School Libraries

Colorado Administrator Forges New Path for School Librarians

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As first appeared in Education Week August 19, 2013. Reprinted with permission from Editorial Projects in Education.

When $50 million in budget cuts over three years forced her school district to cut librarians' schedules from full to part time, Julie A. Bowline knew the loss of services for students would be difficult to bear.

Underfunded School Libraries Fight Back

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Advocating for school library services is a year-round necessity that becomes particularly pressing as spring approaches. That’s the season when school-district officials make their budget projections for the upcoming academic year, recently resulting in many school library workers receiving a provisional pink slip, issued just in case administrators need to follow through. The FY2015 cycle promises to be a particularly brutal one, according to Marci Merola, director of ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy, who tells American Libraries she bases her observation on the “spike in calls since mid-February.”

Public Education Committee Reveals “Woefully” Underfunded Library Programs

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Most science books available to Utah students are old enough to run for Congress and remember when the Cold War was a fearful reality. On Wednesday morning members of the House addressed the issues facing Utah public education system, most notably the apparent long term neglect of library upkeep.

“Utah school libraries have been neglected, due to diminishing funds, over the last few years,” said Cheryl Smith, a former Granite School District Library Director.

One Book, Many Zombies

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Zombies now populate videogames, commercials (for everything from cars to Skittles), even spinoffs of classic books like Pride and Prejudice. This fall, the Moraine Valley Community College (MVCC) library in Palos Hills, Illinois, moved this zombie craze into new territory, using it as an academic metaphor to connect disciplines and foster conversation and student engagement.

Library staff created a simulated zombie pandemic that linked the curriculum to the library’s cultural programming and student activities. Nearly 500 students, staff, and faculty participated, utilizing our program in more than 60 course sections that relied on an infrastructure built by MVCC’s information technology department. This campuswide learning event uniquely positioned our library to organize and execute undead events.

Chicago librarian remake of Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage' goes viral

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Two Chicago private school employees are scheming on a thing that's "Sabotage."

Duane Freeman and Mike Ferbrache didn't expect a remake of the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" video--which was directed by Spike Jonze in 1994--to get much attention beyond their students and faculty at Francis W. Parker K-12 School in Lincoln Park. It was just a fun way to showcase the school's librarians in a new light for an annual variety show for the students in May.

Until last week, the near shot-for-shot redo of the cheesy cops and robbers style video sat on their Vimeo page, collecting a couple thousand views. But in the last week, the duo -- which performs comedy shows around Chicago on the side -- has watched views of the video exceed 140,000, all from a little library love.

Making STEM Programs Work In The Library

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STEM is certainly the new buzzword in library programming for children. That means a rush to create and promote STEM programming. The problem is that STEM is an educational initiative and most of the available literature is geared towards classroom activities. As yet, there is no set of Best Practices for STEM programming in libraries.

The more I read about STEM activities, the more I realize that simply adding science facts to existing programs is not the answer. Yes, we already do include many STEM elements in existing programs. Even in Preschool Storytimes we do counting rhymes and have science-related themes. But to be truly effective, we need to get beyond simple counting and straightforward presentation of facts. We should be encouraging understanding of broader concepts and stimulating scientific thinking. If you think children are not capable of learning to think scientifically, I would direct you to a TED talk that includes the youngest person ever to have authored a peer-reviewed scientific study: Science is for everyone, kids included. My favorite point in this talk is that science is essentially play, something kids are inherently good at.

4 Central Unified libraries to stay open for summer

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FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) – Central Unified wants to make sure kids keep reading during their summer vacation.

The school district will keep four different campus libraries open this summer.

At the McKinley Elementary School Library in West Central Fresno, reading adventures will still be at kids’ fingertips during the summer. They can read about sharks or maybe presidents.

Sixth-grader Jonathan Fleener expects to check out books. "Like fictional stuff because they have more potential in the books and they have a lot more to talk about."

Volunteer-run library in Plainfield, PA shuts its doors

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A decade-long fight to keep a local library in Plainfield, PA ended with a final farewell to students.

Marlene Moul has been one of the library’s primary volunteers since it was dropped from the Cumberland County Library System in 1993. Renamed Plainfield Library and You (PLAY), Moul and the group of retired Plainfield Elementary School teachers were able to keep the library in the basement of St. Matthew Evangelical Lutheran Church on 2070 Newville Road, which provided low-cost rent (and, later, no rent) for the library

It takes a village to run Torrance Elementary School Libraries

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In an instant, the library at Lincoln Elementary in Torrance went from calm to semi-chaotic as the students of a first-grade class spilled in for their weekly visit.

In a 30-minute flurry of activity, the kids sought help from the three women in the library to locate, check out and return books - as well as to settle up on any nickel-a-day late fees they might have owed.

At one point, a little boy looking for a book about grasshoppers grabbed the hand of a library lady named Amy Ota as she was helping another student.