Sunday, November 22, 2009


Having an 8:00 a.m. session in Ontario means getting up on Saturday at the regular weekday time. The session, “Improving Communication through Google Groups and Google Calender,” was worth getting up for. The presenter got his master’s from Cal State the same year I did. He is very knowledgeable about tech matters. We were all interested enough that the session went 20 minutes overtime. I’d like to use Calendar for the library, so that teachers can see what times are available for bringing classes to the library. Google Groups will be useful for both teachers and students.

I think you ladies might have enjoyed the next session, entitled “CSLA Student Showcase”. We were introduced to the Winner twins. They are 13 year old girls who have dyslexia. When they were younger, their father challenged them to try the most impossible thing they could think of, so they wrote a book. It won several awards, and they have written the second in what is to be a six book series. They also write songs and they performed two of their songs. Their slogan is “If you can dream it, you can write it.” It was very high energy.

The next session was very different. The presenter shared the results of her research for her dissertation on the question “How Are School Libraries Meeting the Needs of Latino Students?” One of the findings was that having a library staffed by a certificated teacher-librarian was one hallmark of higher performing school schools. In other words, librarians make a difference.

Between sessions I had been visiting the exhibit hall. This break was the last time it would be open and there was a drawing for door prizes. I won some software. It is also the time when the book sellers offer discounted or free books so they won't have to ship them home. I bought a few books for our library.

The last session of the day was “Practical Steps to Citations and Notations”. As promised, it was full of practical aids to helping students learn how to take useful notes and do correct citations. The presenter also gave us handouts that included information on the newest MLA format. All of this is information that will help me help our students do better work and be more prepared for college.

In the evening I attended a chocolate tasting event held by ProQuest, a database company. That provided the appetizers to the CYRM awards banquet. (You will be learning more about this award next semester.) When we went in, there were four free books on each chair. Among the people at my table were two authors and the Cathedral librarian. Besides the excellent meal, the highlight is the introduction of one of the award winners by a student and the speech by the winner’s author. This year’s primary picture book winner was Stanley’s Wild Ride by Linda Bailey. She gave a delightful talk accompanied by PowerPoint.

Friday, November 20, 2009

CSLA 2009-Friday

Today’s activities go from 8 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. First off was the General Session where everyone is together. Several awards were given, sponsors were recognized and the new state officers were installed before the main speaker was introduced. Ellen Siminoff, who was involved in the early days of and and is currently the president and CEO of, spoke to us about “The Great Online, Where Young Minds Roam Free”.

Following some exclusive exhibit time (read “time to shop”) we had the first of the nine concurrent sessions. These are times when we each had to choose from 10-12 speakers giving presentations on topics of interest to librarians. Some common subject areas are curriculum, technology, literature, library management, advocacy (PR is part of this), diversity, and collaboration. Most of them are only offered during one concurrent session, so hard choices have to be made.

The first session I attended was “New Technology for 21st Century Libraries and Classrooms”. This was an overview and helped me refine my choices for later sessions. Some of the technologies introduced will be showing up in your curriculum next semester. Additionally, there was a brief talk on copyright as it applies to digital media.

The second session I chose was “Building a Virtual Learning Commons Using Moodle and Web 2.0 Tools”. Moodles are shells for presenting classes online. Many college courses are offered using this type of format. A student can log in anytime and anywhere there is Internet to access assignments, links to resources, discussion boards. Some of my classwork for my library credential was presented in this type of format and all of my daughter’s classes are done this way. (She has never set foot on the campus in San Jose.) Next semester you may be part of developing an info literacy course for SHHS using this technology.

For the third session I went to “Using Web2.0 to Enliven Projects”. In one hour, the presenters went through an incredible number of useful (and mostly free) websites for doing great looking paperless assignments.

The day ended with the President’s reception. There was food, more awards and entertainment. Camila Alire, president of ALA, was there to bring greetings from the national organization. The entertainment was songs rewritten with library related lyrics and sung by a group of librarians augmented by a few students from Hamilton High School Academy of Music. They sounded very good. An honorary life membership award was given to a man who has been a life-long advocate for school libraries. So ended the second day of the conference.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

CSLA 2009-Thursday

Greetings from the California School Library Association (CSLA) conference in Ontario, CA. I arrived just in time to pick up my registration packet and get the materials I would need to serve as facilitator for two today’s workshops. A facilitator’s job is to welcome and introduce the presenter or guest speaker, get tech help if needed, hand out and retrieve evaluations, count the people in attendance and give the presenter a small gift. It is a fun and easy volunteer job, because you help at sessions you would be in anyway.

The first session I attended was “New Trends: The best in YA Literature” presented by Michael Cart. Every year he reads hundreds of books for young adults (that’s you) and share information about them with the rest of us. He talked for two hours and only got through half his list of good books published in 2009. Look for some of those titles to turn up on the shelves of our library.

The second session, “Reinventing a Library Practice Cutriculum”, presented by Mark Bobrosky, gave me some good ideas for assignments that I can use in our Library Science classes. Many of them will help you with your research skills.

After that session, there was a break, before the opening of the exhibit hall. This is where the various vendors and special displays are located. There were representatives of companies that sell books, software, library furniture, library t-shirts and other things. The first night some of the vendors sponsor food stations, so you can get enough to count as dinner while you browse. Many vendors also have candy, pens, or other small giveaways to encourage people to stop and talk to them. The winners of the poster contest were on display. Our own M.S. in first period got an honorable mention. Finally, to show that even librarians can be silly, there was a library cart drill team contest. One of the teams wore cow costumes and has carts named things like the “Moobery awards”. Everyone seemed to enjoy the lightheartedness of the event.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sunday, November 23, 2008

CSLA 2008-Day 4

Sunday morning began with committee meetings, so those of us who aren’t on committees got to sleep in. The first regular session began at 9:15. I had chosen Good Slick Stuff to Do with PhotoShop Elements, iPhoto, and Picassa (Beyond the Basics). It was just starting to get interesting when I had to leave for an overlapping session, because I had volunteered again as facilitator. The description of Virtual School Librarian, Are You Ready? was :
“Soon there will be job descriptions calling for virtual school librarians. This session will discuss the job description and characteristics needed for such a position. Join in the discussion to define the role and expectations for a Teacher Librarian who will only interact with teachers and students online.”
This is an interesting area for discussion. What do you think the librarians of the future will do? How does this relate to our ESLR about becoming a life-long learner? What will your children’s experiences of libraries and librarians be?

The conference ended with a celebration of books and reading. The author/illustrator brunch brings together librarians with the authors whose books we share with our patrons. Each round table for 10 people has a seat reserved for an author or illustrator. When you choose your seat, you don’t know who will be at your table. Author Pamela Turner sat at our table. I had not heard of her before, so it was interesting talking to her. She has written 4 books. Almost all of them have some tie to animals. (You’ll get to see her newest book, because each author brings a copy of one of their books which goes to the person whose birthday is closest to his or her own. I was closest.) The main speaker was Rosemary Wells who has been writing for children from preschool up for over 30 years. She was passionate about the importance of libraries and librarians, the value of reading for all children, and issues related to war. Many of us received advanced reader’s copies of her newest book, which is about Abraham Lincoln from the point of view of his sons. After the brunch ended at 1, there was an hour set aside for librarians to get books signed by the authors. I didn’t stay because of the almost 400 mile trip home and concerns about getting caught in the tule fog in the Central Valley.

See you tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

CSLA 2008-Day 3

The brisk 4 block walk from the hotel to the convention center was really needed to have me awake for this morning’s 8 a.m. concurrent sessions. I leave it to you to figure out why I chose one titled School-to-Work Connections for Student Library Staff: Running an Academic Library Service Course at Your Library.

Then more exhibit time and more books bought.

It takes many people doing different jobs to make a conference like this one go smoothly. One of the jobs done by volunteers is facilitating sessions. This involves introducing the speaker, helping with handouts and getting the techies in to help if there are problems with the technology. I facilitated the session Making Connections with Teachers and Students. Although it was listed for 4-6 grades, the presenter was very high energy and I got some tips that will help me collaborate with teachers at our school.

At lunch I took my food across the street and walked around the Capitol grounds. There are many trees, monuments and squirrels. To the right is part of the firefighter memorial. On the way back, I saw a small group of people carrying signs about peace and equality. Little did I know that there would be a large demonstration going on while we were in our afternoon sessions.

Inside the convention center, all went on as usual. The next session was Beyond the Traditional Library Orientation. What I found interesting was that at the presenters’ school, all students had to pass a library literacy requirement in order to graduate. I’ll tell you more about that next week.

Between the last two sessions, was the final exhibit time. Some of the book venders do not want to have to ship books home, so they may give them away or reduce the prices. I got 4 free books that I will give to the elementary school. I also got 2 sets of Chicano history and literature books for half price. These will be immediately helpful to Mrs. Bravo’s and Mr. Calzada’s classes.

For the day’s final concurrent session I chose What Does the Research Tell Us about Working with Latino Students in the School Library? The presenter is currently working on her doctorate and she shared information from her research. Some of what she had to say fits in with the article you are reading.

The afternoon ended with the membership meeting where we divided into regional groups to brainstorm ways to improve the CSLA. Our group from Los Angeles county had a lot to say.

The evening ended with the California Young Reader Medal Award banquet. The award is always given to a winning author or illustrator by a student. This year it was a 17 year old girl who spoke about 2 of the winning books. She introduced the featured author, Gennifer Choldenko. Ms Choldenko won the award for a book called Al Capone Does My Shirts. (If you never heard of Al Capone, you might want to Google him.) In her talk she told what books inspired her as a child and what inspires her to write the stories she writes for children. It was an interesting evening.

Tomorrow: 2 more concurrent sessions and the author/illustrator brunch.

Friday, November 21, 2008

CSLA 2008--Day 2

Today began with the first general session. These sessions are held in a large hall, so that anyone attending the conference may come and get inspired. The speaker is often not a librarian, but someone who is an enthusiastic supporter of reading and libraries. This year‘s speaker was Joe McHugh, a professional storyteller, author and public radio producer. His talk was titled Slaying the Gorgon: Storytelling and Media in the Electronic Age. In a humorous and well-paced presentation, he reminded us that we need to be concerned about who controls the stories that our young people use to build their world views.

After the general session, there was what is called exclusive exhibit time. This is time set aside so people can visit the exhibits without feeling guilty about missing sessions. I purchased some books and videos and picked up some more candy for you library science students.
Next was the first of the concurrent sessions. Out of twelve different topics to choose from, there were 4 I wanted to go to, so the hardest part was choosing which one to sit in on. I finally selected the session on a world lit reading program presented by a teacher and a librarian from the Toronto (Canada) French School. Some of the books on their list are also used in our school.

All that and it was just time for lunch.

In the afternoon I had to make some more tough choices. First I went to a session called How Science Fiction Taught Me Physics, Psychology, and History Among Other Subjects. I was hoping to pick up some ideas to share with teachers of those subjects. While interesting in other ways, the presentation didn’t include any specific details about the connection between sci fi and the subject areas. Sometimes titles are misleading. The last session I attended was exactly as described--ideas for leading the faculty in learning about Web 2.0 tools using Classroom Learning 2.0 ( Extra credit will be given to anyone who checks out the blog and writes up a paper on why we should do some of the 23 activities as part of our class.

In the evening there were several receptions. I attended Gale/Cengage reception. There were gift bags for those who had RSVPed (oops-I forgot) and appetizers for all. In addition the company previewed their new online database.
The second reception was the President’s Reception. This is sponsored by several publishers of children’s books. In addition to a gift bag of books, we were treated to desserts and a live old-time radio theatre production directed by Joseph McHugh. It was a lot of fun to watch, because the voice actors were some of our fellow librarians.
Tomorrow: More concurrent sessions and the CYRM award banquet.