Category Archives: Schools

2017-18 Wyoming School Library Stats Released



Sundance Elementary School on Wyoming Snapshot Day 2017

The numbers are in: the results of the Wyoming School Library Survey 2017-18 have been released and may be found on the WSL library statistics page.

Annually, the Wyoming State Library conducts a voluntary survey of school libraries to collect basic information on staffing, budgets, student use of the library and other measures. A large body of research has shown that a strong school library program — with sufficient staffing, collections and budget — is associated with higher student test scores.

The response rate for this year’s survey was higher than in 2016-17. Part of the reason for the increase could be increased awareness of the importance of the survey, as well as a need to have data for advocacy at the local level.

Questions about the survey, or about other school library issues, may be directed to Paige Bredenkamp, WSL School Library Consultant, at paige.bredenkamp@wyo.gov or (307) 777-6331.

10 Traits of Successful School Librarians



By Doug Johnson
From The Blue Skunk Blog

Colter Elementary School Library

I’ve been a school librarian or school library supervisor since 1979. In the nearly 40 years since I’ve had the pleasure of working with many outstanding individuals. Librarians who make a huge difference in the lives of both the kids and adults with whom they work. Librarians who have a passion for books, for technology, and for ideas and, by sharing those passions, imbue other with them. Librarians whose jobs never seem to be on the cutting block.

The librarians I most respect for their success share many of these traits:

  1. They value people more than stuff. It’s funny how the best librarians don’t seem to worry much about lost, broken, or overdue materials. They worry about the people they serve and in caring for patrons, those lost, broken, and overdue things seem to simply not be a problem. Good relationships, not lots of rules, are effective for these individuals.
  2. They own the responsibility for the effectiveness of the library program, but not the library itself.The librarians I respect most understand that the whole school “owns” the library, not them. They are the custodians of this jointly-owned resource. All advocacy efforts have at their core WIIFMS (What’s In IT For My Students/Staff) They will never refer to where they work as “my library.”
  3. They over communicate. Respected librarians understand that those in schools with discretionary time and discretionary budgets need to be very transparent about how their time and budgets are spent. They understand that others cannot advocate for a program if they don’t know what that program does. Administrators, teachers, and parents all know the exciting things happening in the libraries of the best librarians.
  4. They understand the long view and are critical to the over arching mission of their parent organizations. Collaboration is not just between themselves and classroom teachers. They are also collaborative leaders, serving on building committees – curriculum, building, planning, etc. The role of the library becomes deeply embedded in making other individuals, programs and the school itself successful.
  5. They don’t evaluate their programs based on arbitrary standards. Effective librarians know and understand state and national library standards, but they tailor them – selecting some, rejecting others – to meet the specific needs of their buildings, staff, and students. They take on jobs and acquire resources that may not have been covered in library school but are mission critical in their work environment. They are flexible about everything but their values.
  6. They create safe and welcoming environments. For students, the libraries created by these librarians  become Oldenburg’s “third place” – a space of comfort, welcome, and safety. Great librarians take pride not in collections, technology, or furniture within the library walls, but in the groups of students, especially those who may not “fit” in the regular school societies, working and playing in the space. It seems these folks libraries are rarely empty.
  7. They know that empowering others is the source of their own power and security. Too often people believe job security comes for having knowledge that no one else has. But as my dad liked to say, “The graveyard is filled with indispensable people.” The librarians I know who are critical to their organizations are not knowledge and skill hoarders, but natural teachers who help others develop life-long skills in technology use, information evaluation, communication, problem-solving.
  8. They swing both ways: lit and tech. The bifurcation of the profession started just as I entered it in the early 1980s. Yet the best school librarians retained interest, knowledge, and skills in both children’s and YA literature as they learned how to use technology to find and communicate information. Most of us in the profession have a preference – lit or tech – but the best support both and find powerful ways to combine them.
  9. They put the needs of kids before the wants of adults. ‘nuf said.
  10. They are mission driven.  Angela Falkenberg writes “…my mission is to guide students’ development towards a love of reading and passion to use their knowledge to achieve their dreams as they learn to navigate the world. …  I simply want students to believe in their possibility.” It was Angela’s words that were the impetus for this post. She reminded me that truly great librarians let a greater purpose drive them, give them courage, blunt criticism, let them sleep well at night. For many years, one of my keynote talks addressed courage as a vital technology skill. But I have since come to realize that courage is a necessity for all successful individuals.

I suspect there is little in this list you’ve not heard or read before. I am sure I have missed some attributes of the best librarians I’ve known. Pat yourself on the back a bit for the qualities from this list that you display. Work on those you don’t. I am sure as heck working on a lot of them myself.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Archived Webinar: In-Depth With the New AASL Standards, Part VI



June 2018; 56 minutes

Join Jennisen Lucas, Wyoming School Librarian and AASL Standards Implementation Chair as she takes us on an in depth tour of the new AASL standards. This final installation will be the Shared Foundation “Engage.” Find the rest of the series on our webinars index.

Wyoming History in State Documents: Value of School Libraries



While exploring some of the many Wyoming State Government documents available online, we came across this section on school libraries in the Biennial report of the superintendent of public instruction for Wyoming 1894/1896, submitted by Superintendent Estelle Reel in 1896.

Today, numerous studies have shown that quality school libraries, staffed by professional teacher-librarians, support student achievement.

 

Upcoming Webinar: In-Depth With the New AASL Standards Part VI



Join Jennisen Lucas, Wyoming School Librarian and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Affiliate for the sixth part of her in-depth tour of the new AASL school library standards. (Find the other installments on our webinars index.)

June’s installment will be on the Shared Foundation, “Engage.” This free webinar will be held on Tuesday, June 12, at 3:30 p.m. MDT. Come for the information; stay to ask questions!

Register now.

The Wyoming State Library has two circulating copies of National School Library Standards in its professional collection, available to Wyoming school librarians for checkout or interlibrary loan.

Questions about school library issues? Contact the Wyoming State Library’s School Library Consultant, Paige Bredenkamp, at paige.bredenkamp@wyo.gov or (307) 777-6331.

Archived Webinar: In-Depth With the New AASL Standards, Part V



Jennisen Lucas, Wyoming school librarian and AASL Standards Implementation Chair, takes us on an in depth tour of the new AASL standards. This month’s installation will be the Shared Foundation, “Explore.”

Free Webinar: A Look at the State of School Librarianship



American schools are going through a period of dramatic change, and school libraries are changing right along with them. With changing budgets, changing technology, and changing student needs, the role of the school librarian seems uncertain. Join Hilda Weisburg for a free webinar to explore the state of the profession. She’ll discuss the key challenges within the profession, as well as strategies to ensure that you stay current and can prove your worth to your school.

This free webinar takes place on Tuesday, May 22, at 2:00 p.m. MDT. Register now.

Upcoming Webinar: In-Depth With the New AASL Standards Part V



Join Jennisen Lucas, Wyoming School Librarian and American Association of School Librarians (AASL) Affiliate for the fifth part of her in-depth tour of the new AASL school library standards.

May’s installment will be on the Shared Foundation, “Explore.” This free webinar will be held on Thursday, May 17, at 3:30 p.m. MDT. Come for the information; stay to ask questions!

Register now.

The Wyoming State Library has two circulating copies of National School Library Standards in its professional collection, available to Wyoming school librarians for checkout or interlibrary loan.

Questions about school library issues? Contact the Wyoming State Library’s School Library Consultant, Paige Bredenkamp, at paige.bredenkamp@wyo.gov or (307) 777-6331.

Archived Webinar: In-Depth With the New AASL Standards, Part IV



Join Jennisen Lucas, Wyoming school librarian and AASL Standards Implementation Chair as she takes us on an in depth tour of the new AASL standards. This month’s installation will be the Shared Foundation, “Curate.”

Part V of the series, on the shared foundation, “Explore,” will be held on Thursday, May 17 at 3:30 p.m. MDT. Register here.

7 Ways to Promote Online Resources



By Doug Johnson
Reposted from The Blue Skunk Blog

How do you persuade kids (and teachers) to use authoritative online sources and not just “Google” the information they need? How do you teach your users to see the library as a portal to trusted sources?

Online resources do not jump out at students and staff and scream “use me” any more than our library books jumped off the shelves. Digital resources also need to be promoted and displayed.

The Indispensable Librarian, 2nd ed, 2013

The librarians I know are masters of promoting books to kids. Displays, contests, book talks, author visits, posters, and other far more creative tactics move books off the shelves and into kids hands and hearts. We’ve had about 500 years experience in getting people to read, so we should be good at it.

But lately I have heard a different frustration expressed. After investing significant amounts of our library resource dollars in commercial online products, they too often go unused or underutilized.

Wouldn’t you think that today’s “digital native” [insert cynical snort here] would just automatically find and use full-text magazine services, online encyclopedias, subject specific databases, e-books, video content providers, and other digital sources of information that are vetted and reliable?

“Oh, you mean there are other places than Google, Wikipedia and YouTube to find information?”

Can we apply some of the same techniques for promoting print resources to digital resources? And what new techniques do we need to use? Here are a few starter ideas…

  1. Library orientation programs must of course demonstrate online resources as well as the physical ones.
  2. Introductions to online resources are best done during research units themselves—when students actually need the information they contain.
  3. Any bibliography or webquest prepared for a unit should reference electronic tools as well as those in print.
  4. During inservices, at teacher meetings and in newsletters, teachers need to be informed about and trained in using these digital resources.
  5. Library webpages should clearly mark links to their digital resources, either on the homepage or on a separate page that has a clear link from the home page. A note by the link that tells the user any special instructions for accessing the resource not only helps the user but also cuts down on questions. The library’s webpage with links to its digital resources should be the default page when any web browser is launched on every library computer. If you are a Chromebook district, set bookmarks to library resources using the management system on all devices – student and staff.
  6. Students and teachers can be subtly reminded of the schools’ online resources if guides in the form of posters are visible near workstations. Bookmarks with this information may yet have a few years of viability left. Your screen savers on library computers can be an “ad” for online resources.
  7. Contests, including scavenger hunts, can raise the visibility of commercial online resources. Tie your contests to a single database at a time, doing smaller contests, more often. We have Battle of the Books. How about Battle of the ‘Bases?

Just because it doesn’t fit in a display case, doesn’t mean you can’t make it visible.

I am very interested in effective methods librarians have found to lead students to good online resources.

Reposted from The Blue Skunk Blog under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License.