IB Librarians – What makes them so special?

By General, IB Profiles, International School, Librarian's Role, Library curriculum, PYP Profiles 7 Comments

IB Librarians – What makes them so unique? People in India, often have an image of a librarian with glasses, stern and someone who hushes you to be quiet. But a librarian at an international school or IB librarians are dynamic and have a growth mindset to learn.

PYP Transdisciplinary Skills – Teacher Pay Teacher (free download)

IB Librarians learn how to connect the IB learner profiles, transdisciplinary skills and concepts to stories and the Units of Inquiry. They are often found using technology tools and various apps to help students share their learning.  IB Librarians connect through read-aloud sessions keeping in mind – Reading with a Purpose, and five keys to storytelling, supporting Literacy. With computers in the hands of the children, it’s important to teach them DigitalCitizenship  (Commonsense Media Guidelines) as a part of the library classes. Of course, all of the resources are guidelines to suit your patrons and learners.

VR Headset by Andri Koolme, Flickr, Under CC-BY 2.0)

Librarians in IB schools wear many hats: one of a curator of resources both print and digital information, they collaborate with teachers to build the collection, they co-teach with classroom teachers, maintain the library, work with the technology department and use technology tools to sharpen students understanding.

Creating with digital tools by Speed of Creativity – CC- BY-NC

They usually have the digital Library platform where they share library news, resources, and information with their learners. Now, librarians are bringing content to students by using Virtual Reality (VR) and Google Expeditions to the units.

Librarians who join international schools are often perplexed about teaching and often ask about a library curriculum. There is no stand-alone curriculum for librarians. However, I guess you will need to create one that combines the ATL or the Transdisciplinary Skills or the AASL or ISTE Standards to match the Units of Inquiry and find various ways and strategies to enrich literacy. These guidelines can give librarians accountability and direction. Many librarians are creating different planners. I was at a conference last November 2017 and the presenter – Doug Johnson recommended adopting ISTE standards. I looked at them carefully and found them to be relevant and robust, precise and attainable. Keeping the standards in mind, you can create engagements to match the Units of Inquiry.

Yes, that’s a lot of work, but I guess when a couple of librarians come together to collaborate and support each other, they can create a unique curriculum that works for their school. There is no “one size fits all” formula at International Schools. Each school is exclusive and therefore forming guidelines/engagements/ standards-based or skills-based structures to suit your learners is something for each librarian to ponder. Collaborating with your curriculum head or coordinator helps give direction. Feel free to email me for a good discussion.

Weeding Books

By Collection Development, Librarian's Role, School Libraries No Comments
Weeding Books

Books by Toby Hudson, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0

Weeding books – What’s that? What does that mean and why is it important and how much to weed are questions every librarian struggles with. According to Jeanette Larson, who has over thirty years of experience in various libraries says that “Weeding is the systematic removal of resources from a library based on selected criteria. It is the opposite of selecting material, though the selection and de-selection of material often involve the same thought process. Weeding is a vital process for an active collection because it ensures the collection stays current, relevant, and in good condition. Weeding should be done on a continuous, on-going basis.“.

If we accept her claim, it becomes necessary for librarians to review their collection regularly. The most popular acronym used in weeding is:

MUSTIE the crew method
M = If books have misleading and/or factually inaccurate information
U = Ugly, yellow, faded and cannot be mended
S = Superseded, that means there is a better and new version of the book
T = Trivial and has no discernible literary or scientific merit
I = Irrelevant to the needs and interests of your community
E = The material or information that can be obtained through other means electronic format or library loads.

However, there are books weeded based on time.  It is often said, that if the books are not circulated in three or five years, it is time to find a new home for the resources. However, classics, award-winning book, books about local history and geography, stories by local writers, books gifted or local literature are often maintained until they become MUSTIE.

Encyclopediae are always a question for Librarians. There is a lot of money invested in it, so it becomes very painful to get rid of them. In this age of the internet, I believe, that print encyclopedia does not play a vital role in the Library and if fact, it could easily be replaced by the internet and a computer since both costs almost the same. And, it is believed that if the encyclopedia is over ten years old, it’s information becomes irrelevant.

Different subjects areas have different shelf lives. Resources under subject areas like technology, medicine, media, agriculture, careers, and sciences like biology, engineering often are regularly updated. Therefore, copyright of these books beyond 3-5 years must be checked and weeded. While the arts, history, geography, children’s literature, biographies could be targetted to 10 years. However, if they look shoddy and pale, you may want to weed that too.

I think the hardest job for librarians is to weed the collection especially our favorite subject areas and other favorite books. However, for the library collection to stay relevant and fresh, it is necessary to set some time during the year to weed out the resources. Yes, every year, it is time to say goodbye to some of the resources.

And, then the question arises, how much to weed? I would say weed according to the criteria, even if it means to have fewer books in your library. Stacking books on our shelves in your library does not make the library relevant and useful. If no one is using the resources, why keep them? Isn’t the library supposed to be a learning place for our users? No educational institutes should have a bookkeeper and a library of irrelevant resources!

Electronic resources that are not relevant must be weeded out too.  I can almost hear some librarians say, OMG, we’ve spent so much time and money in procuring these resources – but as Ranganathan said – What use are the resources if they are not in the hands of the users?

Basic Elements in a Library Policy?

By General, Librarian's Role No Comments

Policy by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images Under  CC BY-SA 3.0

“What are some of the components of a Library Policy,”  a friend from our library tribe asked me last week, this triggered me to write this blog post.

It doesn’t matter whether the library is in an International School, a CBSE, ICSE or even an SSC school. A library policy defines who the patrons of the library are and describe the services the library provides.  When policies are in place, the credibility of requests for funds and services receive due notice and acceptance. And, there is scope for enhancing the services and place for growth.

Policies establish a standard for services that can be understood by users and providers. It ensures equitable treatment for all and provides a framework and standards for delivery of service. All policies are not set in stone and these are guidelines that will need to be revisited every two years and revised. Revisions allow libraries to grow and meet the changing needs of the patrons.

Components of a basic library policy:

  1. The mission statement of a library: This statement can be created by keeping the mission statement of the educational institute or the institute that the library is associated with.
  2. Description of the library: This includes the number of books and other resources including the online databases, magazine, and toys that may be available.
  3. Patrons of the library: Describes who the clients are and who does the library services, of course, not forgetting the community at large you serve.
  4. Services of the library: Includes the timings, the number of resources available to check out, photocopy services, computers available for research and the rules and norms that go with it (including fines and lost items fee).
  5. Collection Development: This may include how the librarian develops the collection, the different criteria used by the librarian to develop the resources.
  6. Online Databases available: This may include details for membership
  7. Weeding Procedure: Without weeding, the collection of the library can never be an alive and current and cannot serve the present community. Therefore, criteria for weeding should be specified too.
  8. Events hosted by the library: It could be author visits, storytelling sessions, readers theatre, puppet shows, drawing & art programs, maker engagements or simply poetry slams.

Should you need support to create your library policy, you may contact me at bhojwaniheeru@gmail.com

 

What is Summer Slide?

By General, Librarian's Role, Reading and Writing No Comments

Libros y ebooks by Tina Franklin under (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What is Summer Slide?

It is believed that if students do not continue reading and learning during the summer, there is a downward slide in their learning path. To prevent the summer slide, educators recommend that children continue to read, write, question, and reflect during the summer holidays.

Before school’s close for the summer, teachers and librarians are often found providing summer reading lists to students and parents. I believe, students and adults alike must be allowed to choose their reading materials based on personal choice and interest. This will enable readers to explore different avenues of information and experiences based on personal passions and curiosity.

Reading is considered as an excellent path to keep the new synaptic connections alive. Summer reading and summer camps are some of the ways often take to keep up with the summer slide. 

The digital age has transformed every aspect of our lives, reading and books are not an exception. Mobile devices, multimedia publishing, and social technologies have impacted our reading experiences. Today’s youth is downloading books, listening to stories. and watching book trailers. Stories now contain text, images, and sounds that reflect the changing landscape of reading.  Studies have found that digital reading devices promote new literacy practices such as digital note-taking, and provide readers control over how they engage with texts. Ebooks feature additional tools such as highlighters, note-taking, adjusting font size, inserting note features and recording are parts of the digital world of stories. 

So, why not use these opportunities to provide a platform for eReading to our students.

Link to free eBooks and Audio Books for Elementary and Secondary School 

Printed book reviews can be found on Young India Books. An excellent collection of Indian books can be purchased from Duckbill and Peacock Feathers. Keep the reading going and allow wisdom and imagination to grow!

5 Keys to Story Telling

By General, Librarian's Role, PYP Attitudes, PYP Profiles, Reading and Writing 3 Comments

5 Keys to Story Telling are:

“The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.” Brandon Sanderson, Fantasy and Science fiction writer.

It is through stories, we build a child’s imagination, deepen thinking and help them navigate the world around us.  Librarians are storytellers. There are so many stories to be told and read. Let’s use them appropriately and help students question the world and communities around them. Instead of simply memorizing, retelling or regurgitating the information we want to inculcate curiosity and reflection. As adults, we can open up possibilities to help children kindle their mind by nudging them to question, critically evaluate, investigate, critique and get inspired by them. Human beings love stories, both the old and the young – think of the time when your curiosity was piqued! It must have been a story that touched your heart and mind.

So, when you grab a book to read to the children, make sure the stories generate thinking.

5 keys to keep in mind when reading aloud to children:

  1. Select stories that would help children think critically and reflect on the stories.  (How is the character similar or different from you? What if it was your experience, how would you change it? If there is a problem in the story – pause and ask – How would you solve the problem? What are some other ways to solve the problem?)
  2. Select stories with a voice, that share experiences of other cultures, sects, and belief systems, so that children appreciate the variety of cultures, ethnicity and simultaneously respect them. (Ask how is the character’s belief different from yours? How is their culture similar and different? What might you do to create an understanding of their roles? How can we learn and respect different cultures and ethnicity?)
  3. Stories expressed with emotion and authenticity help them think of ways to solve social, economic or environmental problems. (Ask children – How might the character be feeling in the given situation? What can the character do to solve the problem? What might be some of the changes you can do save the situation? What are some problems in the world? How can they be addressed? How can we be empowered to help our world?)
  4. Connect stories of the past with the present – get students to ask questions like Why? Why not? If? How could? When should? and How come? How has it changed over time? Why is it necessary to change? How can we help it become better? What will it look like now?
  5. Stories that have information, building curiosity around the way the world works. Information books about technology, engineering, robotics, countries, currencies, forests, wildlife are some areas that we can discuss. (Ask how inventions have changed the way we live our lives? What might be the future trends? Look at the timelines and make predictions)

Stories are a diving board for cognitive growth. Think about a story that you still remember, they were told with emotions and sincerity. Such stories create a longer connect and have a lasting impact.  Stories that resonate and touch the heart and mind of the child are stories they will remember. Let’s take this opportunity to instill in their mind the ability to contribute and make a difference to themselves and others.

Are Librarians Relevant in Today’s World?

By General, Information Literacy, Librarian's Role, Media Literacy & Information Literacy, Professional Development 3 Comments
Computer Communication

Literature, Information and Media Literacy – Computer Communication –  CC0 Public Domain

Are Librarian’s relevant in today’s world? What’s the role of librarians in schools? Do we really need librarians in schools and colleges? Or are they only keepers of books?

Libraries are the central hubs of learning. Libraries have been a storehouse of books and been synonymous with knowledge. And, therefore, to gain knowledge a student goes to an educational institution and visits the library to build on their learning experience. Now, things are different! Learning is happening everywhere.

With the advent of the Internet in 1986 in India and growing connection in every Indian state, we have come a long way with the acquisition of information. Information is now available at the fingertips of every individual who owns a smartphone. So, the question we need to ask all librarians is – Are Librarians obsolete in today’s world? Do we need a library or librarians to help us find information?

The answer to the questions is YES!  But, how can we as librarians, reinvent ourselves to stay relevant and feel accomplished in our job? The only answer is to LEARN. Find ways to stay relevant. Choose autonomy and courage to try new lessons with our students and equip ourselves. Today, as librarians we need to be Meta Literate. As librarians, we must have five primary objectives to guide our patrons, whoever they might be.  Tom Mackey & Trudi Jacobsen,  advocates Metaliteracy.

6 Primary Goals recommended are:

  1. To help individuals, evaluate all content critically and understand differences in articles, blogs, reprints, wikis, media products and websites
  2. We must learn and support personal digital privacy, encourage information ethics and protect intellectual proper in our technology environment
  3. Library Hubs or Learning Commons must provide a participatory environments for people with similar interests work collaboratively, and learn from each other through interest groups
  4. Another key role is to help learners with research strategies to help them in their personal, academic and/or professional inquiry.
  5. Support learners to become better communicators of information through reading, writing and/or creating media or infographics to convey meaning.
  6. Develop the art of reading and craft of writing for you and for other learners.

Dr. Albert Ryan an educator and a freelance writer, says, it is very important for students to learn about information and media literacy. Anubhati Yadav,  an advocate of media literacy claims that media literacy in schools is a must.

In my belief, since Librarians are the experts in curating, sharing and knowledge experts, it is therefore critical, for us to take this opportunity to update our skills in learning Literature and Writing workshops. And, learn about Information and Media Literacy in our new educational environment.

So, how we do that? There is no formal training in India for librarians or teachers to learn about Information and Media Literacy. It is urgent in our present scenario. There are many free courses of Information & Media Literacy available on Coursera,  UNESCO – Information and Media Literacy, AUB and other MOOCs Online There are several Massive Open Online Courses -free cost available.

All we need is to develop a mindset of growth.  We need courage and openness to learning. We want the consumers of information and media to make informed choices and not be carried away with propaganda and misinterpretation of media and news. All information gatherers learn not only from print but media, graphs, infographics, audio recordings, videos and a combination of all of the above, thus making them Metaliterate. This is one of the goals a librarian must keep in mind in supporting the learning community.

What is the Jarul Book Award?

By Librarian's Role, Reading and Writing One Comment
Voted by children for children

Jarul Book Award: Indian Picture Book

Jarul Book Award is the only award in India that gives voice and choice to children. Students from Kindergarten to Standard Five is given a chance to read and vote for the best book. They choose, analyze and critically appreciate by selecting the best picture books based on several criteria. Here is the 2017-18 Jarul Book Award Winner.

India has some great outstanding awards like the Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Akademi Awards with different categories and Hindu Literary Awards. Each of these national awards acknowledges works of authors, illustrators, and publishers whose passion lies in bringing out the best literature for readers. Indian culture has a plethora of folklore, fables, and mythology. It is only recently in the last decade; private organizations have established literary awards to inspire,  acknowledge, appreciate different genres as well as give voice to authors with new ideas. Many awards like the Jarul Book Award,  Crossword AwardBig Little  Book Award, and the Hindu Young Book Awards are among the few that acknowledge creative thinking and celebrate Indian Literature. Thanks to publishers like Karadi Tales, Tulika,  Fingerprint, Katha, Little Latitude and others. Times of India covered this story and helped support Jarul Award. 

Today’s children whether they are in cities, towns, and villages are open-minded, they are thinkers, and they need good literature to inspire them in our modern setting.  Our story must not be like that of  Chimamanda Adichie – The Danger of a Single Story where she believed that her stories she wrote must only have “western characters” and there was no room for characters like herself in Literature. We must create an open environment for our children to explore, dream, write and share their world beyond folklore, mythology or stories that must have a moral at the end.

Encouraging our children to write and share their experiences will only help create empathy and friendships among different ideologies and different cultures. Deccan Herald writes about Obama’s Town Hall visit, where a transgender, who is marginalized, asked what she could do to stop stigmatization. He said, ” The change begins with finding your voice, and you must be able to articulate your views and your experiences, to tell your story, and that is true for any group, marginalized, stigmatized.” Obama said, ” finding the voice and being able to tell that story leads to breaking down of perceptions that “you are different”. Because then people will start to “recognize their own experiences in you.”

Reading picture books and giving children opportunities to write, expressing their experiences and sharing them, bring respect, empathy and most of all friendships. I like what Voltaire said, ” Writing is the painting of the voice.” Let’s give our students an opportunity to express their world through their eyes. Check out the Jarul Book Award Website to empower your students.

How to Prepare for a Library Job Interview?

By Librarian's Role 5 Comments

What can you do to have a successful interview that puts you in the league of contemporary librarians?

It’s this time of the year, starting January all the way to June when job openings begin to emerge in both local and international schools. And, one begins to think about newer opportunities. One of my dear friend, says, “Once in a while, going for an interview tells you, your worth in the market.” scary but true! Keeping this in mind, I did a little research on some of the questions that might come up in the interview, apart from the regular ones we prepare for.

Firstly, send in your CV to the human resource department (HR). They will pass your CV to the right person, that’s the general protocol. You will be called and invited.

Secondly, it is important to read up on the latest trends and the school that you are interviewing with. Don’t be afraid to say you do not know.  The interviewers don’t ask what is already mentioned in your CV, what’s the point? Interviewers want to get to know your educational belief and philosophy along with your strengths and weaknesses, your enthusiasm and the desire to learn.  An interview is more of a conversation to get to know each other.

Here is a list of ten questions to help you think about yourself?

  1. Why do you wish to work at our school? What draws you to this institution?
  2. Tell us about two books that you’ve read recently? (Describe rather more than giving the titles of the books – this tell a lot)
  3. The interviewer might give you different scenarios: Suppose a student /parent comes into the library to complete a school project – what would you do?     
  4. Describe your experience using technology and assisting people with technology in any setting?
  5. In your opinion, what are the top 3 things that libraries can do to impact its users and why?
  6. Describe what your interaction or your class looks like when you interact with students?
  7. What according to you are your strengths and weaknesses?
  8. Describe what teamwork or collaboration looks like to you in your experience? 
  9. Describe your management style?
  10. How do you stay current in your field?

Other topics you may want to consider:  Your views on the use of ebooks,  information and media ethically. Different web 2.0 tools that you have used or learning to use.  How would you deal with a problem situation? A successful project that you have been a part of and what makes you tick or enjoy in your role as a librarian.

Here are some questions you may want to ask your interviewer:

  1. What is the decision-making process or the protocol in bringing about changes in the library? ( This is when the Heads are looking to revamp the library and      you may want to know the protocol of the organization)
  2. What databases or software do they currently use? (This will give you time to learn and prepare for your new role)
  3. What kind of training and professional development will I be offered? (This shows your desire to learn and grow)
  4. Would you share some light on the procurement and collection development philosophy or process? (Only if you are interested)
  5. How does the faculty or students or the community view the library at your school? (This will give you a brief overview of your future role and the current situation)

5 skills for today’s librarians

By Librarian's Role, Media Literacy & Information Literacy One Comment
Creative Commons: Disha Aswani

Supporting information and media literacy

Education in India is evolving and changing. Teachers are imbibing new ideas and strategies to impact student learning. It’s time for librarians to evolve, change and grow.  With a growth mindset for change and desire to be relevant, there are 5 skills for librarians to learn and build upon:

1. Learn a new tech tool or skill to help all learners, both adults, and students

2.  Skill to  curate, evaluate and use information ethically

3. Skill to decipher fake news from real news

4. Skill to critically evaluate media

5. Skill to create flexible schedules and lessons to support relevant information and learning in a digital world to all

Libraries are meant to be the center of learning and not a storehouse of books. Librarians are no more ‘keeper of books’ but supporters of learners. In this digital age, learning goes beyond the textbooks. Learners use the internet, youtube, and social media to learn about their hobbies, their interests, their queries and for entertainment. So, in today’s times and more than any other time that librarians need not only talk about change and read about the modern changes happening around the world, and take an active part in upskilling their role and positively impact learners.

What is a Librarian’s Role?

By Librarian's Role One Comment
medlibrary

Library in an Indian Educational Institution

Historically, we’ve known that Librarians have been a vital resource in developing and maintaining collections of books on various subjects. Libraries have been a place where individuals have congregated to discuss politics, ideas, cultural norms and governance. It used to be a place where ideas were exchanged, argued upon and challenged.  What a lively interactive and learning space it used to be!

Over time, the Library turned into a quiet place where students entered the library to study, use the literature and information in books, and the role of librarians became that of a keeper of information, more like a policeman/policewoman, who maintained the discipline in the library.

Presently, all educational reports state that a library needs to be the hub of all education institutions. Therefore, changing the role and duties of the librarian is important. It is required of the Librarian to not only develop the collection to suit the needs of the clients of the Library but collaborate with teachers to support students in their educational journey. The librarian not only now supports love for reading and learning but must support teachers and students in delivering information, media, and news literacy.

The present role of the Librarians is to help manage books, online databases, perform duties of an information technologist and teach information literacy skills to students or adults so that the individuals can navigate the web of information safely and use information ethically.

Some of the desired traits necessary for being a dynamic Librarian is to

  • Be a reader
  • Be approachable & friendly
  • Be a listener to tease out users needs and interest
  • Continue to learn new skills to enhance one’s role as a librarian