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It's becoming ever more critical day by day; today marks the beginning of Choose Privacy Week (School Library Journal).
“The point of Choose Privacy is to spark a nationwide dialogue of what privacy means to us, and what the privacy laws are today in the digital space,” says Angela Maycock, assistant director for ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.
For children, protecting those rights is even more critical as young students often aren’t sophisticated enough to grasp what is appropriate behavior on the Web. School librarians can play a crucial role in helping to steer children towards tools they can use to protect themselves, say experts.
“Certainly we know young people are intuitively and naturally interested in social networking and other tools online,” says Maycock. “And so school librarians play a really important and critical part in this effort as they’re a starting gate in learning how to access information, and do it responsibly and safely.”
Yet how school librarians approach these lessons can vary, especially depending on a student’s age. A kindergartener may have a different understanding of cookies than a junior in high school and so teaching tools often need to start with very rudimentary examples and behavior models.
More than 90 per cent of teacher-librarians in Australia are believed to be over 40, compared to half of teachers generally. Many teacher-librarians also retire early because of a lack of promotional opportunities reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
Meanwhile, there are just four tertiary courses nationally to train them, from a peak of 15, and only about 100 graduates a year.
Library associations say job security is poor, discouraging potential students. In Victoria, rationalisation during the Kennett era and dwindling budgets has meant many principals have chosen to hire extra classroom teachers instead of librarians to reduce class sizes.
''The view is that libraries are not important because students just access information online,'' Mrs Ellingworth told The Sunday Age. ''But the thing is, students have got information overload. They don't know where to start.''
Ms Ellingworth conducts sessions for students on finding, assessing and publishing information safely on the internet. But she would like to offer the students more.
''We used to have specific library programs … but now we work with teachers and classes..''
WALNUT CREEK — Librarians from Walnut Creek, Concord, Castro Valley and San Jose joined members of the California PTA today at Foothill Middle School to denounce education cuts that are shutting school libraries.
Because of cuts in the Mt. Diablo district, most middle schools libraries are open two days a week and closed three days. But Foothill parents raised about $17,000 to keep their librarian on-site for a third day and to pay for a library aide who staffs the facility from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. the other two days.
California ranks 51st in the nation in its ratio of librarians to students, with one school librarian per 5,124 students compared to the national average of one to 916 students, according to a 2006-07 report from the National Center for Education Statistics.
Read more at education writer Theresa Harrington's On Assignment blog at www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment.
A conversation with kindergartners changed the course of Stephanie Gwinn's career three years ago. The Parkside Elementary School librarian in Grant Park was reading to students a book in which a character ate meat, a notion that struck the children as equally bizarre and horrifying.
One of our teachers received a grant to buy iPods to record her reading children’s books. She plans to share the recordings with her students so they can follow along with the stories. Although audio versions of the books can be purchased from iTunes, is this a fair use?
April is National School Librarians Month, and today is National Library Workers Day, bad timing for the American Association of School Administrators to report that 19 percent of school districts surveyed expect to cut librarians' jobs next year.
Rockwall High School librarian Nicole Redmond shows students in a family living class how to better explore resources on the Web in the library's computer lab.
Cuts couldn't come at a worse time, librarians and their advocates argue, because the close reading, critical thinking and research skills they teach are more important now than ever.
"The Internet and Google are wonderful tools, but it's all kind of a cut-and-paste mentality," said Gloria Meraz of the Texas Library Association in Austin. "There is such a fundamental need to continue to teach children to think critically."
Dallas News reports.
Via Times Live (South Africa): "On Human Rights Day, March 21, a Sunday, 10000 high school pupils marched through the centre of Cape Town in school uniform. They were children, predominantly of working-class origins, from all over the Western Cape, rural and urban, black and white. Not a rock or a bottle was thrown and they dispersed peacefully to the trains that had been arranged to take them home.
Sixteen years after democracy, our young people are calling for schools that work, for places where they may study and for materials that will help them read and learn. As the organisation Equal Education points out, fewer than 7% of schools in South Africa have a functioning library. Perhaps 21% have some kind of structure called a reading room, but these are usually used for classrooms, are seldom stocked properly and do not have a library professional in charge to ensure that the right books are there and that they are used properly. The lack of libraries compounds the many problems, such as teachers' poor subject knowledge and poor access to textbooks, that plague our schooling system. These factors combine to make our reading outcomes, at all grade levels, among the worst in Africa."
Changes in the way the federal government plans to allocate money to increase and improve literacy pose a severe threat to one of the country’s best-known nonprofit groups, Reading Is Fundamental.
Known commonly as RIF, the organization, which provides free books to needy children and has been promoted in memorable public service announcements by celebrities like Carol Burnett and Shaquille O’Neal, stands to lose all of its federal financing, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of its annual revenues.
“We are looking at having to completely reinvent ourselves,” said Carol Rasco, chief executive of RIF, which has received an annual grant from the Department of Education for 34 years.
Story from the New York Times.
A soft, but audible “hum” of student voices can be heard the moment you walk into the colorful, well-stocked library — and no shushing. Monache High School (CA) Media Center/Librarian Melissa Giannetto likes it that way.
“Today’s kids are used to iPods, cell phones and all kinds of electronic devices, most are not used to absolute quiet,” Giannetto said. “I don’t think that’s necessary as long as they are working together. And you can see that they are.”
Giannatto has been the librarian for three years, after spending 12 years in high school classrooms teaching English.
She is in her element in the library. “This is my dream job and I didn’t know it growing up,” she said, flashing her easy smile. “I love what I do.”
What she does is more than what she says may be the down side of her job, if there is a down side. The misconception that librarians sit at their computers all day doing research is one of those myths that needs to be dispelled, she said.
Included in her duties, and those of Porterville CA and Granite Hills high school librarians Lori Lienau and Catherine Mays, respectively, are managing the library/media center computer lab, helping teachers with their class schedules as they pertain to visiting her academic domain, teaching classes and scheduling college recruitment presentations, to name just a few things. Recorder Online.
Want to keep up on what's happening with efforts around the country to help save libraries? There's a great new site for that, appropriately named Save Libraries. Their motto is "When one library is in trouble, ALL libraries are in trouble." This project is being run by Lori Reed and Heather Braum. They can’t do this alone and are looking for additional help creating and maintaining the content on this site.
Save Libraries is a grassroots effort to compile information about libraries in need of our support. Save Libraries will aggregate information about current advocacy efforts, archive advocacy efforts, and provide links to resources for libraries facing cuts. The project began barely two weeks ago, and is already attracting attention.
Please email us at savelibs (at) gmail (dot) com for questions, comments, or concerns. Please tag your Web content with savelibraries to make it easier for us to find and collect it.
Kudos to none other than our own Blake Carver and LISHost.org for donating hosting for this site and getting WordPress up and running within minutes. This site is dedicated to advocacy for libraries–getting the message out about why libraries are important.
We’re looking for advocacy information, testimonials from patrons and staff, photos, videos, anything to help save our libraries. Please pitch in!! Use the tag savelibraries or #savelibraries on Twitter. If you would like to contribute to this site please email email@example.com.