This past year I have finally wrapped my mind around the idea of changing my school library into an academic learning center. This is more than just a name change; it is a complete revisioning of my role and the purpose of a library within a school. In lew of the recent layoffs in Ogden, Utah (http://www.standard.net/stories/2013/04/26/ogden-school-district-notifies-librarians-job-terminations), I can see that we need to express the goals and purpose of what we do in a school library to let others know that we are not the librarians of their youth or the stern, sushing matron of the movies.
Low and behold, this week’s #TLChat on Twitter was on branding and re-branding. I wasn’t able to participate live, but luckily read the archive of the chat here. Several sources and quotes caught my attention and really starting me thinking in this new change to the space formerly known as the library, I really need to express the “why” behind the changes I’m making or the method to my madness. Here are some quotes that stuck with me along with my thoughts in turquoise:
“Calling your library a ‘media center’, ‘learning commons’ or ‘planet krypton’ changes nothing. Branding is about ACTION not labels.”–Jennifer LaGarde (aka Library Girl)–Practice what we preach. The old stereotypes of librarians will stick around until we show people differently.
“ @danielpink calls a brand a ‘promise.’ What promise do you want to make your students/staff/admins? There’s your brand!”–Jennifer LaGarde (aka Library Girl)–I really like this one. A contract between the patrons and customers. In coming to this conclusion, then one can easily define their purpose within a school and let others know your usefulness.
“Branding needs to be intentional”–WHSLibraryRocks–There is a purpose and that purpose needs to have strength and backing.
“What qualities do you want most to cultivate in your students? Curiosity? Risk taking? Perseverance? There’s your brand!”–Jennifer LaGarde (aka Library Girl)–Yes, a lot of what Jennifer said stuck with me the most. If it is not about what the space can do for the students and their learning, then why should it be in the school? Really the focus should be on students, but I would also look at ways we can provide services for teachers beyond collaboration. If we truly want to be the hub or center, then we want to be it for all individuals in the building, not just students.
Nikki D. Robertson (her blog) also tweeted a great resource, Simon Sinek’s TED talk “How great leaders inspire action“. I watched most of the video and the info just solidified all that I got from the TLChat in that we need to show people our “why”–really what is our purpose, our promise, our passion. It is a defining of our roles in meeting the school’s mission and goals. If school librarians don’t want to be on the next round of budget cuts, we need to use our brand to broadcast our definition, the one that fits the needs of our students and staff.
So, what would mine be? What is my brand? What is my “why”? That’s for the next blog post…
For those who may have missed last Friday’s post, I am once again highlighting posts or quotes form posts that sparked an idea (“Brain Bite”) that may or may not become a full blog post. So onto this week’s Friday “Food”:
Brain Bite #1
Mr. Kapptie blogged about “The Technology Revolution” over on Our Children are Calling. In this post, he contemplates the idea the term “revolution” in relation to educational technology isn’t correct, that it is more like guerrilla warfare. He explains:
“So let’s think about the gorilla methodology. Attack at random times to try to cause chaos and inflict as much damage as we can. Computers, projectors, Laptops, Internet, Elmo, Smart/Interactive boards, Ipods, Cell Phones, Ipads, Chromebooks, Kindle, pad mini….and the ammunition list could be much more detailed but I think we start to see. The next wave always put schools behind and teachers left trying to get caught up.”
In some ways, I totally agree with him. There is always some new gadget or website, new laptop or eReader that comes on the market seems that someone is blogging about it or trying it out. I think that teachers need to not give in to every new thing and try to always integrate into their teaching. Educators need to use technology in an integrated fashion, not just because it is the latest and greatest.
Brain Bite #2
Recently CNN, posted an interview about writer Paul Miller (Disconnected: My year without the Internet) who took a year hiatus from the internet. The very first line caught my attention, causing me to want to read more: “We are using the Internet wrong. Smartphones turn people into horrible listeners. And cat videos aren’t as riveting as we think they are.” I read this after I did a webinar Wednesday on Digital Citizenship and one the items I highlighted was the need to know when to unplug, to limit our use of technology and not lose sight of reality. More than ever, I think this is true and we need to teach our children that it is ok to take a break and to not always have the cell phone at the ready, just in case. Yet, it is amazing how attached we become to our gadgets and how technology can become integrated into our lives to a point that we are really lost sometimes without it. How did that happen?
Brain Bite #3
The idea of a “Little Free Library” in the neighborhood seems to be a slam on a traditional library. After all, books are free there as well and most public library have become fine free places. If communities are closing down libraries because they see them only as book repositories and not community learning centers, then why are these “Little Free Libraries” popping up. Maybe those closing library doors should take a hint…
To make sure I blog at least once a week, I’ve decided to start a Friday “Food for Thought” post in which I take quotes that have made me think but not necessarily in enough of a fashion for a whole blog post. So here is today’s first “Food for Thought” blog post:
From Larry Ferlazzo’s post on Edutopia called “More Positive, Not Punitive, Classroom Management Tips“:
“Behavioral economist Dan Ariely found in one experiment that if people are reminded of their moral values, they are far less likely to cheat. In his study, they were reminded of the Ten Commandments.”
This is all great and fine, but how do we know the moral background of our students. How many of them would actually know the Ten Commandments? I did go so far as to look up studies on percentage of people who know the Ten Commandments and found statistics such as “sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments” (USA TODAY) or
“A survey by Kelton Research found 80 percent of 1,000 respondents could name the burger’s primary ingredient — two all-beef patties — but less than six in 10 knew the commandment ‘thou shalt not kill.’
Less than half of respondents — 45 percent — could recall the commandment ‘honor thy father and mother’ but 62 percent knew the Big Mac has pickle.
Bobby and Peter, the least recalled-names from the fictional Brady Bunch family, were remembered by 43 percent of respondents — topping the 34 percent who knew “remember the Sabbath” and 29 percent recalling ‘do not make false idols.’ “ (Reuters)
This worries me if they don’t know this basis for the laws of country and to remind them of their moral values to help them behave better in the classroom.
From “The Digital Live of Teens: Code Switching” by Matt Levinson on Edutopia blog: “While kids are able to create their own narrative outside of school, they find themselves having to code switch back to school. In schools, tension arises between digital presentism and linear learning approaches. Essentially, there is a struggle over who controls the narrative — the student or the teacher.”
I had never heard of the term “Code Switching” but lucky for me it was defined in the first paragraph of the article. For me the above statement caught my eye, especially the phrase “there is a struggle over who controls the narrative.” We live in a customizable world, a world in which if we want to build our own shoes we can online or we can build our own sandwich at Subway. So why is school still so structured? Don’t the standards restrict the narrative as well? Should our students narrative end in a test or should their narrative whole grow through a skill set provided by education?
So, now you know what has got me thinking this week. What are your thoughts? What made you think this week?