Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learning Commons Mission Statement

So, in an earlier post, I lamented a mental block we faced when creating a new mission statement. I'm totally over that now, and four months later, I'm happy to report that we've crafted one that meets our requirements: it must be SHORT and it must in the spirit of a Learning Commons. 

Here's our finished product after some additional tweaking and adjustment:

Learners engaged in authentic experiences inquire, analyze, and create through shared learning to produce and communicate new knowledge.

I have to give credit to Allison Zmuda for excellent guidance in creating this statement. As part of a Learning Commons series of workshops held by our local BOCES School Library System, we got to spend two days with her brainstorming and thinking about the Learning Commons model of school libraries. 

Allison challenged us to create a mission statement with the following characteristics:
  • Succinct
  • Memorable
  • Measurable
  • Gives leverage to make substantive change
What do you think? Did we meet her challenges?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Read Across America

Check out how we're celebrating Read Across America 2012.

Our library, like many others across the country, celebrates Read Across America. According to the NEA Web site, Read Across America "is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss."

Libraries celebrate the event in all kinds of ways. Even our district's high school library celebrates. Instead of just one day, we stretch events over the first week in March. Activities include a themed spirit week, where each day coincides with a Dr. Seuss book. Tuesday is Cat in the Hat, and students are encouraged to wear stripes. Wednesday is Fox in Sox, and we're asking the kids to wear funky socks. Thursday is Hooray for Diffendoofer Day and we'd love everyone to show up in a mismatched outfit. Below is the bulletin board we created to promote spirit week. It pretty much just consists of stapling a bunch of clothes from the lost and found to the board, but it gets the job done.

We also tried something new this year and painted all the office windows with Dr. Seuss characters. I'm really hoping this isn't copyright infringement - it's only for a month, and then we're totally washing them off. What do you think? Is our window painting fair-use?

This endeavor involved more tech skill than artistic skill -- we used a document camera and a projector to shine the image on the glass. He had to put a piece of paper behind the glass so the projected image showed, and then traced it with a dry erase marker. After that, we just filled in the lines with washable paint.

On Wednesday and Thursday of the week, we host "guest readers" in the library. Adults sign-up ahead of time for twenty minute slots. They can bring their own picture books, or choose from a selection we provide. A perennial favorite is Walter the Farting Dog. This year, in addition to the adult readers, we have fifth graders coming over to read, and students from the high school coming down. Any kids in the library during study hall are also invited to jump in and read. Honestly, that's probably their favorite part - listening to their peers read and reading themselves.

We'll set up a camera over the shoulder of the reader and project the live image onto a TV or a big screen so everyone can see the book. We're also renting a popcorn machine -- it ties in with our healthy schools initiative and adds a another "special" element.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Live and In Person: Managing the Kindle

I've had some more specific questions about how exactly we manage the library Kindles. I'm sure there are great YouTube videos on the subject, but I figured I'd add one more to the mix. In the video below I'll show you how we purchase and add books to our Kindles. Please excuse my gravely voice -- I'm getting over the flu-- I promise I don't normally sound this scary.

Friday, February 4, 2011

February Displays

We're incredibly lucky to have an amazing library secretary. Besides the fact that she's super intelligent, very self-directed, technology savvy, and fun, she's also CREATIVE. This is a fabulous combination for our library needs.

My teaching schedule doesn't leave a lot of time for setting up displays and bulletin boards. Luckily, our secretary loves doing this. She goes out of her way to create visually interesting, diverse, and appropriate displays that change monthly.

Without further ado, here's how the library's looking this month.

Below: The circulation desk is decked out in conversation hearts. Students wrote their favorite book on heart cut-outs, which we plastered around the library. The books on display required very little thinking -- they're just the ones with pink and red covers - easy is never a bad thing! :)

Below: More of the Valentine's Day display. This is "Sweethearts of Literature" -- match the famous couple to the correct book and win a prize.

Below: It's also Black History Month.

Below: Black History Month close-up.

Below: Our 8th grade English classes are about to start reading the Diary of Anne Frank. Here's the accompanying display.

Below: I know it's a pertinent display when it's really messy at the end of every day. The LGBT set-up is one that definitely sees a lot of action.