Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Model of mindmap (da Vinci)

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment

Example of mindmap of Leo da Vinci

Categories: Uncategorized

the view from inside….

May 10, 2011 3 comments

Adapting service strategies and the library collection to meet the needs of young adult patrons in a school setting.

What are the best resources?

What are the best practices for delivery of services?

There are no unequivocal answers. 35 librarians will give you 35 answers.

Then, how are decisions made?

It’s pretty much a balancing act.

A school library is like a little business. You have products (books) and services (help finding and using resources). You pay bills, keep within a budget, order books and non-books, fix stuff, pick up stuff and even take out the trash sometimes.

Add in: meet and greet with 520 students. As many as 100 per hour.

Add in: meeting and collaborating with faculty.

And, tailoring the collection for both personal needs (being an adolescent) and academic needs (getting stuff done for class).

But also, instruct in ways to avoid plagiarism, find good sources, use stuff ethically, consider copyright.

Do all of this in a constantly changing environment, technologically speaking.

Throw in keeping good relations with volunteers, parents and administration and you have the makings of a balancing act.

Know your environment.

Who are your students?

Boys, girls or co-ed?

What grade level? K-8? Middle School? High School?

Religious school? Private school? Public School? Special School (eg. High School for the Arts?)

How is your role defined?

Will you be expected to collect, organize and catalog?

Will you be expected to work collaboratively with faculty in developing research projects and writing assignments that involve research?

Will you help students create multi-media creative projects?


What are your administrator’s expectations?

Are they cutting-edge, pro-technology?

Or stuck in the 1950s?

Do they support your vision (or even know what your vision is?) (Do they know what you do every day?)

What are your expectations?

Who, exactly, are your stakeholders? Who do you serve?

Teachers? Students? Staff? Board of Trustees?

Get involved in “the network”

of librarians!

Listserves, blogs, wikis, Nings,

associations (ALA, CSLA, BAISL)


Develop your collection

Find out about trends in curriculum

(eg. History and movement toward experts and primary sources and away from encyclopedias)

What’s new (and sustainable) in technology

eBooks, eReaders,


Changes in educational philosophy

Copyright, fair use,

plagiarism (avoiding it, policies about)

And all manner of questions (and answers) about best practices and resources

Resources, links: at the end of this post.

Building a collection: it’s not like it used to be…..


Streaming video








Once you know what is appropriate for your setting:

Look at reviews

Start a book club (interest driven and exchange of ideas)

Look at other librarian’s blogs

Websites with teen reviews (and teen writing)

Non-fiction: need both interest driven reading (hobby, career) and life topics.

Consider each fiction genre: realistic fiction, horror, mystery, memoir, science fiction, historical fiction, fantasy.

Service strategies

  1. Advocacy

Find out what the student, faculty and staff needs are. “What would make your life/job easier?”

Get the word out that you are there to help. “You dream it, we do it.”

Get your sound bite ready: you have 30 seconds

Communicate actively with Administration: send articles, studies, anecdotes (sparingly)

Get students involved

Advantages: they are passionate

They are in the moment of being students and they know what they need

  1. Visibility

Market your library

Show up at events

Tutorials: make ‘em or “borrow” them

Target groups: LIBguides

Be approachable (get out from behind the desk)

New is fun. QR tags

Blog (regularly)

Join stuff. Groups. Go to local meetings. Just ask.


LM_Net (all purpose school librarian’s group)

CALIBk12 (another school librarian listserve with good advice and suggestions)

BAISL (independent librarian’s group, active and interesting -can get digest of listserve)


Joyce Valenza

Blue Skunk Blog Doug Johnson

Librarian in Black Sarah Houghton-Jan

Associations with good (or great) conferences, workshops and materials:

American Library Association (coming to Anaheim in June 2012)

AASL – the school librarian’s division of the American Library Association

California School Librarian’s Association (coming to Pasadena this November!)

Pasadena City College: sponsors a local librarian’s group

Book Reviews:

A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy

ALA’s teens top picks from YALSA (chosen by teens)

Printz Award from ALA (literary excellence in young adult literature)

Best Fiction for Young Adults from ALA

Good article:

Joyce Valenza and Doug Johnson: See Sally research: Evolving Notions of Information literacy

Categories: Uncategorized

A day in the life . . . well actually, an excellent day in the life

February 8, 2011 3 comments

farmer's market, Lautrec, Plum Cafe

Today was a magical day. Almost as good as the farmer’s market in Revel, finding ourselves in medieval Lautrec or dining al fresco at Le Cafe Plum.

Our school librarian’s blog was publicized (in a most amazing and professional manner) and received a flurry of comments. And we interviewed 7th grade teachers and learned about mouthwateringly beautiful assignments – from learning to sing and breathe around stress, to discovering how math works by measuring the wind – to clusters of students creating a video response to the parental query, “How was school today?” and more . . . history students  creating and curating an exhibit , “How it happened that we ended up in Los Angeles,” with maps, artifacts and oral histories of family members.

If I could run clips from the reel of today’s interviews, you’d see unabashed passion, unbridled enthusiasm and genuine affection for the students. It was immeasurably satisfying.

I learned that teachers are helping our students learn to make connections beyond themselves, in an engaging, unconstricted way. And that’s a pretty cool take-away from today.

Categories: Uncategorized

Refresh . . .

January 31, 2011 2 comments

The refresh button. It allows us to reset our creative meter and assimilate new information.

In our blogging workshop, we are learning about the marriage of text and visuals. Allowing the text to play a supporting role, while the visual images take a starring role in the story: illuminating, adding value, giving the eyes a treat.

symphony in spikes

Our assignment: create a color wheel. In photographs. Make selections that resonate with you and create meaning and context in your life.  With each photograph, the camera and I developed our relationship, moving closer to each other. Until at the end of the day, the person who used to be me slipped within the lens of the camera.

The setting: the Tohono Chul Park, in the Sonoran desert. The challenge: to calibrate the  brain-whirring down low enough to hear the wings of butterflies. To connect deeply and meaningfully with essential shapes, colors and patterns and let the tendrils of new connections, new ideas form. To refresh.

At lunch, we re-group and recount our experiences, share our photos. It was a day of finding new connections. And falling in love with the camera that the kind and generous Art Department at Flintridge Preparatory School let me use for this workshop (Tim Bradley, you rock!).

Categories: Uncategorized

Sorting . . .

January 29, 2011 8 comments

In an effort to organize the universe, we sort.  But why do we sort? To find. To understand. To differentiate.

pajama sorting at the Tucson Savers

How is your closet sorted? By type of clothes – sports, work, gardening? By color? Season? Favorites at the front, less favorites on the floor way in the back? How fast can you find what you are looking for in your closet? Retailers would like you to find what you want right away at their store. Sometimes, sorting sidles right up next to marketing in a retail setting, answering the question, “How can we get our product in your hands within 3 minutes?”

the wall of shoes at the Tucson Savers

A sorting system can use multiple ways of organizing. This wall of shoes ran almost the entire length of the Savers store in Tucson  – and was a visual feast of color, pattern and geometry. But when you are looking for shoes, what is the most important parameter of your search? Size.

the perfect shoe in the right size

And what a joy to discover that at Savers,  searching the 100+ foot wall of shoes is manageable because sorting is both by style and size. Amazing. And profound. Making the search process user friendly. It was the take-away lesson from the friendly folks at Savers: make it easy to search – and find. Keep a presence in the mind and heart of the user, anticipate their needs and keep the solutions simple.


Categories: Uncategorized