Showing posts with label multiple libraries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label multiple libraries. Show all posts

Monday, April 22, 2013

Broadcast your Google Hangout on YouTube

Google Hangouts are a great way to meet with your contacts, in fact, you can host up to ten people when you hangout.  I tried it out a couple of times with my daughter just to see how it all worked.  The first thing you need is a Google+ account if you don't already have one.  After you have created your Google+ account, you will need to find others who have a Google+ account so that you begin creating a contact list.

When you get to your home page on Google+, you will see options on the left side that you can choose from.

 You can see the highlighted Hangout in yellow in the photo below and the red Start a Hangout in the top right corner.

When you click on Start a Hangout, you are given an option to enable hangouts on air, if you select this, your hangout is no longer private, but allows you to broadcast your hangout on YouTube for an audience to see.  You can see that a pop up making sure that you want this session to be broadcast and not private requires you to click your decision.  You are also asked to name your hangout, maybe Author Visit with John Green or April Library Meeting.

The person or people that you are asking to join your Hangout Session will be notified in their Google+ account on the top right corner.  Once they click to accept that they are joining the session, all parties in the Hangout will appear on the bottom.  Again, you can have up to 10 people in the Hangout and the person talking will be the one that appears in the large screen.  The microphone detects the speaker and displays them for all to see.

As I presented this to the library coordinators at their monthly Region One meeting, I had the camera focused on them, so when they spoke, you would see them on the screen.

There are a lot of options you have access to during the hangout like chatting between participants that displays on the side, sound effects and even props that you can use in a more relaxed environment.  My daughter was putting eye patches on me and a tiara on her.  

How is this all different than Skype and Face Time?  For one, the sheer number of participants allows it to be more conducive to conferencing than the other two.  Of course the best part is the broadcasting you can do.  Imagine having an author visit with schools across your district and being able to broadcast it for parents or others.  As I brainstormed ways Google Hangouts can be used, these things popped into my head: Authors, graduations, professional development and even tutorials with students that would give them the capability to come back and review the whole session on your YouTube channel.  I saw these examples on twitter today....

And this video of an Atlanta Zoo Hangout....

And information about a Hangout with Atlanta Zoo's Ivan the Gorilla....

Are the wheels in your brain turning yet?  How can you use Google Hangouts?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Myth #3 - With Everything Becoming Available Electronically, We Will No Longer Need Librarians

There have been many articles and blog posts lately debating the future of libraries. It is hard to imagine a school without one of these learning centers (where else would faculty meetings, testing, and baby showers take place?), but this post focuses on busting the myth that librarians will become obsolete.

With the threat of Kindles, Nooks, and Google taking over the world of research and reading, do students need to be taught Information Literacy skills, or are they doing fine without librarians? I believe that as our access to information grows, the need for teachers of Information Literacy will only become more crucial.

In searching for data to back up my claim, I read three articles that highlight the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world of librarians and research:


In the March/April 2012 issue of Knowledge Quest, published by the American Association of School Librarians, three teachers shared their co-teaching project at Prosper High school. The librarian (Stacy Cameron), the English teacher (Adria Butcher), and the instructional technology coach (Christine Haight) collaborated and co-taught a multimedia project in which student created their own public-service announcements that included evidence of ethos, pathos, and logos, contained correctly selected and cited copyright-friendly music and images, and used a variety of technology for the final product. After the initial collaboration meeting, Stacy and Christine created web pages together, with the links and tools students would need. 

This  article brilliantly outlines the power of co-teaching. Each teacher focused on her area of expertise while supporting the others, modeling for the students what a group project should look like. With three experts in the room, students were charged with taking responsibility for their learning, seeking out the support they needed for their personal areas of weakness.  By bringing in the technology coordinator to instruct students at the beginning, much of the chaos that comes with technology productions was avoided.  And throughout the project, Adria was able to focus on teaching the elements of english, rather than simultaneously become a resource and technology expert, to ensure all students learned the targeted objectives.  

This is the ideal of teacher-librarian collaboration.  Who would not want this type of instruction and learning for their students? 


Moving from the ideal to the reality, at too many school libraries, is the article What Happens When Media Positions Are Cut? from the May/June 2011 issue of Library Media Connection. In her article, Mary Alice Anderson notes that librarians are often cut when budgets are tight, and then itemizes the cost to students when Certified Librarians are cut.

  • Less research takes place in the school.  Teachers become frustrated by the growing burden of finding resources alone
  • Staff development provided by the librarian is cut or may not occur, leaving teachers without the knowledge to share online resources
  • Collaboration occurs by e-mail only 
  • Library hours are reduced
  • Collection development suffers with less time for librarians to read reviews, seek suggestions, weed, browse, and perform collection analysis. This results in duplicates or holes in the collection.
  • Para-professionals, who may lack the necessary content knowledge to do so effectively, are left to locate resources and fill requests
  • Loss and theft of resources increases, costing precious dollars
  • Priorities shift... MARC records may or may not be accurate, making it difficult to locate materials
  • Websites and databases fall into disrepair, with dead links or unused subscriptions
  • Advocacy diminishes.  "How do you spread the word when you are spread thin?
  • And worst of all, as one librarian said, "We have lost students and teachers seeing us as partners."

Ann and I have faced each of the consequences above as we moved from being responsible for one library then four libraries then six and now we each face the task of overseeing eight libraries for the upcoming school year.  Yet, as the article concludes, librarians continue to make the best of their situations. In our district, we continue to work to build relationships and strive to fill all requests, but it is not the same.


So what is the long-term effect of cutting librarians? What happens when students in grades K-12 are not being taught information literacy?  Students enter college without the skills they need to be successful. Professors must teach skills that were once introduced in elementary school.

In her 2004 article for College Teaching, It's the Information Age, So Where's the Information? Why Our Students Can't Find It and What We Can Do to Help, Jill D. Jenson addresses students' inability to distinguish between types of materials for research.  Unlike the differences between print journals versus print magazines, which can be seen and felt, distinguishing between online resources is difficult for students because one computer screen looks much like the next. Students lack the experiential background in a real library with real, print materials to make the jump from traditional research to electronic research without instruction. 

Students rate themselves computer literate, but they are unaware of how much they do not know.  Current teaching objectives need to include what students must learn to simply begin their research. Jenson explains that "Whereas students could previously get by with learning terms such as "periodical," "journal," "index," "bibliography," "citation," "card catalog," "Library of Congress Subject Headings," and "call number," they now must learn a whole new language in addition to that previously required: "Boolean operator," "meta search," "general database," "specialized database," "text image," "verbatim image," "full-text image," "access date," "marked list," "search wizard"the list certainly could go on."

I am happy to note that part of Ms. Jensen's suggested solution included collaboration with a librarian as well as taking students to the physical library building.  As someone who sends high school graduates off to college, I feel it is my role to teach many of these terms and skills. Teaching freshmen or graduate students these skills so late in their education robs them of learning opportunities along the way. Information literacy includes skills a life-long learner needs to sate their appetite for knowledge.

What does the future hold for librarians?  I wish I could predict.  With so much more for students to learn, who is going to teach it, if not a librarian?  

What do you think?

Works Cited
Anderson, Mary A. "What Happens When Media Positions Are Cut?" Library Media Connection 29.6 (2011): 16-19. Print.
Cameron, Stacy, Adria Butcher, and Christine Haight. "In Their Own Words." Knowledge Quest 40.4 (2012): 28-33. Print.
Jenson, Jill D. "It's the Information Age, so Where's the Information? Why Our Students Can't Find It and What We Can Do to Help." College Teaching 52.3 (2004): 107-12. Web.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Staying Sane on the Fly

There is no doubt that working at multiple schools has its challenges, and, unfortunately, there seems to be a trend toward reducing library staff. So what have we learned from this experience that you may benefit from? Our top five lessons learned:

PRIORITIZE: We cannot do it all, so we do what matters most. Have a mission, set goals, and be sure that your actions align with them. Write your goals down and find someone to hold you accountable, whether it be a supervisor or a colleague. Fortunately there are two of us, so we keep each other on track.

RECRUIT: If you still have a library assistant, count your blessings. We all know who really keeps the books circulating! But where else can you find help? We recruit parent and student volunteers to keep books shelved, update bulletin boards, and assist with book fairs. Communicating with key office staff has resulted in substitutes with empty periods being sent to the library to help. We live in a community with a large population of senior citizens that winter here, so we have recruited them to read with students. Sometimes people are just waiting to be asked, so ask.

DELEGATE: Is your time better spent making copies or learning a new technology that you can teach to students? Should you reach out to teachers or read shelves? Which tasks address your priorities, and which tasks can be done by others.  Spend your time doing what Mark Victor Hansen calls your "best and highest good". If you are short on staff, pay for processing - it's like hiring part-time help without having to train! We encourage each of our library assistants to keep a list of "it-would-be-nice-to...tasks" so when help drops in unexpectedly, they aren't at a loss at what to have volunteers do.

DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: If you are a perfectionist, let some of that go. Note, I only said some. Don't compromise your standards, but this takes us back to our first point... prioritize. I'm a stickler on cataloging, but I can live with imperfect bulletin boards and displays (they are coming down in a month or less anyway). Do you stress out over shelving books? Our Playaways and books in 741.5 fly off the shelves so fast that perfect shelf order is unnecessary in those sections until we cease checkout for the year. But I expect other sections to be in order to facilitate locating materials.  Examine how much time your perfectionism is requiring versus the results. Are they worth it?

USE YOUR TOOLS: Technology allows us to reach a broader audience. There is no substitute for face-to-face interaction and relationship-building, but we can and do make use of technology to broaden our reach. Share what's new in the library via Facebook, email, twitter, blogs, and/or your school webpage. Doing book talks with a class of live students is great, but use your tools to reach the students you don't see in the library. Teenagers love book trailers. We run a loop of trailers on a library computer or TV. Trailers associated with summer reading and classroom curriculum are available via our webpage for classroom and home access.  What tools are you overlooking?

Please add comments if you have tips that help you juggle multiple tasks.