- Queries about summer reading programs -- one book, one school vs. varying other ideas; e.g., Tara Draper from Sandwich High reports that her school is implementing a new program in which all faculty/staff "choose their favorite book, and a small group of students will meet with them to discuss the book at the beginning of next school year" to Debra Murphy at Essex Agricultural and Technical High School whose students chose from a website of suggested reads she creates and whose assessment can be one of "many options -- works of art depicting their book, sculpture, prologue or epilogues, dioramas... the results were astonishing. Students who never read a book were excited." Laura Gardner from the Dartmouth Middle School wrote that students at her school were given a choice of 25 specific titles and/or 25 authors. Last year, they kept a book journal over the summer, but this year, they'll give book talks, with the hope that students can learn from each other about good books. Ms. Gardner notes that the PTA at her school "bought all the books for our students so every student left for the summer with their chosen book."
- Banned books? Laurie Ann Riley, Library Media Specialist at the Browne & Wright Middle Schools in Chelsea brought to our attention a situation in which administrators called upon her to pull books that might be inciting certain types of behavior. At one point, she was asked to surrender a list of titles checked out by particular students. "I said that I would not give [him] the list because library patrons (even students) have the right to privacy and confidentiality." Kathy Lowe responded with a helpful compilations of tips from MSLA. To me it was a very important reminder of the nature of our role: to guide as well as protect students. Some times that role puts us at odds with administrators.
- Another topic that keeps cropping up is online bibliographic tools. Erin Dalberg, Library Director at Wayland High posted the results of investigations into the merits of Noodletools and Refworks. Apparently, Noodletools plans to make a number of improvements to its software, including the ability to import database citations. However, librarians agree that online tools really don't take the place of knowing how to write your own citation (and when to cite). To quote Leslie Lomasson, Librarian at Amherst Regional High School, "[students] should be sure to take any classes offered by librarians at their college or university, to save many hours of work later."
- Student workers? And finally, this topic piqued my interest: Linda Coviello at the Lt. Job Lane Elementary School in Bedford wrote on March 3rd, that she was considering starting a program at her school. In response, some librarians reported that they have programs in place that work quite well, others not so much. However, all seemed to feel that the experience was worthwhile for the students.
I hope you enjoyed this mini blast from the past. Feel free to comment on any of these Hot Topics!