“Librarians are the coolest people out there doing the hardest job out there on the frontlines.”
– Neil Gaiman
Librarians work extremely hard. At any given time, they are teaching lessons, working the circulation desk, collaborating with teachers, leading book clubs, weeding, placing orders, reading new books and reviews, and implementing new technology into their lessons. Librarians provide students with the appropriate tools to search for and use information.
Through my journey to find librarian blogs, I came across the following three. These outstanding blogs show the passion and dedication of three librarians through their meaningful posts, examples of student activities and by making the connection between reading, technology and learning. I hope you enjoy exploring these blogs as much as I have!
As a former graduate of the McDaniel SLM program, and member of several professional associations (such as, ALA, AASL, ISTE and the Howard County Association of School Librarians), Matthew Winner created this outstanding blog. He did not need to include all the bells and whistles to get readers interested- the content alone is what makes this blog unique. The most recent posts feature podcasts, where different authors and illustrators talk about their books. If you click on the Let’s Get Busy Podcast link on the navigation bar, you are taken to a separate page that houses all of these podcasts. In addition to interviews with various authors and illustrators, Matthew features, “The Best Book Ever“, which is a weekly podcast that features five great books, reviewed in five minutes. This is a great little preview for teachers and students. Another wonderful feature of this blog, is that he includes Vine Book Trailers, where students can view brief videos about a book, similar to movie trailers. Matthew also includes a link to his Pinterest Page, where he posts books related to his lessons, such as the Mock Caldecott 2014 (Such a great idea!), links to his SLM Shelf Challenge, Great Non-Fiction books, and Must-Have Graphic Novels.
Unlike a lot of other library blogs that I have visited, this blog is all about books. He doesn’t feature a lot of student work like some of the other blogs. I was so drawn in by the book reviews and author podcasts, that I did not feel like there was anything missing. In a way, Matthew keeps it simple. There are so many interesting and exciting things in technology and education, it was like a breath of fresh air to find a blog that uses these technologies to highlight excellent books.
Matthew goes beyond simply using Twitter to connect with his colleagues, students and the community. He uses podcasts, Vine clips, Pinterest and YouTube to connect with his readers and their families. Through this blog, it is clear that Matthew has a true passion for children’s literature. His school is lucky to have him as their librarian!
While searching for my second librarian blog, I stumbled upon this one. At first, it was the banner that caught my eye. There are quirky avatars set in the Murray Hill Middle School Library, QR Codes and the quote, “LEARNING HAPPENS HERE!” in a bright yellow, superhero speech bubble. I then decided to scroll down, and take a picture walk (as we like to say in second grade). I was instantly amazed! In the most current post, The MHMS Instagrammy’s, students showcase special events, talents and their own work through an Instagram account created by qthe school librarian. Students are encouraged to use this as a way to share anything “cool” with their peers, teachers, parents and the community.
Students are also encouraged to comment on posts within the blog. The Daring Librarian (also known as Gwyneth Jones) even shares a link on the navigation bar, about tips on how to create a “quality” comment. Each tip and example is written clearly, using kid-friendly language. By showing students how to write appropriate comments, Ms. Jones is modeling how to be a good digital citizen. As we have discussed, this needs to not only be done in school, but reinforced at home too. When students follow these suggestions and give positive and constructive feedback, they too are being good digital citizens.
I am a visual person. I love art and illustrations. What drew me to this blog, were the incredible illustrations in this blog’s banner. Of course, the title of the blog caught my attention too! The blog’s creator and Instructional Technology Facilitator, Nikki D. Robertson is clearly passionate about collaborating with teachers and working towards helping students become good digital citizens and 21st century learners.
As a finalist in the Edublog Awards in 2013, for the Best Library/Librarian Blog, I think The True Adventures of an Instructional Technology Facilitator focus more on technology and literacy, rather than focusing on specific books and authors. This is a great blog for teachers and students who love technology!
I have found that many of Nikki’s posts showcases new and innovative technologies, examples of how she utilizes them, and thorough directions explaining how to use these applications and programs. I particularly liked her post on Padlet. Here, Nikki explains how she used Padlet with her students to show what they know about a certain story they have read. She also shares useful and interesting ways to use Padlet in the classroom. This is helpful for teachers who want to experiment with a new technology, but may need suggestions on how to apply it to their classroom instruction or activities.
Another feature that I loved, was the Virtual Hallway. From what I have researched, the Virtual Hallway is a county-wide website for each school to highlight student work, completed on MacBook Air laptops. Other school districts in various states have similar websites for student work. However, many of them use text and hyperlinks to bring you to a separate page with the work. Nikki uses applications like Padlet, Google Slides, Google Drawing and ISSUU- Digital Publishing Platform to showcase student work right on the page. No hyperlinks necessary! Although the Virtual Hallway is not something Nikki developed on her own, she puts her own spin on it by presenting her students’ work with a variety of applications. Since my county does not have something like this, I would love to create a virtual hallway for my classroom, grade level and eventually for my school.
Image used with permission from Microsoft.