School Libraries
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Digital School Library Leaves Book Stacks Behind

Digital School Library Leaves Book Stacks Behind | School Libraries | Scoop.it
Subscriptions to digital books have replaced the real thing in a Massachusetts school library.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This story from NPR is a very interesting one, it discusses a boarding school in Massachusetts that has completely renovated its library and took out all the books. Instead the students can access the books online through kindles or laptops. The Dean of Academics at the school, Suzie Carlisle, states that "Part of our desire to move in this direction is to meet the students where they are most comfortable," Carlisle says. "And it's our responsibility as well to help students understand the emerging technologies that they are going to be faced with." I think this a very interesting approach to updating libraries. As a book lover I find it very sad that there are not physical books within the school, but I can absolutely see where this school is coming from. Technology is a huge presence in everyday life and I think libraries typically get a bad and usually incorrect reputation for trying to stick to old fashion techniques. I appreciate this school’s appreciation of libraries enough to spend such a large amount of money to keep it up to date. The school is clearly able to afford this large transition and apparently it has really spiked the interest of students, “Headmaster James Tracy says Cushing's change has already upped the library's circulation numbers. He says having access to the content of books is what's important for students, and the format doesn't matter.” I think making such a huge switch from tradition books to online books is definitely a very different approach and an interesting one to look at. This story has confirmed my ideas of how necessary a school library is but has opened up different ideas of how to utilize libraries. The executive director of the library states that "In order for librarians to do a good job, an exceptional job of focusing on online resources, they really need to move away from some of the other priorities they've had in the past," Corbett says. "And managing a large print collection is a lot of work." The idea of librarians helping their students with technology is an opinion I have been expressing in many of my insights and it is good to see someone support this view. Overall I think that if this library works for its schools students then it is a great change. Getting rid of all the books may have been a little much, I do not believe that it necessarily the right move for all school libraries to make and it definitely is a feasible one for many to make but perhaps other schools could find a better medium that works to help their libraries stay relevant and helpful with their student’s needs. 

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Are School Libraries Still Necessary? - Elementary Librarian

Are School Libraries Still Necessary? - Elementary Librarian | School Libraries | Scoop.it
This article discusses the question, "Are School Libraries Still Necessary?". School librarians respond to administrators who may be asking this question.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This is a blog post from a current elementary school librarian. In this post she explains that she is shocked that libraries are being questioned on their necessity. She explains “Lately I’ve noticed the same question coming up again and again: are school libraries still necessary? It started the other day on my state’s listserv. Someone was asking for ideas because their district is going to have only one certified librarian for the entire district during the next school year. Yesterday, I saw the question being asked on Twitter. When I did a news search on school libraries today, I saw much of the same. School libraries are facing cuts at an alarming frequency.” The rest of the blog post is her explaining ideas that I have previously talked about in other insights, she explains that librarians are crucial to help student know how to research, they are also important in instilling a love of reading in their students. In response to the apparent growth in online books the author claims, “only 23% of Americans read an e-book in the past year. Despite the technology all around us, people still enjoy reading paper books. Such reading is particularly important for the youngest students, who are still learning to turn pages, read text from left to right, and look at colorful pictures.”  This is a new idea that I haven’t thought about before and I think the author makes a great point. I agree with this because for especially young children it is very helpful for them to actually grasp the book in their hand, they can touch the words, look at the pictures and parents won’t have to worry about their expensive device being dropped on the floor by their 4 year old. There are many books too that help infants learn their senses, for instance books about animals where children can “pet the dog” or other books like that. E-books would never be able to function in the same way proving that perhaps real books (even for adults) have some important benefits as well. I think that this blog post from a current librarian is very helpful because she is seeing how her library affects the school and the students. I liked getting an opinion from an actual librarian instead of someone on the board of education at a school, or a news reporter discussing a story. This was a firsthand explanation as to how a librarian feels she is making a difference with her students. 

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Rescooped by Katie Figgie from Teaching Styles(Common Core, Standardized Testing)
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Teachers Are Supposed to Assign Harder Books, but They Aren't Doing It Yet

Teachers Are Supposed to Assign Harder Books, but They Aren't Doing It Yet | School Libraries | Scoop.it
Because of Winn-Dixie, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and To Kill a Mockingbird are among the most popular texts assigned to public-school students, a new report shows.

Via Karla Luetzow
Katie Figgie's insight:
This article explains the new common core standards influences on literature. The new common core standards set in schools are planning to challenge students with higher level books than they have typically been given in their grade level. The article explains that the new standards “require students to read texts that are on grade level, even if the all students in a class aren't able to read the works without assistance.” Since teachers typically assign books slightly under the reading level of the grade students who have surpassed that reading level may become bored, a librarian can introduce them to new books that will continue to challenge their reading skills so that they do not become disinterested in reading. On the other side of the literacy spectrum, teachers now have to assign books that some students may not be able to read. A librarian can help those students find other books that are more at their skill level so that these children are not put off by reading. Librarians would be an absolutely wonderful resource for either teachers that are looking for harder books to challenge their students or students themselves looking for more skill appropriate books. It is so important to give students’ books that will challenge their reading skills because it will hopefully encourage them to continue to challenge themselves with harder and harder books constantly improving their literacy. It will also help them not become bored in a class that may be at a slower pace than they are. Reading books that are too mature and difficult for students also can absolutely turn them off of reading and since teachers must follow the common core guidelines they are a little stuck in how much they can individualize the reading list for their students. The article All Aboard!: Implementing Common Core offers school librarians an opportunity to take the lead goes into a little detail about how librarians have more freedom when it comes to common core standards which means they can completely focus on student’s levels without having to worry about following state standards. 
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Karla Luetzow's curator insight, October 23, 2013 11:24 AM

 The main focus of the article is that the new common core standard will challenge students and teachers to study higher level books in the classroom.  The article includes three charts from elementary, middle , and high school stating the top ten books studied in the classroom. Next to these books, a ranking of reading difficulty was given. I recognized many of the titles including Bud, Not Buddy, Because of Winn Dixie, Things Fall Apart, and Diary of Anne Frank.  While this report stated that teachers teach books  below grade level, I studied The Diary of Anne Frank in my fifth grade classroom. The chart ranks Anne Frank to be an upper middle school book. I remember really loving the challenge of the book and discussing with my classmates.Also, I think students should be challenged to read harder books in the classroom. Students can read below level books on the side. With the help of the teacher and reading groups, the time and place to challenge students in reading can be text assignments in the classroom.

Katie Figgie's comment, October 26, 2013 6:26 PM
I agree with you Karla, I always really enjoyed being challenged by books. I think that it is really important for teachers to encourage their students to go above their reading comfort zones because many children may discover that they actually can read at a higher level but just haven't tried to yet. Hopefully this aspect of the common core will help students and teachers rise above the reading limits they thought they had.
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School Libraries: Excellence in Practice at Amesbury School

"Carolyn Knight, Teacher in the Library and colleagues at Amesbury School, a new Year 1-6 school in Churton Park, Wellington talk about how their school library supports literacy and student inquiry."

Katie Figgie's insight:

I really liked this video because it really shows to me what a school library should be about. The video showcases an excellent library in Amesbury School in New Zealand. I love that the librarian at the school, Carolyn Knight, identifies herself as a teacher first because I think that all staff and faculty in a school should be seen as teacher. They should all be trying to better the education of the children in their school. I also absolutely love that they describe their library “heart of the school”. I think it is so important that a school library has a welcoming feeling so that the students actually enjoy their time there. I think that libraries should absolutely be a fun, vibrant atmosphere where students want to hang out. I share this idea with my mom, who as a middle school librarian, explains that libraries should be the living room of the school. This idea is more or less the same as the one shown in the video. Libraries are meant for students to enjoy them. I also really enjoy that this video shows how to incorporate technology into the library and how students can choose the device that best suits their needs at the time. I think that this video demonstrates a wonderful example of what a library can bring to a school and is a good introduction to libraries within schools. 

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Teachers, Not Librarians - Room for Debate

Teachers, Not Librarians - Room for Debate | School Libraries | Scoop.it
No number of books or librarians will instill literacy in high school children who can’t read.
By Ze'ev Wurman.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This is an article from the same section of the New York Times as the article Links Between Libraries and Literacy. They are from a section that has many different articles and opinions on school libraries. I chose this article because I think it gives a very different view point from the other articles in the section. The author of this article claims that there is no lack of resources when it comes to books, yet students are still not utilizing them properly. He claims that librarians are not the ones who can fix this problem but it is the teacher’s job instead. “With the pervasive presence of technology in the classroom and at home there is less need for librarians to teach students how to search the Internet.” I think that the author is extremely misguided in this statement. I believe that with the vast amounts of information out there librarians are absolutely more necessary than ever before. Students need to know how to find scholarly sources when writing essays and they need to understand that sources such as Wikipedia will not work in an academic paper. Librarians are needed to teach students how to search the internet smartly which is an opinion I brought up more while reading Keeping Public School Libraries Relevant. I do agree with the author though when he says that “It is our teachers, not our librarians, who must learn how to instill the love of reading in their pupils.” I absolutely think that teachers should be promoting reading but why I believe school libraries are important is that the librarian can be the teacher’s aid and help the teacher when they need to. Teachers in elementary schools are juggling many different subjects, and teachers in middle and high school are juggling many different students, librarians can help relieve them of some of that responsibility and librarians can focus more on reading than anyone else in the school. 

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All Aboard!: Implementing Common Core offers school librarians an opportunity to take the lead.

All Aboard!: Implementing Common Core offers school librarians an opportunity to take the lead. | School Libraries | Scoop.it

As a growing number of states and large school systems, including those in New York City, Boston, Cleveland, and Philadelphia, grapple with plans to implement the ambitious new standards, school librarians still aren’t consistently invited to pull up a chair. So, we’ve gotta ask ourselves…. If literacy, critical thinking, and the inquiry process are school librarians’ forte and are key components of Common Core, what do we have to do to convince folks that we bring exactly what they need?

Katie Figgie's insight:

This article from the School Library Journal explains how the new common core standards will increase the need for librarians in the school. The article explains that many librarians have already implemented these standards into their teachings before the common core was set, “school librarians already teach many of the skills that Common Core emphasizes. In fact, there’s a striking similarity between the new standards and the American Association of School Librarians’ (AASL) recent Standards for the 21st-Century Learner.” This means that librarians will be able to help teachers adjust to the new standards easily. Librarians will also become especially necessary when it comes to the new focus on informational texts. The common core is focusing very hard on informational texts, “Fourth graders will be expected to read the same amount of fiction, or “literary” texts, as informational texts. And by the time those young learners reach eighth grade, they’ll be expected to read 45 percent literary and 55 percent informational texts. In their senior year of high school, the scale will dramatically shift to a relatively modest 30 percent literary texts and a hefty 70 percent nonfiction texts.” Libraries are perfect for this job since, as the article puts it, the library is the "school’s number-one source for the primary-source informational texts that kids need". Librarians have the availability to find texts that are perfect to help students discover nonfiction and librarians already know how to have students get the most out of that information as they can. These new common core standards just reaffirms what many educators have known for a long time, a librarian is a great guide to help students really excel at language arts.

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Keeping Public School Libraries Relevant

Keeping Public School Libraries Relevant - The Huffington Post
Katie Figgie's insight:

I think that this article from the Huffington Post is really important to why schools need libraries. The author, Matthew Lynch, discusses how libraries have always been the “go-to spot for information” and if librarians can successfully make the transition to a new and contemporary way of integrating technology into student's learning, it will benefit the students tremendously. The article says that it is extremely important to for librarians to start implementing new aspects of technology to keep up with the lifestyles of its students. Teaching students’ how to use all this technology they have access to in a smart, investigative and academic way will help them not only in their future schooling but in their lives as well. Librarians are the only educators in the school that can focus their lessons solely on the importance of technology which is why they are so crucial to the school environment. They can help students with all aspects by teaching them efficient ways to discover the information they need and want to. I completely agree with this article, I think that school libraries must embrace technology in order to stay relevant. Students are no longer opening up encyclopedias to do research papers anymore and libraries and librarians should be evolving with the students as well. I also agree with this article that it is so crucial that school libraries teach students how to use technology in a smart way. There is so much information out there on the internet and librarians can be a great resource on how to sort through it all to get what you really need. 

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Links Between Libraries and Literacy - Room for Debate

Links Between Libraries and Literacy - Room for Debate | School Libraries | Scoop.it
Libraries have long since gone by the wayside in low-income schools. What price did we pay? By C. Kent McGuire.
Katie Figgie's insight:

This is an article from the New York Times in their Room for Debate opinion section. The author explains that over the years many school libraries and librarians have been taken out of school because of budget cuts. The importance of reading to children at a young age has been proven time and time again. This article makes a great case for why librarians are critical in schools. The author states that “But looking at the gaps in reading proficiency for young children from low-income households, the dearth of books and appropriate media in these homes and the associated differences in vocabulary development for these children, we at least have to worry about whether our disinvestment in libraries has indeed cost us by reducing their power to boost literacy levels.” He also states that many schools are more likely to cut librarians instead of reading specialists. I don’t believe this is a good solution since librarian’s main focus is literacy, they place upmost importance on reading and while reading specialists are very important for the students you cannot say one is better than the other. Instead for an enriching and helpful learning environment you need to have teachers with reading specialists with librarians all promoting the importance of reading. Reading specialists and teachers cannot do this alone if there is not the proper support system for a librarian whose main goal is encouraging interest in reading. I absolutely agree with the author that it may cost the school a lot more by cutting school libraries than keeping them; while they may save money they may be hurting their students’ success. 

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