Wednesday, October 29, 2014


As has been the case for 10 years, now, I conclude this gathering with a mixture of awe and gratitude, and also maybe a little regret. I am most definitely a victim of sensory overload but at the same time wish it went on a little longer. I want to write an overview and then go back and write in more detail about specific ideas and/or sessions. First I am going to sit and think, and then I am going to briefly list a few highlights that rise to the top of my mind upon reflection. I will limit myself to no more than five of these.

I did pause for a few minutes and asked myself what surfaced I my mind without looking at my program or my notes, and I came up with four things. Here they are:
·      I try to never miss a keynote, and came into the last of the three mornings without even bothering to see who was speaking on what topic. This allowed me to be happily surprised to realize I would be hearing Josh Hanagarne, aka The World’s Strongest Librarian.  He also spoke last year and thus I knew I was in for a treat. His topic today was…are computers changing the way we think? Of course they are! I will write more about his speech. It is causing me to engage in self-examination as well as to reflect on the larger meaning for all of us and our brains, separately and collectively.
·      Next to pop into my brain is Tuesday’s keynote by Nina Simon, Executive Director, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History Author, The Participatory Museum, & Blogger, Museum 2.0. The title was Radical Transformation & Co-Created Magic! She gave a fascinating and inspiring account of her institution’s turnaround from bankruptcy to enjoying community support and financial success. This was done largely by conducting a series of public events that cost little or nothing but brought in citizens from all walks of life, from traditional museum supporters to people from the local homeless shelter.  Most of her ideas could be springboards for ways to engage patrons at any library, and I am also thinking about how to adapt for use with my students.
·      The third standout from all sessions was Tuesday afternoon’s opportunity to hear Ken Haycock. I have followed him since my days as a doctoral student, and have heard him speak before. This time the relatively small room allowed for a much more personal feeling of connection with him and fellow members of the audience. His topic was…ADVOCACY. He has been a leader in this arena for longer than I have been involved in librarianship and his advice has influenced my career both as a school librarian and as a MLS professor. I need to write more about his common sense ideas that are quite simple, but hardly easy for many of us.
·      The final thing to come to mind as a highlight is not a speaker but rather a large part of the conference experience, and that is collegiality. I had so many great conversations with old and new friends, some of which bear repeating later. In particular I enjoyed spending time with Dave Hoffman, Carolyn Foote, and Diane Cordell.
Every year I approach this conference with great anticipation. It is an annual gift that provides me with ideas and information that I call upon all year and in some cases for longer spans. Often I hear about devices or trends for the first time, weeks or months before they reach me in Texas. This year did not disappoint. I gained more than I can tell, and once again leave knowing I will hope that I get to return in 2015.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anticipatory Delight...I love the anticipation of a great conference! This time Internet Librarian West 2014

It feels good to be in the air and headed west to California and the Internet Librarian Conference again. This is my 10th year to present, and one of the highlights of any year.  For much of my academic career,, this conference has been my goto event for new learning and inspiration. It has sparked ideas that have led to a large portion of my writing and presenting over the years. Through this conference I found myself writing a regular column for Internet@Schools Magazine, and also used ideas and new knowledge for three books, numerous articles in other publications, and presentations in conferences throughout the US. Its not an exaggeration to say that this event helped me move up through the ranks  to full professor before taking retirement to my present half-time position. I am looking forward to seeing familiar faces, including the inimitable Dave Hoffman,  whom I can thank for my continuing presence and also my column. I am also looking forward to two special colleagues, Diane Cordell with whom I am presenting, and Carolyn Foote, fellow Texan and librarian extraordinaire. Let the learning begin!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Getty Images--GET Them!!!

Recently I heard great news about royalty free images that people can use in blogs, websites, and presentations. I really do love photography and infographics, and digital literacy is a special interest of mine. I went to the Getty collection ( and registered to be a user. This is also free. I took a look at the collection, doing several searches, and became even more excited. I found lots of images that I could have used in past projects. There was one small problem. I was not sure how to get an image for free. If you click on a particular picture, a window pops up that offers pricing information on the right. The picture is watermarked so you cannot just copy paste from that preview. That was where I hit a wall. I knew I was overlooking something but could not figure out what. Then yesterday I saw this helpful blog entry via Facebook, thanks to Georgia Wells:
I knew I was missing something that was probably easy, and sure enough what I was not noticing was that BELOW the picture there was this symbol: < >
That of course should have clued me in to the fact that I could click on it and get the html code needed to insert the picture. That was my missing piece of the puzzle. Now I have a super resource for images for presentations, etc. I will still use Creative Commons and morguefile, but it's great to have this option both because of the ease and also because of the rich collection of images. Here is one I may use in an upcoming presentation:

And here's another great plus...Getty nicely puts attribution right below the image for you! If you want to have students add a formal citation you can, but I would say for many uses this is fine and much better than lack of any sort of citation which is too often the case. Give it a try!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

IL2013: Summing Up Is Hard To Do...

Conference Presentations are at this link:
Name and Password are both the same: il2013
Take a look around and see what sounds interesting to you!

Every year after attending Internet Librarian/Internet@School I say the same thing: This was the best conference ever! I depend on this gathering to give me food for thought, ideas for instruction, and topics for articles and presentations. These tend to carry me through the next year. There are many things that I have heard first at Internet Librarian that then become common knowledge as trends to follow. I took a look at my vita and was reminded that I have presented at IL since 2004, making this my 9th year. After every conference I have returned invigorated and inspired, and this year is no exception. Here are some things that stood out:
  • During the first session, Peter Morville exhorted us to be inspiration agents in our jobs. This struck a nerve with me because I am quite concerned about the negativity and poor morale stemming from the current trend toward denigrating teachers and schools coupled with the inflated emphasis on mandated tests. He reminded us of the book Nudge and our need to promote a climate of encouragement and even humor in our classrooms and libraries. 
  • The sessions I attended were relevant and energizing. On the first day I was particularly taken with these ideas:
    • Zoe Midler has the wonderful title of "Google Czar" at her school, Flagstaff Academy, Longmont CO. She works with both students and teachers to promote the use of technology in lessons and projects. My biggest takeaway was her emphasis on assessment at the end of endeavors. She employs not one but three follow-ups as described in a previous post to this blog. Together these tools, shared via Google Forms, help her know how to improve and also recount what she does so that there is clear documentation of her value in order to meet any questions that arise about her position.
    • Tasha Bergson-Michelson from Castelleja School in Palo Alto reminded us that there cannot be one prescribed model that will work in all classrooms. Rather school librarians must build on existing tacit knowledge held by patrons and craft activities that build and expand upon that. 
    • In the 3rd Monday session, Mobile and Digital--Flipping the Library for 21st Century Learners, I picked up a list of great apps to try in the library: PicStich, InstaCollage, Flash Cards, Brainscape, Schoology. 
    • The 4th session, Making it Real: Institutionalizing a 21st Century Mindset, shared great things happening at Delmar Burke School in San Francisco. I picked up on a couple of catchwords that I need to explore: makerspaces and backward design. I hope to discuss these in future blog entries.
    • The afternoon session called STEM to STEAM put me right at the edge of information overload and was a great end-of-day workshop. We learned about the STEM lab at and how bringing in Arts and Design means that all areas of curriculum should now be valued. This was my first time to meet and hear Melissa Techman though I have followed her for years on Twitter. One advocacy idea she shared is something for all school librarians to consider. Do you often hear from parents that they appreciate what you do or that they are grateful for what you bring to their children? Whenever she gets such a compliment, she asks if she might have that person's email address. She is building a email list of library supporters in this way. If at some point her job's value is questioned, she will be able to send out a message to people that can vouch for her importance. 
  • I went into Tuesday's keynote with high expectations because the presenter, Lee Rainie from PEW Internet and American Life Project never disappoints. He shared significant trends from the previous year relating to librarianship. He reminded us that today's library patrons have different needs and interests from past users. Data from surveys shows encouraging news that Americans still value public and school libraries and respect and appreciate librarians. Still there is the ongoing need for better PR to get the word out about what libraries have to offer and how librarians can help users of all ages. One phrase he used seemed to really get traction in tweets from the session: "Quizes are like catnip to Internet users." My frequent use of Survey Monkey bears this out and validates future use for me. You can and should visit the PEW site and take  advantage of the wonderful resources but getting to hear Mr. Rainie's commentary was, as always, a great treat.
    • Tuesday's sessions were no less edifying than those from the day before:
      • Jean Hellwege's inspiring account of a school project that is turning into a national movement to inspire kids to make a difference in the world was compelling. Your best bet is to go to her preso and see how a relatively limited classroom/library project grew into a life-changing movement for all concerned.
      • The inimitable Carolyn Foote and her colleagues shared insights about eBooks. They offered a combination valuable information about the increasing and ongoing trend toward eBooks, along with some great practical tips. One thing Carolyn mentioned almost in passing was that she has a Bathroom Newsletter which she posts in the loo with enticing information about new and exciting materials and goings-on in the library. She also has a Teacher's Lounge Newsletter that she posts and updates. These are easy and fun ideas for getting the news out about your library or program. As with all sessions you will do well to go to her session at the conference site and pick up on all the great tips there.
    •  The last session I attended was a fitting finale to a great conference. I have heard Gary Price present at this venue a number of times over the year. Like Lee Rainie, he never disappoints. Gary used to be known for his site called Resource Shelf but now has a new site, Infodocket. Once again I was writing down ideas at a furious pace. Just go to his site for a treat. This year he exhorts us to use authentic real-life resources rather than just those specifically for teachers, students and librarians. Then we should work these sites into authentic lessons with lasting carryover for students. Here are a few of the resources he mentioned and which I want to explore:
      • eBookshelf from DPLA (Digital Public Library of America)
      • Stacklife
      • MondoWindow
      • FlightTracker--both this and previous are for following airline flights.
      • Amtrack equivalent of plane tracker
      • CSPAN Video Library
      • Internet Archive--many of us know this site of course but he informed us that they have started TV News Archive
      • Tunein and Uberstations for streaming audio from around the world
      • Topomapper--worldwide topographic maps
      • Docracy lets you track privacy statements
      • camelcamelcamel tracks all products in Amazon!
      • LA Public library database
      • Journal TOCs lets you see tables of contents from many journals 
      • CoursePacker
      • Word Lens...this is an app. Point your camera at text and it will translate it into another language!
      • Use Google Street View to with students to have them make tours.
      • Archive-It--directories of web pages by topic
      • OpenDoar--OpenDOAR is an authoritative directory of academic open access repositories
  • I thought I would round out my account with another list...these are catchwords and phrases that I want to remember and explore. Some are completely new to me and others are things about which I have some familiarity but need to learn more about.
    • Backward design
    • Makerspaces, makey makey, MakerFaires
    • mindcraft
    • Ira Sokol
    • Museum collaborations and Nina Simon's blog, Museum 2.0
    • Chad Sanseng, Nerd Camp, and Classroots
    • Writing is Making! NWP...National Writing Project
    • Meme posters
    • Scratch plug and play programming
    • scichat
    • mozfest
    • Duxbury Free Library little bits
    • Learn to SEARCH Pinterest
    • Book: Invent to Learn
    • librarymakers website
    • thiskindylife blog--Kindergarten teacher blog
    • MOOCs in library world
    • Mozilla Thimble
  • I am so grateful and fortunate to be a part of this conference. To me it is invaluable and has been a major influence on my thinking, writing, teaching, and presenting over the years. Thanks again to David Hoffman and Carolyn Foote for pulling off a huge success again this year!
  • APOLOGIA: I did not give websites for each tidbit I mentioned. It would simply take too long and I want to get this posted today. I DID, however, look up each one and got to a site using terms as listed. So Google on! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

IL 2013 First Day First Session Reflection...Internet@School Zoe Midler and Embedded Librarian in School

After keynote and just morning sessions at IL2013 my mind is already boiling over with ideas. One thing has bubbled to the top and it is about library research. The presenter stressed doing follow-ups after research activities. Presenter Zoe Midler is Google Czar at her school. She gave lots of ideas on her topic, being an embedded librarian in her school's environment. She uses many online tools for this.  Lots of wiki ideas are included. What stood out the most for me was special activities that she does after a research activity:
1. First she has a followup form for collaboratiing teachers where they describe their project and tell what standards were achieved in the project. She said she learned that teachers are competitive! They really want to outdo one another as to standards met. These are shared on the school server. Idea of followup form is great!
2. Then there is a CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY for teacher where they share reactions to how things went, how to improve, etc.
3. Finally she does what she calls a POSTMORTEM in which she herself sums things up. This is how she documents what she did, and also teachers use this information in their portfolios.

That's a lot of follow-up! By doing these follow-ups she is able to learn from constituents and also document her work. This is so important for her to continually justify her position. Further she can critique her work and come up with ideas about how to improve in the future.

Thinking back to my school librarian days I can instantly see how I could have benefitted by doing all three follow-up activities. Further I am going to pass this on to my stucents and also think how I can consider more following up in my present role as a professor in a MLS program.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

LEADING UP TO IL 2013: How much do you practice for a preso?

I hope I am learning from past experience. Too often I have spent inordinate time putting together a presentation for a conference, class, or any venue. I have tweaked, added, deleted, re-added, yadda yadda. But then I have failed to practice in order to be ready to deliver the preso smoothly and with confidence. I am trying to do better today. In fact I just finished going through my presentation standing in front of a mirror.  THAT is humbling but also a good idea. I am practicing today, and will do so at other times before my Tuesday time, which is as follows: E201 – Online Badges and Other Incentives-Get Motivational! 10:30-11:45 via Internet@School. I feel so lucky to be attending again this year. I do wonder how much rehearsing other speakers do. Sometimes it's evident one way or the other. How about you?

Friday, October 25, 2013

LEADING UP TO IL 2013: Superstars at Internet Librarian!

I am going over the list of speakers at the upcoming Internet Librarian Conference next week in Monterey. As always I am bowled over by the caliber of presenters. Stephen Abram! Kenneth Haycock! Mary Ellen Bates! Marshall Breeding! Carolyn Foote! Joe Murphy! Greg Notess! Gary Price! Lee Rainie! Melissa Techman! Roy Tennant! My boss Holly Weimar who is presenting with me! I feel so lucky to be able to attend, and deeply honored to be presenting again this year. I know all the other speakers are dynamic leaders also. I think that the concentration of experts at this gathering is what makes it such a unique and special event. I go to other conferences to network and recruit as well as to learn. THIS is my chance to just listen and learn, and I am very grateful for it. Special thanks to Jane Dysart, Dave Hoffman, Carolyn Foote, Carol Nixon, and everyone else who makes this conference so important year after year. Kudos to Information Today for its many contributions. My association with this conference and with Internet@Schools Magazine have been invaluable to me throughout my career. I cannot adequately quantify what I have gained from my associations with both the conference and the publication over the years.

Next I went through the list and looked at job titles. These are ones that sound especially awesome and cool to me:
  • Meg Backus, ILS Administrator & Chief Maker, Chattanooga Public Library...I wanna be a Chief Maker. In fact I think I AM! I maneuvered Dr. Holly Weimar into taking my place as Department Chair.
  •  Tasha Bergson-Michleson, Instructional and Programming Librarian, Castilleja School. Wow I would have loved to be called PROGRAMMING LIBRARIAN at my junior high.
  • Chanitra Bishop, Digital Scholarship & Emerging Technologies Librarian, Reference Services, Indiana University Bloomington...I like the sound of THIS job a lot!
  • iane Cowen, Virtual Services Librarian, Santa Cruz Public Libraries...this job title has a very nice ring to it!
  • Jenny Howland, Makery Facilitator, Lower School K-6, Katherine Delmar Burke School Fablabs K-12 Google Group, BAISNET, NYCIST...Sounds like a dream job!
  • Richard Le, Teen Librarian, San Francisco Public Library...Teen Librarians are ALWAYS cool!
  • Keith A Rocci, First Year Experience Librarian, Mabee Library, Washburn University Emporia State University...Every university would do well to have this position!
  • Jeremy Snell, Web & Electronic Services Librarian, Mechanics' Institute...I had to look up this amazing institution. Now I really need to visit!
FINALLY, going through the list a third time I found this gem: Josh Hanagarne, Salt Lake City Public Library, & Author, The World’s Strongest Librarian, Level 3, Salt Lake City Public Library...I just bought his book last week! OMG!!!!

If I went through the list again I think I would find OTHER people to highlight. That's how amazing this conference will be again this year as always.  Just don't get me started on session titles and how to pick!