Monday, October 26, 2009

A School Library Journal Must Read

If you have not yet seen this article, be sure to read, “Things that Keep Us Up at Night” by Joyce Kasman Valenza (JudyG’s guru) and Doug Johnson (speaker for our copyright session at ISLMA last year).

It makes many, many provocative comments on topics of importance (e.g., use of space, copyright issues, social media, reading, intellectual freedom and more) to the future of librarianship and has generated quite a bit of debate, much of which is linked from Doug Johnson’s Blue Skunk Blog and Joyce Valenza’s NeverEndingSearch Blog. This article seems sure to be a topic of conversation at ISLMA and AASL.

Consider adding your own comments to one of those blogs or add them right here. As you read the article, what’s an idea that strikes you?


Judy Gressel said...

Library media specialists will certainly need to become social media specialists. We are training our students for a highly connected world. More and more of our web presence has an interactive component and that will only increase. I liked Valenza's argument that, "We will have to leave our own facilities to partner and teach in classroom teachers’ classrooms."

We do not do this enough at New Trier. I think we should schedule some time more often, especially for Junior Theme to be in the classroom with students.

Judy Gressel

Ms. S said...


Thanks for commenting -- I agree. You've had some great experiences with IGGS this year. In fact, I see an opportunity for many future discussions on "space". Early in the article, Valenza and Johnson mention needing "production space" ... "places to make stuff, do stuff, and share stuff." That clearly impacts facilities planning. And later they say "literacy is no longer restricted to print". Again, it's a reason for us to be meeting students where they are -- in the classroom and online.

I also am intrigued by the comments about preparing learners to "triangulate and evaluate". They mention PageFlakes and netvibes to help manage information flow. Have you tied either of those?

Ms. Eich said...

“Things That Keep Us Up At Night” is a tremendously powerful article that addresses many of the complex issues facing school librarians today. Valenza’s point is simple: school librarians must embrace constant change to be effective in our profession and remain viable in 21st century schools. A must read for everyone in our profession!

Ms. Brennan said...

What I found to be the most fundamental point in the article is the statement "Until what librarians teach is viewed as sufficiently important to assess, librarians will not be viewed as sufficiently important enough to keep."

Teacher-Librarians do teach, and we must teach rather than build a beautiful deli or grocery store of sources on the shelf.

The essential skills of information literacy must be a part of the core planning, coordinating, and instructing that we do with content teachers for students within a class and as individual learners. These skills build the framework for all future learning, no matter what happens to the information highway, cyberway, or centuries to come.

To be seen as teachers and information professionals is necessary at the federal, state, and local level. Only by our actions and voices will decision-makers change their perceptions of our role and our work. We need to become instructional partners in order to design and build quality, enriching projects and assignments for our students today so that they are able to and do contribute to our democratic society. It is necessary that we believe in, support, and feel proud of our leaders of tomorrow.