LBPSB Library Resources

A school librarian's toolbox


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Twenty Days

The end of a school year is always bittersweet. Everyone in the building is looking forward to a well-deserved rest – and that includes the staff. Thing is, we don’t actually rest. We change gears and start preparing for the fall. For many of us, it’s voluntary work, gratis.

That includes many solo school librarians. We must plan ahead because our regular days are so full. There are just so many days in a school year and we need to start each new year running. At this high school, I need to know which changes are planned to the curriculum and course outlines in order to support teachers and by extension, student research. I need to know which activities will be approved for the fall. Book selection, whether for courses or for book challenges, means reading the books in order to make informed choices. Questions must be formulated and edited. MakerSpace schedules and activities need to be planned. I could go on but what about the twenty days?

In this library, there are twenty workable days till the end of June. Twenty workable days to chase down teens who have forgotten to return their books before the onslaught of exams. I have stationed myself in the halls during our renovations and visited more homerooms and classrooms than I usual do at this time of year. My workload simply grows. We all know what teens are like. “It’s in my locker! Don’t worry miss, I’ll bring it tomorrow.” It comes in handy to know all of their names. Even in a school of about 800. Let’s face it. The library is their go-to place to hang out.

The renovations are not done yet but the library is open as long as there are tables and chairs and no construction work going on. This way I can continue to serve the students and teachers while co-ordinating the improvements. Students can’t wait till they can learn about all the technology coming their way. I continue to mentor two students who are working on their IB Personal Projects and continue to assist those in need of additional material for their research. I continue to assist those teachers who have started planning for new courses being offered in the fall. I continue to prioritize what needs to be done in the next twenty days and what can be postponed till August and September. I continue to say goodbye to the graduating class I’ve come to know so well.

These tasks have taken on an entirely different meaning this year as the decision-makers have abolished elementary school librarians here. It’s the ripple effect. Many have been laid off, some will be relocated and still others are waiting to learn what that means. That includes me.

Twenty days. Will that be enough?

Submitted by CA Case from PCHS

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Blog Post of the Week: Latest Study Confirms that School Libraries Positively impact Student Test Scores

We all know this to be true but it is always nice to see other people saying it as well.  Check out this article that was posted on Seattle pi.  There is also a great infographic that you could share with your school community!


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Teenagers in the School Library

ca1I consider myself extremely fortunate. I work in a public high school populated by teens. It’s a well-used library in an open-concept building that is infused by light provided by skylights. By open-concept, I should add that it is directly above our cafeteria space. Silence does not reign here.

ca2During their free time, breaks and lunch period, students may choose where to spend their precious time. A great many choose the library. No one is forcing them to be here. In fact, students were recently offered three options during the free time in exam-week: go to the cafeteria, go to the gym or go to the library. Again, the emphasis was on choice and no option was obligatory. Again the library was packed.

The library is moving toward a 21st century model with Library Learning Commons concepts. Plans are underway to renovate before the end of this school year. So it came as quite a surprise to me to learn that not everyone supports this shift. In a school? Full of teens? Recently, the teacher on lunch duty escorted from the library all those students making use of their own computers, phones and games. “They should be reading or studying.” I was stunned. “Comfortable seating only makes them want to play.”

That’s when I realized why a key component of the 21st century library, along with collaboration and creativity, is communication. While we expect students to use the library to communicate with one another about their learning, we must ensure that everyone is on the same page. A clear plan should be made available to all those concerned. The library’s clearly defined mission could be built into the school’s over-all success plan. We also need consistency in rules and implementation. Do I have to work on that? Who tells the various groups with the school community? I must find out!

I strongly believe that teens need the library for both the quiet space and for group learning. Perceptions of the library are changing. As our libraries continue to re-define themselves, let’s be sure that everyone involved remains well-informed about the nature of libraries and the role of the school librarian.

You might like these too!

http://lj.libraryjournal.com/blogs/annoyedlibrarian/2014/02/10/librarians-and-babysitters/

http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2015/02/author-cecil-castelluci-is-offering-a-book-based-gaming-package-to-libaries/   (yes, that should read “libraries”)

Submitted by CA Case from PCHS


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National School Library Day at LaSalle Community Comprehensive High School October 27th, 2014 and today, every day

Part 2 of the series

“READING IS NOT OPTIONAL”

The above quote: you saw it, you know it, but who said it?

LCCHS students saw the quote on a couple of pin boards in the building one week prior to October 27th, 2014.

lumi1 lumi 2

The week of October 27th students needed to find 5 clues: books by Walter Dean Myers misplaced in the library.

lumi3 lumi 4

The lucky winner Dylan Sawers-Robinson, a very good reader who found the clues, is now able to buy his own favorite book:

lumi5Submitted by Lumi Susan @ LCCHS


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Professional Development: Online Magazines

Need inspiration for your library or just want to keep up to date?  There are lots of interesting and informative magazines put out by professional organizations.  Check out these interesting online periodicals:

ISTE

School Library Journal

School Library Monthly

School Library Research


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Making your School Library relevant in the school community

Over and over again we hear that libraries are not needed.  Why do you need a library when you have Google and eBooks?  Also, with the constant budget cuts that all school boards are facing, it is much easier to cut the funding in the library.  In Quebec, we already saw a decrease in our book buying budget this past year.  There was an interesting brief written by the Ontario School Library Association that advocates the necessity of having school libraries.  I would encourage everyone to read it – https://www.accessola.org/Documents/OLA/issues/2014/CrisisInSchoolLibraries2013.pdf

So, what can we do within our school community and school board to raise our profile?  This very question  at one of the LBPSB school librarian meetings sparked a brainstorming session.  We decided that we needed to come out of the library and make people take notice.

Our first big project was a school board wide Battle of the Books contest in 2013 at the high school level.  This required lots of work and coordination on the part of the high school librarians but they managed to pull it off.  It generated lots of buzz within the schools.  The real success was at the final battle which was held at the School Board.  The room was standing room only!  We had parents, teachers, principals, school board administration, school board commissioners and the Chairperson of the Board  in the room.  This made everyone notice the impact librarians have within the school.  This past year, we reached out to other school boards to compete against and the private schools in the area jumped on the bandwagon.  For more information and to see what was done, check out the website: http://lbpsbbattleofthebooks.wordpress.com/

Our next project was to create a splash for National School Library Day.  Our consultant, Suzanne Nesbitt, had seen a few videos on book dominos that were being done in the States.  Once the librarians saw the videos, they jumped at the opportunity to create our very own book domino.  Our first goal was to have it in a location that would allow for a large audience as well as an aerial view of the books falling.  Luckily, we have a few schools that can provide this option.  The librarian at PCHS graciously offered her school.  The next step was to create the design.  Once we knew the design, we had to estimate how many books we would need to make it work.  Long story short, we had a great time setting up (it did take a long time to do) and had more than enough books.  The event was huge and we had representation from the school board at the event.  Once again, the librarians were noticed.   

Other things that you can do within your school is to join the Governing Board.  Let them know what you are doing in the library.  This past year I spoke with the teacher in charge of the yearbook and managed to get a whole page dedicated to library activities.  Create an annual report to show why you are relevant.  Keep statistics for everything – how many class visits you have; how many students use the computers; how many students come into the library before school, recess, lunch,or after school; how many events you have; how many volunteers you have (student and adult); etc.   The statistics you keep are a valuable tool that will help guide you in your library.  There are lots of great sites that can help you create an annual report.  Check out the resources that can help you out on our Annual Report page.

So, what are you doing to keep your library relevant in your school?

Posted by: K. Conroy : Westwood High School – Junior Campus; Mount Pleasant Elementary