Monday, October 26, 2009

October Meeting Minutes

Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the October RASL meeting and special thanks to our speakers! Their stories and discussion points were both informative and insightful.

Couldn't make the meeting? We encourage you to review the meeting minutes, which might address some of your questions or concerns.

Our next meeting will be November 11th at 5:30pm. Representatives from NJASL, AASL, and NJLA will present on professional organizations. Mark your calendars =)

NJASL Conference – East Brunswick, NJ – Nov. 13th and 14th
Cost for students is $65 for both days and $60 for one day.

-Erin Hummel, SLMS at John Adams Elementary School, New Brunswick
-Sarah Neiderman, SLMS at New Brunswick Middle School
-Jess Emili, SLMS at Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School
-Camille Thompson, YA Librarian at New Brunswick Public Library
-Carol Gordon, RASL advisor, RU Associate Professor, and Director of Center for International Scholarship in School Libraries

Sarah Neiderman (Middle School Media Center)

-Has a homeroom where she acts as an advisor and advocate for a group of students
-Assists teachers and students with projects in all subject areas (multi-disciplinary; ex- biographies of mathematicians)
-Responsible for book selection and Reader’s Advisory
-Important to have a standardized research process throughout grade levels
-Must attend committee meetings (ex- community service, book fairs)

-Check e-mail often to stay in communication with other teachers, which is necessary for scheduling and collaborating on lesson plans
-Collaborates with technology teacher to team teach (ex- how to use search engines)
-Involvement in school is essential for meeting other teachers, collaborating with them on instructional planning, and using them as resources

-All students have a yearly Language Arts research paper to complete
-Students are permitted to “drop in” to exchange books or work on school assignments during lunch
-Students can go through an application process to become library volunteers. They typically help with displays, shelving, setting up for book fairs, etc.

Erin Hummel (Elementary School Media Center)

-Students having library time serves as teachers’ prep time
-Biggest issue: time management
-Student schedules are fixed not flexible (usually come into the library once a week for 40 minutes)
-6 classes/week
-Usually teaches a 10 minute lesson, allowing for 10 minutes of student practice/application, and 10-15 minutes for students to pick out books (sometimes need longer)
-You must be flexible, especially as a new staff member
-Can expect to spend at least a ½ hour after school cleaning up the library (little time to do this throughout the day)
-Rents out media equipment to teachers
-Many after school meetings will be held in the media center

Jess Emili (Middle School Media Center)

-After initial interview, Jess was called in to do a demo lesson and book talk
-First week of school created a brochure communicating how the library can be useful to staff (placed it in everyone’s mailboxes)
-It can be challenging to promote the library (people’s misconceptions and previous disappointments)
-Important to be able to train teachers in Web 2.0 (it can be very useful to them). Jess had to give a presentation on Web 2.0 to the staff at the beginning of the year
-Main responsibilities: instruction, promoting literacy, promoting recreational reading
-School has block scheduling (72 minutes a day of LA and math)
-Block scheduling allows for more flexible scheduling with more time to collaborate with other teachers.
-Students complete an interdisciplinary research paper each year (ex- interrelating Social Studies and Language Arts)
-Be aware of internet filters
-Know the technology director (essential to promoting 21st century learning)
-During the first year, give yourself time to get things done. Pick a few major projects, you cannot do everything your first year.

Dr. Gordon (Middle School, High School, and International School Libraries)

-Discouraged with unmotivated co-librarians and assistants who were not passionate or student-focused
-Appreciated being in schools where as a librarian she felt empowered to make decisions and had the freedom to try new approaches to student learning
-Enjoyed librarianship because she could provide students with emotional support and creative pedagogy
-Important to bring the community into the school. Worked with students to reach out to community artists, dancers, painters, etc to have an Arts Festival
-In Germany created an integrated library and technology program (integrated information skills and technology skills)
-Primary goal should be to reach out to teachers because they are the gateway to all the students
-Created a website on summer reading… included “staff picks,” “student picks,” YA books, and adult books
-Used research to show the value of students having the freedom to choose what they read (students enjoy reading more, associate reading with pleasure and personal interest rather than just school assignments)

Camille (Public Library, Youth Services)

-A day in a public library is not as structured as when working in a school; more recreational than school
-Has to work the reference desk and the children’s desk
-Many teens coming into the library don’t have adequate computer skills
-Many ESL students
-Plans, advertises, and runs programs (the programs cannot cost money)
-Incorporate books into programs
-Teen Advisory Board
-Selection and maintenance of YA collection
-Reach out to community and schools (book talks, summer reading)
-Must work some evenings and weekends
-Challenging to work with a small budget (collection, programming, etc)
-Has more freedom with collection than school librarians often do
-There is research that supports gaming for teens
-Biggest time of year: summer reading programs

Final Advice during Q&A
-Help teachers to not be intimidated by technology
-Some schools mandate that teachers need to teach a technology unit
-It can be challenging if your media center does not have great technology
-Although school librarians are required to have a mentor their first year, this mentor is likely to be a classroom teacher (can be challenging)
-**KEEP IN MIND** NJASL can assign mentors to school librarians, but you must sign up in advance
-Can often get help from other librarians in the district
-Spend entire budget in the beginning of the year, otherwise administration may take some money back if they think you don’t need it all.
-Keep track of instruction, circulation stats, and technology special events
-Value of internships and practical experience; even if you want to work in a school library, you can still gain useful experience in a public library
-Erin offered for library students to shadow her

Below are the speakers’ e-mail addresses. They are willing to accept questions.
Jess Emili

Erin Hummel

Camille Thompson

Sarah Neiderman

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Minutes for Sept. 9, 2009 - - New Student Orientation

Thank you to everyone who was able to make the first RASL meeting of the 2009-2010 year! We hope that you found our discussion pertinent and helpful.

Couldn't make the meeting? No problem! We encourage you to review the meeting minutes, which might address some of your questions or concerns.

Our next meeting will be October 21st at 5:30pm. Mark your calendars =)

1. Introductions

-Faculty Advisors and 514 Professors- Carol Gordon, Ross Todd

-Professor and School Media Field Experience Advisor - Mary Jane McNally

-Ross Todd explained that the SCIS School Media Specialist Program is determined by the State Department of Education, which makes graduates of the program eligible for automatic state certification for librarianship.

2. Education Courses for Uncertified Teachers

-Students who have not yet received their teaching certification and want to be a school media specialist will need to take 3 education courses (9 credits) in addition to the school media program requirements.

-The 3 courses are determined by the specifications of the Department of Education. They are the following:

Theory and Foundations of Education for the School Library Media Specialist (17:611:520)

Curriculum Design/Integration and Teaching Methodologies for the School Library Media Specialist (17:611:521)

Student Learning Development and Behavior Management for the School Library Media Specialist (17:611:522)

-These courses can be taken at any time during the program, either integrated with the other MLIS courses, during the summer, or during the first year as a school media specialist.

-If students choose the last option (taking the courses during the first year as a school media specialist) they might be lucky enough that their employer will fund these 9 credits. However, this is not always the case and it is highly recommended that these courses are taken prior to working in a school library. As all three advisors emphasized at the meeting: it is crucial that classroom management, lesson and unit planning, and implementing guided inquiry are understood and practiced BEFORE working in a school.

-Many students have suggested taking Curriculum Design before 514 and Theory and Foundation before 521.

-A student at the meeting suggested substitute teaching to gain teaching experience.

-A reminder for students who want to take the education courses over the summer: These courses will be more condensed and intense. Keep this in mind if you are considering taking multiple summer classes or working.

3. Field Experience

-Field Experience (592) is completed in a school library and required for certification.

-It is taken during your final semester of the program in conjunction with 575. This ensures that you will bring the greatest skill-set possible to the experience.

-Contact Professor McNally ( the semester before you will do your field experience. She will then send you an application, on which you can state your geographic and grade-level preference. However, there are no guarantees. Professor McNally asks that you trust her. Convenience may not always be the best choice. She knows many librarians in many different areas and is well-qualified to make the best match for you.

-This is a formal arrangement. You cannot make a match on your own. Rutgers and the assigned school’s Board of Education must approve of your placement.

-For some schools, you may need to be finger-printed, background checked, TB tested, etc.

-Professor McNally also reminded us that when we are in our placements we must consider that librarians are often doing their best and coping with circumstances beyond their control. This may not always match what we have learned in our text books.

-Students in 592 will need to devote 150 hours during the semester at their field placement site. The average student does 10 hours/week for 15 weeks, but this schedule is not required.

Section 2 is for on-campus school media
Section 85 or 90 (depending on the semester) is for online students. Online students will still have to report to a field experience site.

4. Online Students

-Professor Todd asked us to consider that half of SCIS online students are specializing in School Media. How can we bring them into RASL?

-Some suggestions- - Webcasts and the RASL website

5. Advising

-Take advantage! Contact Carol Gordon ( or Ross Todd ( to schedule an advising appointment.

-If your advisor knows who you are, they can write you a recommendation letter in the future.

-You don’t want to risk getting to the end of your program and realize you forgot to take a colloquium or have not completed a pre-requisite for one of your final courses.

-You only get one elective on the School Media track. Your advisor can help recommend which one might be best for you and your career goals.

6. NJASL Conference and Professional Organizations

-NJASL Conference November 13th and 14th - East Brunswick

-Dr. Gordon explained the importance of joining professional organizations to help shape our profession, network, serve on committees and task forces, and learn from other librarians.

-As students you can join ALA and NJLA at one discounted price.

-AASL – American Association of School Librarians grants members a free subscription to Knowledge Quest magazine, which focuses on school library media programs and services.

7. Next Meeting

Wednesday, October 21st at 5:30pm in the SCIS lounge

-Current School Librarians will be there to discuss their jobs
-Pizza and soda will be served

Hope to see you there!! =)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Catching Up

Dear RASL,

Below you will find the meeting minutes for the March 31st meeting. Sorry for the delay. April meeting minutes have already been posted (see below this post).

RASL Meeting Minutes: March 31, 2009

1. Scheduling Questions and Concerns
-This part of the agenda was N/A since everyone in attendance will be graduating next month. Please see your adviser if you need assistance in scheduling classes or to be sure that you are on track to graduate.

2. Review of the Celebrating Teaching and Learning Conference by Dr. Gordon
-this conference is held annually in Manhattan and sponsored by PBS
-There were approx.8,000 attendees this year and Dr. Gordon recommends going next year!
-Panels, workshops, sessions
-Kenneth Robinson, a British professor based in Los Angeles spoke about the importance of creativity
-Dr. Robinson believes that education often prevents creativity
-He talked about visiting the school that Paul McCartney and George Harrison attended, where they were told that they weren't musically talented
-Discussed the question: "What are they doing wrong in schools so that creativity isn't being fostered?"
-spoke about Las Vegas as a "place of imagination": Americans take it for grated/see it as tacky
-education has taken on a manufacturing model: quality-control approach, thanks in part to standards-based education
-calls for a more organic model: combine emotions and intellect into education
-focus on divergent thinking
-by 13-15 years of age, only 10% of students in a study that the professor spoke about demonstrated divergent thinking
-we live in a culture where making mistakes is seen as "bad"
-school libraries are a place where we can encourage kids to embrace divergent thinking, explore their passions, and realize that mistakes lead to learning
-Go to youtube and type in "Ken Robinson" to see more about his creativity lectures

Other speakers:

-Erik Schmidt, CEO of Google also spoke (interviewed by Charlie Rose)
-1 day per week employees can work on whatever they want--creativity is an integral part of Google's work culture
-provide child care, casual working environment, encouragement to produce NOT pressure to produce

Joel Kline and Pedro Nagoaes "Closing the Achievement Gap"
-discussion about inequality in education
-idea of schools and society taking on issue of "what is education?"
-1 view: social problems are conditions of the environment that can prohibit/promote education
-other view: we have to cure poverty before improving education
"we have to teach children the way that they learn": focus on authentic assessment

Lucille Dewey: What Is 21st century education?
-concentrate on student outcomes
-use studies that investigate what works
-partner with states and look at states as warehouses for what works and what doesn't
-school reform is needed

Resources for Media Literacy:
-National Association for Media Literacy
-Journal of Media Literacy in Education
-book: "Reading the Media" by Renee Hobbs

3. Revisions to the NJ Core Curriculum Standards by Dr. Todd
-SLMS are part of a working system: we need support systems to help us; these include: standards and assessments, curriculum and instruction, professional development, learning environments
-expectation that students will develop various skills
-The library is not specifically mentioned in the Framework for 21st Century Learning: it's our role to define our relationship to the vision
-framework provides us a vocabulary to define who we are and what our role in the school is

4. Elections will be held at our next meeting (date: TBA) so stay tuned!

In the meantime, if you're looking for jobs, check out:
BCCLS Want Ads

NJLA Job Hotline

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April meeting minutes

Dear RASL-blog readers,

First off, apologies for not posting the March (or um, February) meeting minutes yet. This post is coming to you live from our April Anime meeting. Stay tuned for previous meeting minutes- (I promise)!

Special guests: Jill Ratzan and Chris Centofanti

What is a manga?
Manga is a form of comics from Japan; 7 1/2 by 5 inches in size.
-characters generally have large eyes, crazy hair
-Pokemon originally based on a manga
-reads backwards (right to left)..reflects traditional Japanese writing
-on the page itself, written right to left, top to down
-often written in vertical style; columns are longer than they are wide
-manga is a FORMAT of book, not a genre in itself (there are lots of different genres represented in manga and graphic novels)

Genres of manga:
-Shonen: action/adventure manga; often "like a Jackie Chan film" (action but silliness to it too)
-Shonen Jump; Naruto
-Shojo: "high school musical" version of manga; appeals to girls; romance is big part of the genre; outlandish scenarios; Chinese zodiac and animal spirits come into play
-Shojo Pink; Little Butterfly; Marmalade Boy
-Yowie! manga:
-Seinan manga: artwork is very realistic; similar to well-drawn Western comics today
-Josie manga: realistic, appeals to girls; "like a Julia Roberts movie"
-re-tellings: ex. manga Hamlet; many different brands are turning Shakespeare's work into manga to appeal to teens; Star Wars manga
-Great way to get those who might not be into manga into it!
-Western original stories: written in manga style but not based on Japanese legends

Why do teens like manga?
-it's new; it's different
-parents don't understand it! (how to read it, etc.)--sense of pride in "getting it"
-doesn't take as much concentration and time as a novel--sense of accomplishment in finishing 1 or 2 per day is obtainable goal
-can connect to the stories
-visual appeal

Library considerations:
-fall apart very easily
-some publishers offer better versions (more expensive; often available at conferences)
-easy to steal because they're small
-many, many volumes in a series: buy first few in the series and see if they circulate or try to have some sort of inter-library loan agreement with other libraries
-Volume one is often the one that's never in the library (buy extra copies of first one, maybe)

-often violent; lots of blood
-content often varies from volume to volume
-frequent nudity: female toplessness isn't a big deal in Japan
-characters look very young: nudity/sex might be controversial but Japanese standard of beauty sees youth as the ideal

What to Collect:
Tokyo Pop rating system: offers a ratings system and tells you WHY a book is rated that way (ie. nudity but not violent)

How manga supports curriculum:
-shows cultural diversity
-shows life in Japan; way house is set up, packing lunch, etc.: reading manga can teach you about Japanese culture
-inaccessible text is made accessible (ie. Hamlet)
-inspire an interest in medieval Japan, etc.; could be paired with "serious" non-fiction
-they're fun to read!!

-video version of manga
-we also viewed scenes from the anime movie: "My Neighbor Totoro" directed by Hayao Miyazaki

For more information: email Jill Ratzan at; or Chris Centofanti at

Check out Scott McCloud's book "Understanding Comics" for more information!
Other books to check out include: Stephen Krashen's "The Power of Reading: Insights from the Research" (2004).

**handout will be posted on the website!

(your very frazzled) RASL secretary

Monday, March 30, 2009

March meeting ... tomorrow!

Join us tomorrow evening, Tuesday March 31st at 5pm in the lounge for the March RASL meeting.

This should be a great meeting!
We are lucky to have Dr. Carol Gordon and Dr. Ross Todd coming to speak about the NJ revisions to the Core Curriculum Content Standards and the Celebrating Teaching and Learning conference they recently attended.

We also plan to discuss any scheduling questions for the upcoming Fall semester and of course there will be pizza. :)

Monday, February 23, 2009

February RASL meeting

Meet us in the SCILS faculty lounge tomorrow,
February 24th at 5:00 PM

You've heard all about Web 2.0,
but how is it going to help you in your LMC
or your youth services department?

Come on out for some free pizza, discussion
and demonstrations of Web 2.0 in the library.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

last week's meeting (1/29)

RASL kicked off the semester with its first meeting last Thursday (1/29). Here's what went on:

-Job Postings
From NJLA Job Hotline site (Just Google "NJLA Job Hotline" as the link doesn't always work):

Kristi also works at New Brunswick Free Public Library and mentioned that there is a YA INTERN position available; email Kristi Revicki at for more info.

In-depth meeting will happen in early April, so stay tuned!
BUT if it's your first semester, you should definitely meet with an adviser ASAP! We recommend Carol Gordon if you are doing the school library track.

-Shadowing librarians: veteran RASL members highly recommend contacting a local SLMS (school library media specialist) to get some experience BEFORE you do field experience (in your last semester). This is a great way to get exposure to different age groups! Our webmaster, Renee, recommended contacting the Central Jersey Regional Library Consortium to do so.

-NJASL and NJLA: join them! Student discounts are available while you're earning your MLIS which will save you A LOT of money.

-Conferences: the annual NJASL conference was held at the East Brunswick Hilton in November, but stay tuned to the RASL blog for info on registering for next year's conference. NJLA should be coming up in April or May as well!
-Those who have been to conferences say it's an invaluable experience, where you'll experience vendors, get programming ideas, and hear lectures on current research!

RASL will be holding a Web 2.0 panel this semester. Check your email to find out when our March meeting will be held.

Have a great semester!!!!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

1st meeting of the semester!

Hey everybody!

Come on out for some pizza and discussion of your youth services experience
at SCILS! Don't let the name of our organization deceive you, we cater our
meetings to both school librarians and public librarians in youth services.
Get the inside scoop on job offerings and tips and tricks while networking
with your peers!

The meeting is on Thursday, January 29th at 5:30 PM. We look forward to
seeing you there!