NHSLMA empowers librarians in New Hampshire schools to build effective school library programs.
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Thanks in part to the generosity of NHSLMA, I was able to take a course on reference resource collection for schools. I have come away from this course with many new, or deeper, understandings. I have a much clearer understanding of what constitutes reference materials and had my first exposure to databases. Before taking this course, I had no idea what separated reference from non-fiction. Now I understand that reference materials contain a broad spectrum of information in quick, easily accessible segments that serve as a jumping-off point for further research. I also understand that reference materials extend beyond print collections into “materials that provide access to ideas, learning and stories in non-traditional ways” including “access to a collection of ‘things’ or ‘experts’” (Donham & Sims, p. 101).
I also have a broader vision of the librarian’s role, including our “primary goal [which] is to help students become effective users of information” (Donham & Sims, p. 3). In particular, this course has helped me view the librarian as an advocate, a provider of equity, a collaborator, a curriculum expert and a leader.
For elementary students, library time can be highly regimented; many elementary schools only permit students in the library during their weekly library class. At secondary schools, flexible library time can be hard for students to find. As a future school librarian, I can advocate for students to have more time in the library (Donham & Sims, p. 16). I can also advocate for different types of learners by pushing for “various forms of presentation” of student learning (Donham & Sims, p. 185). Finally, I can advocate for the varied learning needs of my students by encouraging a move to constructivist and inquiry-based learning, which I’ll discuss more later.
As a school librarian, I can help provide equity for my students in several ways, such as by “meeting the needs of exceptional learners that might not be able to be met in the classroom” (Donham & Sims, p. 3) and by helping to bridge the technology gap of economically disadvantaged students (Donham & Sims, p. 6). One aspect of a “future ready school” is that “all students have equitable access to qualified librarians, digital tools, resources and books” (Alliance for Excellent Education, p. 1). In addition, AASL considers it the job of a school librarian to “champion equity [and] access” (AASL 2018, 111).
My goal as a school librarian is to help students succeed, and student success depends on “students, parents and teachers… working together toward shared goals” (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2017, para. 4). This means that collaboration between classroom teachers and librarians is essential, because “if the library program remains isolated from the learning events of the classroom, it has little potential to contribute to the learning experiences of students” (Donham & Sims, p. 83).
Collaboration makes it necessary that I, as a librarian, become an expert on my school’s population as well as curriculum (Donham & Sims, p. 111). I like the idea of “curriculum mapping” (Donham & Sims, p. 28) so that I can get a big picture of the areas in which collaboration with teachers would be most effective. I need to be able to show teachers how collaborating with me can benefit them and their students. I particularly resonated with the idea that a school librarian can promote constructivism and inquiry-based learning through offering collaboration and bringing professional development to teacher; since “that engagement in inquiry creates the need for information that brings students to the library,” I should “make explicit… this connection between inquiry in the library and the constructivist classroom” (Donham & Sims, p. 23).
All these concepts convened to show me that, as a future school librarian, I will need to become a leader in my school. AASL argues that a school librarian should be an “instructional leader” who “contributes to curricular decisions and facilitates professional learning” (AASL, 2018, p. 2). I will make an effort to connect and build a rapport with teachers, educate myself on the school curriculum and standards, and show initiative in finding ways I can support educators and students. For example, one realistic goal would be to pick just a couple of research projects that I can collaborate with teachers on over the course of the year, helping the teachers tweak or design them to be more constructivist. Then the next year, I can pick a couple of different ones, and over time develop a set of collaborative projects that we repeat. I can also seek opportunities to teach students information literacy and help teachers, such as during a professional development session, to hone how they teach students to use websites and databases to be more efficient and responsible.
My goals at the beginning of the course were: 1. “To learn how to evaluate websites as reliable or unreliable sources of information,” and 2. “To come out with a clear understanding of what differentiates reference books from non-fiction, how to locate and evaluate quality reference materials (print or non-print), and what sorts of reference materials create a well-rounded school library.” I have definitely met my goals. When reading news or information online, I now try to access information about the veritability of the source to begin with, and often find it frustrating now that I realize how little information about authors is often available on websites. In addition, I have a much better grasp of what materials and subjects should be included in an well-rounded reference collection, so if I need to purchase materials or update a collection when I get hired, I am well prepared. I am grateful for the knowledge and experience this course has given me.
Alliance for Excellent Education. (2016). Future ready librarians factsheet. Future Ready Schools.https://futureready.org/thenetwork/strands/future-ready-librarians/
American Association of School Librarians. (2018). Definition of an Effective School Library. American Association of School Librarians. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/resources/statements.
American Association of School Librarians. (2018). Instructional Role of the School Librarian. American Association of School Librarians. Retrieved from http://www.ala.org/aasl/advocacy/resources/statements.
Common Core State Standards Initiative. (2017). English Language Arts Standards » Reading: Informational Text » Grade 5. Common Core State Standards Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/RI/5/
Donham, J., & Sims, C. (2020). Enhancing Teaching and Learning: A leadership guide for school librarians. ALA Neal-Schuman.
Stay Tuned! We have some special events planned to help celebrate National Library Month for the month of April! Do you have any special plans?
Our Spring Conference is back for 2021! It will be virtual! Please save the date... May 14-15, 2021! More information will be coming soon!
The 2021 NHSLMA Awards nomination process is open and the deadline to submit is soon approaching. The deadline to submit is Friday, February 26, 2021. We have four awards you can nominate a candidate:
Please check out the NHSLMA Awards page for a description of the awards and the link to the nomination forms.
During the past few months, the NHSLMA board has worked on making changes to our Constitution and Bylaws. These include adjusting our Constitution wording to match AASL's new language, as well as changing our Bylaws section on NHSLMA Board roles to match the current roles listed on our website.
We need to have approval of two-thirds of our membership for these changes to pass, which is not as easily done in this remote environment. We would ask that you take a look at the attached link and vote yes or no on the changes by June 30, 2020.
Thank you and please contact me with any questions.
Karen Abraham, President
Happy Valentine's Day! We are half way through February, although with all the snow days it seems like we have not been in school much.
At the end of January I attended ALA's Mid-Winter Conference in Philadelphia. It is always wonderful to be able to meet and listen to authors and vendors, but what I love most about these conferences is the opportunity to go to sessions led by fellow librarians. There were two sessions that really resonated with me; one was Library Marketing and Advocacy with Social Media and the other was Libraries and Voter Engagement. Both topics are so important to our profession this year, if anyone would like information on the sessions I attended please reach out to me. Both had wonderful resources for libraries to use.
Have you signed up for NHSLMA's Building Bridges 2020 conference? We have an amazing line up of speakers: Tom Bober, Ann Braden, Adib Khorran and Jason Chin. We hope to see you all there March 26 & 27 at the Grappone Center in Concord. Please see the link attached to register.
Do you have a champion of your library? The Impact Award is given to a non-NHSLMA member who has made a significant contribution to the promotion of school librarianship in the State of New Hampshire. The recipient fosters the use and importance of the school library media center and advocates for school librarianship as an essential component for all schools. If you would like to nominate someone for the 2020 Impact Award, please contact Rachael Bowman at email@example.com.
See you in March!
Karen Abraham, NHSLMA President
Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that our school year is going so quickly! The NHSLMA board and committees have been working hard to plan a wonderful conference coming up in March. You can register through the link below or simply go to the NHSLMA website.
Remember that NHSLMA offers scholarships to conferences. If you have any questions about scholarships, please contact Rachael Bowman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also coming up on Saturday, January 11th is the Libraries' Presidential Forum being held in Concord. This is an important event sponsored by ALA and NHLA to advocate for libraries in the state of New Hampshire. Please read the information below from Lori Fisher, NHLA Advocacy Chairperson. We hope that you can join us!
I look forward to seeing you all at NHSLMA events in 2020!
Dear NHSLMA colleagues,
We have a very exciting event for libraries coming up in January: The Libraries Presidential Forum, taking place on Saturday 1/11/20 at the Concord City Auditorium in Concord, NH! This event, sponsored by the New Hampshire Library Association, will feature some of the presidential candidates speaking specifically to library/education issues. We do have bipartisan candidates scheduled to speak and will be publicizing the names closer to the event.
We are in a unique position in NH with the First-in-the-Nation Presidential Primary, and we need to capitalize on this for libraries. Remember, only one candidate will become president – the rest will go back to their jobs in politics, government, or philanthropy. If we can provide them with a better context for library value in local communities, we are better positioning libraries and library issues for the future.
What we need from you as a NHSLMA member:
To register or for more information about the event, visit bit.ly/2020LibrariesForum. Registration is required; seating is limited.
Questions? Contact me at email@example.com, or 603-271-2393.
Lori Fisher, NHLA Advocacy Chairperson
The week before I started my brand new job as a school librarian, at my brand new school, I headed off to Library Camp! On my drive to the conference, my stomach was full of jitters fueled by both excitement and nervousness. As I approached the entrance to the building where camp was being hosted, I battled against fears that I would feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the knowledge of the other attendees. However, upon walking up to registration, all of that dissolved.
I was greeted warmly, handed a LEGO pal, and found a seat at a table of happy faces. Despite there being an obvious established camaraderie among many of the Library Media professionals surrounding me, everyone was eager to meet me. As soon as I mentioned that I was a first year Library Media Specialist, phone numbers and emails were being jotted down and passed my way. It turns out I did end up feeling overwhelmed, but in the best of ways...I was overwhelmed by the kindness and willingness to help that exists in the school library community.
After the key note pumped me up with enthusiasm to learn as much as possible throughout the day, I headed off to my selected workshops on databases and google sites, which were both extremely helpful in getting me started in my new position. Since the school year began, I have been able to build a new library website for our school and am already considering new database options for next year! I also attended the 7-12 grade round table and young adult literature discussion. These provided me with lengthy lists of ideas to try out with my teachers and students, which have proved to be enriching successes so far.
Overall, Library Camp was exactly what I needed to jump start my first year as a school librarian. I can't wait to return next year with my own stories and tips and a readiness to learn more from my professional peers!
The week before I started my brand new job as a school librarian, at my brand new school, I headed off to Library Camp! On my drive to the conference, my stomach was full of jitters fueled by both excitement and nervousness. As I approached the entrance to the building where camp was being hosted, I battled against fears that I would feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the knowledge of other attendees. However, upon walking up to registration, all of that dissolved.
After the key note pumped me up with enthusiasm to learn as much as possible throughout the day, I headed off to my selected workshops on databases and google sites, which were both extremely helpful in getting me started in my new position. I was able to build a new Library website for our school and am already considering new database options for next year! I also attended the 7-12 grade round table and young adult literature discussion. These provided me with lists of ideas to try out with my teachers and students.
Library Camp 2019 was full of useful and relevant resources that I wanted to explore before writing a blog entry. The opening session with Ali Schlepp helped ground my focus and energize me, giving me a feeling of optimism and solidarity in the school library field at a national level.
The first session with Stephanie Charlefour had great database resources, and was incredibly well-researched and thorough in its reviews and utility. She introduced me to many as we work together, but I hadn’t explored many in depth and it really helped that she took the time to speak with the representatives to talk about costs and practical uses!
The collaborative session was huge, and t was lovely networking with such an engaged and passionate group of local librarians!
After lunch where I got to meet more amazing people and learn about their libraries, I explored Google Sites with Justine Thain. She helped me see places I could tweak in my own site and add interesting elements to polish it. Especially useful was the emphasis on universal accessibility. She gave us step-by-step tutorials so everyone could learn together at their own pace.
The end of the day is always my favorite, when Chris Rose brings his arsenal of new books and reads to us. This is a memorable experience! He has such a gift for humor and a passion for communicating his love of literature. Here’s his list of book from this season, https://sau57.org/ld.php?content_id=49595942
Leaving this final session I felt impassioned, empowered and ready to start the school year with new ideas and resources. As the classes are starting, I am continually reminded of conversations and ideas shared from this summer day. Thanks NHSLMA!
Lisa Wiley - Cutler School Library
Summer makes me think of relaxed schedules, swimming, playing outside and . . . camp. Last week, I attended my very first Library Camp. It was awesome! I got to connect with librarians and learn about the latest trends before the start of a new school year. Library Camp began with a fantastic presentation by Ali Schilpp, the 2018 School Library Journal and Scholastic’s School Librarian of the Year. We each received a LEGO Travel Buddy and Ali encouraged us to post our LEGO buddies’ exciting adventures at #LEGOTravelBuddy. Those travel buddies have already covered a lot of territory! She also challenged us to provide our own definition of a “librariCAN” at #librariCAN. Her definition included “Companion, Advocate and Nerd.”
Stephanie Charlefour led a great discussion about the pros and cons of the multitude of databases out there. We discussed how helpful it would be if there was a statewide database consortium. Caitlin Bennett shared her experience with genrefication, which is clearly a Herculean task, but with great results. Then, we had a fun time with Chris Rose learning about all the new books coming out soon.
My summer is now complete since I got to go to camp . . . Library Camp! I can’t wait to go again next summer!
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