Erin Schramm | Chicago Reader

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Re: “Mayor Rahm's grand experiment: Libraries without librarians

Kevin, believe me, it's not true in high schools, middle schools, or elementary schools either. Research is very clear that schools with a library and a certified Library Media Specialist consistently have higher reading test scores than schools without those things. Sending kids off to college who read and research poorly can lead to a huge struggle at best.

41 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Erin Schramm on 10/02/2013 at 11:01 PM

Re: “Mayor Rahm's grand experiment: Libraries without librarians

Speaking as a school librarian, I am happy to add to Debra's comment.

Here's what we DON'T do: Wait for classes to come to the library, read them a picture book, let them check out, and then wait for the next class to come (and read for pleasure in between). Here's what we DO do:

TEACH EVERY CHILD IN THE SCHOOL A FULL LIBRARY CURRICULUM, INCLUDING...
...how to use various kinds of technology and software such as word processing programs, Web 2.0 tools, PowerPoint, online encyclopedias, laptops, iPads, etc.
...how to find and use information, using dictionaries, thesauri, encyclopedias, atlases, the Internet, the online library catalog, etc.
...about the different genres of literature (realistic fiction, historical fiction, sci fi, fantasy, folk and fairy tales, graphic novels, nonfiction, poetry), what their characteristics are, what purposes they serve
...in-depth studies of important children's authors
...Internet safety
...what is plagiarism and how to avoid it
...the importance of citations, including when and how to use them
...about an author's style and tone, the role of an illustrator, the difference between fiction and nonfiction, parts of a book
...organization, including alphabetical order and numerical order (Dewey Decimal)
...storytelling, story order, various forms of creative writing, comparing and contrasting different versions of a story

Also, teach faculty and staff how to effectively use new kinds of technology and Web 2.0 tools in the classroom

COLLABORATE...
...with teachers to design dually-taught lessons between the teacher and the librarian
...with teachers to provide the best resources available for the teacher to teach a specific unit
...with the school tech coordinator (if there is one) to set up and make available various AV materials throughout the school (if there isn't one, the librarian often becomes the go to technology person for the school)

ADMINISTRATION:
~ Set rules and expectations for student and teacher use of the library
~ Read review journals, book blogs, and resources in the field to locate the best materials for the school, order them, process them (add call numbers, bar codes, protective covers), shelf them
~ Keep track of all materials going in and out of the library, overdue materials, lost materials, requests for materials
~Maintain holds lists
~ Manage the library budget (including money for books, book repair materials, display materials, materials needed to teach lessons, money for any databases or online encyclopedias the school subscribes to, magazine subscriptions, etc.)
~ Write grant proposals to get more money for the library since budgets are constantly being slashed
~ Create overdue notices for students with late materials
~ Create and run a library (and often a school) website--I do both

MISC:
~ Organize and run a school-wide book fair at least once and usually twice a year
~ Plan, organize, and implement a school-wide Family Reading Night at least once a year
~ Lesson planning for every class in the school at every grade level (in most schools classes come to the library once a week)
~ Shelve books
~ Constantly read the new children's books coming out, the trendy books the kids like, the award-winning books, the books both adults and kids are talking about
~ Repair damaged books (most school libraries don't have enough money to simply replace them)
~ Weed the collection (go through and pull out all of the books that are outdated, obsolete, or haven't been checked out in years)
~ Create book displays and revolving bulletin board displays (some of mine are district-mandated)
~ Attend school library meetings, go to library conferences (if your school will pay for it or you can afford it), regularly attend professional development courses and seminars, and often join reading-related school committees

Hope this helps clear up a few of the misconceptions out there!

165 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Erin Schramm on 10/02/2013 at 8:37 PM

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