Inspiration, Innovation & Information for school libraries and learning.
By Jan W
As we work to build our professional learning networks (PLN) we selectively manage our information feeds and curate those gems of ideas and strategies that come to us during our working day. We can both follow others and promote to our followers.
One valuable feed I receive is from the American Association of School Librarians. The tips come from fellow practitioners, and are brief, sensible, and do-able. I savour each one, and then choose the best ideas to spread around out there in the school library world.
The post I received today drew my attention to the recently published Best websites for Teaching and Learning. When navigating in uncharted world of IT and teaching/learning tools, it is a real boon to have a carefully curated list of sites to help us chart the course of our journey, especially when those sites are user-friendly. This list contains a number of sites to share with students and teachers that will enable them to explore and discover media sharing, digital storytelling, managing and organising information, social networking. It also includes sites that help users communicate within a learning community, participate and collaborate as members of learning networks.
This list is a real gem to find, and I doubt that I would have stumbled over it anywhere else.
Become the ‘go-to person’ in your PLN when it comes to advocacy tips! It is easy to sign up to the AASL Advocacy Tip of the Day. You choose your delivery method: daily, weekly, or monthly; to your email or mobile phone. You may opt out at any time. New ideas come flying into your library 365 days a year, ranging from ideas for content curation, to using QR codes to promote book talks or to invitingparents to visit and explore library resources so that they can help their students to complete assignments at home.
‘Tip of the day’is a very useful service – in signing up to the tips and reading them each day you may be a follower, but as you identify and prioritise and then disseminate them to your networks or the teachers in your school you become a leader.
By Peter Murgatroyd
In his recent white paper ‘Think like a start-up’, Brian Mathews has sought to galvanise the library community into action, to awaken us from our slumber and embrace an entrepreneurial mindset. “We don’t just need change”, he argues, “we need breakthrough, paradigm-shifting, transformative, disruptive ideas”.
In recent times Google, Facebook, twitter have changed the way that we live and work, shrinking the world to the size of a mobile device. The knowledge and information sector is the hottest show in town - where fortunes can be made overnight and governments toppled through the power of social media.
It is ironic that, in the knowledge generation, libraries are an institution in search of relevance and librarians urgently needing to reinvent themselves to survive.
How much can we learn from the Start-ups?
Some start-ups crash and burn. Others explode into life. Some blaze brightly and then seemingly disappear almost overnight
flickr image by freeasinfreedom
What start-ups have in common is that they are fuelled by the vision and inspiration of entrepreneurs who have the hunger and the courage to try to turn their vision into a reality - often in the face of uncertainty and with few guarantees of success. What they have in common is that they seek to create something new - not just a new solution to an old problem but a new way of doing things.
There IS much we can learn. We need to have a clear vision and the courage to turn that vision into a reality.
We need to think less about the innovation and more about creating a culture of innovation. Be receptive to and foster new ideas. Embrace blue sky thinking. Think less about coming up with the right answer and more about asking the right questions. Dream big!
We need to think less about developing a strategic plan and more about developing a strategic culture.
We need to think less about marking out our territory and more about our sphere of influence.
An entrepreneurial mindset however implies that we are looking for a new start, to create something new where previously there was nothing. To launch a new brand. To define a new identity.
Yet for many of us in the profession we are not seeking to abandon the core values and vision of what a library stands for but to redefine, to reconceptualise how we can deliver that core vision in a way that is meaningful and relevant to current and future generations.
The challenge is not so much embracing entrepreneurship as a mindset but embracing the culture and the competencies off intrapreneurship – changing our institutions from within. In some ways this is more challenging and more difficult: shedding the baggage of the past, changing perceptions, rebooting our ideas and our passion for our work. Dismantling structures and deconstructing processes that no longer serve a purpose.
There is, I believe, much to be gained in reflecting on the values and passion that drove the establishment of the first libraries and that have inspired generations of librarians.
Equity of access to information, and the critical importance of preserving and making accessible the accumulated knowledge of our time
As much as we need to embrace the entrepreneurial zeal of the start-up we must also seek to re-connect with the core values and passions of our profession.
The technology, via the explosion of new gadgets, widgets, platforms and apps, should not define our role. They are merely tools – a means to an end – an end that remains largely similar to the one that inspired the first librarians: Discovery and curiosity. Life long learning, Equity, Empowerment, Communication, Connection, Community.
After adding the second blog L2-Libraries and Learning, to the site, our website has now a new section called Blogs. This page links to the more dynamic parts of the website, the blogs.
Of course you can bookmark both blog pages and return now and then to check what Dylan, Lisa and Jane have posted, but how about using another tool you may not have tried yet, to get the postings from the blogs straight to your desktop.
Before the availability of RSS feeds I was using a huge list of bookmarks stored in my favourite browser and making regular back ups of the list just to make sure not to lose the links. And I had my daily sites, a list of sites that I read on a day-to-day basis, which kept me updated about my interests.
Newsreaders or news aggregators hadn’t been the application for me to replace my list of bookmarks, until Google started Google reader and iGoogle. I have converted my bookmarks with RSS feeds to iGoogle and I just have to login to read my news categorised by topic. The last topic or tab that I set up in iGoogle is for the National Library (I joined the National Library 2 month ago) to aggregate all news from different Natlib sites.
To add our feeds to your favourite newsreader, just click on the feed icon and your reader will take it from there. If you haven't selected your favourite newsreader yet, then try iGoogle to get a quick overview of all your news resources.
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