November 27, 2010

What Librarians Make -- Joyce Valenza Says It All



Inspired by Taylor Mali's "What Does a Teacher Make?" and in response to articles by Dr. Marc Bernstein, Superintendent of the Valley Stream (NY) Central High School District that question the relevance of libraries, Librarian Joyce Valenza says it all about what it means to be a librarian.

¡Bravisima, Joyce!

Here's the text, from the Neverending Search article:

What librarians make. (Or Why Should I be More than a Librarian?)

(Inspired by Taylor Mali and his poem What Teachers Make, or Objection Overruled, or If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school www.taylormali.com)


(in response to Dr. Mark Bernstein's relevance-questioning articles about libraries)
He says the problem with librarians is that they are antiquated.

The problem with libraries is that they are anachronisms, sacred cows.

Sometimes, when I am introduced, people refer to me as more than a librarian because I write a blog or speak at an occasional conference. Because it is not impressive enough to be a librarian.

In polite company, I bite my tongue when I hear them ask:

“You’re a librarian, Joyce,” they say. “Be honest. With all the information available for free on the Web, what exactly do you do?”

They ask me to be honest.

And, you see, like Taylor, I have a policy about honesty, especially when it has to do with equity for kids. To be honest, I believe that all children deserve strong school libraries with professional teacher librarians.

And, if you ask for my honesty, I have to let you have it.

I am not an anachronism.

You want to know what I do? You want to know why I am here?

I am here to introduce young people to a rich world of books and literature, options they can select themselves. I am here to see the joy on a kid’s face when she shares that she loved the book she borrowed last week. The one she stayed up all night reading.

Recently saw that joy on a kid’s face when he borrowed his first e-reader.

I have a library collection that includes everything the modern literate kid needs-ebooks, audiobooks, open source software, streamed media, flash drives, digital cameras, tripods, laptops, digital storytelling and digital publishing tools, cookies and pretzels. My collection includes and validates the writing, the art and the media that my own kids create.

I am here to help learners ask important questions.

I am here to help learners understand that when they ask questions, they have a rich search toolkit available to them and that toolkit reaches beyond one big search engine and that that toolkit offers them access to high quality databases and ebooks and blogs and tweets and magazines and newspapers and wikis and scholarly journals and primary sources and media of all sorts.

As it continues to shift, I am here to organize the information world for my teachers and our kids.

To help them efficiently access the stuff they need through the websites and pathfinders I create and maintain. I model for our kids and our teachers how they might organize their own information worlds and networks.

I am here to help learners question and critically evaluate, to triangulate the authority of information and media in all formats. My kids can evaluate a website before they even visit it.

I am here to teach kids strategies so they can effectively and efficiently find the information they need. I am here to teach them search tricks, tricks that have legs, special tricks that give them special searching powers.

I help students build knowledge from the information they gather. I help them analyze and synthesize and make meaning. So that they can use information to solve problems and make decisions.

I help learners communicate and collaborate using the tools of their time. I help them become writers and producers and storytellers and networkers and sharers of new knowledge.

I help them discover that what they create should have meaning and audience. That it should make a difference.

I teach kids to be solid and proud digital citizens. I teach them to be kind bloggers and tweeters and networkers. I help them understand their digital footprints, to build academic digital footprints.

When my kids build media, when they remix, they know how to respect the intellectual property of others.

They know about the Creative Commons movement. They are beginning to attribute Creative Commons licensing to their own work.

They know the rights and the limits of Fair Use. They know how to attribute credit, how to cite, how and when to quote.

I am here to work with teachers to build instruction, to build projects and assessments that focus on creativity and meaning using the information tools and strategies of our time.

Our library is more libratory than library. It is the center of our school. It is often a little noisy. You can here the sounds of podcasters and video production and storytelling and presentation.

Library is not merely a place to get stuff. It is a place to invent, to create, to make stuff, to collaborate on stuff, and to share stuff. It is more kitchen that grocery store. More transformational than transactional.

I am here to ensure that all my students have equitable access to the tools they need to learn and create. I know that access to these tools is an intellectual freedom issue.

You want to know what I make? You want to know why I am here?

I make kids smile and laugh and think.

And I make them work hard. “Don’t waste my time with anything but your best.”

And I make them read.

I make them plan and write and produce and communicate.

I make kids wonder,

I make them question.

I make them search.

I make them analyze and evaluate.

I make them take a stand.

I make them defend their stands with evidence.

I make them tell stories.

I make them invent.

I make them create.

I make them collaborate and share.

And I celebrate their best.

Let me break it down for you, so you know what I say is true:

My classroom is the largest classroom in the school and I know the names of nearly 700 kids and I greet as many as possible personally each day.

Our library is everywhere. Our virtual library is ubiquitous. It is open day and night.

My kids do well on their bubble tests. But I am also here to ensure that our kids become information and media literate citizens. I am here to ensure they become transliterate.

Our library is not a sacred cow. It is a growing, vibrant, central element of my school’s learning culture.

If you want evidence, come for a visit. Ask my kids. Ask our graduates. I can share the research if you like. Check out the Impact Studies collected at the Library Research Service site or scan the collected body of literature in Scholastic’s document School Libraries Work

I make a goddamn difference!

I am not an anachronism.

And there is no need for me to be more than a librarian. Being a librarian is more than enough."


'Nuff said...

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November 26, 2010

How do you say Librarian in Chinese? Testing Google Translate



Selma sent me the Chinese characters for librarian (圖書管理員), which immediately sent me on yet another research adventure (so typical of us librarians!).

Choose your Own Research Adventure #Umpteenty-two:

How do you say the word "Librarian" in different languages?

Using a regular Google search, I typed in my word, and the language I wanted it translated to.

"Translate (librarian) to (Spanish)"

Up came a reference to translate.google.com, with translations available for over 50 languages.

So, these are the languages that piqued my curiosity:

LIBRARIANS ALL AROUND THE WORLD
(some of the links have audio translations)
Afrikaans bibliotekaris
Arabic أمين المكتبة‎
Basque - liburuzainak
Chinese traditional 圖書管理員 Túshū guǎnlǐ yuán
Filipino katiwala ng aklatan
French - bibliothécaire
Haitian Creole - bibliyotekè
Hebrew - >ספרן
Irish (Gaelic) - leabharlannaí
Hindi - लाइब्रेरियन (lā'ibrēriyana)
Icelandic - bókasafnsfræðingur
Indonesian - pustakawan
Japanese shisho 司書
Spanish - bibliotecario (m) or bibliotecaria (f).
Russian - библиотекарь bibliotekarʹ
Slovenian - knjižničar
Swahili - maktaba
Turkish kütüphaneci
Vietnamese thư viện

An interesting feature of Google Translate is that readers can submit translations if they think they can improve upon the translation displayed. Simply hover over the translated text to submit.

This was fun for finding individual words, but I was curious as to how accurate phrases are. I tried translating "reading a book" to Estonian and "I love reading" to Spanish. I have no idea if the Estonian translation is correct, but "I love reading" in Spanish brought up "Me encanta leer".  This led me to the YouTube clip above, which explains how Google Translate works:  everything is computer-generated, compiled from documents gathered throughout the Internet in a matter of seconds-- very interesting!

The only thing I'm disappointed about is that the Hawaiian language isn't included.

I am now reining myself back to the task at hand ... but, I'll be on another choose my own research adventure soon, you can bet on it!

(Thanks, Selma!)

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Related:
The Official Google Translate Blog
Top 10 Services that use Google Translate
Google Language Tools  Review - rated 4 out of 5 by appappeal.com

November 14, 2010

Completely Online Global Education Conference -- a sign of the times


Courtesy of teachthought.com
It's history in the making -- Global Education Conference 2010 will be completely online, and it involves a a multitude of big players. November 15-19, 2010,  and absolutely free!

It's mind-boggling: 397 general sessions from 62 countries, plus 63 keynote speakers. 

I don't see a search box, but there's the schedule of offerings and times, for those of us who live in Hawaii. The website makes it easy to find out information by time zone.

The conference is very well-organized (as is the website). I see different tracks (available:  teacherstudentcurriculumpolicy and leadershipglobal issues, and higher ed. Here's an overall description of the tracks. The teacher track is the primary conference track.

Here's a word from one of the co-chairs of the conference, Steve Hargadon, including a call for assistance with Elluminate, the web-conferencing program they'll be using. http://www.stevehargadon.com/2010/11/2010-global-education-conference.html

This is technology at its finest, in my opinion. I'll be following closely to see how this grand experiment plays out. More importantly, I'm interested in how we can use some of this information at our school. 

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Update 11/14/10 2:06 pm HAST: Here's the official The Global Education Collaborative, the official ning of the conference.

November 07, 2010

Crowdsourcing in School? -- COOL!

Is crowdsourcing the same as collaboration, and is it something we could do at our school?

Crowdsourcing is the buzzword these days. It piqued my interest this morning because of the cool art projects that are springing up that might interest our teachers and students.

As I did a little research about the word, I discovered that crowdsourcing is something colleges and universities are beginning to take seriously. [Crowdsourcing, the Future of College Education]

YouTube got involved in crowdsourcing in May when it asked for Crowdsourcing suggestions for use with Google moderator, a lesser known Google product for "helping the world find the best input from an audience of any size."

According to Macmillan Dictionary, crowdsourcing is "trying to find a way of completing a task, a solution to a problem, etc. by asking a wide range of people or organisations if they can help, typically by using the Internet".

Journalist Jeff Howe identified the phenomenon and coined the term in his Wired article "The Rise of Crowdsourcing", in June 2006.

Here's a video about the term:

What is crowdsourcing? From crowdsourcing.com

(Side note: I found it interesting that Wikipedia is mentioned as a 
crowdsourcing example "whose accuracy often comes into question")


What started me on this research path? Mashable's article about crowdsourcing ART projects:


My favorites of the projects mentioned?
I'm passing this info on to our art teachers, just in case they haven't heard about some of the projects.

AND, we could do a crowdsourcing project (either art or any other discipline) using Google Moderator at our school.

Now that would be the coolest.

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November 06, 2010

A Librarian's Review of the Unquiet Library

Photo courtesy of unquietlibrarian
WOW -- just...WOW! Unquiet Librarian Buffy Hamilton just unveiled her new Library 2.0 site and it is ... um ...  spectacular!

--> -->    The Unquiet Library  <-- <--

She built it using Google Sites, which fascinates me because we've just adopted Google Apps for Education at my school. There are so many ideas here that I can use!

Buffy's use of widgets caught my eye right away, but oh, what those widgets revealed was what truly blew me away. The UnQuiet Library has a
And the content? Mind-bogglingly rich.

Here's what Buffy says about her Unquiet Library:

"People often ask me where I came up with the "The Unquiet Library" brand for my library. As an Ed.S. student, I read a book, Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles, as part of my research study of libraries as sponsors of literacy. When I opened the library in August of 2006, I wanted to come up with a brand that fit my vision of my high school library as an agent of change. "The Unquiet Library" fits because I want our library to make some positive "noise" as we try to build a library program that makes a difference in the lives of our students and teachers."

Check out Joyce Valenza's raving review of the Unquiet Library:  "If I had my way: More unquiet libraries!"

The bottom line, specifically? Buffy taught me that I should aim for the kind of 1-click simplicity that she has created with her Library 2.0 site. The beauty of Google sites is that I can do a one-page cover site such as she has done, and have a "Search this site" that really works.

The Big Picture? You know the Unquiet Library is the place to be, and for all the right reasons! Buffy and her Unquiet Library inspire me to "build a library program that makes a difference in the lives of our students and teachers".

Mahalo, Buffy.

... Excuse me while I go and explore all of the nooks and crannies of this gorgeous site.

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