Library Ramblings

from an elementary school librarian

I’ve moved! July 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — librariantiff @ 1:49 am

Well folks, I finally did something I’ve wanted to do for a while now. I bought a domain and created a new blog! I’m loving my new space and am getting everything looking just the way I like it. You can now find me at:

So check me out!


Sarah’s Key and The Glass Castle July 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — librariantiff @ 3:18 pm

Sunday was meeting day for a monthly book club that I participate in with some amazing ladies. Since it’s summer, we decided to read two books. They were both a little heavy, to say the least, and I think we’ll be sticking with just one at a time for a while. So here’s what we thought…

First, we discussed Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay. This fiction book tells the story of what took place in France at the Vélodrome d’Hiver during WWII. I had never heard of this tragic event in which French police and military rounded up their own people — Jews living in Paris — held them in unimaginable conditions, then sent them away to be killed. This story was told from two view-points: Sarah, a young Jewish girl who lived through this nightmare, and Julia, a modern day reporter writing a piece for the 60th anniversary of the tragedy. I thought this story was very well written, although somewhat predictable. This is such a powerful piece for historical fiction, and my group was amazed at how well developed the character of Sarah was. We were all so attached to her and devastated by the events of her life. Many in the group found Julia to be a less likable character. However, I saw much of myself in her character, particularly her tendency to become obsessive and completely absorbed in a project. It would have been nice to get one more snippet from Sarah’s point of view at the end of the story, but the overall consensus was that the ending was a good fit.

Our other book was The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. This book was tragic and incredible. It’s so shocking, I think I read the entire thing with my jaw on the floor. This memoir tells the story of the author’s unstable, neglected childhood. In our discussion, we marveled at the constant stream of events that took place and the number of times we said, “Oh my God. You just can’t make this stuff up.” We found it really interesting that the tone of the book, despite the horror of its contents, was not at all resentful or depressing. It lead into a discussion on how we all have a soft spot for our families, even when crazy things happen, so we could all sort of relate Wells’ view on the situation. The family dynamics made for some interesting discussion, and we tried to look at all of the characters from multiple points of view.

It was such a great meeting! I so love my book club.

On a blogging note — I’ve really been thinking about my blogging and the fact that this blog is not extremely focused. I love blogging about my adult book club, but it feels a little out of place with the rest of my content. What do you think? I could start a separate blog for the book club, I guess, but I’m not sure how I feel about that. Thoughts?


GoogleReader Cleaning

Filed under: Uncategorized — librariantiff @ 1:06 am

I’ve been neglecting my GoogleReader in favor of Twitter lately. But I really love so many of the blogs that I follow, so I know it’s time for me to get back in the swing of using that resource. Also, I have some big changes that are going to take place next year (that I’m not ready to post about yet), so I need to be preparing myself for that. I finally created myself a gmail account and will move my reader over to that instead of using my yahoo account. So here is the newly organized and refined list of blogs I’m following:

Book Blogs

School Librarians

School Libraries

Other Library Stuff

Ed Tech

Blogs of Friends

Food Blogs

What I want to know is…What am I missing??


Hmm…homeschool? July 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — librariantiff @ 2:52 am

This blog post by Will Richardson really got my brain going.

I’m going to go ahead and admit it — I have frequently judged people who homeschool their children. I’ve judged lots who put their kids in private school, for that matter. That probably has a lot to do with the fact that I live in the deep south and those choices are usually made based on religious reasons that (I feel) negatively effect the actual content that those children are allowed to come in contact with. I’ve always figured that I’m a product of public school, and I turned out pretty darn good (note: low self-esteem has never been a struggle of mine). But reading this post and watching Seth Godin’s video, in conjunction with my recent filter fighting battle, really caused me to take a step back.

For a moment, I had a vision. I imagined homeschooling a small group of (5-10) children and having the freedom to teach them to explore, create, share, and learn. I imagined the incredible learning experiences they could have, the discussions that would take place, the creativity that could be developed working with a small group and teaching through project-based learning. I imagined loading them up and taking them places, giving them opportunities to explore and experience things and places. I imagined having no technology restrictions, where I could teach them to be safe but creative, brave citizens in the digital world. It would be so fun, so thrilling, so exhausting, so much work. But I would get to see excitement from these kids and help them create their own powerful learning experiences and then share it with others. Ahhhh…what a utopian world!

It’s a very interesting thought. For now, I’m going to stick with my battles and accomplishments in public schools. But if I ever decide to have children, this though may very well be revisited.

CC by alamosbasement

It all brings me to this question, though:

Is it more powerful to impact a small group of children in an incredible way or work with and fight for the masses?


Fight the Filter Game Plan July 8, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — librariantiff @ 1:59 pm

Since my return from ISTE, I’ve been working on my plan to fight the filter. It’s going to be a tough battle, because the newly passed Louisiana “safety” law is garbage. If you’re interested, you can find it here.

So to introduce my case and hopefully open up some meaningful discussion, I have created a video and a glog:

Web Tools Glog

Feel free to use these resources if you find them useful or if you’re in a similar situation. Wish me luck!


ISTE10 Reflections July 7, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — librariantiff @ 3:14 pm

I’ve been trying for a week now to block out some time to really reflect on my experiences at the ISTE conference. But with my hubby remodeling the kitchen (fridge is currently in the living room), July 4th weekend, a friend’s wedding, and grad school work piling up, the reflecting has taken place in spare moments here and there. I will sit down and filter through the multitude of resources that I filed away from my sessions. The conference was such an incredible experience for me and left me fired up and ready to roll. So here are my three take-aways from ISTE10:

1. We have to help our students obtain a global perspective. We all know that the world has changed so much in the last 25 years. In my lifetime, the internet has completely opened up the world. Our students will be able to communicate and collaborate instantly with people from all over the world in their careers, and it’s our job to prepare them for that. In order for them to be good citizens in a global society, we must give them experiences now that will help them in becoming globally aware. This includes learning about other places and cultures, becoming good environmental stewards, and making real life connections with peers world wide. The resources that we have now make this possible in a way that wasn’t just a few years ago. The activities that we do in the library this year are going to be geared towards helping students gain a global perspective.

2. Students need to have opportunities to create and share. Obviously, trends in education are changing. If we are going to give our students what they need (and crave), there is going to have to be a revolution in the way we teach. Student-centered classrooms mean project-based learning. And these projects are going to have a strong foundation of technology. But when we create something awesome, don’t we all want to share it with the world? Why else do we blog, after all? And we can share it with the world — shouldn’t our students be able to do the same? This creating and sharing is where a lot of us are running into road blocks. I, for one, am tired of being told that I can’t do something that I know would be a great learning opportunity for my students. So this year, I am picking up the torch and fighting the filter. For the sake of our students, things have to change. If they don’t, we’ll keep falling farther behind.

3. Don’t be intimidated — jump in and share! I was star-struck at ISTE. I met two of my library idols — Joyce Valenza and Gwyneth Jones. I mean, these women are library goddesses. I was SHAKING when I met them, because they are what I aspire to be. They were so kind and welcoming, and encouraged me to step up and participate at the Library Smackdown — and I did! I met so many amazing educators whose blogs and tweets I follow, and it was hard not to be intimidated! By the end of the conference, I was (more) comfortable and decided that the time had come for me to start taking part in the world of Ed Tech. I may not feel like I have much to offer, but I’m passionate about what I do and I’m always looking to grow. That’s what’s most important, right??

I’m sure my posts will be circling back to ISTE10 for quite some time. I have a long road ahead of me in fighting for the freedom to do what’s best for my students. Their future is worth fighting for!

Here I am with the library goddesses Joyce and Gwyneth.

And here I am with the SimpleK12 girls…but you can’t see their blue bunny slippers 😦


Am I dreaming? June 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — librariantiff @ 3:42 am

It’s 9:18 in Denver and I’m BEAT! I may actually be sleep-blogging, so I apologize in advance. It’s been a long, exhausting, and exciting day. ISTE10 is even more than I could have hoped it would be. I’m meeting so many great educators — lots of whom I have been following on twitter and their blogs for a while. I’ll have to post a list of links to my new rock star friends at the end of the conference. For now, I’m just throwing stuff up here to help myself keep track of what I’m doing. The real reflecting won’t happen until I get home. For now, I’m just trying to take it all in.

Today I tried not to overextend myself and learn how to deal with a conference of this size. This morning, I attended Will Richardson’s session on “Changing the Climate: How Teaching Social Networks Might Save the World.” It was awesome and right up my alley. I can’t wait to get home and have a chance to really digest everything he talked about. Here are my tweets from that session:

“We’re not going to solve the environmental problem until we solve the education problem.” @willrich45 #ISTE10

We need to model to our students how we use online social interaction for learning @willrich45 #ISTE10

Next, I visited the exhibitor’s hall and nearly had a panic attack. Talk about sensory overload. I didn’t last for too terribly long, and I’m not sure if I can force myself back in there. My coworker is always a winner, though, so maybe I need to give it a shot.

The other session I attended was a BYOL (bring your own laptop) and it was GREAT! It was called “Learning in the 76542.0: An Abundance of Web 2.0 Apps” by Helen Mowers and Anne Adam. It plowed through a list of uh-mazing free resources. It was very fast paced, so afterwards I gave myself some time to digest and create a Glogster on what I’d learned. Check it out, it’s pretty awesome if I do say so myself —

Afterwards, I hung out at the Blogger’s Cafe for a bit. I tried to hit up the “21 Things about 21 Things” session, but it was full. So I went back to the BC for a bit. This evening, I went to a SIGMS Birds of a Feather, a YEN (Young Educators Network) meet-up, and had dinner with the people from my school & district. See why I’m exhausted?! And I get to wake up and do it again in the morning. I wouldn’t have it any other way! This is truly a life-changing experience, I believe. And I’m not being dramatic because I’m typing with my eyes closed half asleep.

SIGMS Learning Tools Smackdown in the AM. Followed by a whole bunch of other ISTE goodness.

Peace out. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz