargaining power and significantly reducing their ability to influence their working conditions.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Indigo's Heather Reisman faces digital reckoning

Heather Reisman is, as usual, clutching a new book in her hand. But this one isn’t just another bestseller to tout as one of “Heather’s Picks” on the shelves at Indigo Books & Music Inc. It’s a book that may hold a blueprint to the chain’s survival.

Ebook rush challenges our libraries

The demand for electronic books in public libraries has rocketed and is expected to continue rising, but their popularity is giving librarians a headache.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Heed your own advice, Mr. Knaus

Budget restraints mean that many programs designed to help students succeed have been cut; no school in this District has a full-time teacher librarian (many elementary schools have a negligible service)... 

Jenny Garrels, president Sunshine Coast Teachers’ Association

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Making Good Technology Choices

One of the questions that I’m asked all the time is, “Bill, how do you decide what technology you’re going to integrate into your classroom?”

My first reaction to this question is always to breathe a sigh of relief simply because far, far too many educators—teachers, principals, school leaders—make haphazard choices about technology integration, wasting our already limited time and money in the process.  

Skype In The Classroom

Skype is a valuable tool that many teachers are discovering can break down the walls of their classroom. I have been doing several workshops lately to get teachers started with Skype and how they can connect their classroom to the outside world. Maybe you haven't had a workshop where you are or you need more information.

The use of models and other abstract forms in literary study has recently seen a revival in a digital age that puts data and sophisticated data management systems in the hands of the literary scholar, teacher, and student. Pedagogical applications of these abstract models are rich with possibility for the literary classroom, and offer exciting opportunities for engaging non-English majors and non-traditional learners in the advanced study of literature, as well as challenging students to verbally articulate visual and spatial knowledge.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Publisher drops print for apps

Publishing has long had a reputation as stuffy and slow. It's a business where lunches are long, with short summer Fridays so New York editors can recharge on Hamptons beaches, a business where it takes months to respond to manuscripts and more than a year to publish a book.

But in the past year, publishers have made rapid changes. They have fought with authors and agents for digital rights, negotiated with Amazon and Apple over their sales commission and are fighting libraries on the number of times e-books can be loaned.

School libraries feeling the pinch

School library collections are aging and staff time is slowly being eroded, concerning some local teacher-librarians. 

Constant budget pressures mean money is getting tighter and tighter and libraries can't replace old, worn books, or buy all the titles they'd like their students to be reading, according to Suzanne Hall, district librarian for the local school district.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Using the Living Dead To Teach Information Literacy

The staff at McPherson College's Miller Library in Kansas has come up with a unique information literacy tool: zombie attack.

The library has just released an online 23-page library guide in graphic novel format called Library of the Living Dead that features students taking cover in the library from zombies run amok on campus, and the flight to safety becomes a point of departure for a blood-stained lesson, replete with decapitations, in the Dewey Decimal system and other library tools.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

BC Library History



April 7, 2011

St Andrew's Presbyterian
Victoria, BC


Courier letters

Big Brother bureaucrats target school libraries

Teacher-librarians enjoy autonomy

Diversity Team saves lives

'Diversity Team' dictates morality in schools

Vancouver’s teacher-librarians keep books in student hands

Ironically, exactly as Mark Hasiuk was working himself up into a lather over the deplorable conditions in Vancouver schools where strict compliance with the forcible removal and banning of classical literature and other worthwhile books is overseen by The Group of 6 Bureaucrats (“Vancouver school bureaucrats target children’s literature,” Feb. 28), Canadians celebrated Freedom to Read Week, Feb. 20-26.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

LA Unified School District to EliminateAll CertifiedLibrarians

All certified school librarians in the Los Angeles Unified School District will lose their positions next school year if efforts to close the district’s $640 million budget shortfall fail.

Monday, March 14, 2011

HarperCollins sets checkout limits on library e-books

As of March 7, HarperCollins e-book titles licensed to Canadian schools and public libraries come with a new restriction: after 26 checkouts, they self-destruct.

Young hockey players hit the ice, then the books

His skills as a defenceman catapulted him to the major juniors, but by age 19 the dream of an NHL career had faded. He enrolled in university. That’s where, while trying to read a biology text for class, he realized his reading skills were too weak for him to keep up. “Here I was and I only knew one thing in life: hockey, and nothing else.”

Teacher-librarians refute notion of book-banning in Vancouver schools

Two weeks ago, I wrote about a book-banning effort in Vancouver public schools led by the district’s so-called Diversity Team, a six-member troop of bureaucrats operating out of the school board building on West Broadway.

Friday, March 11, 2011

2010–11 BC Education Facts

Staffing: Learning Specialist Teachers 
  • The number of FTE learning specialist teacher positions fell significantly over the last decade, decreasing from 7,185.67 FTE positions in 2001–02 to 5,970.35 in 2009–10. 
  • Learning specialist teaching positions decreased by a further -197.38 FTE positions in 2010-11, based on the most recent budget estimates*. 
  • There are now 1,412.70 fewer FTE learning specialist teacher positions in 2010–11 than in 2001–02. 
  • Library Services (-28.5%) and English as a Second Language (-28.6%) programs lost the highest proportion of learning specialist teachers over the decade.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

BC Book Prizes 2011

The West Coast Book Prize Society is thrilled to announce the finalists for the 2011 BC Book Prizes. Congratulations to the authors and their publishers!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

World Read Aloud Day: March 9, 2011

World Read Aloud Day: March 9, 2011

Celebrate the Power of Words and Stories and Take Action for Global Literacy

Nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name. What would you miss most if you could not read or write? Imagine your world without words.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Canada Reads declares a winner

The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis was declared the book of the decade by CBC's Canada Reads today. The other four competitors were Essex County, a graphic novel by Jeff Lemire, which was the first book eliminated, The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou, which was the second book eliminated, and Unless by Carol Shields and The Birth House by Ami McKay.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Libraries receive e-book boost

Greater Victoria Public Library users will have access to thousands more electronic books next month after a major publisher said it will allow library access to its titles.

BC Ferries Wi Fi service blocks access to abortion, sex-education sites

Ferry riders using BC Ferries free WiFi service are out of luck if they want to buy condoms online or research where to get an abortion.

That's because BC Ferries online web filters are designed to block any websites about "sex education and abortion", along with those for sites like pornography, hate speech and piracy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A juicier way to get your Grapes of Wrath

Most would agree John Steinbeck eloquently captures the soul-wrenching journey of a Depression-era family as they move from Oklahoma to California in The Grapes of Wrath. But today's young readers often need more than words on a page to fully immerse themselves in a story -- they need multimedia.

Monday, January 31, 2011

BC Librarians Rescue Teens!

The B.C. librarians involved with the Teen Reading Club will not take no for an answer. Despite funding cuts that had the organization on the chopping block last summer, a small faction of library workers have persevered and managed to secure the basic funding needed to keep the program in operation in 2011.

Lieutenant-governor pays students a visit

Literacy is the cornerstone to success, British Columbia lieutenant-governor Steven Point told students, during his visit to Lake Cowichan Secondary School, Wednesday, January 26. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The future of Greater Victoria Public libraries

Victoria Times Colonist: 2011 January 30

The Greater Victoria Public Library needs to expand by 58 per cent in the next 15 years to keep up with anticipated growth and use of what is already one of the country's busiest systems

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Men With Books spotted in Burnaby schools

Two Burnaby elementary schools have introduced a program called Men With Books to encourage boys to read.


Developing literacy skills begins at home. Whether it’s a book, board game, magazine, newspaper or website, all British Columbians are being encouraged to take part in a literacy activity with their families for 15 minutes at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 27 to celebrate Family Literacy Day.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Seeing the story, not the spin

The best line in the movie satire Morning Glory is delivered by Rachel McAdams as a young executive producer to a curmudgeonly Harrison Ford who, in his Morley Saferlike character, still believes that news is a matter of reporting the facts with integrity. 

"The world has been debating news versus entertainment for years, and guess what? You lost," she says. The line is funny, timely and acutely indicative of the brave new world of news as "infotainment" that shapes our kids' understanding of the world around them and its values.

It is also indicative of the critical need for an objective media analysis course as part of a 21st-century social studies or journalism curriculum.

Google-like search site connects 60 million pages of Canadian history

Call it the Google of Canadian history. 
An ambitious new search engine has been launched by an alliance of digital heritage advocates designed to allow one-stop searching for centuries of Canadian history.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Surrey's new library designed for the people by the people

BTAworks worked with Surrey librarians to create a blog on the library website which, in turn, was linked to a Flickr site where BTAworks posted photos of libraries and other spaces they liked. Pretty soon, members of the community were posting photos of libraries they'd found on vacation. Surrey residents who didn't have computers went to neighbourhood libraries where librarians had committed to helping them post comments and photos.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vanderpool, Stead, Bacigalupi Win Newbery, Caldecott, Printz

Clare Vanderpool has won the 2011 Newbery Medal for Moon over Manifest (Delacorte), edited by Michelle Poploff. Erin E. Stead has won the 2011 Randolph Caldecott Medal for A Sick Day for Amos McGee (Roaring Brook/Porter), written by Philip C. Stead, edited by Neal Porter. And Paolo Bacigalupi has won the 2011 Michael L. Printz Award for Ship Breaker (Little, Brown), edited by Jennifer Hunt. The awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in San Diego. more...

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Cleaning up the classics: Huck Finn gets the PC treatment

The literary world is in an uproar over a U.S. publisher's decision to release a bowdlerized version of Mark Twain's classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

School board eyes digital textbooks

Outdated textbooks are common at Toronto’s public high schools and students are lucky to get their hands on them. Often, textbooks are unavailable because they’ve been signed out of a library by other students.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Make every child a reader

Adults sometimes forget what reading means to children. Patsy Aldana of Toronto, publisher of Groundwood Books, who was named a member of the Order of Canada last week, has made children’s reading her life’s work. Reading is healing, she says. Reading is a window into oneself and others. Reading is a bulwark of democracy. And we don’t do enough, she says, to nurture our children’s love of reading.