Thursday, January 15, 2009

Getting Started

iGoogle Assignment
Due by Feb. 20, 2009

  1. Get a gMail account if you don't already have one. Send a message from your gMail account to: and tell me: For LIBR 233, my email address is: __________.

  2. Create your own iGoogle page. Use the book In Command to assist you in creating the basic three tabs in your page. You can have whatever else you want on this page to assist you in managing this class and your own personal information space.

  3. Create a Google Presentations (competition to PowerPoint) demo complete with speaker's notes and upload this to Angel by Feb. 20, 2009. Create screen captures of your iGoogle page and Blogger page that demonstrates the use of RSS feeds. Here are the elements: Demonstrate the features of your own iGoogle page; Create a sample student iGoogle page; Show a sample assignment blog where the classroom teacher can present an assignment and where the teacher librarian and the students can comment or ask questions about that assignment; show the RSS feed linking the teacher assignment to the student's iGoogle page.

  4. Add an RSS feed to your iGoogle page that links you to each of the assignment blogs: First Month's Assignments, Second Month's Assignments, and Third Month's Assignments.

  5. Upload your assignments the first day of each month beginning March 1 to Angel.

Overview of the class:

In this class, we look at three of five elements of the learning commons. The four program areas of the library media program are:

The Reading Program

The Technology Program designed to enhance learning and teaching

The program of Collaboration designed to build quality learning experiences with teachers in an information-rich and technology-rich environment

The Information Literacy Program designed to help every learner know how to learn

In addition to these program elements, they all rest on the

Organizational and infrastructure elements of the learning commons infrastructure

In LIBR 233, we concentrate on the first two of the above elements. In LIBR 250, we concentrate on the last two elements. Together, these two courses assist you in the building of a total library media program linked to student achievement. We will also consider organizational elements.

The knowledge base will be constructed by teams of students using wikis at

We also create a bibliography together for this class and post it on our pathfinder wiki at

You will be assessed on the quality of your contribution to the knowledge base. In this class, you will also create a group Virtual Learning Commons and begin to build or revise the virtual learning commons for your own school.

The final product for this class is the Vision Project which is a presentation you can give to a faculty member and/or administrator.

-A major vision statement concentrating on the first two program elements but also covering the entire four.

-An actual presentation for a real or imaginary school leadership team

-A publishable article for an audience other than school library media teachers

Current professional books are reviewed by the instructor for the periodical Teacher Librarian. At: The reviews on this site are supplemented with reviews on a wiki at:

Class Links:
libr233 pathfinder wiki
libr233 synthesis wiki

First Month's Assignments

Building Ideas for the Virtual Learning Commons

Start by investigating Joyce Valenza's virtual library at:

Next, look at Valerie Diggs' Chelmsford High school Library, in MA at:

Share with classmates other virtual learning commons you can locate.

Objective: To find library web sites that turn one-way communication into collaboratives and conversations. What are the features we could build into our own learning commons sites?

We will start building in the second month, so this month will help us get ready for the construction.

Textbook and Foundational Reading
Reading Notes Uploaded to Angel Gradebook by March 1, 2009

Read the following articles and books the first month of class. Keep a reading log using the formula: read 50 minutes and log 10 minutes. Your reading log for this assignment is to be uploaded to Angel by the 1st of March, 2009.

Prelude Reading

  • For the first month of class, read three articles that were published in various journals; the first by a "cybrarian," the second by a librarian, and the third by your instructor. What roles are being played out in these people's professional lives? What are they worried about? What do you think their days are like? How do you guess that these roles will be played out in the professional literature you are just starting to read? Do you think there may be some gender stuff being played out here? Be prepared to discuss this issue in class. Yes, these articles are getting older, but they do symbolize the competition between library and tech folks.

  • Nellen, Ted. "Morphing from Teacher to Cybrarian," Multimedia Schools, January/February, 1999, p. 20-25.

  • Anderson, Mary-Alice. "Finding Time," Multimedia Schools, January/February, 1999, p. 26-28.

  • Loertscher, David. "Extreme Makeover," School Library Journal, November 2004. (What was my thinking just five years ago?)

  • Now read the next article: Loertscher, David V. "Flip This Library," School Library Journal, Nov. 1, 2008 at:

  • Now read all the textbooks. Summarize these in your own notes but not on the LIBR233Synthiesis wiki or on the pathfinder wiki. Those two places are reserved for materials beyond the textbooks. Here are some specifics:

Read and Think about the Standards

Taste Technology Ideas

Read everything in all the textbooks about technology to get an idea of the role the school library plays in technology. Who is in charge of the networks? Who is in charge of what's on the networks?

Read what Taxonomies chapter 10 has to say about the role technology plays in the school library. What is the essential role here? How does it differ from the techie role of building and maintaining networks and computers? What does the new AASL Learning Standards (Nov. 2007) have to say about technology? A new revision of AASL's Information Power is being written. Watch the AASL website for an announcement.

Now read the technology chapter in The New School Learning Commons Where Learners Win by Loertscher, Koechlin and Zwaan. What changes does a client-side view of technology bring to center stage? What is the difference between administrative computing and instructional computing? How could tech directors (teacher technologists) be persuaded to support the idea of instructional computing?

Peruse Reading Foundations

Read Taxonomies chapter 9 and other research such as Stephen Krashen/Jeff McQuillan. Comparing theory to practice, does the school community really believe the Krashen/McQuillan notion that "amount counts?" If they do believe, what evidence is there that they practice what they believe?

Read the article "Waste Not, Want Not" by Jamie McKenzie. This sounds like my rantings and ravings about librarians who can't seem to get enough books into kids' hands because of the restrictive rules and the fear of losing books. In this article, what do you think the role of the school librarian is in providing easy access to electronic information?

All organizations create rules that help them function smoothly and force the patrons/customers to come in line with organizational needs, even when these are antithetical to patron/customer needs. How can school libraries optimize access to reading, yet give every single child/teen the opportunity and the encouragement to become literate? (Two books a week with the potential of trading them at any time and "you can't have any more books when you have overdues - such rules don't cut it, folks.) What do you do for the transient child, the child who does not handle materials well? The child who cannot pay fines or pay for lost books? The child whose parents won't let them borrow anything because of fear of loss? The kid who won't use the library because they "don't like to read?" The kid who would like to read, but you don't have anything they want to read? The kid whose teacher makes all kinds of rules about what kids should and should not read? The kids who are forced to use an Accelerated Reader even though they hate it?

How can the teacher librarian who has spent the majority of their time concentrating on the reading program cut their time in that program, yet be as effective or more effective in promoting literacy? (Remember, there are too many other emerging roles for the librarian so that it cannot predominate the hours spent on the job each week.)

Now read the literacies chapter in The New School Learning Commons Where Learners Win book. What expansion of our role in reading and other literacies are envisioned here? How do we turn the reading program client-side vs. organizational-side?

Back Up Toward the General Ideas of the Traditional Library vs. the Learning Commons

Read Taxonomies, p. 1-28. How has the role of the traditional library media teacher changed over the years as well as the function of that center in the school? What prospects are there for your school library becoming a 24/7 information service? And what role would you play in developing or reinventing your school's library?

Read Taxonomies, p. 29-66. What is the role of others in the development of a vibrant library media center program? How can the library media teacher help others to assume a proactive role?

Examine the Organization needed for the Traditional School Library and the Reinvention of the School Learning Commons.

Read and concentrate on good ideas for managing the information infrastructure (Taxonomies, chapter 12-15) What are the best ideas you have found for your operations resource file for topics such as budget, facilities, time management, staffing, scheduling the LMC, being on leadership teams, managing conflict, handling students, making the LMC a friendly place, building confidence of administrators and teachers, engaging in public relations, etc.?

Complete the reading of The New School Learning Commons. How does the organization differ from the traditional when a client-side organizational structure is used?

Class Links:
libr233 pathfinder wiki
libr233 synthesis wiki

Second Month's Assignments

Building Your Group's Learning Commons
This assignment due: April 1, 2009.

You will be put into groups of elementary, middle, and high school groups.

Step One: Each group is to build a sample virtual learning commons.

You only have 30 days to complete the construction.

Previous class virtual learning commons are at:

You may harvest the best you find from other sites and be creative on your own. Your site is judged, not on the quantity of information but on whether it achieves the idea of being a collaborative and a conversation. It is judged by the quality of the resources. It is judged as a place where you can harvest materials and ideas for your own real virtual learning commons at your school.

Some Suggested Guidelines

Create the main web page/title screen

Teacher Tools: What would teachers like to have as a place for tools, helps, resources, research, and teacher tips all as a part of a faculty conversation and help center? The section for teachers is an important part of your virtual learning commons. Here are a few suggestions:

  • READING - Include the very best ideas that your faculty could use to stimulate reading in their classrooms and with you in the LMC; include descriptions of programs or events you will be using in your school to stimulate reading; include ideas for SSR, reading aloud, building rotating classroom collections, sources of funding for books, great bibliographies of things to read aloud, suggestions to your students, read as a professional teacher about the topic of reading, etc. Be sure to organize the materials in such a way that a teacher would be attracted to use it. Just a bunch of stuff is not likely to be used. Be sure to use the resources on, contribute to those resources, and if at all possible, participate with your school or group in this initiative.

  • ENHANCEMENT OF LEARNING THROUGH TECHNOLOGY - This section should spotlight the very best ideas for the use of technology to enhance learning in basic tool skills/literacy/content areas. It should spotlight the best ideas from the professional literature; spotlight the best ideas from your own faculty; provide good sources for personal professional development in the use of technology; and any other source of help that a teacher might need. Think of this section as a professional development tool box. It might also contain announcements of opportunities in the district, state, or nation. Remember, less is often more.

Student Section: Try to think of all the wonderful tools, information, conversations, student projects and helps that students would not only use but contribute to as part of the virtual learning commons strategy of collaboration.

Ideas for the student part of the page:

  • Tools - Links to tools that help a student be successful in their classes and in school. For example, web 2.0 tools, word processors, graphics packages, tutorials on how to write a term paper, tips on using the digital camera to link pictures into a web page. In other words, link learners to the actual tools and/or helps for using them to succeed. Even information literacy tip sheets might be here.

  • Resources for personal space, collaborative space or outer space - This is the section linking learners to online databases and various search engines - the place where they will search for information they want. The section may link them to specific databases such as the Electric Library, InfoTrac or SIRS; links to encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc. Hopefully meta-search engines to search multiple databases might be included. This section also contains the link to the school library catalog and other library catalogs. It also links to various search engines such as Yahoo, Google, and Dogpile among others. There might also be links to a section listing the 15,000 best websites for middle schoolers. A good meta search engine to look at is This specialized Internet search tool is designed to help teachers and students efficiently locate Internet content that can be used for educational purposes.

  • Activities of the school such as virtual book clubs, school folksonomies being constructed, global projects, fundraisers, etc.

  • Push technology section - This is the area where administrators, teachers, library media teachers, and parents are trying to get to the learner with announcements, links to classroom web pages/assignments, advertisements (such as good books to read), etc. There might be a "web site or book of the day" or connections to the living yearbook of the school (the latest pictures of the football game or other school event) . This section would be a place each student could add resources for their personal space so they keep up to date on what they need to be doing.

    Another area of push technology is the listing of student assignments and collaborative units currently being done in the learning commons. These are the collaborative units you are doing with teachers including any of the following features: At least one button that links students in a particular class to useful resources for that class including carefully selected Internet sites and any clicks to electronic resources in the school library collection; A section of general helps for kids in school such as school term paper guides, helps in citing materials; links to online dictionaries and encyclopedias, useful tutorials, etc.; A section that leads kids to Internet sites or school databases that help them personally such as information about sexual harassment, where to go for various kinds of help, what to do in case of emergency, local organizations that can be helpful. The page might contain lists of good books to read (perhaps recommended by the students themselves) and certainly a few you recommend, movie reviews (done by the kids), links to sports, etc. This part of the website is required of every student in the class. You will receive a major grade reduction without this section.

    The objective here is not quantity, but quality.

Step Two: Create Your own or Improve Your School's Virtual Learning Commons

If you already have a school library web site, transform it into more of a virtual learning commons and refine it, add to it, develop it further - note for the instructor where you started and what developments and refinements you have made. (A very short essay/log will suffice.)

A good start is to look at web pages constructed by school librarians around the country. Try Peter Milbury's site for linking school library web pages at

If you don't have a school learning commons, you could assist someone else in the class building theirs, contribute extra time in contributing to the group learning commons, or something else you clear with the instructor to do.
Try this site:

Sample Digital Libraries:




Greece Athena

Hunterdon Central


Northfield Mount Herman School

Redwood Bessie Chin


Great Neck South High School Library

Mankato East High School Library

National Cathedral

New Trier High School Library Home Page

Oregon School Library Information System

Scarsdale High School Library

Walter Johnson High School Media Center

Walter Reed Middle School

Albuquerque Academy

Arlington New York


Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities

BHS Media Center

Blue Valley North High School Library


Carmel High Library

Carmel Middle School Library

Carthage High School Media Center

Chiddix Junior High School IMC

Community High School District 94 -- LRC

DGN Library - Downers Grove, IL

Dr. Charles Best Secondary School Library

East Chapel Hill

East Woods

East Side Middle School Library

El Rancho Charter

Fort Worth Country Day School

Freemont Unified School District

Glennie IRC

Hamilton Union High School Library Home Page

Harry Ainlay High School Library

Lee’s Summit North

Lee’s Summit West

Limestone Community High School Media Center

Livingston High School

Manchester High School Library Media Center

Martin Felton Library - Colegio Bolivar, Cali, Colombia

Masterman School Library

Menomenie Middle School

Mission High School

Monte Vista High School Library

Newton North

NMH the Reading Room

P.L. Duffy Resource Centre, Trinity College, Western Australia

Paideia School Library

Peshtigo, Wisconsin School Web Site

St. Clair Michigan Middle School Media Center

St Pius X SRC main

San Benito High School

Scarsdale Middle School

Scotch College Library

Southport School


Thacher School

Thomas Dale

Walnut Hills High School

Wazeta East Middle School

Western Albemarle High School

Westminster School

Whippany Park High School

WHS Library Home

Winona Middle School

York Mills CI School Library

Hundreds more at:

Reading, Viewing and Listening for Month Two

Read articles, book chapters, websites, blogs, Teacher Tube, etc. and log this reading. This will help you prepare for month three's creation of your vision project. You should read a minimum of ten items of which you should:

Class Links:
libr233 pathfinder wiki
libr233 synthesis wiki

Third Month's Assignments

The Vision Project

This project is due May 10, 2009.

Begin building your library media program vision project.

Scenario 1: You are interviewing for a new position as a teacher librarian at _____ school. The leadership team of the school has asked you to present your vision for their school in a 15 minute presentation.

Scenario 2: You are the teacher librarian at _____ school but are disturbed by the antiquated practices that are part of the "traditional" program. In your conversations with the principal, you express the desire to change the entire nature of the library media program. Interested, the principal asks you to prepare a 15 minute presentation for the school leadership team concerning the direction in which you would like to move.

During the second month, you read ten articles or book chapters and contributed items to the wiki. During the first two weeks of this month, repeat this assignment so that we will all have a larger pool of ideas and articles. Copy your contributions and submit them to Angel by April 15, 2009.

Class Links:
libr233 pathfinder wiki
libr233 synthesis wiki

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Other Assignments

Additional Assignment 1: Professional Membership

Join a professional association. You should show evidence of membership in either AASL (American Association of School Librarians) and/or CSLA (California School Library Association) or some other association of professionals dealing with school libraries.

Additional Assignment 2: Knowville

Contribute to, and participate in
by editing several activities in Knowville and contributing one fun activity that stimulates reading, viewing, listening, writing, or doing.

Additional Assignment 3: Attendance at Class

Be sure to attend and participate in class on Elluminate. Attendance is mandatory from the standpoint that activities done in class will add to your grade and there is no makeup for these activities. For attending and participating in a class session you will receive 10 points. If you cannot attend a class, then you can retrieve and view the recording. If you view the recording and email the grad assistant your contribution or reaction to the topics discussed, then you will receive 5 points for that class. If this is not received within a week of the class, you will receive a zero for that class participation.

Additional Assignment 4: Grant Writing

Write a grant (or show that you have already written one, or make major progress in writing one); assist in the writing of a grant; or demonstrate that you have already written a grant. One way to fulfill this assignment is to write a grant for the Laura Bush Foundation at With the change in administration, one wonders if the Laura Bush Foundation is going to continue. Because this foundation is targeting funds only for schools in poverty, you might have to adopt a school (but don't do one for a school that is not committed to having a full time library media teacher). Another way is to write a grant for your PTA to fund LMC programs/materials, or a grant for a local charitable group. In order to facilitate this, discussion should occur in the comments section of the blog.

Additional Assignment 5: Assessment Measure

Build and test at least one measure for linking the school library media program to achievement. This can be done in your own school library, or can be planned if you are not currently employed.

Class Links:
libr233 pathfinder wiki
libr233 synthesis wiki