April 15, 2014

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Sonoma Library to Host Minecraft Camp

Sonoma Library to Host Minecraft Camp

Rebecca Forth doesn’t want kids to simply play Minecraft, she wants them to design their own worlds in the virtual building game. They can do just that and learn the necessary coding skills in a program set to launch at the Healdsburg branch of the Sonoma County (CA) Library in March 2014.

School Library Advocacy Gains Steam in Missouri District


In an era when school districts are chopping funds to libraries, Missouri’s Union R-XI School District is looking to break the mold—and give more.

Reading, PA, Students Protest Classroom Library Probe


Middle school students in Reading, PA, are protesting what they see as unjust scrutiny of their classroom libraries—using their own voices even as teachers express reservations about speaking out.

The Heart of the School: Iowa’s Van Meter District Plans Library Expansion

Rendering courtesy of Johnny Boyd/Oris Architecture.

Shannon Miller, district librarian and technology specialist at Iowa’s Van Meter Community School District, is renowned for putting her school library at the front and center of learning. Now the school, which serves 852 K–12 students, is making that focus a physical reality with a planned multimillion dollar library expansion.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

South Dakota Honors “21st Century School Libraries”

South Dakota Honors “21st Century School Libraries”

The South Dakota State Library launched a new program this fall, the 21st Century School Library Award, to honor the work of 20 school libraries who are best representing 21st-century principles. The creators are hoping the recognition will serve as a motivation for other schools and districts to invest in their libraries.

This article was published in School Library Journal's January 2014 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

NY District Returns ‘Nasreen’s Secret School’ to Third Grade Classrooms


In the Southold (NY) Union Free School District, third graders can continue to hear the story of a young girl’s experience under Taliban rule, as told in Jeanette Winter’s Nasreen’s Secret School . However, the book’s use in the district does not please everyone—including seven-year veteran board member Scott DeSimone.

Los Angeles School Libraries Losing Materials as They Lose Librarians


Los Angeles K–12 schools, already operating with a paucity of teacher librarians, also have a shortage of library aides. Some school libraries are being run by volunteers—violating the school district’s own rules, and resulting in the loss of millions of dollars of materials.

Librarian Creates Site for Teachers to Earn Digital Badges for New Skills

Librarian Creates Site for Teachers to Earn Digital Badges for New Skills

Even teachers need a little acknowledgment for learning new skills, according to library media specialist Laura Fleming. Through her site, Worlds of Learning, Fleming is offering teachers at her school and beyond the opportunity to earn digital badges—honors that can be posted online—for mastering digital literacy in various areas, from QR codes to video editing.

This article was published in School Library Journal's December 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Device & Conquer: SLJ’s 2013 Tech Survey

Device & Conquer: SLJ’s 2013 Tech Survey

As education technology has evolved, so, too, have the kinds of digital tools that school librarians use with their students. More than 750 school librarians responded to SLJ’s survey, representing K–12 public and private schools across the country. According to the data, they make the most of what they have, learning one day and sharing that knowledge the next.

This article was published in School Library Journal's November 2013 issue. Subscribe today and save up to 35% off the regular subscription rate.

Teen Conducts Her Own Study on Screen Time’s Effect


Seventeen-year old Zarin Rahman suspected that the time she spent staring at screens was affecting her mood and school work. So the 12th grader at Brookings (SD) High School decided to conduct her own study.

Parents, School Districts Push Back On Book Challenges


Local communities and school districts have rallied this fall against recent objections to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple and Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian—garnering support for them to remain, at least temporarily, on school reading lists.

Utah’s School Librarians Push to Shake Up the Status Quo


Shelly Ripplinger watched last year as her job disappeared in Utah’s Ogden School District—fired along with 19 of her fellow school librarians. But after push-back from colleagues, parents, and advocates, one-time money has now funded seven district librarian positions, including hers. They travel to schools as mobile co-teachers, while clerks man school libraries.

Book App Alliance Aids Discovery of Kids’ Interactive Books

Book App Alliance Aids Discovery of Kids’ Interactive Books

The Book App Alliance aims to help locate quality book apps amid the tides of Disney, Dora, and Dr. Seuss products. Alliance founders also want to foster best practices.

State Librarian Advocates for Michigan’s School Libraries


Nancy Robertson is not a school librarian—but as Michigan’s State Librarian, she believes strongly in the role of certified media specialists in student success. That’s why she has worked for the last five years on a benchmarking program called SL21 to help the state’s school librarians raise their programs to exemplary status.

Lacking District Vision or Mandate, Houston’s School Librarian Numbers Continue to Shrink


School librarians are currently an endangered species in Houston—and the future doesn’t look very bright. Decisions in the district on librarian staffing levels are left to the principals, with no mandates at the district level for certified media specialists in the schools. The result? A dramatic decline in the number of these professionals serving students in Houston, according to the Texas Education Agency.

California Kids Get Social Media ‘Eraser’—But It Might not Work

California Kids Get Social Media ‘Eraser’—But It Might Not Work

California minors now have the legal right to erase their social media posts, a positive step toward giving them greater control over their online identities—or is it? Online content, after all, is not so easily erasable, according to Gary Price, editor of Library Journal’s INFOdocket.

Students Master STEM At Space Camp


Though the U.S. is still trying to push students to absorb more science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) subjects, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL—aka Rocket City—has been steering hopeful scientists for decades, since opening the doors to Space Camp in 1982. Space Camp is a STEM education fantasy world, in which kids in attendance experience days of STEM learning wrapped into intensive space exploration and rocketry know-how.

Pop-Up Libraries Blossom in Philadelphia and Beyond


The books come by the hundreds almost daily. Boxes dropped off from yoga clubs, suburban book drives, and schools to be handed out at the Mighty Writers Street Libraries—pop-up libraries recently launched in Philadelphia to offer books to the city’s students and parents who watch as their access to titles diminish.

Florida School Librarians Stretching Resources—Themselves


Sharing has a whole new meaning for Marion County, FL, elementary school librarians, far beyond the lesson they help teach their young charges. Today, the word refers to the way media specialists manage their jobs—which means each must head two elementary school libraries instead of one.

When the Library Is Bigger Than the School


Imagine a school library bigger than the school it supports—with an auditorium, homework center, and a 6,000-square-foot teen room where hundreds of iPads and computers are at students’ disposal. That’s the reality for 9th and 10th graders at San Diego’s new e3 Civic High School, a public charter school literally inside the recently completed 400,000-square foot, $185-million Central Library.