Friday, April 27, 2012

This conference report is by Laurie Fleming, an HVLA member, library assistant and textbook coordinator at Friends Academy and a very soon to be graduate of Queens College School of Library and Information Science. Laurie recently attended the New Leaf Learning conference for school librarians who use Follett's Destiny library management software, are considering Destiny, or are looking for something new in professional development.  We had never heard of this conference until recently and it turned out to be really worthwhile so we thought we would share here. 

 I recently attended the Follett New Leaf in Learning Conference in Schaumberg, Illinois for two days and came away with a much better understanding of Destiny, ideas for learning motivation, and inspiration for the fast changing educational environment of school libraries. The two key note speakers, Kevin Honeycutt and Ian Jukes, gave funny, yet dynamic and inspirational presentations on the global changes of American education and the American student. The choice of sessions was varied in macro and micro orientation and immediately useful for my current positions.
The first session I attended was Textbook Distribution and Collection.  The session gave very helpful ideas for my position as Textbook Coordinator. The Destiny Quest session focused on ways to use Destiny Quest with middle and upper school library programs. Many schools use DQ as the library's home page and as the primary method of distributing essential library information.
My last class of the first day was a review of Destiny Reports, which provided suggestions for the use of various reports.  At the end of the first day, Follett gave a lovely reception with exceptional food, drink and music, allowing for socializing and exchanging of ideas.
The second day I attended a fascinating session called “Project Graduation: The Digital Advantage” presented by Manuel L. Isquierdo Ed.D., Superintendent of Tucson Schools.  He described how they increased graduation rates in a highly disadvantaged district from 40% to 80% through putting laptops in students’ hands. Another interesting session by two middle school librarians gave all sorts of practical ideas for motivating reading and education through the school library. Throughout the entire conference, there was ample opportunity to meet individually with technical consultants on specific problems or questions on Destiny and time to compare notes with other librarians from all over the country.
This is a “must go to” conference for any user of Destiny. Not only was the conference entertaining, it was inspiring and educational for educators, administrators and school librarians. I took away practical ideas for motivating learners as well as stimulating ideas on where education is headed through greater use of technology. I would highly recommend the conference to new and experienced librarians alike.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

HVLA Spring Meeting: Reading Roundtables, Packer Collegiate, Thursday, May 3rd

If you  are reading this blog post you either love to read or have stumbled into an alternate universe. Seriously now, you just can't resist experiencing HVLA's new improved Reading Rountables.  What, you may ask is a Reading Roundtable?  Imagine simultaneous, scintillating and engaging conversations about a wide mixture of literary tastes and flavors.  Check out a discussion on different types of book clubs, literature circles and join the battle of the books.  Not your thing? Travel to the virtual ePub table.  There is still room to add more tables, don't be shy; submit your idea for a Reading Roundtable, and/or offer to lead the conversation.  Email your ideas to Judy James ( or Kim Pallant  (kpallant@cshnyc).  See you@ Packer. E-invite with details to follow.

Monday, April 9, 2012

HVLA Member Spotlight: Laura Cain Rivara

Laura is currently a part time library assistant in the Friends Academy Kumar Wang Library and a graduate student at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science. 

As a young girl growing up on Long Island, Laura's grandfather, president of the Friends of the North Babylon public library, got her involved in their local library.  She participated in many of the library's reading programs and later, during  high school and college, worked there as a page.  Laura's technology education began at home with her father.  While building his own computer at home, Laura learned by his side and began to "tinker" with PCs.  She was introduced to the Mac while a student at F.I.T, where she earned her B.F.A. Half of her classes were hand skills (painting, drawing, etc) and the other half were software based (Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, etc).  After graduating, Laura taught art and set design to 6th through 12th graders at a New York City public school.  Although she enjoyed teaching, her early happy years in the library were always in the back of her mind.  Then, after six years of teaching in the Bronx and learning she was likely be transferred to a different school, the lure of the library returned.  She left teaching and enrolled in library school.  Friends Academy had an opening for a part time library assistant with strong technology skills and Laura was the ideal candidate.  Last fall was an exciting but hectic time for Laura.  She had not only just begun graduate school and a new job, she was about to get married!  When not working or studying  Laura surfs off of Long Island's south shore beaches and practices Tae kwon do, she holds a black belt!  After her years in a school with no library, Laura "loves the busy, lively, library at Friends and the daily interaction with the kids." She especially values her co-workers, each of whom "willingly share their knowledge and skills."  The HVLA list serve has been a great asset to Laura and she is looking forward to attending meetings in the future.

Monday, April 2, 2012

A Day in the life of a school library

A day in the life of a school library, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Friends Academy, Kumar Wang Library

It’s 7:30 am and MaryAnn, archivist and middle school librarian unlocks the library as the first students begin arriving on campus.  Soon, almost all the junior classes’ 100 students have gathered in the large open main floor of the library.  Most of the desktop computers are already being used by students, many rushing to print work they need to hand in today.  Faculty advisors chat with their advisees and take attendance.    At 8:05 am the school day begins with a moment of silence.    Ms Carballo, junior advisor and college counselor, leads the weekly “College of the Week” game and several students and teachers make school announcements.   Two other members of the library staff who are junior advisors have also arrived.
At 8:15 am about 75 kids walk, race or stroll out of the library to their first class of the day, shouting and laughing all the way.  The rest must have a free because they are still hanging around looking for someone in their class who can help them with last night’s homework that isn’t quite done.  Carol is staffing the main desk, checking out textbooks and laptops while Judy is fixing the Xerox copier and coaxing a few seniors to sit down and get to work. 
By nine am library staff members Laurie and Laura arrive and the day is in full swing.  MaryAnn’s 7th grade research class wanders in and heads downstairs to the Middle School Library area to work on their World Cultures papers.  Laura is uploading the latest student book reviews into our online catalog.    Judy is in the library lab with a ninth grade English class teaching them to find sources for an essay they will be writing on technology in schools.  Most of the students brought their own laptops and the others grab one from the library’s laptop cart.  By the end of the class the kids are loving ProQuest and have already found a few good articles for their essays.  A few ask if Judy can email the notes to them.  By mid-day Laura has put the notes onto the library’s portal page so the students can access them from home.  This works better than emailing them.
By 10:00am  the library is getting crowded again, students who are not playing a sport this spring head off to PE class and many other upper school students are free.  As usual, the freshman and sophomores settle in upstairs while the juniors and seniors head for their favorite tables on the main floor.  There is lots of milling around and it’s pretty noisy at the beginning of the block but five minutes into the period the library staff has cajoled most kids into a seat.  Any students still roaming around get the boot!
The first lunch serving has begun and for the next two hours there is a constant ebb and flow of students and teachers through the library.  So far today the circulation desk has checked about eighty textbooks out and in.   Several teachers have checked out DVDs for their classes, almost every seat is taken, a group of students have borrowed Flip cameras for a class project, every Calculus book is being used, one AP Gov book is missing and another section of the 7th grade research class has come and gone.   It seems like every electrical outlet is being used by a student to charge their MacBook and every study carrel in the quiet reading area is occupied.  Teachers have started coming by to borrow audio books for spring break travels and Carol is meeting with a Follett sales rep about E- books.
By two pm everyone has had lunch.  Laura, who works part time and is a graduate library student, leaves and heads off to her class.  Mrs. Garry’s AP English class arrives to put up their annual display of reviews of their favorite books.  Laurie, who manages the school’s textbook program, is out of the building and Judy is staffing the main desk and deleting VHS tapes from the collection.   There is an eerie silence, where is everyone?  Crash, bang, three senior boys are chasing each other down the stairs.  Those junior girls who could not contain their laughter earlier are back again and rushing off to practice.  Another few moments of silence and here come the usual middle school kids who stay after school to do their homework before taking the late bus home.  It’s 5:30 pm, Carol’s day to lock up, everyone else is gone.  Three more days until spring break.