The Learning Librarian

Lending Librarians..a look into library blogs

on June 7, 2012

For my first post, I scoured through a lot of library blogs. The ones below were three of my favorite sites. They each encompassed something that I would like to incorporate into my own blog as well as practices I would like to follow in my own library.

The first blog that caught my attention was Cathy Nelson’s. Her blog is titled Cathy Nelson’s Professional Thoughts. The purpose of Cathy Nelson’s blog is to offer ideas to teachers and librarians looking for meaningful ways to incorporate technology into instruction. Her blog has entries that explore technology in education, her thoughts on activities going on in her library and school, as well as links to professional development material. Cathy Nelson is an advocate for school media, a keynote speaker at lectures, and a host of webinars. The material from her presentations is available on her blog. Some of her most recent blog posts include finishing up the school year, censorship, and a collaborative project she shared with her school art teacher in which students recycled old books and created art in a “Weeds to Wonders” project.

The blog post that I found most fascinating was posted on April, 03, 2012, titled “What End of the Spectrum Are You On?”  In this entry, Cathy Nelson responds to an article published in School Library Journal (April 2012).  The article is about a former librarian turned technology coordinator. The article describes how some librarians are leaving the library in order to become technology coordinators. Cathy Nelson feels that the 21st century librarian should already be wearing the title of technology coordinator as one of many hats. Her entry poses the question “What end of the spectrum are you on?” She acknowledges that some librarians are content being a specials teacher and merely check out books while other librarians are embracing 21st century learning and adhering to the AASL standards.

Her belief is that due to some librarians not adapting to the technology that rules the world of the typical student, libraries everywhere are suffering severe budget cuts. Meanwhile some librarians are leaving the library and taking jobs as technology coordinators. Cathy Nelson believes that 21st century librarians should not have to leave the library in order to bring technology to teachers and students.  The technology coordinator interviewed in the journal is working with teachers and students to create blogs, improve presentations, and introduce new technologies such as Voice Thread, and Glogster. Cathy Nelson’s belief is these are things that all librarians can and should be doing in order to be aligned with the most recent standards.

While reading this blog post, one is faced with some tough questions regarding one’s current place on the spectrum and reflecting upon what one can do to improve. Cathy Nelson believes that only by improving and adapting to meet the changing needs of learners will libraries begin to thrive and the worry about being replaced by paraprofessionals will subside.This entry was particularly powerful because the author forced the reader to self-reflect and make an honest evaluation of their effectiveness as a librarian.

Another blog written by a librarian that I enjoyed was TLC=Tech +Library+Classroom by Tara Ethridge. I read this blog after reading Cathy Nelson’s. At first glance the short posts seemed lacking content after the longer posts I was accustomed to reading on Cathy Nelson’s blog. Upon further examination, I found I really enjoyed the shorter posts and was able to get a lot of great ideas for projects. I thought the blog title was catchy, but it actually sums up the work of the author perfectly. Her posts include Skype chats with some of her students’ favorite authors, a mom/daughter and a dad/son book club, and the importance of students using technology responsibly.  The post that captured my interest was published on April 6, 2012 called “Glogster Late Adopter” .

Tara Ethridge openly admits that she had shied away from Glogster because it wasn’t as intuitive as some technologies. I couldn’t help but think while reading this post, that certainly other students and teachers may have shared the same thought. Personally, this post appealed to me because I kept coming across the word Glogster and was not familiar with it. It was addressed in Cathy Nelson’s blog as well. Since I’m now trying my hand at blogging, it seemed like the perfect time to learn about Glogster. If Tara Ethridge could, why not me? I found that Glogster is similar to Pinterest. I could certainly see how this would be appealing to students. It gives users a way to create posters and online boards of personal interests. In a school setting, it could be used to find information related to a specific assignment or project.

Tara joked that she found Glogster to be easy because she had someone beside her to guide her through the steps. In reality, isn’t that what we all need in order to become comfortable with the latest and greatest in technology? I like to believe that most teachers who choose not to incorporate technology do so because they are intimidated or they simply do not know how. As school librarians, we can use opportunities like this to hold lunch time or after school seminars to introduce teachers to relevant tools for their classrooms. In this case, she chose to use it as a way to generate interest in a visiting author. I absolutely love how Tara Ethridge is using technology such as Skype and Glogster to connect her students to their favorite authors.

My third and final pick was a blog titled The Book Bug” by an elementary school librarian named Jo Nase. Initially, this blog appealed to me because she blogs about her first year as a school library media specialist. It was really fascinating to read blog posts about her first time experiences with book fairs, library organization, and collaboration with classroom teachers. She also includes a list of books she is currently reading, as well as, posts about the most popular titles at her school library. One of her last posts of the school year was a reflection on what she has accomplished during her first year and what she hopes in accomplish the next year. It is evident that she uses her blog to journal her experiences and improve as an educator.

Jo Nase’s February 5, 2012 post was titled “Techy Talk Live Binder.”  In this post, she describes how she hosts a monthly class for teachers at her school. In each class she shows them a technology tip that they can use in their classrooms. This type of collaboration is exactly what Cathy Nelson describes in her blog. In the January session of Techy Talk, she showed teachers 20 useful classroom websites. I browsed through the list and found a few interesting ones that I checked out, including bitly, lino, and weblist.

After reading about all of the fabulous happenings at each of these ladies’ libraries, I couldn’t help but think about how I want to incorporate blogging into my library. I’m sold on the idea of keeping a personal blog to chronicle my experiences as a librarian when that day comes. By doing so, I hope to join this community of librarians and share ideas. Jo Nase gave kudos to some colleagues for giving her ideas to build upon and Cathy Nelson’s posts were often directly related to blogs that she was following. Blogging is a great way to start building my digital footprint. At most schools there are only one or two librarians. By branching out and encouraging librarians at other schools to blog, it would begin to make the media center feel like less of an island. I would hope that by sharing my blog with other librarians in the county, they may be inspired to create their own.

I also like the idea of getting students involved. One obvious way is to hold sessions to show teachers how to set up classroom blogs for themselves and their students. I also saw examples of two libraries in different schools and countries sharing a blog. I think this is a great way for students to connect and become global learners. When I begin teaching, I would like to set up a library blog and have special guest bloggers from each grade write a weekly post. This way, I could get a lot of students from each grade level actively blogging throughout the year. Plus, the school library blog would have posts that would interest each grade level. Another idea would be to form a library book club and allow the members to create a blog and write about the latest book they’re reading.

Braun, Linda. “Next Year’s Model,” School Library Journal (April 2, 2012)


7 responses to “Lending Librarians..a look into library blogs

  1. clnelson says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog and finding it useful. I know I get carried away in long posts. I have tried to work on that. My temporary solution came in breaking up the long posts into paragraphs with headings, which makes them easier to read. It’s a process, and writer extra-ordinairre, I am not LOL!! But I do enjoy the practice of reflecting in a blog atmosphere. Again thanks for visiting.

    • slm508red says:

      I’m flattered that you visited my site. I wish I had saved a draft instead of publishing it.I didn’t really think anyone would be looking at it yet, lesson learned! I really enjoyed your blog and I’ve been following it. Your posts are really relevant and aligned with my learning technologies course. As for long posts, I’m one to talk..I’m having the hardest time trying to fit everything I want to say in without rambling.

  2. hag002 says:

    I visited Cathy Nelson’s site as well, Becky! I loved it and have enjoyed reading her posts. (Cathy, if you are reading this, you have a wonderful and informative site!) I really like the post you presented of hers, “What End of the Spectrum Are You On?” I have to agree with her. Media specialists should already have the tag of technology specialist attached to their title. Many of the media specialists I have talked to have the most knowledge out of the entire school’s faculty when it comes to educational technology. It is almost as if media specialists have two jobs within schools today, so why not have the tag of media and technology specialist?

    So where are you on the spectrum? Should media specialists be just that – media specialists – or should they be considered more?


    • slm508red says:

      I think it’s two-fold. I think that schools should recognize the evolution of the media specialist position due to the recent technological advances and supply the center with technology to support the 21st century learner. With that being said, I think that media specialists also need to embrace the changes and accept that the media center isn’t just all about books anymore. I hope to be a tech savvy librarian who is up to date on the latest technological trends in education.

  3. doro12 says:

    Love your tagline and descriptive post titles. I learned a lot from reading your posts.
    Serves as a good model as I finish mine. Gracias!

  4. slm508dle says:

    The Book Bug is such a great blog! I saw others posted about it so I tried to find different blogs that I enjoyed, but after seeing so many discussed it I decided to check it out after reading your blog. My goodness she is so organized! I love how Mrs. Nase shared all of what she is doing with the viewers. I especially love the rock star theme and think that students will totally buy into it. I think about the library at my school and it is no where near as cheery, granted it is very old, but I think that a theme like this could definitely liven up any room! I enjoyed reading about her highlights of the year, not yet being a media specialist/librarian it really put things into perspective to see all that can be accomplished. Not only did Mrs. Nase discuss what she did accomplish but she also discussed what she wants to accomplish for the summer and next year. I can only hope one day to have an inviting library like hers!

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