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