Saturday, November 18, 2006

ISLMA Conference 2006

ISLMA Conference 2006
Accepting Contributions for Two New Orleans Schools

ISLMA collected money last year at the fall conference and had about $800 to send to New Orleans with then President, Leslie Forsman, and President-Elect, Becky Robinson when they attended the ALA Conference and participated in a work day. They divided the money between two very needy school libraries and made a decison to "adopt" those school libraries which are attempting to recover from Hurricane Katrina. After seeing first hand the great need that continues to exist in that area, Becky Robinson, ISLMA Preisdent, made another appeal and our generous conference attendees collected $2000 which will again be divided between the two school libraries. Leslie has been corresponding with the recipients of last year's funds and they are most appreciate of any funds that arrive to help them in their efforts to recover and to provide services to their students.

We decided that there might be individuals who could not attend the conference but would welcome the opportunity to contribute to this very worthy cause. If you are among those, please send your checks made payable to ISLMA and marked as New Orleans Donation to ISLMA, P.O. Box 598, Canton, IL 61520-0598. We will accept donations from individuals and groups through the end of December and will then send the contributions to the two recipient schools in early January.

I will add that ISLMA does have a Disaster Fund and many members have been very generous with contributions to that fund; however, it is reserved for disasters in Illinois and cannot be used for this cause. ISLMA is on the IRS list of organizations who may accept charitable funds which you may claim if you itemize your taxes. If you have questions, don't hesitate to contact me, Becky Robinson or Leslie Forsman.

Kay Maynard
ISLMA Executive Secretary

Friday, November 17, 2006

Conference photo album

Monarch Award winner Keiko Kasa with winning book
My Lucky Day

To access the conference photo album:

Pam McDermott
Glen Crest Middle School
Glen Ellyn

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Hachiko Waits

I attended Elizabeth Buenning's Rebecca Caudill Book talk on Friday afternoon. (Very Informative) I mentioned that while I was watching Animal Planet with my daughter in September we saw the story of Hachiko, the same dog from Leslea Newman's Rebecca Caudill nominated book Hachiko Waits. Elizabeth asked that I post this information on the blog so here it is.

Lisa Dettling
Deer Path Middle School
Lake Forest

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Seven Commandments for Teacher-Librarians

After talking about the seven deadly sins of librarianship, dynamic presenters Gayl Smith and Debbie Turner of Waubonsie Valley High School, closed their session with the seven commandments for teacher-librarians:
1. Thou shalt laugh
2. Though shalt be mindful of students
3. Thou shalt be flexible
4. Thou shalt be confident
5. Thou shalt be a teacher-librarian
6. Thou shalt think outside the box
7. Thou shalt reflect

I'm trying to take some time today to REFLECT on all the inspiring and exciting things I heard at conference. It's great to get recharged, re-energized, and reconnect with other teacher-librarians! There's lots of work to do...I can't wait to get started!

Erin Wyatt
Highland Middle School

Last day...

This morning I attended "How Chicago Public Schools are Using Linking for Learning, the Illinois Study, and IMLS to Strengthen Library Programs". The panel shared how they are sharing the Illinois Study message with principals and administrators. I walked away from this presentation with practical ideas that I could try at my own school and feeling really great about the wonderful things going on in many school libraries in CPS.

Next I attended "Clean Sweep! Weeding as Part of Collection Development" - the presenter shared different ways to go about weeding - checking circulation statistics, the physical condition of the book, the copyright of the book, etc. We received a great spreadsheet looking at each area of Dewey and what you should look for when weeding.

The final session that I attended was "Hot Topic: Using Blogs and Wikis" - a great session about how to set up a blog and/or wiki and how to use them with your students.

The one thing that really resonated with me during this conference is that Web 2.0 is here NOW. We (librarians) are in the unique position to use these tools to educate and collaborate with our students.

Thanks to the steering committee for a great conference - I learned so much that I am anxious to bring back to my school. :)

Katie Kirsch
Lake Bluff Middle School

David Silver and "Feed"

I so enjoyed David Silver's Saturday morning musings on cyberculture. His bad news that our young adults are growing up as consumers, not as citizens, reminded me of M. T. Anderson's "Feed." This young adult title tells the story of a future United States when people have a computer chip implanted into their brains to "feed" them advertising and create a consumer profile. Titus's counter-culture girlfriend Violet tries to resist the "feed" by window-shopping such disparate items as to confuse the feed. However, when Violet gets ill, the corporate hospital refuses to treat her because she has not shown herself to be a valuable consumer.

Great conference! I appreciated the many sessions on future technology. Web 2.0 here I come!

Monica Tolva
Vernon Hills High School
Vernon Hills

Friday, November 10, 2006

Saturday night banquet, what a fabulous evening.
The room was packed with School librarians, Administrators,
Systems representatives, families and friends.
15 past presidents of ISLMA joined current President Becky Robinson.

Showbiz glamour!
Ann Seidl previewed her film "The Hollywood Librarian,"
and discussed the impact on society by librarians.

Outstanding librarians and ISLMA members:
The Polestar winners past & present.

Pam McDermott
Glen Crest Middle School

Information packed day...

I started the day by co-facilitating the "Hot Topic: What I Learned My First Year as a Librarian" session. I hope this session helped those who are new to the field - I think it helps knowing that there are others out there who are going through the same challenges ... and successes that you are as a first year librarian.

The next session I attended was "Lessons Learned From a Distance" - this session explored how we can better serve our students who are digital natives and offer (and extend) services beyond the school day and our library walls. The powerpoint was very informative and offered many ideas and resources to explore.

"Battle of the Books" was next on my list of sessions to attend. I walked away from this presentation with many fabulous ideas. The presenters showed this being offered at both the high school and elementary level.

The last session I attend was "School Cafes: Programming that Works". Two librarians (from two different schools) shared ideas of how they have incorporated a cafe within their library walls. Both programs get kids in the library for fun (and food!) ... with the hope that they will then come back to use the library on other occasions! Lots of great ideas - I can't remember them all!

The speaker for the dinner was Ann Seidl, who is the writer/director of The Hollywood Librarian: Librarians in Cinema and Society. She shared clips from the movie - funny, touching, and heartbreaking. I personally cannot wait until this comes out - she said hopefully it will makes it debut at the ALA conference in 2007.

A fun day with lots of learning taking place on my part ... and of course, one of the best things about conference is the opportunity to connect and network with colleagues. Librarians are so willing to share ideas and collaborate - I always walk away from conference with so many great ideas that have shared with me.

Katie Kirsch
Lake Bluff Middle School

Lifting the Story off of the Page: Storytelling

I presented this storytelling workshop at the conference today and did not make nearly enough hand outs! Wow! Thanks to all of you who came. I had a great time sharing with you.... There's a photo of me to the left (don't ask me why, just because I wanted to see if I could do it!) To obtain a copy of the handouts, please e-mail me at and put "hand-out" in the subject line. This turned out to be the easiest way to do this. I wish you many good stories and many fun times telling them. Susan

Moment to reflect and connect

Driving home through sometimes-torential rains tonight, I had time to reflect on the day's events.

For me, I think the key aspect is the opportunity to meet others who are as passionate about serving youth as I am. We knot in foyers chatting about Michael Cart and Sally Walker; block doorways as we stop to talk to colleagues we haven't seen in months (perhaps not since the last conference!); and bow heads over a shared conference program to decide what to see and where to go next. And, of course, the usual banter: "Oh, and did you see that vendor in exhibits? Look at all the free stuff I got for my library!" ;)

All of these represent points of community: something we as library-folk don't always have when we're in our school media centers busily planning, negotiating, budgeting, teaching, mentoring, leading, cajoling, storytelling, doing reference, and tech training. We forget what a large network we do have, and that we need not be alone.

Take, for instance, a wonderful librarian I met today: Marsha Stewart from Anaconda School in Chicago.

During the session "A South African Adventure," Jane Sharka shared with us what an expansive opportunity she had to visit and have an impact on several schools in South Africa. What began as a visit in collaboration with the Mortenson Center has grown into an ongoing relationship between Naperville Central High School and several schools in South Africa, with NCHS students and community sending almost 6,000 lbs in books to those most in need. The impact could not have been predicted or planned; it emerged naturally because of the passion of serving, helping, and making a sincere connection.

Marsha, who was attending Jane's session, shared her own experience: what started as a straight-forward Pen Pal project between fourth graders in Chicago has grown into something much richer. Marsha visited a school in South Africa on a service visit and now there is an exchange of not only letters, but hand-made books made by the children. When in South Africa, Marsha had with her nothing short of a personal publishing house with digital camera, printer, and laptop. The children there were thrilled to share their world with her students via their hand-made books. Now Marsha's students have made books of their lives/experiences in their Chicago school and they will be sending them down to their "Pen Pals" in South Africa. But, largely due to funding, they're running out time to send them before these children end their school year. They must be sent a.s.a.p..

Here is the community networking part:
If you can support Marsha's efforts to get these books down there, please contact her at the Anaconda School, 4770 S. Dorchester, Chicago, IL 60615, (773)924-2356. Any words of support as to where she could raise money quickly to get these sent out would be appreciated.

I suspect there are so many stories from the conference like these: about one idea, one offer, one opportunity that blossomed. And it's at these annual "family gatherings" we can share these inspirations.

Stay positive and proactive!


sharon l. comstock
ph.d student, UIUC GSLIS

Jane's musings

Today has been a lot of fun! David Silver was very interesting with his compliments for librarians and libraries and his observations about "participatory culture". Then it was off to the sessions!

Of course I was only able to visit three before lunch. After lunch were two of my sessions.
Our Cybraries Study was attended by thirty people and they asked great questions! We hope what was shared will challenge people to consider how well their own students remember what they are taught!

My session about South Africa was an intimate group, but we enjoyed a few surprises!
Unfortunately, I forgot to tell people they could see details of the Book Project which garnered my original inviation to South Africa! The website with the details and pictures are at

I also did a blog for the trip with other photos from SA. That is at Jane's African Blog ( Hope you enjoy the process! If you or your students are interested in doing something similar, contact me and I can give you the names of librarians and schools which would love to hear from you! You can reach me at (my home e-mail).

The friday night business meeting dinner kicked off an evening of fun. President Becky Robinson presents conference chair Pam Kramer with flowers thanking her for arranging a GREAT conference.

Awards committee char Peggy Burton presents the Highsmith Award to winner Shelley Riskin.

President-elect Jane Sharka fills us in on the current status of ISBE funding for school libraries.

Pam McDermott
Glen Crest Middle School

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ISLMA workshop: using new media to stimulate creativity and collaboration

[this is a long post but i hope that it serves as a useful set of links to better understand new media applications. please feel free to add comments, etc.]

this morning i was part of a workshop titled "using new media to stimulate creativity and collaboration." the focus of the workshop was collective intelligence and student learning so the audience of k-12 librarians and teachers was perfect. the workshop was three hours long and included somewhere around thirty librarians and teachers.

we covered a lot of ideas in three hours and here's a few things i remember:

web 2.0
i began with an overview of web 2.0, noting that much of it is a marketing meme for (surprise) web 2.0 start up companies. that said, i introduced the notion of collective intelligence (something librarians know a lot about) and talked about adding and editing (or annonating), tags and folksonomy, and user-driven content. (much of this part was generated from multiple readings of tim o'reilly's important and influencial "what is web 2.0?") i coupled web 2.0 characteristics with web 2.0 sites like amazon, blogs, facebook, flickr, wikipedia, yelp, and youtube.

participatory culture
next, i discussed portions of henry jenkins' "confronting the challenges of participatory culture: media education for the 21st century." i love this paper because it describes participatory culture as something that can take place online or offline, on blogs or in libraries. in particular, i discussed jenkins' five elements of participatory culture:
  1. relatively low barriers to artistic expression and civic engagement;
  2. strong support for creating and sharing one's creations with others'
  3. some type of informal mentorship whereby what is known by the most experienced is passed along to novices;
  4. members believe that their contributions matter; and
  5. members feel some degree of social connection with one another (at the least they care what other people think about what they have created).
(at some point during the workshop i mentioned that jenkins' paper was funded by the macarthur foundation's $50 million, 5 year initiative on digital media and learning. i suggested that in addition to funding individiual scholars at individual universities perhaps they might fund organizations like ISLMA which serves to network multiple libraries at multiple schools across the state of illinois. plus, if we are talking about digital media and learning, doesn't this include libraries and media centers?)

then, the fun part - examples! borrowing heavily from the insights of brian benzinger (of solution watch blog), and especially his blog entry titled "back to school with the class of web 2.0: part 3," we discussed educational uses of flickr, course blogs, and school blogs. along the way, i mentioned the many and wonderful ways the rambling librarian uses blogs to promote, extend, and re-imagine libraries, including the role of computers games in libraries. [i promised participants citations for other web 2.0/library 2.0 blogs and here's two of my favorites: and free range librarian. i hope participants will add more!]

but the best part was when workshop participants began talking about their own projects. we talked about what individual librarians and teachers are doing, what classes are doing, and what libraries and schools are doing. and we talked about what we could be doing - with modest technological help, with modest funding, and with modest collaboration with teachers and administrators.

we talked about getting buy-in from teachers, students, and administrators. we talked about starting with modest projects and letting them grow as needed. we talked about projects that require a minimal amount of technology (not to mention time and labor) and we talked about projects that would require a lot (or too much) time.

we talked about a lot more than my notes above reveal. but it's hard to conduct a workshop and simultaneously take ample notes for a blog post! some can do it, like kathleen, but i'm still learning.

i've always enjoyed conferences and am a regular attendee of AIR and ASA. but there's something about library conferences - whether it's ALA or PLA or ACRL or ISLMA - that is so much more exciting, so much more communal, so much more collective. when done right, conferences are about collective intelligence and, once again, this is a topic librarians know quite a lot about.

RSS, blogs, wikis, and more

I attended "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About RSS Feeds, Blogs, Wikis, IM, Social Networking Sites and Gaming" with Jenny Levine this afternoon. I have been a avid reader of Jenny's blog so I was excited to take part in this presentation. One thing that resonated with me is that RSS will be the foundation of Web 2.0.
Jenny's did say that she would be posting the information from this session on her wiki. Her presentation was filled with many examples of blogs, wikis, and ways to use RSS feeds. Be sure to explore the wiki for more information.

Katie Kirsch
Lake Bluff Middle School

Prepping for The Hollywood Librarian talk!

I'm excited about being part of ISMLA tomorrow night! I'll be driving down from my home in Madison, Wisconsin, where I am putting some clips together for my presentation at 7 pm. I have been in post-production mode for the film sort of 24/7 since the middle of September. ISLMA will be a chance for me to pull my head up and look around at the world for a change. Looking forward to it! ~ann seidl

Getting inspired by RSS and Blogs

I'm in Jenny Levine's session, Everything You Always Wanted to Know About RSS Feeds, Blogs, Wikis, IM, Social Networking Sites and Gaming. WOW! Seeing the examples of how other libraries are using these tools is really inspiring.
A couple of things mentioned that really struck me were:
*the need for ENGAGEMENT on our library web sites. The expectation of student users is to interact with the site. Static sites don't resonate with students. I've got some redesigning to think through.
*the idea that RSS is going to become more and more important in the future, librarians have the opportunity to utilize, understand, and really teach this to transform our practice.

Erin Wyatt
Highland Middle School

Let the fun begin!

I am excited to be at conference. I will be one of the blogging gals and hope to update you throughout the conference. I am looking forward to the sessions I am attending today - "Why Data Matters" and "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About RSS feeds, Blogs, Wikis, IM, Social Networking Sites, and Gaming" ... I hope to update you about this sessions later.

Katie Kirsch
Lake Bluff Middle School

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

ISLMA is in the Hotel

ISLMA conference members are already at the hotel. Some arrived as early as noon. In fact, when I came in, I ran into speaker Michael Cart. Later I saw Philip Crawford, another of our speakers. Conference handouts, bags, pens and registration materials have been unloaded from vans and cars and await the arrival of the first attendees early in the morning. This is only the first of many blogs that will be coming your way documenting the ISLMA conference. If you are not coming, we will miss you, but you will not need to miss us, if you keep reading our posts. Pam Kramer, Conference Chair.

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