ALA OITP Recognizes The Unquiet Library and Media 21 for Cutting Edge Technologies in Library Services

Contact: Jenni Terry

Press Officer

ALA Washington Office


ALA crowns four library programs as top cutting-edge services in second annual contest

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association (ALA) Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) has selected programs at Creekview High School in Canton, Ga.; Orange County Library System in Orlando, Fla.; North Carolina State University Libraries in Raleigh, N.C.; and OhioLINK in Columbus, Ohio, as the winners of the association’s second contest to honor cutting-edge technologies in library services.

In October, OITP and the subcommittee for its Program on America’s Libraries for the 21st Century (AL21C) issued its call for nominations for best library practices using cutting-edge technology to showcase libraries that are serving their communities with novel and innovative methods.  Last year, three libraries were cited for their outstanding work.

“This year’s winners represent thoughtful and creative engagement with technology trends including smartphone applications, user-centered web design, cloud-computing and digital repositories,” said Christine Lind Hage, Director, Rochester Hills Public Library, who chaired the selection committee and chairs the AL21C subcommittee.

“The selection committee reviewed many submissions, but these three projects stood out because they could be replicated by other libraries.”

About the Winners:

  • The Unquiet Library, Creekview High School Media Center in Canton, Ga.
    The school librarian and sophomore English teacher collaborated to create a semester-long participatory learning experience using social media and cloud computing to cultivate collective knowledge building and inquiry. Using tools ranging from Netvibes to Evernote to Google Sites, students blogged, contributed to group wikis, used social bookmarking, developed learning/research portfolios and presented learnings in a way that demonstrated an ethical use of information and licensed media. The program also was evaluated in terms of meeting Georgia Performance Standards and the American Association of School Librarian’s Standards for 21st Century Learners. For more information:
  • OCLS Shake It! Mobile App, Orange County Library System in Orlando, Fla.

OCLS Shake It! is an innovative native app for finding materials on the go.  This free downloadable app (available through iTunes for iPhone and iPod touch) was developed by the Orange County Library System’s (OCLS) Digital Content Team.  Using a randomized “shake” feature, the user can receive material recommendations for books, audiobooks, and DVDs.  Users can then access the title in the library’s mobile catalog, view availability and ratings and place a hold on the title. For more information:

  • Web Design Project, North Carolina State University Libraries in Raleigh, N.C.

In 2010 the North Carolina State University Libraries undertook a thorough rethinking and implementation of our web site based on two key principles:  1) the library would militantly craft the new site based on the user-centered design practices that have long been a central practice of the best commercial sites; and 2) the library would take very seriously the fact that our students and faculty live comfortably in a blended world where the distinction between physical space and virtual space is fluid.  The result has been a substantial increase in the usage of an already busy site, the unleashing of the potential of our powerful search engine, and a solid increase in use of the collection of digital tools that support our library services. For more information:

  • Digital Resource Commons, OhioLINK in Columbus, Ohio

The Digital Resource Commons (DRC) is a statewide platform for saving, discovering and sharing the unique academic materials produced by the University System of Ohio and Ohio’s private colleges. When budget cuts, staff reductions and hardware constraints threatened to halt DRC development, the Ohio Library and Information Network (OhioLINK) looked to the cloud. Without the burden of up-front expenditures on hardware, each DRC cloud instance now operates full-time for about $50 per month, and the DRC is able to bring new institutional members online in less than 10 minutes. The DRC uses DSpace open source software to store more than 250,000 items from 17 institutions. For more information:

“ALA OITP will host a program at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans (June 23-28) and develop a detailed description of the programs that will be available online to share successful models for delivering quality library service in new ways,” said AL21C Associate Director Larra Clark.

Celebrations, Round 1

Last Thursday, my fellow librarian, Roxanne Johnson, and I were honored  at the Georgia Board of Education meeting  as The Unquiet Library received recognition as one of two “exemplary” high school library programs for the state of Georgia.   What is the Georgia Department of Education Exemplary Media Program?

The Georgia Department of Education has designated the August 19, 2010 State Board of Education meeting to recognize three exemplary Library Media Programs.  In order to identify and highlight these programs, the Division of Academic Standards is solicited applications from schools.  Library Media Programs in three schools (elementary, middle and high) are selected for this recognition.  Library Media Specialists and GaDOE staff select the recipients based on the school’s written application, the principal’s narrative, a possible telephone interview, and a probable on-site visit.  This program is an opportunity to describe how the Library Media Program is meeting school improvement goals and improving student achievement.    The rubric for evaluating the program may be accessed by clicking here.

When I interviewed for the position of librarian at Creekview High with Dr. Bob Eddy on a cold December day nearly five years ago before we had even moved into our building, I articulated my vision of what an exemplary library program could be and the ways that kind of program could support the school’s mission of teaching and learning.    I am grateful for the opportunity and professional creative license Dr. Eddy has given me open and build the library program, a mission that is very much still in progress and a wonderful journey that has mirrored my growth and evolution as a school librarian.   There are far too many people to thank individually, but I am indebted to all the amazing people in my personal learning network, my family and friends, and my UGA network, especially Dr. Mary Ann Fitzgerald, my graduate school advisor and ongoing mentor who always encourages me in moments of doubt.

On behalf of the library program, I  would like to thank the Cherokee County School District, Principal Dr. Bob Eddy, Creekview High School faculty and staff, our PTA, our parents, and our students for your support of our program.  We look forward to our program growing and continuing our efforts to be an effective partner in teaching and learning as well as a space where your interests, passions, and talented are honored and valued!

Tammy Beasley, Buffy Hamilton, Roxanne Johnson, Dr. Bob Eddy

Oh, the Places We Hope to Go: Mapping Program and Learning Themes 2010-11 FTW!

Unquiet Library Learning and Program Themes, 2010-11

Once again, I am using Mindomo to help me pull together the swirling mass of ideas for 2010-11 that have been simmering in my mind throughout the summer.    You can see the working draft (which is subject to change and evolution throughout the next ten months) of the map that outlines the major program and learning initiatives for The Unquiet Library in 2010-11.     These goals and initiatives will take place against the backdrop of reduced staff as our district lost all of its media clerks for the 2010-11 year; protecting instructional services is our priority as is minimizing the ease and flow of access to the physical library space.

In a nutshell, here is where I hope to see the library program grow and go in 2010-11:

Media 21

This learning model will once again be the centerpiece of the program and will be the vehicle for a mini-pilot of the embedded librarian model.    Details will not be finalized until August 2, but tentatively, I have a team of four English teachers and one science teacher who are looking to scale out the work that Susan Lester and I did with our students in 2009-10. I will be writing a separate blog post outlining the goals, framework, tools, themes, and challenges of Media 21 for the upcoming year within the next two weeks;  I’ll also be outlining how I plan to grow my own instructional literacy and my past and present interests in looking at what happens next year through an anthropological lens, so please watch for that impending post.  This year, I hope to frame the Media 21 work as action research and/or ethnography to better understand and analyze student learning and the dynamics of what I hope will be a mini professional learning community.  In addition, I will also compose an additional post outlining and exploring my working conceptualization of participation literacy and its overarching influence on the design of Media 21.


This goal feels very much like a moving target in spite of my best efforts to approach our first efforts to roll out ereaders in a methodical and thoughtful way.   I’ll be meeting with the stakeholders who will be helping me in this process over the next weeks, but the preliminary plan at this time is to start with a small set of Kindles for circulation to students and faculty and hopefully expand the menu to include iPads and/or some other tablet device.   I want to have a mix so that students and teachers have options; in addition, I want a mix of dedicated ereaders as well as tablet devices with educational and productivity apps for learning.  The waters feel muddy as the library community grapples with digital rights management issues and the blitz of devices that are either in development or are on the brink of release, such as the Pandigital Novel. I definitely plan to continue collaboration with my personal learning network as we try to share our knowledge and criteria for evaluating these resources that will best fit the needs of our patrons.

I should also add that the initial plan is to purchase Kindles (and possibly Nooks) and to collect a considerable amount of student feedback and qualitative data from the students who use the initial set of devices.  I’ll be using student feedback and the results of their experiences to drive additional purchases and future directions with ereaders.


The Unquiet Library will be purchasing additional board games using Libraries Got Game as one of our compasses for purchasing materials that are engaging and aligned to the AASL Standards for 21st Century Learners.  In addition, Kimberly Hirsh has been doing some cool work in aligning games to the standards as well, and her work will inform the decision making process; Justin Hoenke is another friend and colleague whose experience and wisdom I’ll be calling upon to help me develop my gaming collection.   I am also working on assembling a team of gaming bloggers who will post directly to The Unquiet Library blog and share their insights and experiences on games of their choosing.

Student Virtual Collection

I want to step up last year’s focus on student content creation while providing a virtual space for hosting student learning artifacts that they may create either in collaboration with teachers and the library or that they may create out of their own learning interests.  I feel this student virtual collection is a way of celebrating student learning while providing an archive and space to explore the evolution and diversity of student learning.

Community/Tribe Building

I’ll be exploring and crowdsourcing strategies for stepping up our current degree of transparency as well as for  inviting even more participation in 2010-11 not only from students, but from parents, administrators, faculty, and other community stakeholders.     I’m working to recruit a team of stakeholders who will be guest bloggers for The Unquiet Library blog as well as finding more ways to crowdsource library policies, events, purchases, and learning experiences that better reflect the needs and wishes of all of our patrons.  In addition, I’m working with other educators to hopefully implement more learning experiences that tap into a larger global network to connect our learning community with others outside of our corner of the world.  My goal is to get more voices participating in the conversations we’re having in and outside of our learning space in the library.

Mobile Learning and Library Services

I plan for the library to lead the way in increasing integration of mobile devices and computing into instruction while finding ways to better tap into students’ mobile devices for access to library services and materials.  In addition, I’m planning on incorporating essential educational apps into our catalog.

Bring It

Although I don’t report back to work officially until July 27, my summer has been a hive of activity and thinking although I certainly wish I could have a few more weeks for collaboration, contemplation, reading, listening, and reflection.   Each of these initiatives presents its own challenges, but I will once again use this blog space to share the journey with you in hopes that others can not only learn from my successes and failures, but  also help me problem solve the challenges along the way and inform my thinking, which I plan to keep fluid and open throughout the next school year.     I am excited to see where we’ll go this year and what we’ll all learn together!