Thursday, June 26, 2014

Digital Divide Series: Inequality + Poverty + Access to Information + Support For Instruction & Resources

Digital Divide Stems From Inequality and Poverty

“Inequality is fixed by mobility but do we have opportunities for mobility?” -Robert Reich on Bill Moyers

If you are interested learning about poverty and wealth inequality dating back to the Roman Empire read the Science of Inequality.
Teacher Librarians can help to lessen the digital divide by actively working towards improving funding for technology, gaining support from the educational community, and instructional time along with access to resources.

Our Library Environments...Access Is Everything

Access to information. I am curious about the information seeking process. Once people have access to information how are they processing the information? I think that we may be short changing the steps of processing and applying information.  Technology is changing our world at warp speed.  So I wonder if technology tools are matching curriculum? Is technology training relevant? How much collaboration is going on?  People need guidance as well as independent navigation skills when using technology.

We Need To Give And Receive Support  

My central focus for next year working as a teacher librarian is observing and setting up group and individual technology tool kits. The goal is to give and share informational tools seamlessly so students and staff reach their potential. Sometimes I think that the biggest hurdle is figuring out what we all need and asking for help. Changing the conversation can really change the direction of a technology plan. Keeping the crew engaged while we all move along is important.

Instructional Practices

We can teach and model the following topics so people become independent learners and ask questions that require deep learning and thinking.

Resources That Bring Results


Students with access to relevant and current libraries materials increase the amount of interaction and engagement with resources. Also certified librarians are more likely to select library resources that represent different points of view and support the curriculum.


There is strong relationship between a well funded school library and academic achievement. A few years ago Iowa legislators decided against guaranteeing a percentage of the overall budget allocated to school libraries.  Losing this safeguard has greatly impacted the budget that I have to work with. More advocacy is needed. Administration awareness can only go so far. Spending money for library needs makes a difference, it is easy for them to spend the money elsewhere.

Tools lead to potential solutions...I believe if teacher librarians prosper the digital divide lessens.

Next on the digital divide series lessons learned from a technology course.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Proud to Represent Iowa at ALA

As your Iowa AASL Delegate, I look forward to sharing what is happening in Iowa and learning what is happening around the country as part of the ALA Annual Affiliate Assembly meetings in Las Vegas. Our first meeting is Friday, June 27, and we close with a meeting Sunday morning, June 29. As time permits and wi-fi cooperates, I will continue to share via Twitter and blog posts. Follow me on Twitter  @PLQ123.
             Also watch the hashtag #alaac14 as well as #iowatl. Enjoy your summer break.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Digital Divide Series: We Need Growth Communities & More Listening

Library Communities That Grow Together Stay Together

I think when teacher librarians are actively listening to each other and providing support great things happen.  How do you know if your library is growing to avoid the realities of the digital divide?  I have asked myself the following questions. Is your school community growing or is it faltering?  What is happening around you after you leave school? Are things in your library reflective of your community at large? Libraries are the heart of the school and a heart healthy school requires a strong school library program.  

Florida Power-Library Schools

Here are more questions directly from the Florida Power-Library Schools for a  deeper examination of your school library program.  “Is your school immersed in information literacy?  Do you have to calm the crowd of teachers who want to collaborate with you?  Does your administrator make sure the media center is a stop on every important school tour?  Do your circulation statistics and the consistent buzz of student activity make you smile?”


Another Question

I highly recommend reading this blog post that advocates for the growth of school libraries.

Building Blocks: A Culture Of Collaboration

Regardless of our collaboration track records, I believe that following questions from the blog Building a Cutlure of Collaboration are valid for all of us no matter if we are at the starting blocks or further down the track. "Who should be the leader?  What should it look like?  What is our role?  How do we define collaboration?  Who does it benefit?"

Another perspective from the post We Are Not Alone speaks to the challenges of collaboration, “We are not alone.  These are not questions that are unique to the teacher librarian perspective, but are being asked again and again by others who are trying to shift the paradigm in teaching and learning.”  

Setting The Stage For Cultures Of Learning

I’ll repeat this quote from the last digital divide post by Kate McDowell at the University of Illinois, “before you critique ask a question.”  I  believe that embracing this attitude of continually asking questions during tricky educational situations is a transformative way to guide us as we listen and learn from each other.

For those of you who are in productive and respectful cultures of collaboration and learning keep on keepin on.  If your learning community has significant room to grow here are some tips and lessons that I have learned to help lessen the digital divide and keep it from widening at the local level.

1. Stay true to your philosophies and practices in a community that you believe is not growing and ask lots of questions.
2. Find educators who have similar practices and ideas to make some strides.  There will be at least one interested and motivated teacher who is willing to try new things.  
3.  Share what you know in a positive way and market positive collaborative experiences to open the door for growth.
4. Rejection is hard when you have ideas that others don’t want to try but you learn what you can from the situation and move on.

What Kind Of Noise Is Your School Library Making

Even if your school is quiet to respond to your high levels of engagement keep trying. Continue the quest to obtain and share knowledge throughout your school.  Keep informing others and push them to think.  You never know when a light bulb will go off in someone’s mind. We can learn from all kinds of situations and ideas. Comfort zones can expand if you let them.  Since flow of information is increasing think about what efforts you plan on making.  

Steve Jobs: Embrace, Improve, and Change the World Don’t Just Live In It

Can we change things for the common good and move beyond a second-rate society? We are all in this together. I think that Steve Jobs sums it up best when dealing with unwillingness to grow or change, “you got to have a problem you want to solve or a wrong that you want to make right, got to have passion and perseverance to see it through...look at competition and not say do it better but do it differently.” Steve Jobs

Next time on the digital divide poverty and resources

Sunday, June 15, 2014

IASL Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest

Looking to stay in the know with IASL? Be sure to check out and participate in IASL social networking opportunities.

Stay connected with like minded people.  Discover and exchange information this summer to stay engaged and energized while recharging your batteries.

1. Follow the widgets in the upper left hand corner of this blog web page.


2. Follow the links here.
IASL Facebook
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IASL Pinterest

May your search for knowledge be enjoyable and educational!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My Summer Reading Journey

We spend so much time inspiring others about the power and love for reading but what about our personal journeys and relationships with reading?  Whether we prefer reading print or electronic, non fiction or fiction, being mindful of our own reading habits is important.

During the process of reevaluating my recreational reading habits, I am making plans to follow the 5 W's of journalism to guide me as I aim to read up a storm.

Where: Anywhere
When: Anytime
Why: Why not?
What: Whatever captivates me in the moment
How: With joy

I am tapping into the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method as well.  My mom, sister and I have a friendly competition happening with plans to share our topics and page numbers we read on a weekly basis.  The best part is that we are awarding ourselves with prizes and fun outings when we reach our goals. Take some time to explore interests that you wouldn't have the time or energy to engage with during the school year.

Here are some of the areas of interest to me this summer.

  • Health and Exercise
  • Cooking
  • Feminism
  • Psychology
  • Classics
  • Tiny bit of children's and young adult literature

While researching for this post I found the website My Librarian at Multnomah County Library.
I like their format to recommend books and connect with their readers.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Digital Divide Series: Character…Curiosity. Disposition Is Just As Important As Intellect.

Jean Donham’s presentation at ILA 2013 College ready? What do first-year college assignments tell us woke me up to the importance of dispositions and that they are just as important as intellect when it comes to making plans for progress in a school library.

Standard 4: Pursue personal and aesthetic growth.
4.2 Dispositions in Action
4.2.1 Display curiosity by pursuing interests through multiple resources.
Character counts

“Character is at least as important as intellect.”- Maria Popova.  If this quote speaks to you the following article may be of interest. Wisdom from a MacArthur Genius: Psychologist Angela Duckworth on Why Grit, Not IQ, Predicts Success  

Disposition matters. What does disposition got to do with the digital divide?
Definition of disposition according to Merriam-Webster, “a tendency to act or think in a particular way." To me a positive disposition related to the digital divide means that we are all curious, interested, and confident life-long learners. A negative disposition could be indulging too much in pride and/or resisting ideas based on fear and/or lack of awareness.
                   Encountering educational scenarios with no interest in altering dispositions? Before you critique ask a question.
1.  Are you humble?
2.  Can your mindset open and expand? 
3. Are you willing to try and see things in a new way? 
4. Are you allowing yourself to receive new information?
5.  Are you continually educating yourself? This is vital for growth.
-Mastin Kipp


On a side note I am excited to learn about PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) and its potential to impact our district.
A motto worth following
I appreciate Kristen Swanson's viewpoints who pens the blog Teachers As Technology Trailblazers. I think that she shares a great attitude about learning. “Being a good Edcamper means that you take a giving, educative stance. Offer to get involved. Ask honest questions. Help. Educate. In the long run, it will make us all better.” (Swanson).
Quotes to motivate
From the Joshua Katz’s video from the May 30th digital divide post. Students need to be equipped with “thinking, reasoning, and learning vs. accountability measures” in our educational systems.

“Given the chance someone in Africa is just as smart as I but need to have self-respect and the hope that things are going to get better.”
-Jimmy Carter
“It takes a team of talented and motivated minds working together. Don’t stop innovating.” “I can’t help you if you don’t help yourself.”
-Steve Jobs
Integrating grit into our school libraries

I believe that we all can succeed by creating communities of grit, curiosity and tapping into the power of character.  How are we connecting the dots between empowerment and learning in our library settings?  We need to give ourselves permission to explore our spaces ranging from anything between our ears to library access 24/7.

As we teach are we paying attention to how students are reacting to frustration and failure? Success? I believe that it is imperative to think about both ends of the spectrum when it comes to academic performance.  Maybe if we focus a bit more on dispositions associated with our library programs we can help lessen the digital divide.  School libraries representing the hub of the school can take the lead on this one.  

Next on the digital divide growth of educational communities and building a culture of learning.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

IASL Blog: Generating Interest Content

Best wishes! It's time to take a break from wearing your many hats! 

Relax and reflect.
 How can IASL Publications serve you? 

What type of content/topics are you interested in reading about on the IASL blog? Type any comments below. May your summer break be restorative and enjoyable!