Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fierce Reads Tour: S.A. Bodeen, Marissa Meyer, and Leila Sales

Last night I attended my first author event at Children's Book World. I had heard of this bookshop and their events before, but hadn't made it out to Haverford. I wish I had done it sooner since it was a lot of fun.

The books shop is small, but it made for a nice intimate event. The authors who were part of the Fierce Reads tour - S.A. (Stephanie) Bodeen (The Compound, The Fallout), Marissa Meyer (Cinder, Scarlet), and Leila Sales (This Song Will Save Your Life) - were relaxed, personable and funny and they would all make spectacular author visits. The event was moderated at first and then the audience was able to ask questions. Meyer, who currently has a movie deal for her Lunar Chronicles series, announced for the first time that she has a new book coming out, Heartless, which will be the back story for the Queen of Hearts in  Alice in Wonderland.

The schedule of events at Children's Book World is posted on their website and you will be quite impressed with the authors and illustrators who will be stopping by. I'm particularly looking forward to the following:
  • Oct 15 Gayle Forman
  • Oct 18 Outsiders Speak Up - Jennifer R. Hubbard, K.M. Walton, Alison Ashley Formento Abbott, Jon Gibbs, and Ellen Jensen
  • Oct 20 Matt Phelan, Linda Sue Park, and David Wiesner
  • Nov 7 A.S. King
  • Nov 21 James Dashner (Maze Runner was our OBOS selection last year!)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Professional vs Personal Social Media: Twitter

On Friday, the use of Twitter for professional development was discussed at our in-service meeting. The vibe in the room seemed to range from "Seriously? That stupid thing the kids and celebrities use?" to "Duh, I've been on it for years!". I have had an account for many years (@liberrygurl), but just started to really use it in the last year or so. I occasionally participate in Twitter chats and frequently repost articles of interest to those in my Professional Learning Network (PLN). I also set up an account for the library (@gvlmc) where I post announcements, trivia, book club information, young adult literature news, etc.

The first step to getting involved with Twitter is to set up an account and make sure you pick a really secure password with a mix of letters and numbers. The account is free and you don't have to post anything right away if you would rather "lurk" for a bit.  Take some time to get a feel for it before jumping in right away - you could even play with it before setting up an account. Remember, everything you post is public (or has the potential to be retweeted and made public) and is archived by the Library of Congress. If you want to remain anonymous, it helps to share at least your subject and/or grade level so those communicating with you have an idea of who you are since accounts with no information look like spam. You can also set your account to private, but it is hard to connect with new people that way.

Next, decide who to follow. Do any of your colleagues have accounts? How about professional organizations, experts in your field, and news outlets? Follow people that you want to learn from and see who they follow to grow your list even more. Follow a few for fun like your favorite sports team, author, musician, or celebrity chef. But wait - how will you know that the accounts are real? After all, there have been many imitation accounts that have made the news. Accounts that have been verified for companies or celebrities have a blue circle with a white check mark next to the name. Some people have rules that they will only follow 100 Twitter accounts, but I can't seem to pare my list down to that. A nice feature of Twitter is that you can create your own lists, so if I want to just see the latest posts from those I follow on my "Edtech/Library Stuff", "CookingNCrafts", or "Sports" lists, I can easily do that. You can also follow other people's lists.

Now that your account is set up, explore trending topics by searching for specific hashtags, which look like this: #edtech and are used to follow conversations on topics. Anyone can make up a hashtag. I often use #tlchat (teacher librarian chat), #libchat (library chat), #edchat (education chat), #edtech (educational technology), #yalit (young adult literature), #ebooks, #ereaders, #publishing, #childlit (children's literature), and #books2movies in my tweets or retweets since the information is usually education, technology or library related.

Once you get comfortable with how Twitter works, participate in a Twitter chat, which will allow you to connect with others in real time. A chat is when a group meets online at a designated time and uses a specific hashtag to discuss issues that interest them. The hashtag for the conversation usually has "chat" in it. The Twitter chats can be as general as "education" as a whole or as specific as "fourth grade teachers". Many chats are archived and you can read the postings at a later time if you can't meet during the live discussion. There are tools to aid you during the discussions and to host a chat.

One tool that I have found to be useful is the BufferApp. It may appear that I am on Twitter 24/7, but I'm really not. I use the BufferApp to schedule when my tweets and retweets are posted. I usually check my email and Google+ in the morning and will "buffer" any tweets so that they show up every hour or so instead of all at once. This tool can also be used to spread out announcements from a club or sports team account. By running your tweets through a tool like this, you can also see retweet and click statistics.

There is some concern about teachers and social media. I have made the personal decision that Facebook is private and I don't friend students (K-12 or college). I will encourage my college students to connect with me on other forms of social media, such as Google+ or Twitter, because I want them to begin developing a PLN as we explore how to use social media in a professional manner as part of the coursework. I don't worry about my high school students because I figure they will quickly tire of my posts and everything I post there is either of a professional nature or something like "beautiful night at the ballpark". I am extremely careful about every post I make, even on my "private" Facebook page, since I do post a picture and identify where I work. I have also worked really hard to build a resume and professional reputation and don't want to do anything to throw it away.

Even if you do everything right, yes, there is still a potential for issues. My fiance is a high school English teacher who uses Twitter not for teaching, but for his side job as a sports writer. He connects with other writers, media outlets, athletes, teams, etc. and those connections have helped his column and podcasts. He has to keep his profile open for the sports writing and tells his high school students that find him that he will block any who follow him. Although he can't stop anyone from reading his tweets, he has made a decision that while his Twitter feed is public, that part of his life he doesn't want to include his students in. He had one incident where a student sent him a public message with profanity. We got the screen shot before the post was deleted and his administration was supportive in their handling of it. If are responsible with how you conduct yourself, it isn't your fault if a student harasses you online. Don't engage, just get the evidence and take it to the administrative team. Don't allow the chance that a student might do something stop you from using a powerful tool for connecting with other educators.

For more information check out the following videos hosted by Tom Murray (Quakertown SD):

Growing Your PLN -  local and national educators discuss how and why they created a PLN, with Twitter being an important part of that.

The Power of Twitter Chats - local and national educators discuss what they have learned from Twitter chats

Monday, May 6, 2013

History of Librarianship

We spend a great deal of time looking forward to what libraries of the future will be like, but sometimes it is fun to take a step back in time and see how far libraries have come (or what hasn't changed).

25 Vintage Photos of Librarians Being Awesome

Read the School Librarian’s Letter that Convinced Coppola to Make ‘The Outsiders’

Workout video for librarians (1987)

Delightful and Hilarious Vintage Library Videos 

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Social Media and Professional Development

Social media isn't just for celebrities who insist on Instagramming every aspect of their lives. It can be a powerful professional development tool as well. Here are some of my current favorite resources:

Twitter - I confess I don't check it regularly, but it is a great tool for professional development. Check out #tlchat, #libchat, #yalit, #edtechchat, #edtech, and more that I linked on my resources site.

Shelf Awareness - A daily email with news on publishers, independent booksellers, new titles, author book tours & television appearances, and trivia.

Book Bub - A daily email that lists the free and discounted ebooks of the day from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others.

Google+ - Similar to Facebook, but seems to have more of a professional slant. Some of my favorite communities are InfoLit & Tech (my own) and Instructional Technology Integrators.

Listservs: An oldie but a goodie, listservs are still going strong. Some of my favorites are LM_NET, too many from ALA related to all aspects of librarianship, and the PA Schools listserv.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Destiny Quest App Pt 2

So much for using the App when the Internet is didn't work.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Destiny Quest App

The Destiny Quest app is awesome and I use it all the time when I am helping classes look for independent reading books. There is nothing like having a mobile card catalog while roaming the stacks and some of the students have begun downloading it, too. This is why I can't believe I forgot about it last week.

Our Internet connection was a little uncooperative over the last two weeks and would go up and down throughout the day. The freshman were starting Pro/Con research papers and this made it difficult to use our LibGuide and databases for research, as well as locating books in the card catalog. For some strange reason my first instinct was to grab the Sears subject headings book to help locate books on the various topics since the Dewey numbers are in there. This worked well enough and books were located for everyone, but it hit me later - the catalog app still worked! It wasn't our server that crashed, it was the Internet connection. I had been running my phone off of the 3G and not the wireless every time the network went down. I could have used that instead and had the students download it to their phones. I doubt I'll forget this next time!

Monday, January 28, 2013

QR Code Update

On Friday I had some freshman classes in the library for independent book selection. The second of the two classes had a few minutes left at the end of the period and one of the students decided to download a QR reader onto her phone and check out the barcode on the book she had checked out. Two of her friends gathered around to see the book trailer. This was the first time I had witnessed a student doing this with the books I had put on display with the codes. They loved it and started scanning codes on other books before the bell rang. I figured this PR attempt would take some time to catch on and was glad to see it being used.