Module 1: A Review of Three Library Blogs

4 Sep

Castilleja School is a private school for girls in grades 6 through 12.  This blog won the Edublog for best library blog in 2010, and I was drawn to it immediately because the  layout is easy to read, visually pleasing, and colorful.  However, one caveat: the blog hasn’t been updated since last school year, which I found surprising.  The New Books section is also infrequently updated, in some cases three months go by before an update.
Purpose of the blog: The purpose of blog seems twofold.  Displayed more prominently are links disseminating school information (new students and faculty members, class trips, and interesting community events, like this play that students can participate in) and as a place to display student work.  In smaller letters at the top of the page is library information, like links to library resources, databases, and student book reviews.
Type of posts: Unlike many blogs, the posts are organized by type (and can overlap, for instance “Seniors Investigate Cancer Biology” is in Cool Stuff, Recent, and Student Work) not chronologically.  Though I agree with using tabs/ categories on blog posts, I like seeing a sense of chronology on blogs.  I noticed that students, teachers, and the librarians posted on the blog (scroll down the Featured section, which has examples of each type of poster), which is nice because it gives everyone a sense of ownership in the blog.
Other thoughts: This blog proves that the library is the hub of the school.  Teachers, students, and librarians post class projects and school accomplishments on the blog.  Usually these announcements are relegated to the school’s main website or individual teacher websites.
How does the blog assist teachers with teaching content and integrating information literacy: This is one area of the blog that I believe is missing.  Though the MLA page (under resources) does explain the importance of citing your work properly (AASL 1.3 and NETS 5) there is not much information on information literacy.  In regard to collaboration with teachers, there is a lot of evidence of “final products” on the page, but nothing about the steps that teachers might take to collaborate with the media specialist, or what the media specialist might be able to offer reluctant teachers.  However, an interview with new faculty member Mr. Chiang says that “Mr. Chiang’s focus will be on working with faculty to enrich the curriculum with opportunities to use technology in the classroom in meaningful, transformative ways.”  Maybe we will see more about integrating information literacy on the page in the future.

The Daring Librarian is certainly a more edgy, punky, in – your face library blog.  I love it!  I don’t think the Daring Librarian is meant for student use, especially younger student use because there is some questionable language.
Purpose of the blog: To keep librarians and teachers in the know about new web and tech tools, like the Back to School Special: 7 Web Savvy Starts, which features Slideshare, school Youtube sites, Twitter, and Edublogs.  These tools are fairly mainstream for most educators, but The Daring Librarian goes further by also posting about tools and ideas that may be more underground.  Post I liked included how to use (and what the heck are) QR codes, and Pencast book reviews.  Granted, not every teacher or librarian will be able to make or use QR codes and pencasts tomorrow, but I think the goal of the Daring Librarian is to introduce newer ideas in a casual way.  The Daring Librarian’s second purpose is to inspire other librarians to be daring!  One of my favorite posts is “Lady GaGa Librarians Unite!” about who more librarians should be like Lady Gaga: Try new things, don’t ask for permission, and be a vibrant light for your school/ community.
Type of posts: Chronological, feature pictures or cartoons, she had many followers, so it is also neat to read the comments.
Other thoughts: I’m subscribing!
How does the blog assist teachers with teaching content and integrating information literacy: This blog can assist teachers with integrating information literacy by giving them new ideas to try, or as a starting point for a conversation with a their school’s librarian.  For example, a teacher might notice a new tool the Daring Librarian is plugging, or a post about a project involving Twitter (like Twitter – style book reviews) that she is considering.  She could bring the post up with the school librarian and they could discuss the post, and how it could work with her classes together.

A Media Specialist’s Guide to the Internet is a blog by Julie Geller, a 20 year veteran in the library profession.  The layout is neat and clean.  I like that there are not to many widgets and images on the sidebar.  Ms. Geller also updated with a new post as I was reading the blog, which was neat.
Purpose of the blog: The purpose of the blog seems to be to provide teachers and librarians with the “best of the web” with posts that contain lists, like “Icebreakers“, “Holidays” and my personal favorite, “Infographics“.  Many posts go further than listed links and also contain embedded videos like “Differentiated Instruction“.  Ms. Geller also seems like a realist in a time of economic stagnation providing posts on what to do if you budget is slashed, and how to fundraise.
Type of posts: Chronological, but tabs on the top also provide info for different grade levels, for new teachers, and for reference.
Other thoughts: Though I dislike the looooooong lists of links (too many links seem overwhelming) I would subscribe to this blog for some new ideas. I also already Tweeted a few of the lists to #sschat
How does the blog assist teachers with teaching content and integrating information literacy: Teachers and librarians could find LOTS of web resources as jumping off points for projects.  Separating links by grade level, or by subject (examples for games and videos) also helps teachers to use this site.  Just like the Daring Librarian, I think teachers or librarians could approach each other, using Ms. Geller’s posts as a jumping off point for collaboration and student project ideas.

How might you incorporate blogs in your school library to facilitate collaboration? How might you use professional blogs for professional development or collaboration?  Using blogs in the library can support collaboration with teachers and parents.  One of our discussion board articles was Robin Ludmer’s “Making the Most of Fixed Schedules” describing the challenges many teachers and librarians face when planning projects.  If a librarian posted new web tools on her blog, as well as their applications for grade levels and subject areas, teachers could comment on ways that they want to use them, cutting down on the need to meet face to face or to organize a common planning time.  Also Hauser’s “Be the Web  Go To Person for Parents” may also be easier with a blog.  Castilleja’ s site offered many ways for parents to see what their students are up to, as well as ways to view library resources from home.  In terms of professional development, it would behoove teachers and librarians to view each others blogs and Twitter feeds as a way to see new web tools in practice and be up to date with web/ information trends. 

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4 Responses to “Module 1: A Review of Three Library Blogs”

  1. slm509jnv September 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm #

    I found the Daring Librarian to be edgy and fun as well. I stated in my review that teachers/librarians do have to be careful browsing this blog at work thought because of the language/content (some unrelated to SLM topics). I found that the “funness” may also take away from the fact that this can be a real learning tool for teachers!

  2. slm509jnv September 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    I found the Daring Librarian to be edgy and fun as well. I stated in my review that teachers/librarians do have to be careful browsing this blog at work thought because of the language/content (some unrelated to SLM topics). I found that the “funness” may also take away from the fact that this can be a real learning tool for teachers!

  3. slm509jnv September 10, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    Sorry this posted twice?!

  4. eecrews September 12, 2011 at 1:35 am #

    I noticed that you had chosen the Daring Librarian also! I loved that blog and am glad to see someone else enjoyed it and found it worthy of posting 🙂 I also think it’s great that a 20 year old veteran to the library is blogging a guide to the internet! What great motivation!!!

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