Webinar: Creating Subject Guides for the 21st Century Library


Creating Subject Guides for the 21st-Century Library (ALA TechSource Workshop) – Books / Professional Development – eLearning – New Products – ALA Store via kwout

I am delighted to be presenting a 90 minute workshop, “Creating Subject Guides for the 21st Century Library”, this Tuesday, September 20, at 4PM EST for ALA TechSource.   If you are interested in registering for the webinar, please visit the ALA Store page for more information.  Here is an overview of the webinar:

The subject guide has been a valuable tool for school and academic librarians for decades, first as a print resource and more recently as web pages and web-based documents. In this ALA TechSource Workshop, Buffy Hamilton of The Unquiet Library will show how to revitalize the subject guide as a dynamic, customizable, social resource by integrating it into the web.

Topics include:

  • Understanding the concept of social scholarship and the implications for networked learning
  • How to use free resources such as widgets, RSS feeds, mashups, cloud computing, videos, and social bookmarking to create streams of quality information
  • How to use non-traditional social media sources of information such as blogs, Twitter streams, podcasts, and YouTube in your subject guides
  • Free and subscription-based tools you can use to host these information portals/research guides

AASL Unveils Standards for the 21st-Century Learner


The new AASL Standards for the 21st Century Learner were unveiled on October 25 at the 13th National AASL (American Association of School Librarians) Conference in Reno, Nevada. 

“The new standards were developed by some of the best minds in the school library field,” Johns said. “AASL hopes that these standards will provide a foundation for a strong library media program in every school, where our students will research expertly, think critically, problem-solve well, read enthusiastically and use information ethically. Our students will succeed.”

Early in 2006, acting in accordance with the AASL strategic plan, the AASL Board of Directors voted to establish the Learning Standards Rewrite Task Force, whose charge was to develop new AASL standards for student learning in the 21st Century. The task force included co-chairs Cassandra Barnett and Gail Dickinson, Eugene Hainer, Melissa Johnston, Marcia Mardis and Barbara Stripling.

“The new AASL ‘Standards for the 21st-Century Learner’ are both a reflection of the current landscape and a vision for the future,” said Gail K. Dickinson, task force co-chair. “Good standards have to be practical enough to teach today but flexible enough to be able to teach tomorrow.”

The task force began with an intensive face-to-face meeting last September and worked virtually and during conferences over the next several months. To ensure that the new standards reflect the best of our thinking as a profession, the task force gathered input and feedback from the membership and other library media professionals throughout the whole process. Drafts were posted on the Web site for comment, AASL held an open forum for discussion of the draft during the 2007 Midwinter Meeting and a wiki was utilized for further input from the field.

The standards and common beliefs include:

Common Beliefs

The learning standards begin by defining nine foundational common beliefs:

  • Reading is a window to the world.
  • Inquiry provides a framework for learning.
  • Ethical behavior in the use of information must be taught.
  • Technology skills are crucial for future employment needs. 
  • Equitable access is a key component for education.
  • The definition of information literacy has become more complex as resources and technologies have changed.
  • The continuing expansion of information demands that all individuals acquire the thinking skills that will enable them to learn on their own.
  • Learning has a social context.
  • School libraries are essential to the development of learning skills.

The Standards

The Standards describe how learners use skills, resources, and tools to

  1. inquire, think critically, and gain knowledge;
  2. draw conclusions, make informed decisions, apply knowledge to new situations, and create new knowledge;
  3. share knowledge and participate ethically and productively as members of our democratic society;
  4. pursue personal and aesthetic growth.

You can download the Learning Standards as an eight-page full-color pamphlet (PDF, 4 mb).

Do our practices as teachers and students truly reflect these beliefs in our school philosophy, learning activities, and teaching practices?  Do the mandates of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) intersect in reality with these new standards and beliefs?   How do we use these beliefs and standards as a framework for teaching and learning at Creekview High?

Six Trends in School Library Media Centers for the 21st Century

I came across a good article today at e-School News Online about trends in school library media centers for the 21st century by Steven Baule, a well-respected figure in the world on IT and SLM (we actually used his text in one of my first SLM classes at UGA!).  Baule identifies these six key trends:

Six trends in school library media centers for the 21st century …
1. Flexibility in Student Spaces
2. Visual literacy
3. Extended access
4. Technology readiness
5. Supervision
6. A place for books

I was thinking about how these principles apply to our very own CRHS facility. 

  • Flexibility in Student Spaces:  While I do wish we had a bit more floor space, I LOVE that we have minimal conference rooms and that we have our very own teaching lab!  Having our very own teaching lab is a godsend for scheduling two classes or doing small group instruction; our large instructional area is wonderful for quick mini-lessons and also doubles as a study area or special “presentation” area for our fun activities like Trivia Friday, guest speakers, and other “fun” special programs.
  • Visual Literacy:  Again, this is where more floor space might be helpful?  We are working right now on purchasing some furniture that is similar to what you see at Barnes and Noble—the special display furniture that helps highlight and showcase new books at a 360 angle.  While our current shelving is sturdy and beautiful, it would be nice to have some additional end panel work done to house and highlight books and even hold lookup computer stations!  I think more schools would go with more contemporary shelving that is more “bookstore” style, but I know from extensive research that the more visually appealing shelving is more expensive.  With school budgets tight across the country, I am not sure how schools will try to build this cost in construction of school libraries.  We definitely do NOT have flexible lighting—most of you know how frustrated I am by this situation….you have to turn off all lights to really see the image on the screen from the LCD projector, and even that does not work well with all the natural light we get (not that I mind natural light, but….).  We also have no way of disabling the “emergency lighting”, which is also frustrating.
  • Extended Access:  Right now we open daily at 7:30 AM and stay open until 4:00 Monday-Thursday; we do “officially” close at 3:30 on Friday, but most of you know we rarely leave before 4:00 on Fridays.  We operate on a flexible schedule through the day, including lunch periods.  Ruth and I would both be open to possibly having at least one “late” night, but we aren’t sure at this point if there is really a demand for it since most of our students are just now starting to drive.  Right now there is no funding to pay library staff for the additional time, so the extra hours by staff would be voluntary.  At this time, we do not have our own dedicated entrance or washroom facilities, but we are located in such a place that the entire building would not have to be opened if we start having some extended hours during the week or during the summer. 
  • Technology Readiness:  We are WAY beyond there!  🙂  We are blessed with over 60 desktop stations, a mobile laptop lab, great software, and the best tech support staff anywhere around!  The only “old” technology we don’t have is a xerox machine…we are hoping that next year we will be able to find funding for that old but much needed equipment!
  • Supervision:  For the most part, we have an excellent line of vision in our media center.  While there are some minor blind spots in nonfiction, we are more than happy with our ability to do easily scan and supervise the library.  We do hope that in the near future we will be able to remove some of the longer shelving that separate the reference area from the computer area on the main floor in exchange for some of our shorter shelving that currently doesn’t have adequate use.  By angling the shorter shelves as a replacement for the taller and longer shelving, we can have a better line of vision of that area, particulary for students who are sitting at the tables.
  • Adequate Shelving:  No problem on that front!  We have LOTS of shelving!  🙂 Just hoping that funding will continue to help us purchase the books to fill those shelves!  With the average cost of a high school book at $30 and rising, it takes a lot of dollars to fill those shelves while still having money leftover to maintain our virtual services that extend learning beyond our four walls.

I think the key to future facilities reflecting these trends will require more input from librarians themselves and the use of library architects who will listen to the librarians and have an understanding of how this unique space in a school needs to function.

How does your facility measure up?  Can you think of any other trends for 21st century school library media centers that Baule may have missed?