Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Report on the AISL Annual Conference 2010 in Nashville

Schools Visited
• University School of Nashville
• Montgomery Bell Academy
• Father Ryan School
• Ensworth School (both campuses)
• Harpeth Hall

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Keynote speaker: Pat Scales (author, School Library Journal columnist and School Library Advocate)

Pat spoke about censorship and intellectual freedom and started with the Peter Zenger case. She said one tactic libraries have taken is to just move the problematic books to the adult section. “Massachusetts seems to have lots of censorship problems,” she said.

Censorship can be trendy and can follow fads. Her example included Columbine, where for a while all books that included school violence where suddenly under scrutiny and on the banned and challenged books lists when they had never been on them before. Another example she gave was of a picture book where all the people in town were animals. The police happened to be pigs. In the 60s, the police unions challenged the book as offensive. In the 80s, Christian groups objected to the animals who got turned into rocks as they felt it was an “out of body experience”.

Ms. Scales said children were getting books that were way too mature for them. Part of our job is to make sure that we steer them to material that is age appropriate. She gave us an example of a public school librarian in Apache Junction, AZ who was using Accelerated Reading (AR) as there collection development tool. AR looks at ONLY the reading level of a book, not the maturity level. So, she got a call from a media outlet wanting to know her stance on the issue of having a 4th grader reading Perks of Being a Wallflower which contains mature themes and is for grades 9 and above. She said reader guidance is of ultimate importance. It’s our job to know the book and to connect them to the right one.
She said the restricted shelves are not the answer. Recently, they took a case of parental permission to court and it was decided that requiring parental permission labeled her child as evil and they won. They result is open access. It is much better to not require a child to read a particular text or to have a substitute or to have the ability to opt out.

She highlighted which seeks to give guidance to parents and to rate books. She found that they spot check and don’t fully read. She was also concerned and mystified by how they assign educational value. There were several books on their list with clear educational value that they had as having none. Their reviewers list their only qualification as having children and being parents. Since they are seeking to guide parents, it is a troubling group.

Now, private schools are not protected by the 1st amendment the same way that public schools are.

She ended with a very moving quote from Steven Pico who was the high school student who fought the banning of his high school library’s books all the way to the Supreme Court, who said: “What I shall never forget is the silence of my teachers during the book banning. Only one of my teachers ever commented to me about the book banning. She was the English Department Chair, a good English teacher who had instructed me as a junior and in a “Great Books” course as a senior. One day after class she whispered to me, “Stever, you’re doing the right thing.” I will never be able to forget that she felt the need to whisper.” (“An Introduction to Censorship” by Steven Pico, School Library Media Quarterly, Winter 1990)

University School of Nashville

Founded in 1925, USN is a K-12 school.

Controversial Fiction
Speakers: Marty Vaughn (Girls Preparatory School), Katie Archambault (Girls Preparatory School), Robbie Quinn (Montgomery Bell Academy) and Sean Kinch (Montgomery Bell Academy).

Around 1942 with the release of 17th Summer YA fiction became problem solver fiction. Then came the Coming of Age novels like Catcher in the Rye and A Separate Peace. With the publication of Weetzie Bat the category of YA fiction grew to appeal to 12-34 year olds! Many of today’s popular authors are also trying their hand at YA fiction and in the time period from 1995-2004 there was an 84% spike in YA book sales.

There seems to be a split in YA literature. There is the dollar driven side that includes Gossip Girl that has no literary merit, lots of brand names, TV offshoots and commercialism. The other side is the literary merit side that includes books on any topic: drugs, vampires, suicide, etc.

YA authors show young adults the dark of the woods. Is our job to protect them or prepare them?

What is the best thing to do? Make sure you have an up to date collection development policy. Consider putting in the reason you purchased the book in your MARC record. Read the controversial books so you know what is going on in them.

CONTEMPORARY BRITISH NOVEL: See attached handouts. Mr. Kinch discussed his lesson that included pairing classic literature with controversial contemporary British literature.

GRAPHIC NOVELS: The medium itself is kind of shocking. The name is part of the problem. It suggests shocking content. Really, it is more like comic books. We use some graphic novels to transition some readers to novels. If he purchases graphic novels that are based on novels, he does so only when they have exact text/translations. He tries to buy complete sets of series.

Beyond Powerpoint
Speakers: Angela Klausner (Battle Ground Academy), Erin Barclay (Battle Ground Academy) and Susan Gaultney (Battley Ground Academy)

This session went over a couple of tools that might be used to do interesting things in the library.

1. Logitech webcams: Use them for booktalks. Perhaps Kelly Cucchi could be in charge of these? Things to be aware of: picks up background noise easily, you can use an avatar instead (shy kids like this, but the calibration time is lengthy).
2. Toondoo – free software: It does take a while to master, you could do a book review in this software. She used it as a middle division project in 5th Grade English and History and they used writing skills to execute the assessment.
3. Photostory: digital storytelling. Write out the script. Test the sound levels before recording the final version.
4. allows you to have an interactive homepage on a wiki. You can put the widget on the wiki. Glogster is an interactive poster maker.

Lunch and Proquest presentation.

Evening Presentation by John Ingram, CEO of Ingram Library Services
At Montgomery Bell Academy
Mr. Ingram said content is what matters, not the device. An etextbook isn’t the device, it’s the content. His company put together VitalSource, which is a dental etextbook, which has revolutionized how the dental schools are using textbooks. It’s been a great success. They are beta testing the design in a high school with success as well and it has shown a 14% rise in biology scores and a 27% rise in algebra scores. (Note: An email query to Mr. Ingram about the etextbooks availability revealed that they were not able to go live or do further beta testing in the secondary school market at this time.) Students were able to share notes, highlight, annotate etc.

Thursday, April 15, 2010
Father Ryan School
Session on Cushing Academy
There was a big discussion on the current situation at Cushing Academy. It went over the history and what is currently going on there. It also included information on the Future of the Book Conference ( ) at which the Headmaster of Cushing, James Tracy spoke. Christopher Ricks also spoke and had some great counter arguments. The link will take you to the actual conference.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Visited Ensworth Red Gables Campus
Tech Committee Meeting
We had a Tech Committee meeting at breakfast. Martha Reilly agreed to take over the website. Teresa Crafton, Barbara Share, and Diane Neary all agreed to be website testers. We mentioned the idea of wiki pages for things like policies, etc.

Flip and Kindle Presentation
Phoebe Warmack (Woodberry Forest School) gave a great presentation on how her boarding school for boys uses the Kindles. They got them in the summer of 2008 for three main reasons:
1. Motivators
2. Budgetary (books only $9.99)
3. Green (hardback bestseller can be purchased and then disposed of without recycling or taking up shelf space)
She was also attracted by the physical storage. They have seven devices. They like the portability, the e-ink, the kindles make the library look good and they create buzz. She started with four and now has 5 kindles and 2 DXs. Anyone can borrow them. When they are deciding whether something is a kindle purchase, they look at
High interest, low shelf life
1 person recommendation
Academic need
All summer reading titles

The library staff are the only ones who can purchase titles. They create MARC records for al the books and they have a prefix of KIN. They circulate for 1 week. They are also deregistered before they are checked out and they are not checked out with chargers.

She also recommended the site

Barry McAlister (Montgomery Bell Academy) presented on the Flip camera and had some very interesting new information. For example, I didn’t know that there is now another camera called the Insignia that is a Flip style camera with a flipout screen. Very cool.

Workshop – Technology Integration – Helping Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom (text by Barbara Share)
Speaker: Karen Douse (Harpeth Hall)
This workshop focused on using different types of technology in the classroom with emphasis being on the teacher, IT person and Librarian all working together. One example given was that the students read a book (Cold Sassy Tree) and then the students created “dummy” Ning accounts and went on the Ning as a character from the novel. They had to stay in character as they communicated with everyone and use examples and scenarios from the book in their conversations. Another example was using Jerome Burg’s Google Lit Trips; from this you can add text, YouTube videos, etc. to create a map from a book (The Odyssey would be a good example for our students). Another example used was having the students became mushers on a virtual Iditarod trip and keeping a journal of their experiences. The students wrote in character as a musher. They also used Twitter (again, having “dummy” accounts) and JING, having the students write in character, not as themselves. With all these projects, the teacher, IT person and Librarian were involved in the planning, organization and day to day teaching of the project.

No comments: