Monday, September 30, 2013

An all-digital library --BiblioTech

Lauren Frederick

Cottrell, M.(2013, September 18) Paperless libraries, American Libraries Magazine. Retrieved on September 30, 2013 from

This article caught my eye, even though its about a public library in Texas. Bexar County opened an all-digital library, called BiblioTech. This facility is bookless and serves an unincorporated area outside of San Antonio, "offering more than 10,000 titles available for digital download and 100 e-readers on loan, as well as computer stations, digital literacy classes, and a coffee shop."

With access to technology and no print, it allows for the county to spend less money and have less space, allowing the librarian to help patrons connect with information as opposed to circulation.

The reason I thought this to be relevant to the Learning Commons, is that the learning environment is much more fluid. At The University of Texas at San Antonio they opened a digital library as well, and in this space the computer stations and modular furniture can be moved to accommodate groups. In school libraries, with the books on the wall and the stations similar to this, a Learning Commons can exist. The access to all the technology would allow for this as well. I am not sure how beneficial the lack of books would be to the schools, but upping the ante with additional e-readers and computer stations could definitely help any library.

“What I’m seeing is this movement acknowledging that these services libraries provide are as important as the books. Libraries are being acknowledged as to how central they are to communities.”

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Discussion - iPads

I just read the 2 articles on iPads that Dr. Loertscher sent this morning.  I'm going to give my two cents but curious what is going on in your areas of the country.

In Maine we have been going 1:1 for sometime now.  Laptops were the original device and were given to 7th - 8th graders to use.  With iPads coming into play many districts have switched to ipads and have spread the usage to 6th grade and up in many cases.  In my daughter's district all freshman and sophomores were given iPads last year.  They were told they would be able to keep them all through high school and then own them (of course a 4 yr old iPad would be pretty obsolete by that point.)  This year they changed the policy and told the kids they needed to get the new iPads instead and wouldn't be able to keep them.  After parent complaints they had to change the policy again and told the students they could buy the one they used last year.  As a parent we have talked to sveral different people in the district and get different stories.  What I have found in that district (where I used to work) is that they are so worried about appearing to be "cutting edge" that they haven't really thought things through.  Then they have had to change policies and the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing.  As a side daughter uses the iPad more for entertainment than for actual school work.

The district I currently work in tries really hard to keep up with my daughter's district.  Follow the leader is a popular game in our technology department - with the same results.  Let's buy a bunch of iPads and give them to teachers and students.  No training.  Of course the students are going to use it for entertainment.

My husband is a network admin in yet another district.  They (he) has taken a more cautious approach and has really tried to think through the policies.  They have given students iPads this year.  His biggest gripe...the amount of youtube use - educational?  Probably not.

I did my research paper for LIBR 285 on iPads because of what I have personally seen.  I think they have the potential to be powerful tools.  But, teachers and students need to know what to do with them.  I don't feel we can restrict students to death...we need to just show them how we would like them used in a classroom setting.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Games in the Classroom (or Library)

Julie Williams

Schwartz, K.  (2013, September 13).  How Schools Design Classroom Games for Learning.   
 MindShift.  Retrieved from:

Summary and Thoughts:

This is a really interesting concept.  What strikes me is the Quest to Learn schools.  I have worked in public education long enough to know that a change like this would be difficult to start in an established school.  There are already too many variables…one being veteran teachers who have seen it all and don’t want to try another thing or only have a few more years til retirement.  Big changes like this almost need brand new schools with teachers who are onboard from the very beginning.  I definitely see the value of games and would love to see some of the games they have designed.

This article is about using games in the classroom.  How could we use games in the library?  Would we tie in with games a classroom teacher was using?  Develop our own?  Good food for thought and a push to think out of the box and be creative.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

California Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)

Jen Alfonso-Punzalan

Cabral, E. and Chu, C. (2013).  An overview of the local control funding formula.  Retrieved from

As a library/media teacher, and hearing about the change in the LCFF here in California over the summer, I wanted to learn more about what LCFF is and what changes it might bring to our schools.  This report was written by the Legislative Analyst's Office: California's Nonpartisan Fiscal and Policy Advisor.

It is interesting to note that one of the eliminated categorical programs is School Library Improvement Block Grant.  It is also interesting to note that two of the eight state priority areas that school libraries can make a positive impact is in "Student Achievement" and in "Implementation of Common Core State Standards."

Play or Learning?

Jessica King

Crow, S. R. & Robins, J. (2012). Play in the library. Teacher Librarian, 39(5), 36-43.
         Crow and Robbins (2012) address the decreasing amount of time that schools are giving over to “play” time for students by cutting down recesses and cutting out arts and music lessons. It is their argument that this is detrimental to children because “play is a way for children to make sense of the world they will inherit” (p. 36). The authors then discuss the way in which “play” can be used to engage and teach students and that the library is the perfect place to do this because of the vast amount of resources it has available. There are three ways to allow students to “play” in the library and take control of their learning: inquiry-based learning, storytelling, and questing. Inquiry-based learning is that chance for students to question and explore topics that interest them. Storytelling is reading and listening to stories as well as creating their own stories in their own formats. Questing focuses more on the navigation of the multitude of resources that are available and learning how to find the right resources. About half way through the authors do switch to the term "Learning Commons" when they are referring to the library and reference the book The New Learning Commons. The authors keep the focus on the library perspective and offer examples from activities schools have instigated. 

Straight from the DOE: Dispelling Myths About Blocked Sites.

Pam Scholz


Barseghian, T.  (2011).  Straight from the DOE:  Dispelling myths about blocked sites.  Retrieved from:

Includes discussion with Department of Education’s Director of Education Technology, Karen Cator dispelling myths about blocked sites and the repercussions.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Google without Scholar? That's like TV without news channels!

Rene Hohls

Twitter for your PLN

Jen Alfonso-Punzalan

Lalonde, C. (2012).  How important is Twitter in your personal learning network?  Retrieved from

This is an article based on masters-level research study done by the author.  In short, Twitter can connect you to other people so that you can be active learners together and you can boost each others' learning.  Twitter allows for "instantaneous conversations with their PLN," "access the collective knowledge of their PLN," expanding upon one's PLN with the use of hashtags and retweets, and being an "idea amplifier" so that a blog author's work can get more readers.  With Twitter around, collaboration has become even faster and easier than ever before.

Banned Books Week

Jen Alfonso-Punzalan

Perez, N. (2013). Google Hangouts with banned/challenged authors.  Retrieved from

This is a short article about some Google Hangouts with banned and/or challenged authors.  These are recorded Hangouts, and, for example, you can look up the Sherman Alexie (author of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian) Hangout on YouTube.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Five C's for School Librarians

Pam Scholz


Luhtala, M. (2012).  Five key roles for 21st-century school librarians.  eSchool News. Retrieved from:

This article highlights a presentation by Joyce Valenza, a teacher librarian at Springfield Township High School in PA, during Building Learning Communities conference back in 2012.  Valenza highlights and discusses the 5 C's of school library experiences:  Curation, citizenship & compassion, creation, connection.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The Digital Shift

Brook, Tiffany

Springen, K. (2013). It’s complicated: How two schools are riding the transition to
            Ebooks. School Library Journal. Retrieved on 16 September 2013. 

Link to Article

This article presents the current trend of some K-12 schools going digital, in terms of using digital textbooks and e-books. The article discusses two high performing Illinois high schools that went digital. The authors investigate which electronic devices were most preferred by faculty and students, and provide pointers and procedures for managing technology as a school begins to make the transition.

This article is important because more schools are actively integrating technology into the classroom. As a result, librarians and teachers will need to become more accustomed to various devices and the apps that accompany them. 


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Latest Study: A full-time librarian makes a critical difference in boosting student achievement

Lubic, Tim

 Kachel, D. , & Lance, K. (2013). Librarian required. School Library Journal, 59(3), 28.

Librarian Required

 This article discusses the state-wide PA study of the impact of full-time teacher librarians on student achievement. The strongest correlation being between a quality library program and advanced writing scores.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Stephen Krashen Blog - Discussion


A very interesting post on Krashen's Blog discussing the Sullivan and Brown study. Some very interesting data on the impact of reading on poverty.

I have his book The Power of Reading 2nd Ed. (2004) and we are using it in my other class LIBR 233. Krashen is an expert in the area of literacy education and research. If you have a chance to see him present, he is amazing. He is doing a free workshop in Camarillo on September 25th at the Camarillo Public Library for those of you in my area. Krashen workshop info.


Friday, September 13, 2013

New evidence for the power of reading

The Sullivan and Brown Reading Study: New evidence for the power of reading, the effect of reading on poverty, and evidence for late intervention.
S. Krashen

As part of a large ongoing longitudinal study, Sullivan and Brown (2013) studied the performance of several thousand children in the UK on a variety of tests given when they were 16, and analyzed the effect of a number of predictors on their test scores using multivariate techniques.