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November 27, 2014

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Smart Stakeholders | SLJ Summit 2013

Impassioned, creative, dynamic, evolving and cool—these are just some of the words that the sponsors of SLJ’s annual School Library Leadership Summit use to describe their companies’ latest developments. Joyce Valenza, SLJ blogger and teacher librarian, lead a panel discussion with the companies to examine the relationships between vendors and schools, the importance of strong content, and the ways that vendors can help educators in support of the Common Core.

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The partnership between vendor and schools was addressed by Eric Fitzpatrick, vice president of sales for Capstone. He asked that his customers be forthright and tell Capstone what educators need and to give open and frank feedback about resources.

Michael Campbell of Rourke Educational Media agreed with that sentiment. “We’re all on a speeding train—if we don’t collaborate on the destination we’re going to derail.”

A partnership with McKinley Tech in Washington, D.C. was highlighted by Dave Schroeter, vice president for Gale’s school sales, as one way his company is collaborating with educators.

Brad Richason, school and library sales manager for Lerner, a longtime publisher of informational books, and Terri Souter, president of Brain Hive, which provides ebooks on demand for K–12 libraries, both stressed that they strive to produce quality products where “content is king.”

Developing “an empowered citizenry, one student at a time,” is the way Miriam Gilbert, director of Rosen Digital, described the work of Rosen Publishing.

And Michael Campbell, director of marketing at Rourke Educational Media, described his company’s role as helping educators with the Common Core by giving them access to quality resources.

Discussion of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) continued throughout the session, especially around the pressure to produce content that meets its demands.

Junior Library Guild’s Deborah Ford described her work as director of library outreach as being a sort of missionary, identifying quality book titles that help meet various standards.

The panelists also offered to help “spread the word” on how school libraries support classroom teachers and the common core.  “This is an opportunity to relook at libraries,” said Schroeter, while Fitzgerald noted, “Elements of the Common Core is what great libraries have always done.”

In an effort to stimulate an easy way for librarians to give feedback to the sponsors, Valenza suggested tweeting the comments at companies using #newlibrary. All librarians are encouraged to contact the sponsors with feedback on their products, even if they did not attend the summit.

Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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