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What is Professional Development? Why is it Important?

By General No Comments

1 Day Liferarian Workshops – 2022

Register NOW for the Liferarian Conference 2022

Workshops for Librarians, Technology Teachers,

Multilanguage Teachers (ESL & Classroom Teachers) & IBO Core Teachers.

Theme: Collaboration – Key to Student Success
Day, Date & Time: Saturday, 3rd December 2022 – 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM IST
Location: American School of Bombay, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai

List of Speakers for the Library and Technology Strand

List of Speakers for the IB Core Strand – TOK, Extended Essay and CAS

List of Speakers for ESL and Language Teachers.

No one is excellent at their jobs or professions; we are all evolving. When you look at a successful librarian or teacher, this is because they have extensively been learning and working continuously towards building their skills or learning for a long time and embodying the principle of lifelong learning.

The professional world is competitive, and job profile needs are changing. Therefore continuous learning and professional development are essential for growth and success in your career goal. Technology and best practices are evolving and, therefore, crucial for both new and experienced librarians or teachers.

Technologies, best practices, and pedagogies are evolving and progressing in every industry, making it crucial for new and experienced professionals to continue developing their skills and honing their knowledge. Librarians have evolved into Information and Media Specialists, Media Specialists, Library Specialists, iCommons Specialists, Information & Technology Specialists, and many other new titles.

Primary School Librarians have evolved from simple read-aloud to interactive read-aloud strategies for deeper comprehension while creating a love for reading. Librarians are now learning, teaching & using technology tools and teaching information and media literacy skills.

In my early days as an assistant librarian, I shadowed two librarians at my school: an elementary school librarian and, later, the secondary school librarian. They both taught me lots of practical approaches to support my job. Shadowing experts or other professionals help you grow, learn practical strategies, and understand the ‘why’ of things around you. Collaboration is the key to learning and growing too.

What is the purpose of professional development?

– It helps you gain, learn and apply new knowledge and skills.
– Provides career growth and builds new mentors.
– It keeps you relevant since skills and expertise are evolving.
– Builds confidence in current practices, thereby increasing the capacity of being hireable.

Some of the opportunities for professional development are:

  • Attending a professional conference.
  • Participating in workshops.
  • Engaging in hands-on workshops.
  • Micro-learning in a particular field like google education.
  • Shadow a colleague or find a coach.
  • Reading a professional book or topic of your interest in learning.

Conferences are great opportunities to learn from experts in your field, network with like-minded professionals, and build your credibility, the art and craft of your profession. The purpose of conferences is to bring together professionals with specific expertise to discuss problems and offer solutions.

Register NOW! And we will see you there!

Library Curriculum: Do Librarians Need a Curriculum?

By Librarian's Role, Library curriculum No Comments

Education boards in India:

Every education institute has a curriculum to help students learn and succeed. Each school’s curriculum is defined by the education board the school adopts. In India, we have CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education) and the State Board, which are often governed by each state. Different states in India have other curricula. The International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) is similar to GCSE, recognized in the United Kingdom. The International Baccalaureate® (IB) offers four high-quality international education programmes.

Why is a school curriculum meaningful?

The school curriculum helps define the values, expectations, skills, and content.
– Provides standards
– Describes the syllabus for each grade
– Defines skills and content
– Provides a framework for assessments.

This school curriculum also connects the parents, students and the school.

Library curriculum? Is it necessary?

One would argue that students come to the library each week. Do we need a curriculum? Do we need assessments? Do we need syllabi?

Most schools have one or two librarians for the whole school or each section, so it is impossible to assess each student. However, a librarian might ask, are curriculums only related to assessments?

If librarians do not assess, do librarians still need a curriculum?

I think a library curriculum is essential to help the librarians define what needs to be taught and what skills, attitudes, or dispositions the librarian would like to support in the child’s learning journey.

Often the librarian role is defined as an educator who supports or builds a reading culture. The librarian might ask: How do I create a culture of reading, information & media literacy to support teachers and parents? How can I design my library lessons to meet the school’s needs?

The answers to these questions might differ for each school’s librarians. However, an overview of supporting language, reading culture, and information & media literacy skills is the same for all school boards.

Example 1
For a librarian in an IB school, collaboration is a crucial element. Librarians learn the curriculum, purchase resources to support the themes, and, through collaboration, use books and technology tools to help support content knowledge or learner profiles or conduct lessons to reinforce the approaches to learning, including research skills.

Example 2
Suppose the librarian is from a CBSE board. Librarians purchase books, manage library resources, conduct lessons to build a reading culture as well as support students in becoming proficient in navigating the information & media world. How is this going to be accomplished if they do not create a roadmap to build each skill at different standards or classes? The classroom teachers have a sequential progressive outline for each grade level; shouldn’t the librarian have a library roadmap for skills and dispositions?

Example 3
The Librarian in an IGCSE is often the only person who manages the book purchase, library resources, read-aloud sessions, and provides information and literacy skills to each grade level. How will they conduct lessons to create a deep impact and support learning if they do not have guidelines or a plan?

Is a Library Curriculum required?

At the beginning of my career as a librarian, I knew my role was managing resources and holding library classes. I randomly selected books that appealed to me and read them aloud to the children—different books for grades 1, 2, 3 and others. Sometimes, I would re-read the book to the other grade students and change some questions or even ask the same questions to another group of students. I thought I was doing my best, working hard and doing the right thing. I did not realize these random acts of reading were helpful to some degree, students enjoyed the stories, and there was an interest in supporting a reading culture.

Later, I learned the art of creating a library curriculum. Then, I realized why it was important to know why I was reading a picture book. When I understood the purpose of reading each story, I knew the purpose of including comprehension, speaking and listening targets. I knew why I was doing a poetry unit and how much time I would spend on each kind of poetry. I knew the genres I  wanted to introduce to the students, and they were in sync with what was taught in class. When students were doing projects, I could teach the information and media literacy skills on time. This had an impact on students learning a skill when they needed it most. When you are hungry and given a meal, you will enjoy it, and it will nourish your body and mind. Similarly, library lessons become meaningful, purposeful, and conducted on time when a librarian has a curriculum. The library curriculum or scope provides the librarians’ role with direction and structure.

The library curriculum is not developed overnight. It requires time, effort, and support from other librarian colleagues, partners and your curriculum coordinator or your supervisor. Creating a library curriculum becomes a roadmap for the librarian. It documents all the work that the librarian is doing systematically.

Begin, with your library mission, identify skills that are overarching and include all subject matter in the curriculum. And, then design a curriculum for grade 1 and think about what your grade 10 or 12 students should be able to accomplish before they leave school. Use the Ubd- backward design model to achieve your curriculum goals. There are thousands of resources available online. Modify them to meet the needs of your students, and you will feel accomplished. It will become the best professional development for the year.

Do we value comic books? Do we value graphic novels? Are they useful?

By Collection Development, comic books, Reading and Writing No Comments

By Airi Ozaki

A parent comes up to me in the library and says, “Please help my child read. He/she is only reading comic books. I want you to make him/her read real books.” 

Almost all librarians have faced this situation. Let’s look at graphic novels/comics as a form of literature. And you know, that every library must have comic books and graphic novels to satiate the needs of our community.

Fundamental differences between comic books and graphic novels:

Comics:

  • Comics are single stories in a series.
  • Comics come in a periodical format.
  • Comics have advertisements (not all).
  • Comics may have an ISSN.

Graphic novels:

  • A graphic novel is a long story with no series (generally).
  • A graphic novel comes in a book format.
  • A graphic novel has an ISBN.

Many universities have described comic/graphic stories as “hybrid literature’. These comic books receive more respect when used as a critical appreciation of artform, play of words, symbolism, design, structure, and plot lines.

Why are comic books valuable?

By Airi Ozaki

Comic/graphic stories have the elements of a story, and through this format, children can learn the different story elements of a protagonist, antagonist, settings, and plot. From early readers to learning a second language, developing fluency in a language, dyslexia individuals and sophisticated readers and illustrators can benefit from comic books and graphic novels. Most popular ones internationally are the Marvel comics, Japanese Manga (for all ages), and the DC comics

Some benefits of comic books/graphic novels

  • Struggling readers develop confidence and fluency with this format.
  • Children with autism can identify emotions through the art and images in a comic books.
  • Learning to infer, question, and identify evidence based on their reasoning through text and images can help build literacy.
  • Children begin to read meaning between the lines and figure out what the narrator describes.
  • Allows students to develop speaking skills and learn new vocabulary.

Practically speaking, we have all grown up with comic books, which have proven helpful in every child’s life. It quenches the child’s dreams, aspirations, emotional, social, fantastical, or heroic needs. Thus, making it meaningful and very valuable.

Genres are available in Comic Books/Graphic novels.

They range from historical fiction, biographies, mythologies, fables, and folklore, thus providing children explore and learn the different elements of genres through this kind of literature.

ACK – under CC0

Reading and writing go hand in hand. They are like daal and rice. One is not complete without the other. Writing in comic style allows students to express themselves in shorter and quicker ways. Learning about comic strips helps children learn a new form of writing. 

  1. Authors and illustrators use text boxes with words, colors, textures, and frames to tell their stories.
  2. They use speech balloons and sound effects to narrate their action in the story.
  3. Motion lines and character expressions are a part of the narration to tell their story. 

You can use these tools to provide students to create comic books online and a platform to share their lives.

What are Webcomics?

Young adults and adults have found their passion in Webcomics.

What are webcomics? “Webcomics (also known as online comics or Internet comics) are comics published on a website or mobile app. While many are published exclusively on the web, others are also published in magazines, newspapers, or comic books.” (Wikipedia)

This format has become very popular with the country’s young generation. It usually highlights politics, social awareness, and feminism, and they spread their ideas, words, and art through social media. Every country has its popular webcomics. 

Popular Webcomics in India

Striptease mag includes comics, graphic novels, and everything akin to it. There are some great reviews and recommendations for Indian graphic novels.

Brown Paper Bag: Satire that appeals to all. It will make you giggle at each chapter. Sailesh, aka Saigo, a 20-year-old Bangalorean, blends humor with everyday life. Anecdotes include how a left-handed person feels in India and even using profanities in front of parents. Find it on Facebook here

UrbanLore is by Kaveri Gopalakrishnan, and Aarthi Parthasarathy reflects the urban lifestyle. Humorous stories about women’s restrictions and feminism, how life works for women in India. You can find them on Facebook here

Sanitary Panels has simple artwork but makes up for it with giggle-worthy humour. The series is great for quick reads, topics on gender roles, personal life, and social interactions.

Green Humour is a collection of 250 stories about wildlife, animals, and birds. The focus is on wildlife and nature with a sense of humour. You can find them on Facebook here.

Strippy is another fun online comic strip.

All comic books can be purchased at

Banning Books & Reconsideration Policy

By Collection Development, General, Library Policy, Professional Learning No Comments

Here is my story: 

Fantasy Fairy Tales Child Girl Forest House Queen

A long time ago, when I was a Primary School Librarian, a parent came up to me in the Library and asked me to take off all the fairy tale stories from our primary collection. She remarked that the fairy tales were full of violence and were inappropriate for children. Many fairy tales have evil parents who send their children away, ugly beasts that kidnap children and mistreat them. She said, “These stories place parents in poor light, especially the story of Cinderella, where the stepmother is evil.” She questioned me, “do you think all stepmothers are evil? Is the goal of Cinderella to only marry the Prince and live happily ever after?”

In Hansel and Gretel, the father asks the children to leave their home? The children are stranded in the forest with an evil witch who wants to boil the children? What about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs? It belittles the role of parents. These are just a few examples from 100s of examples that we encounter. 

What do Librarians do for building a collection?

A dynamic librarian will provide a variety of books that include fairytales, becoming of age stories like Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares, Talking Of Muskaan by Himanjali Sankar, Slightly Burnt by Payal Dhar, Daddy Come Lately by Rupa Gulab, Asmara’s Summer by Andaleeb Wajid are just a few examples. Check out other additional titles.

As librarians, we include picture books with unconventional stories like  The Tree Boy by Srividhya Venkat, Nayantara Surendranath, Puu by CG Salamander, Samidha Gunjal, Sadiq Wants to Stitch by Mamta Nainy, Niloufer Wadia Ritu weds Chandni by Ameya Narvankar and more titles. 

Discussing sensitive topics that deal with gender and the caste system is very complex. However, we must find ways to address them with an open mind without sharing our strong opinions by providing a platform for discussion, where there is respect, kindness, and acceptance of different views and voices. Stories like these will give healthy discussions while igniting empathy. Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land: Dignity of Labour in Our Times, Bhimayana: Experiences of Untouchability, and here is another list of nonfiction for older students in secondary school.

Evolving School and Growing Libraries

If schools need to transform, the library collection must evolve and create a collection of print and digital resources that provide different perspectives that include historical and current ideas.

Students are curious. Children want to read books that reflect different communities, lifestyles, and perspectives. The library collection provides opportunities to learn new things. As librarians, we want to bring in a unique collection of books stories that provide perspectives and courage to change and evolve.

Evolving Society and Libraries

As our society evolves, we as librarians want to rise above hypocrisy and double standards. Librarians want to grow and provide a progressive collection of resources to meet the students’ changing needs. What can librarians do to ensure they are progressive and meet the needs of the students while supporting the school and parent community.

Our modern children want to learn about present-day problems, ways of life about gay rights, same-sex marriages, gender equality, and the treatment of privileged versus the unprivileged classes. Schools and libraries want to introduce new literature. However, some parents who find these topics uncomfortable and challenging resist these stories. 

What can Librarians do?

Some of the considerations to evolve as a progressive librarian, we must

  1. Learn and read the school’s school vision, mission, and culture.
  2. Understand the national textbooks. Use the Preamble of the constitution embedded in the textbook to develop your school’s collection to build an inclusive collection.
  3. Identify the curriculum of your school.
  4. Create a selection policy that says that the collection development meets the school policy’s needs and the progressive expectations of a global community.
  5. Create a reconsideration policy for individuals who want to restrict books in the Library

What is the Reconsideration Policy for withdrawing books and Why?

A reconsideration policy is created to ensure that there is transparency in the process of banning or stopping the circulation of books to a particular class or for circulation. 

Librarians are often confronted by community members, either parents or teachers, to ban or withdraw books from their class or the school library. Creating a reconsideration policy for removing books from the collection will allow an open discussion to hear the community member’s voices and allow a democratic process of including books or withdrawing the books from the Library.

The librarian and the curriculum coordinator can draft a document called the reconsideration policy procedure to allow members of the community to voice their opinion of individuals who desire to withdraw or ban particular titles from the collection or stop the circulation of books.

Taking the reconsideration in a very optimistic view, the librarian must keep the larger picture in mind because India is a secular democratic country. Most education system promotes open-mindedness, critical thinking, and cultural competency. It is imperative to create a tolerant mindset if views and opinions do not match your own. Each individual is entitled to their perspective. 

Here are details in Creating a challenge/reconsideration of resources for withdrawal.

Metaliteracy & Power of Communication for Librarians

By General, Librarian's Role, Media Literacy & Information Literacy, Metaliteracy No Comments

Librarians, books, reading, new technology tools, digital literacy, and communication are components in the repertoire of a dynamic evolving role of Librarians. And, we all know that literacy is not only reading, writing, information gathering & evaluating but becoming and supporting students into becoming Metaliterate.

Metaliteracy

What is Metaliteracy?

Metaliteracy has multiple layers. The first layer for Metaliteracy librarians is to start from Transliteracy. According to Metaliteracy: Reinventing Information Literacy to Empower Learners By Thomas P. Mackey, Trudi E. Jacobson says, Transliteracy emerged outside of the Librarians role where teaching and helping students create knowledge by deciphering from text to physical atlases to Google maps, interactive eBooks, video tutorials, and various Tedx and other social channels based on interests and learning experiences. We consume multimodal literacy, including media literacy, visual literacy, information literacy, & multicultural literacy.

In my opinion, Transliteracy falls directly in the purview of the librarians. It is rethinking our role when creating library plans/curricula. And it might seem practical to include Transliteracy rather than merely – information or media or other literacies since it falls into the heart of the librarians’ domain.

Understanding Transliteracy

Understanding transliteracy helps librarians open up their library curriculum framework and not bottle them into information, technology, or the Literacy Strand. According to T. Ipri, Transliteracy allows librarians and teachers to be fluid and apply a unified approach to literacy rather than focusing on technology tools.

Communications a critical aspect of Transliteracy

Adopting Transliteracy as the basis for learning allows librarians to design instructions where students become the owners, authors, or media creators of their original work. They interact with all forms of modalities: print to all forms of social network platforms to receive information.

Independent Projects

Several years, ago keeping this in mind, the Technology Coach and I embarked on this Independent Project with Elementary School students, giving them the space and time to navigate all forms of sources to arrive at their product/learning. Through these classes, mini-lessons on information searches, identifying credible resources, navigating different kinds of media: videos, images, infographics, and giving students the space and opportunity to create or learn a new skill. After several months, some students made websites, videos, comic books, eBooks, print books, infographics, and even Google tours and pamphlets based on their interests that varied from space, tourism, dolls, games, technology tools, coding, and more. In my opinion, the students learned at their own pace, driven by their interests. According to Dr. Renzulli’s Total Talent Development Program, when a child above average intelligence is allowed to use their creativity with a dedicated task accomplishment goal, this direction leads to Giftedness.

Choice Programs

Presently, a similar program called the ‘Choice Program’ is offered in middle school. Students explore their interests in secondary school, and as a librarian, I have had this opportunity to coach and support these mini-projects at school. This is an opportunity where the librarian becomes a part of the teaching faculty to help Metaliteracy.

After School Programs

I often use the after-school program opportunity to learn and hone new skills while giving opportunities to students to practice skills that lead to metaliteracy. Opportunities in photography, designing, and publication areas are paths where students have their voice and choice. Example the eNewspaper Club for Elementary, Middle, and High schools. Students are editors, and designers are part of every activity, and the librarian is the coach/facilitator to support the project.

Liferarian Conference 2021 Learning

I recently attended the Liferarian Conference 2021; the keynote speaker spoke about the importance of deciphering data and analyzing data by asking the 5W at all levels of data scrutiny. Tableau provides resources for teachers and students to learn about data. Understanding variables & field types in data, exploring aggregations, distributions, and learning how to examine the relationships within the data closely. This, I believe, will help us ‘up our game.’

Indeed, the Librarians’ role is evolving and moving in different directions, encompassing both the physical and the digital spheres. Therefore, as I share this post, I use this opportunity to continue learning and share my learning while honing my writing skills.

Will Librarians Continue to Exist in 2030?

By Librarian's Role, Professional Development 2 Comments

Is the library profession going to be obsolete? Are librarians a dying breed? These questions have often been asked of me. Recently, I received a youtube video saying that librarianship is one of the dying careers and is not worth pursuing as a career. As I began to reflect on this, it got me thinking that if we describe a librarian role to be one, who hushes the students, controls the library space and has few or no visitors, is a room full of dusty books, all books locked in a cupboard with NO open access. Stamping books and manually using the card catalogue. Sure, such librarians will fail to exist, and definitely, there is no place for such librarians in the 21st century.

What kind of Librarians will exist now and in the future?

The kind of librarians that will exist will be multi-taskers, who are ready to evolve and modify their role to meet the school community’s needs. The librarian will look for opportunities to learn, grow and adapt to the changing needs of the school community. Schools will continue to have libraries because books form the basis of learning, no matter how many eBooks we have and the advancement in technology. Librarians will exist. Let’s analyze and look at what librarians do?

What do librarians do?

Librarians are specialists and specialize in these capacities.

  1. They purchase the best books that match the curriculum.
  2. They recommend databases to support student learning.
  3. They systematically maintain the collection of books called the library.
  4. They create, curate & maintain an eLibrary.
  5. They read voraciously.
  6. They help you identify stories that can support teachers by sharing titles and curating lists of relevant information and books that will help them successfully teach students.
  7. They can find books or information by digging into the web.
  8. They read aloud stories to children and fill their hearts and souls.
  9. They nurture readers with kindness and compassion; they are non-judgemental.
  10. They create an atmosphere in the library where reading and learning is pursued equitably and with good spirit.
  11. Librarians love technology; they will help you find credible information, teach you to cite it and support you in your research as a guide.
  12. They learn new technology tools to ensure they can participate and support students in creating media, infographics, eBooks, eMagazines, and podcasts to support student learning.

These librarians will exist and will continue to be in demand. In my opinion, being a librarian is one of the best roles in a school. You get to collaborate and co-teach with teachers, learn new skills, teach and learn with students, reach out to the parent community and finally nurture a learning atmosphere for all. 

Why Change and Adapt?

In dynamic education organizations, every educator evolves using new pedagogical practices adapting and adopting new roles and responsibilities. Educators like teachers are often seen in multiple positions, supervisors, running school activities and/or taking on administrative roles. Similarly, librarians adapt and change to the school community’s needs, adopting new practices through professional development. Some librarians have the role of a specialist with a packed class schedule, while other librarians have a flexible schedule allowing them to take on other teaching duties in the school. As a librarian, if we adapt and change to meet the school’s needs, what is wrong? I wonder why librarians shy away from accepting and taking on new roles? Socrates said the secret of change is not fighting the old but building the new. And, we all know that change is inevitable. To meet the school’s needs, why not change, adapt and learn new skills to stay current and relevant when many talk about the librarian’s role as a dying breed. Why NOT?

What new roles are librarians adopting?

Schools have different priorities and different styles of functioning. Looking around the librarian tribe, I have found that many librarians have adopted additional roles & responsibilities based on their areas of interest and skill set. They have diversified their positions and have not given up their primary functional role as a librarian.

Some of the roles librarians have adopted into their librarianship are as follows:

  • Leading and supporting social events at their school.
  • Teaching English as a second language.
  • Supporting students with learning difficulties or partnering with the special education team.
  • Participating in community services programs.
  • Adding an extra hand in administration duties in the school.
  • Building or supporting programs related to Unesco’s sustainable goals.
  • Teaming up with the technology team to deliver digital literacy programs.
  • Teaming with enrichment programs.
  • Partnering with the school’s social media team to share students successes.
  • Librarians are working as team members with literacy coaches or reading specialists to deepen literacy skills.
  • Librarians are also Extended Essay Coordinators.
  • Librarians are teachers of different subjects: Theory of Knowledge, Language teachers and even Indian Studies.

This Forbes article made me think of my role as a jack of all trades and master of none, but librarians are masters and specialists in their library profession. Being a jack of other trades has helped me discover new strengths, nurtured my curious mind, learned new subjects, and built a unique skill set.

How do you adopt new roles?

So, how does a librarian go about adopting other roles? Firstly, I would build up courage and reach out to the supervisor with a growth mindset and a strong desire and interest in learning and growing. As you begin to explore, you will either fall in love with the new work or not; if not, then it’s time to try another area of interest. Nudge yourself to grow, read and learn. 

99% of the time, it is fear of not trying that pulls one down. We often hear advice like – if you never try, you will never know. So, finally, LEAP and the NET will appear.

What is OER? Use it.

By Fair Use, General 2 Comments

In the world of information texts and fiction, there are three schools of thoughts when using information. 

Some educators believe that all information is copyrighted and will not breach copyright, and will purchase everything to use. Some educators believe that everything on the Internet is free to use and will use what they want for education or personal use. Some educators take the time to learn about the various licences by Creative Commons and look carefully at the accessibility of the resources. 

Many educators and librarians play it safe by using copyrighted materials or completely free websites but hardly venture out to use OER (Open Education Resources) because we know very little about the OER. 

What is OER?

OER is Open Education Resources. According to Unesco, “Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions. OER form part of ‘Open Solutions’, alongside Free and Open Source software (FOSS), Open Access (OA), Open Data (OD) and crowdsourcing platforms.”

 What is the difference between Copyrighted Material and OER?

The publishing world believes that a lot of talent, creativity, and work goes into producing new ideas and products. Therefore, it is only fair for the creators and the publishers to receive a price for their work, just like any other services. Publishers business expect all copyrighted, published texts to be purchased. Through copyright laws, publishers can help protect the creator’s intellectual property, whether they are words or music or videos.

According to UNESCO: Open access means that 

  • “Its content is universally and freely accessible, at no cost to the reader, via the Internet or otherwise;
  • the author or copyright owner irrevocably grants to all users, for an unlimited period, the right to use, copy, or distribute the article, on condition that proper attribution is given;
  • it is deposited, immediately, in full and in a suitable electronic form, in at least one widely and internationally recognized open access repository committed to open access.”

Benefits of OER:

  • With an increase in technology use in India, the OER can cater to students educational needs, especially for the disadvantaged society 
  • Open educational resources include complete courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques to support access to knowledge and learning to all at any time.

Nayantara Padhi’s research paper describes how college professors and educators are open and respectful of OER. Due to the lack of technology resources and lack of understanding of copyright and plagiarism, there is a hesitation to use OER in India. Little experience and support from the Heads of Institutes also reduce the opportunity to use OER.

Many developed countries like the USA and Australia are very serious about promoting open educational resources. India is working very hard to build an OER and are serious about it, and is developing. Currently, OER in the school education field hardly exists since textbooks drive school education. The OER sites by the government are hard to navigate. They are not as robust as the Khan Academy and others.

Does traditional teaching stifle intellectual growth?

The new National Education Policy 2020 has encouraged collaborative, conceptual teaching and learning, emphasizing communication, critical thinking, deep literacy connections, learning science and mathematical concepts. In a fast-changing world, traditional schooling does not work. All memorization is not the answer to the practical use of education in the real world. 

So, when teachers are encouraged to use OER instead of textbooks, creativity and information learned can become valuable. For example – learning about different waste management systems from various sources and finding alternatives, solutions and advocating for their use is far more valuable than simply memorizing waste management methods. 

How can Librarians & Educators support OER?

Technology with information has taught us that learning does not stop in schools and universities. Having the right mindset and the desire to learn can propel the individual to grow in knowledge and skills. Librarians and educators who continue the lifelong habit of learning inspire others to succeed. All education is available on the Internet with zero fees. So, therefore there is no excuse for learning. Sharing success stories of OER teaching and learning can help others grow and learn.

Misunderstanding of OER?

Some individuals believe that OER is not authentic or the information is incorrect. Some are also of the belief that the OER value of learning is not up to the mark. If you take a Harvard Certificate and do not put the education into practice, it is not worth it. If you develop skills and knowledge through an OER, transform and practice, there is nothing to stop one from growing and learning. All soft skills or knowledge put into practice is the only way to succeed. Therefore, looking carefully into the OER and the sources can be important too. 

Wisdom is not a product of schooling, but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it.” – Winston Churchill.

Teacher Resources

Diksha Platform for CBSE Schools (Indian)

World largest lesson plans based on SDG (Unesco)

Storyweaver stories for students in school (Pratham eBooks)

Teacher Education School-based support (TESS Indian)

American English resources

Neptel (MHRD Project)

CK-12 Curriculum Resources (Indian)

Ed-X Resources (A collaboration of International Universities)

Google Scholar

Phet Interactive Simulations for Math and Science (US)

Enrich Math (University of Cambridge)

Edutopia – Educational Pedagogy (Trusted sources for education pedagogical views)

Role of School Librarians in Curating OER

Dr. Ambedkar University OER

 

Learning Never Stops for Librarians

By General, Librarian's Role, Library curriculum, Professional Development No Comments

 

School Librarians: Learning about eBooks, print books, information & media literacy.

In India, most professional development for national school librarians usually address technical aspects like the OPAC – Online public access catalogue or how to access the books, maintaining the stock of books, and rules for the libraries and purchase of books. During this pandemic, librarians learned different technology tools like google sites, pear deck, Kahoot and other tools to build their technology skills.

However, the Librarians role is changing. Librarians growth lies in the need to work in collaboration with teachers and the school curriculum. Librarians need to read and learn about books & stories and ways to support primary and secondary schools’ teaching and learning to remain relevant. If the librarian works in a progressive environment, professional development is the only way to help them stay relevant to the changing landscape. And, Liferarian Association provides the opportunity.

Professional Development for International School Librarians

International Schools are looking for librarians with multi-literacy skills, information and media literacy knowledge & skills to support elementary and secondary schools. 

Professional Development for Indian School Librarians

With the onset of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, Librarians can capitalize on this change in education policy and opt for an opportunity to learn about the curriculum. When included in the staff meetings, librarians can better understand the school curriculum’s needs, thus creating a relevant collection of books for literacy and nonfiction books to support the interdisciplinary approach, experiential learning, and project-based learning mentioned in the education policy. 

The Liferarian Association has initiated two practical courses to help build library skills and knowledge. 

Code 01: Extended essay and Research skills (5 synchronous sessions) – INR 5,500

In this course, participants will learn how to research and teach students how to formulate a research question. Teach students how to identify and cite resources correctly, and it’s importance. Participants will learn and receive practical ways to help students plan, reflect and learn to guide students research and project work.

Code 02: Liferarian’s School Library Course (6 synchronous sessions) – INR 6,500

In this course, participants will learn the importance of a library curriculum and create one relevant to their school. Learn how to read aloud stories by learning about the different literacy strategies like authors’ purpose, inference, analyzing the plot and more. During the writing session, librarians or educators will learn how to write and support creative writing through practical lessons and writing exercises. Besides literacy, participants will learn how to help research skills, project work within the school structure—learning about media, digital citizenship, and advocating for the ethical use of information by understanding copyright and plagiarism concepts. This course will include practical lessons and ideas to empower the librarians.

Some responses and feedback from the workshops were:

  • I didn’t know how important it was to connect with the school curriculum.
  • I now know a lot about copyright, media literacy and the importance of ethical use of information, and now I know how to teach my students.
  • During my classes in this international school, I can now teach information literacy skills.
  • I did not know there were so many aspects of literacy when you read aloud picture books. I now learned how important it is to have focused learning strategies.
  • I discovered that I like to write, and writing involves revisions and thinking.
  • I did not know the Librarians can do so much.

This coursework is for librarians who want to change the way educators think about librarians and evolving with other educators, as learning doesn’t stop. 

Socrative Style of Questions

By General, Librarian's Role, Readaloud 5 Comments

Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel —Socrates.

Much research has shown the benefits of reading, and despite the rich evidence, librarians are struggling to support reading habits. However, reading habits are not the sole responsibility of the librarian but the entire education system and the parents. When students see adults reading, thinking, and questioning, students will imitate and follow along. Reading breeds Reading.

One of the critical aspects of building a reading habit is developing curiosity and interest – this will then lead to the joy of reading.

How to read aloud?

I’ve noticed that when librarians or teachers read aloud picture books to children, the questions that they ask are simplistic and obvious, thus not challenging children to think and question. Children need to begin thinking and asking questions right from an early age. As librarians, when we read aloud, we can change the way we ask questions and pave the way for discussions.

For example, before we read aloud stories or after we have read a story we often ask –

  • Who is the author?
  • What is the title of the story?
  • What did you learn from the story?
  • What is the plot?
  • What is the setting or where is the story taking place?

Instead, we should learn the art of Socrative type of questioning or simply as we know it as Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) on the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

What is Socrative style or type of questioning?

Socrates was a Greek philosopher, and he said – Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel. If we have to kindle the flame then it is essential to create a library space where there is a dialogue between the students and librarians. There is little or no space for lectures and therefore, no rote learning.

The teacher-librarian can be the one who initiates the questioning process – helps the students to think/ponder and brings out their values and beliefs in the process of discussion. Therefore, building a safe intellectual space for their independent thoughts and opinions.

Types of Socratic Questions?

There are several types of Socrative style of questions, here are three.

1. Clarification Questions

Questions in this Socrative style sound like this:

  • What do you mean by…?
  • The author has said it this way…. how would you explain it another way?
  • What is the main problem here – Can you explain it with another example?
  • Why is this important?
  • Is this easy or hard?
  • Why do you think so?

For example, when you read the book called No Smiles Today by Cheryl Rao illustrated by Saurab Pandey (Story Weaver – Pratham Books) (A story about a little child who is sad and her friends try to guess why she is sad and eventually finding her lost pet which makes her happy again.)
Socrative questions to ask when reading this book would be-

  • What is sadness?
  • Why do people feel sad?
  • The author talks about the child losing her pet and feeling sad – What are other reasons for sadness?
  • How do you overcome sadness?
  • Is it easy to overcome sadness? Why?

2. Questions about an Issue?

When one reads aloud a picture book with a global issue or problems in society, questions in Socrative-style may sound like this:

  • Why is this an important topic to discuss?
  • Is it easy or difficult to solve this issue? Why?
  • What assumptions can you make about the issue or subject?
  • Does this topic/problem lead to other problems and questions?

Use the above questions for this picture book when reading a book like Riddle of the Riddleys  (A story about thousands of olive ridley sea turtles on the beach of Orissa, who die each year due to the callousness of fishermen and people.) or any other book related to issues

Another example, if you are reading a picture book like The Why-Why Girl by Mahasweta Devi illustrated by Kanyika Kini (a story about Moyna who can’t go to school because she is a girl and because of her socio-economic conditions). When reading this book, you may ask questions like –

  • What is the issue in the story, and why is it essential to discuss this topic about gender discrimination?
  • Why is education opportunities not available for all?
  • What are the conditions that lead to inequality of education for all?
  • Is it easy to solve this problem? Why? Why not?
  • What might be different ways to address this issue?
  • What can we do at different levels to address this problem?

Similar questions can be asked of a novel. For example, Rippler by Cidney Swanson free on Bookbub is a fantasy novel dealing with a genetic disorder and inhuman experiments during the Nazi rule. Questions about scientific experiments, human body and genetic disorders can be explored, some questions may include:

  • What are the different conditions maintained in the laboratory for scientists in India when conducting experiments on animals?
  • How human or inhuman is testing on animals? Why? What do you think?
  • What other topics are related to genetic engineering?
  • If we assume genetic engineering is ok for plants, how can we justify genetic engineering in animals and humans? What are your reasons?
  • Can genetic engineering lead to other problems and issues? Can you explain it?
  • Questions like the above can open children’s minds and promote thinking, creating interest, curiosity, and reading?

3. Viewpoint Questions

Socrates style of questioning includes learning about different perspectives and opinions. When you learn about other perspectives it builds humility, kindness and empathy. Understanding viewpoints is not to argue and to prove a point, but understanding that others have a viewpoint and it must be equally respected. Each individual has the freedom to think and be responsible. Keeping this concept in mind, different viewpoint discussions can be held during the library class. Before discussions, the librarians must ensure that each individual’s point must be heard, is important and is respectfully conveyed.

Questions to consider are:

  • How would other people in other sections of the community feel/think about this? Why?
  • Why do you object to this consideration? What facts have you gathered to prove this viewpoint?
  • What is an alternative to bring further acceptance or rejection?

Another example to try is this book called, Father’s Inheritance by Elizabeth Laird (Storyweaver – Pratham Books- level 3)

Socrative style or approach of questioning helps students and adults become thinkers. We learn to conduct meaningful conversations. This disciplined approach teaches us to examine ideas and processes with logic and create a practical exploration of content leading to knowledge.

Students and adults may not have answers to any of the questions but it can lead to enquiry, curiosity, interest and reading to investigate their questions and sharing of new knowledge. Asking questions in the right spirit of curiosity and learning leads to success. If you google – Socrative-style of questions you will find lots of resources or check this out.

Warren Berger, a journalist in his book, The Book of Beautiful Questions, say, “You don’t learn unless you question.”

Present-day Profile of a Librarian – Attitude and Skills

By General, Librarian's Role, Lockdown - Covid-19 5 Comments

What is the need of a school library?

For every accreditation of the school, the Library is an essential part of school systems. Libraries are built and given importance to support multi-literacies, nurture life-long readers and learners. Thus, placing the librarian to perform a teacher’s role, an information specialist, and the library program administrator. Therefore, the librarian is a necessary aspect of the school system. They are responsible for acquiring resources like books and online databases, organizing and maintaining the resources to meet the school community’s learning needs.

What are the Librarians doing during the pandemic of 2019?

This year of the pandemic has shown that when the librarian has been a risktaker, independent & collaborative in learning, committed, and adaptive, they have been successful in this given situation.

Many librarians have had a reduced number of classes. Some have not had lessons but instead collaborated with classroom teachers, librarians have provided digital resources to support teaching & learning. Some librarians have been co-teaching, teaching other subjects, taking after school activities for reading sessions or engaging in debates, competitions, and school events. Librarians have taken on different roles (not traditional bookkeepers of the Library) which must not be mistaken to believe that the librarian’s position is unimportant, but recognize librarians as adaptive, flexible, and versatile.

Many local private schools administrations requested the librarians to take a sabbatical from work during the pandemic. After ten months, the administration is now offering them to return to work by providing them with the professional training to bring them up to speed with technology and teaching pedagogy. Had the administration, used this opportunity to train all educators and librarians simultaneously, it would have helped them financially and, including the librarians, would have helped raise the librarians’ standards and the Library’s role in the school.

The librarian role, like other educators, is evolving each year. Having the right attitudes are essential for success. Besides the required academic qualifications, librarians need to be adaptive learners and experimental in their approach.

What skills must Librarians have to meet the needs of schools?

  • One of the most crucial skill is finding ways to serve the community of learners, from students to teachers and even parents. So, when students do not have access to printed books, they can find other ways to introduce new eBooks based on students’ interests and needs, as seen during this pandemic situation. Sometimes, teachers need books to teach, but with no physical books available, the librarian needs to identify eBooks and resources to serve the teachers’ needs. Besides, teachers and students, librarians can reach out to parents. For example, during – the pandemic, librarians can provide well-research articles to parents to develop a balanced understanding of print and digital life.
  • Librarians need to be adaptive to revise systems and develop new ways. For example, librarians have started creating websites to provide a one-stop-shop for all users during the pandemic. They have altered the procedures for book checkouts. Some librarians in rural India started sending PNG’s instead of Jpegs because of its small size file through WhatsApp messages to direct students to websites.
  • Librarians need to take new initiatives. This pandemic has shown the librarians and the administration that eReources are essential for learning. Keeping this mind, the librarians should take the initiative by requesting changes in the budgets to support subscription of electronic resources in the form of databases to support differentiation and personalized learning paths.  All free resources may not meet all learners’ needs; therefore, structured eResources for building language literacy and other subjects will need to subscribe. Librarians can take the initiative to learn about the school curriculum, learn about the new databases, request for database trials, and recommend appropriate electronic databases or programs that will support teachers and students. Librarians must restructure and relocate funds for these new resources, make practical suggestions, and allocate a judicious amount spent on books and eResources.
  • Librarians must become familiar with many technology tools, and use it purposefully. Using fancy tools and making glamorous presentations without merit and learning value must be kept in mind and avoided.
  • Most importantly, learning to use technology is not as crucial as knowing and reading children’s literature for primary and secondary schools.
  • Learning, using and helping others use information and media ethically and respecting the copyright works of authors who put in the effort to share their craft and knowledge. And, most importantly, to credit and learn to use information and media lawfully.

What other skills and expectations should Librarians develop?

librarianship as a profession, one must always remember to keep the light of learning alive and relevant to meet new school programs and initiatives that continue to evolve to meet each child’s needs. Librarians must, therefore continue to fine-tune the following skills.
– Learning to prepare reports in written and oral form.
– Learning to interpret the school curriculum and find ways to add meaning and value to the library program.
– Build healthy, safe, and effective relationships with all community members, including students, teachers, parents, supervisors, vendors,       and volunteers.
– Creatively adapt and use best practices to meet the needs of the school community.

Steve Maraboli, a Behavioral Scientist, specializing in motivational psychology, leadership dynamics, and peak performance mindset, says, “Look around you. Everything changes. Everything on this earth is in a continuous state of evolving, refining, improving, adapting, enhancing, and changing. You were not put on this earth to remain stagnant.”

So, I say to myself, what I learn today is good for now, but the wisdom I have gained in the process will support what I will need to know tomorrow. Learning never stops.