Library blogs offer best practice advice for both future and current practicing librarians. It goes to show there is more to school libraries than just books. In all of the blogs, using technology is front and center. Technology helps keep students interested in school while maintaining a positive attitude toward learning.
Continuously Learning in the Library by Shawna Ford
Shawna Ford, a librarian at Curtis Elementary School in Texas created this blog. The blogs are broken up into four categories: Library Happenings, New Books & Reviews, Teacher Resources, and MakerSpace & Maker Clubs. Of particular note, the Robotics, Coding, and Beyond blog posted on, 11 January 2015, highlights students’ interests in robotics and coding. Shawna’s class was able to use technology to chat with programmers via Google Hangouts. Students were able to ask questions to help them understand more about programming. This is particularly fascinating because it is a STEM project at its best. Students must rely on several skills to program a robot successfully. The topic of this blog coincides with the robotics project third grade students at my school are working on.
The Daring Librarian by Gwyneth Jones
Gwyneth Jones is the daring librarian at Murray Hill Middle School in Laurel, MD. Her latest blog, titled, Say Yes! To a School Instagram! makes the argument that schools should have Instagram. The purpose is to share what students are learning immediately with followers. According to the blog, a reason why schools should have Instagram is that 51% of high school graduates use Instagram daily. Moreover, 23% of teens indicate Instagram is their favorite social media. The blog goes on to claim that the targeted age group (K-12 school-aged students) does not use Facebook or Twitter as much as Instagram. Therefore, it makes sense that schools should create Instagram accounts. Gwyneth ensures students’ privacy is protected by getting permission before posting and tagging students on Instagram. The photos may be seen by parents and other teachers in real time to highlight student learning. In a way, Instagram is a conduit to help stakeholders stay informed about the exciting things students are doing in the school. Reading the comments further strengthens Gwyneth’s argument. One comment poster mentioned the lack of students knowing about a Follett Challenge. The librarian posted the information on Facebook, email, and put up flyers to no avail until she posted information about the challenge on Instagram. It goes to show, educators in this age must remain current on social media in order to disseminate information widely and quickly.
Never Ending Search by Joyce Valenza
Joyce Valenza is a blogger for School Library Journal (SLJ) and a librarian at Springfield Township High School. This particular blog, CS (Computer Science) First: for Middle School Libraries, and your CS Program shares innovative ways Google’s Computer Science First may enrich student’s lives by using technology to promote problem solving and coding skills. Schools facing budget cuts should find the initiative extremely helpful because the program costs nothing to operate. While the school provides the computers and access to the Internet, Google provides all the necessary training material. Computer Science First offers students with opportunities to design programs that center around their interests. For example, a student may design a program using mediums such as art, fashion, music, or gaming, etc. The initiative aims to promote digital literacy, math, and science skills while encouraging students to learn more about computer programming/coding. Google’s initiative also promotes partnerships by pairing schools with community volunteers who share a passion for teaching and learning.