Archive for Collection development
November 29, 2007
Recently Carolyn Foote, a friend who is honestly a friend in the virtual sense, as I only know her from Twitter, blogging, webcasts, and Ustream forums, has challenged my thinking about the library. She works in a large public suburban high school in Austin, Texas (Westlake High School). She is in the process of packing up her entire library book by book for a renovation project. Earlier this week she was informed that the renovation could take as long as a year. My comment to Carolyn was “Wow, you will be a virtual librarian in every sense of the word.”
As I reflect on my joking quip, I realize it is true. Will her job end until the renovation is done? Will she have anything to do while the renovation happens? How can a staff member with no physical “home” in the building continue to work and serve the school without any books or tables, a checkout counter, or a reference section, especially in a high school?
I know the answer to my questions. Carolyn will be in need and in high demand right through the whole project. She will probably work harder than any other staff member in the entire building, as she strives to provide the same level of service and instruction as before when there were the typical tables, chairs, books, and more. How?
Just as I jokingly called her a “virtual” librarian, she will become just that. Research projects will be just as effectively completed as they were before. She will continue to teach information literacy and using online resources effectively. Students will have access to necessary resources. Book talks and author visits will continue to happen, even if she has to use Skype. You see, Carolyn is a 21st century teacher librarian, who has adopted and uses instructional technology to “complete” the job. She uses the tools to compliment instruction, and I would wager she is so good at this already, this vehicle called web 2.0 will drive her services until she can park her self back in a physical space called a library. Carolyn already uses wikis, blogs, and more to supplement instruction. She is using Skype to pull in authors for literature appreciation and book analysis. And students as well as teachers know she can assist in just about any kind of project she is challenged with. Carolyn Foote is a 21st Century Librarian, and I am so glad to know her, at least in the virtual sense.
Be sure to wish her luck as she tackles the project of library renovation. I know the end result will be a 21st Century Library to compliment her, the student body, faculty & staff, and community. I am looking forward to a face to face meeting with you in San Antonio this summer at Iste’s NECC.
Carolyn’s Blog Not So Distant Future
Carolyn’s Wiki Web 2.0 in Education
PS–my 17yo is looking at Austin, TX for college.
November 6, 2007
Today I made a huge display out of a section of empty shelves. You see, with the big weeding project almost done, I had two whole cases EMPTY–top to bottom, side by side. What to do? They are mounted on the wall, so there will be no moving them. So I lined the border with a colorful bulletin board paper, made a cute colorful banner to go across the top that reads “New Books,” and then hand picked books to display there from the shelves — the ones that have the overall appearance of being new. They are flying OFF the shelves, I kid you not! My students have noticed the changes in the library, and every shelf has space for at least one book to be displayed. One of my math teachers said yesterday in the faculty meeting after noticing the neat and tidy shelves with displayed books that I must have had some marketing in my background. I shared with her no, but I do love book stores, and I recognize that the top sellers are usually facing out on the shelves. It’s amazing how kids select the displayed book when browsing. I’m just glad to see them suddenly very interested, and browsing has taken on a new meaning at my school. Yes they still use the catalog on the computer, and they attempt to find books that match their Lexile (a heavy emphasis at my school,) but I have encouraged teachers to allow at least one free choice (no Lexile strings attached) to encourage kids to explore their interests. If I think about it, I’ll take a picture to post here. I don’t have as easy access to a digital camera at the time (but am working on it.) I guess I could whip out the cell phone…I have done that before–though then i would not be modeling the school rules, would I? But that is a whole other post waiting to be written (Rules, Smules, which ones are okay to break?)
October 3, 2007
“I didn’t realize how important that number is.”
“You weren’t kidding about moving some books today.”
“I had no idea I’d be sore from helping in here yesterday.”
“I know, I know, right to left, top to bottom. I got it.”
“What do you mean, the shelf is off a little. Parallel. Whooa, this ain’t math class!”
These are just a few comments I’ve heard from the kids this week. You see, we removed a bookcase and finished weeding probably another 1000 books this week, and so some shelves are completely empty, while some are too full. So the obvious solution was to shift books. I’ve had volunteers from the student body coming in during various free times, and they have been incredibly helpful. I felt a little guilty, as it really has been a lot like manual labor. But I tried to explain it to one teacher like this–and I’ve said this repeatedly–move one shelf of books in the library, and you move them ALL. We are now trying to spread them out, make the shelves visually balanced, and ensure shelves are parallel (same height, all the way around.) It was shocking to notice shelves off kilter that before went unnoticed b/c they were FULL to overflowing. But once space was made from weeding, the uphill, downhill look was an eyesore. My volunteers got an authentic taste of Dewey today. Handling the books gave them a better understanding of how the books are shelved than any lesson I’ve ever tried to teach regarding book arrangement ever. They were talking about the weight of books, the dustiness around, particles floating in the air and why, about level shelves, about the 4 clips that effectively hold a shelf up loaded with books, and more. (I can think of many academic tie-ins here, and they were naturally discussing them w/o any reference to tests or classes or subjects.) They expressed concern over the empty space now available on every shelf, and fund raising ideas for getting more books. The best idea tossed out was to sell the entire print reference collection since no one they know uses it. Then they were guessing how much the different books would get our school. It was rather funny.
W e still have a long way to go in getting this library ship-shape, but I’m glad to report kids are taking an extreme interest in the project. As we talked about the space available on shelves, I showed how I like to display books–stand them up so they can be seen from the cover. I then asked them to go to the shelves that had empty space and make a selection to display. Oh my, it was a race. The middle school kids when done were talking about the books they had selected to be the display. They were very proud when their book was checked out today. Even though there is still a lot to be done, this made me feel really good that students are taking pride in their library. I really feel that more books will be checked out this year simply b/c they can see that we have a lot of great books. They just could not see the forest for the trees before. With every shelf crammed full, well, browsing just could not happen. Now there is real browsing like there should be.
I’m planning a book store event–where we set up displays by genres, soon. I think i’ll get the kids to help me choose the books for the categories (romance, horror, mysteries, suspense, science fiction, and more…) They will have to defend to the group why their book should go with the display.
What a bonus today. The students really acted like they liked the books here. No one asked to use a computer. And it’s looking better and better. I think I’ll ask them how to decorate the library when we finish this reshuffling of books.
Yes, this is an official SYP post. I hope you enjoyed it.
Image: “Library.” Stewart’s Photostream. 11 February 2006. 3 October 2007. http://www.flickr.com/photos/12037949632@N01/99129170
August 30, 2007
I am just a little disappointed. You see for the last eight school days (give or take) there has been a major focus on weeding, particularly the nonfiction section of our collection. We came back this summer to all the books from mid 550 through 818 boxed up due to the addition of our production studio, and these books needed to be reshelved. I made the decision to unmercifully weed since they each had an opportunity to be handled, smelled, and seen with a critical eye (and nose–yes some smelled OLD!) I was given the go ahead by my principal and district media coordinator, and tackled the project with zest. Me, my assistant, substitutes and a parent volunteer began. We only devoted half of the day to the task as other activities and needs arose daily–we’re there to serve our staff and students first and foremost, so they always come before most library management type activity. Since we were reshelving we decided to do all of the nonfiction (000=999). Now I printed and gave the folks helping a printout of the books I suspected needed to go (of course I physically checked every book before it was discarded) and today figured that we discarded a total of 1165 books. There were MANY on the list that were just NOT found. I will have to check in Destiny to see if these books are categorized as “lost” from inventories that have been done prior to my coming in. We may be able to delete a few more. I sort of hope so.
South Carolina, so NOTORIOUS for poor test scores, has a reputation regarding our educational standards for teaching. When NCLB came about, SC had already set the bar high as far as student achievement. So our standards are rigorous, as is our state assessment program. I blogged about this before, and you can read the archived post from June 2007 for a more clear description.
Recently, our SC State Department of Education contact and liaison for library media programs released an assessment instrument to use on school library media programs. It is titled Achieving Exemplary School Libraries: School Library Program Recommendations and Evaluation Rubrics and it is located on the section for school library media programs, though I believe one has to be logged in to view it. It is 55 pages in length and is what I beleive a fair document. It is my goal to bring my collection up to what this document calls proficient, though I will long range goal work for what is known as exemplary. The “grades” a program can make even loosely match how are students are labeled based on their performance on our state assessment program of PACT (and scores classify one as Below Basic, Basic, Proficient, and Advanced). PACT, I should say, our assessment program, stands for Palmetto Achievement Challenge Test. Even the name suggests to the unschooled reader that the test is designed to “challenge” students. Go figure! Using this rubric, a school library media program might be labeled Below Standard, Emerging, Proficient, or Exemplary. It’s pretty rigorous too, but not unattainable.
Which brings me back to this post. A lot of time, hard work, sweat, and sore muscles went into the discarding of those 1165 books. I was SO hoping that I would lose five years off my average collection age of 1988. But this evening I ran another collection analysis (our district uses Follett’s Titlewise.) I have actually used the program in all my years as a school LMS–since it was started. I find it an invaluable tool for assessing your collection. So I uploaded my records tonight, and my collection only lost 2 years. Now instead of 1988 as an average copyright date, the collection is 1990. Here is the data from TW.
But there is more. In order to be “Exemplary” there are roughly fifteen or so indicators that refer to the collection. These indicators have to do with age sensitivity for the various areas (i.e. sciences are more age sensitive than folk tales or fiction…) Here is a view of the beginning of the “indicators.”
Did you notice the number of books per student?? 15 per student. With my school having according to the analysis 566 students (and I know that does not match enrollment right now since we are roughly 650 students as of Wednesday…) we are right now offering 17.63 books per student. I should have adjusted the enrollment number BEFORE running the analysis. But a quickie punch on the calculator shows that we currently offer an estimated 650 students 15.53 books per student. Proficient only calls for ten books per student….With a goal to be exemplary, I cannot afford to weed anymore, but my age absolutely DEMANDS it. Am I holding myself to too high a standard?? I will be acquiring more books to the collection, and usually its about 300 books a year. (Note I still do not know what my budget is yet, so I could be way off in either direction, to the good or bad. If I am off I do pray its in my favor.)
Again it is just a snapshot above, and then that section is JUST about books. The program is also evaluated on scheduling, collaboration, instructional practices, and other areas.
So where do I go from here? To be proficient, I can drop down to ten books per students, and that also keeps me within SACS requiremnts. So I am going to shift my weeding helpers to the fiction section and the story collection section. These two sections are very old too, and even though the SC section is small, the fiction represents 35% of our total collection. Maybe getting in there and ridding the shelves of old stories will help. So I’m going to allow for about another 1000 books to go.
Overall I’m not too sad. The change in copyright age from 88 to 90 does indicate the collection is being addressed. And we’ve only just begun, not to mention this should not happen over night. Maybe not even in one school year. Wish me luck.